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Greece: Currency Landscape Explained

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In the heart of the Mediterranean, among mesmerising statues stands Greece – a captivating nation with a rich history and culture. Yet, an essential question about its economic identity rises above its ancient ruins and azure coastlines.

This article will shed light on the currency and payment options in Greece, with a particular focus on the country’s currency.

What is the currency in Greece?

Historically, Greece had their own currency – the Greek drachma. However, in 1981 Greece joined the European Union. After twenty years of membership, the main currency of Greece became the euro.

The new currency adoption in 2001 was followed by a transitional period of one year when the euro was the official Greek currency in the form of ‘book money.’

The dual circulation period, during which the Greek drachma and the euro had legal tender status, concluded on 28 February 2002.

Key facts about the Greek currency

Official Greek currency


ISO-3 code
Euro banknotes

5€, 10€, 20€, 50€, 100€, 200€, and 500€

Minor unit


Payment methods in Greece

Greece at night

Using a credit or debit card in Greece

In Greek cities and tourist areas, using credit and debit cards is usually hassle-free. However, part of the Greek experience lies in exploring the countryside, where cash is often the preferred mode of payment.

While credit cards are widely accepted in Greece, especially in tourist-heavy areas, cash remains the norm. Therefore, you should be prepared for places where your credit card might not work.

Furthermore, if you’re travelling from a non-eurozone country, remember you’ll likely incur exchange fees. To mitigate this, consider opting for multi-currency card providers that allow you to keep your money in different currencies and choose one when you’re paying.

ATMs in Greece

You can always find an ATM in Greek cities. However, as you venture into more rural areas, it’s better to have more payment options and keep cash on hand.

Moreover, when using ATMs, be cautious of the option to pay in your currency. It can result in unnecessary expenses. Also, while in Greece, always choose the euro. This way, you can minimize costs and secure the best rates.

Payments in cash

It’s always advisable to bring enough local currency for your initial days and exchange the rest once you’ve settled in Greece. This way, you can benefit from better rates available through local exchanges.

Even though in tourist areas and major cities like Athens, businesses and restaurants accept cards and other payment methods, it’s always wise to have some money on hand for those off-the-beaten-path places, such as smaller Greek islands, where cards may not be as widely accepted.

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Currency exchange rates

The euro is commonly abbreviated as € or Eur. You can exchange your cash into €5, €10, and €20 denominations. Additionally, the European Central Bank (ECB) has introduced the €50 banknote as part of their ongoing efforts to enhance the security of euro banknotes.

The euro exchange rates can fluctuate daily, influenced by various factors such as economic conditions, political events, and global market sentiment. However, currently, for 1 dollar, you can get 0.94 euros.

Remember, while exchange facilities are available at arrival airports, they often offer less favourable rates than post offices, banks, and many resort shops.

Furthermore, note that traveller’s cheques are rarely accepted in Greece, but numerous ATMs accept credit and debit cards.


What is the best currency to use in Greece?

The optimal choice in Greece is the euro. It serves as the official currency of Greece and offers the assurance of universal acceptance throughout the country.

Does Greece accept GBP?

Greece’s official currency is the euro, not the British pound. You can readily exchange British pounds for euros before your trip or withdraw euros from ATMs once you’re there.

Additionally, it’s always a good idea to have some Greek currency on hand for cash transactions, especially in more secluded areas.

Does Greece use the euro?

Yes, the euro is the official Greek currency.

Is it cheaper to buy euros in the UK or Greece?

It’s hard to say whether converting pounds to euros is cheaper in the UK or Greece. Your exchange costs ultimately depend on the provider you select. They set the exchange rate and fees, which can vary significantly.

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Živilė Šarkauskaitė

Živilė is a writer with a diverse background, having worked with tech start-ups and pioneering brands across various industries. Her profound interest in progress and innovation drives her to the field of Fintech, a realm that sparks her curiosity and inspires her to share insights with others.

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Please be advised that the information presented in this article is intended for general informational purposes only. It should not be construed as professional advice from swissmoney. It is important to note that swissmoney does not act as a financial adviser, and individuals are strongly encouraged to seek independent advice from qualified legal, financial, or accounting professionals before making any decisions related to cryptocurrency investments. Furthermore, investing in cryptocurrency assets carries inherent risks, and individuals should be aware that they may potentially lose all of their invested capital.
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