Currency in Greece: Your Complete Guide - 2023
One of the most popular destinations for British tourists, Greece has everything from fantastic weather and beaches, to vibrant cities and all the culture and history you can handle.
Planning a trip to Greece? It’s good to know that Greece is part of the Eurozone, where the official currency is the euro. Read this guide to getting euros in the UK, so you can arrange your travel money - then you’re ready to relax and enjoy your holiday.
Before you head to Greece, learn about:
Using a card in Greece
Can you use GBP in Greece?
How to buy euros before your trip
How to buy currency when you get to Greece
What euro notes and coins look like
What currency is it used in Greece?
Greece has used the euro since 2002, when it joined the other countries in the Eurozone.
If you’re looking on currency exchange websites or in physical stores, you’ll find the currency symbol EUR. And once you’re in Greece, you’ll see the symbol €, when you’re reading a restaurant menu or in a shop.
Can you use GBP in Greece?
No. Just like you can’t pay in euros at home, you won’t be able to use GBP coins or notes in Greece.
Instead you’ll need to either arrange travel money in cash before you leave, so you have euros in your pocket on arrival, take out cash at ATMs when you get to Greece, or spend with a card which can convert your pounds to euros instantly.
Here we’ll cover the most popular ways to convert pounds to euros - plus we’ll throw in some handy tips to make your money go further overseas.
Using a card in Greece
Getting a travel money card before you leave the UK can be one of the cheapest ways to spend in euros (and a broad selection of other currencies, too).
Usually this means you need to order a card online from a specialist provider, to top up your linked digital account in pounds. You’ll then be able to use your card for payments and withdrawals, and it will automatically switch your balance to EUR when you pay for things.
Using a travel money card - in practice - is just like using your normal debit card when you’re away. The big difference is that you can usually get a better exchange rate and lower overall costs with a travel money card. Plus, if you’d prefer, you can add money in pounds, and convert to euros in your account in advance, so you can see exactly what you have to spend.
To give an idea of your options, here are a couple of popular travel debit cards you could take to Greece, with a quick overview of their features:
Wise travel debit card
Hold , spend and exchange 40+ currencies and use the Wise card for spending and withdrawals in 150+ countries
Switch to the currency you need instantly with the mid-market exchange rate, and low fees from 0.43%
Some fee free ATM withdrawals every month, with low fees after that
No fee to open your account, no ongoing charges and no minimum balance
Transaction fees apply depending on how you use your account
No cash pay in or out option
7 GBP fee to order your card in the first place
Revolut travel debit card
Several different account and card tiers available, including some with no monthly fees
Hold and exchange 25+ currencies, with mid-market rate currency conversion offered, based on the account tier you pick
Some fee free ATM withdrawals available every month - limits depend on the account plan you select
Extra features and higher transaction limits for higher tier accounts which have monthly fees
Is it cheaper to convert currency in the UK or Greece?
There’s no simple answer to whether it’s cheaper to convert pounds to euros in the UK or in Greece.
The end costs of your exchange depend on the exchange rate and fees you get, which are set by the provider you pick, and which can vary very widely - both at home and overseas.
Unfortunately, shopping around is the only way to be sure whether you’ll get more euros for your money here or once you arrive in Greece.
Generally one of the best value ways to get euros is to use a travel money card. This also has the advantage that you don’t need to buy euros in advance, as you can exchange as you go, and you’ll usually get a good exchange rate and low fees compared to using a bank debit card. Check out travel cards from services like Wise or Revolut to get a feel for whether they might suit your needs.
One quick final note: If you’d prefer to carry cash rather than using a card, remember that airports and hotels aren’t usually good value as they tend to have pretty poor rates and high overall costs. Head into a city centre to change your pounds instead, where competition drives a better deal for the consumer.
To find the best place to buy euros, you can read our guide here.
Buying euros before your trip
Let’s look in more detail at a few popular ways to get your EUR before you go on holiday.
Using a travel card
Travel money cards are flexible, cheap and convenient and can offer better exchange rates compared to using a bank card. You’ll be able to use your card just like you would any other debit card - but there are usually no foreign transaction fees, and often making an international ATM withdrawal is free too.
It’s important to remember that you do need to order a card online or through an app before you leave, to get your card delivered to your home. However, depending on the provider you pick you may get instant access to a virtual card you can use with a wallet like Apple Pay, so you can start spending even before your physical card turns up.
Sometimes only cash will do - and if you really want to arrive in Greece with cash in your pocket, you may choose to order your travel money online, to click and collect at a local store, or for home delivery. Some banks, the Post Office, and services like Travelex let you collect popular currencies like euros in just a few hours. As always, look carefully at the fees and rates before you pick the right option for you, as the costs may not be the very best out there.
Home or Office Delivery
Let’s look at how the click and collect service varies compared to the home delivery option with Travelex as an example, so you can see if it might suit you:
Order for home or office delivery, or in store collection
Cash for collection can be ready in just a few hours
Home delivery can be next day if you order Monday - Thursday before 3pm
Delivery is free if you exchange more than 600 GBP; fees apply otherwise
You’ll need to be home to collect your cash, and may be asked for ID
Exchange rates are likely to include a markup - which is a fee
Physical money exchange stores on your local highstreet usually let you buy euros in cash immediately. Before you hand over your money, take a look to see if a markup has been added to the exchange rate used to convert your cash to euros. This is common - especially when services say there’s no commission to pay - but may not be clearly marked. To see if there’s a markup (which is a fee) you can compare the rates offered against the mid-market rate which you find on Google. If there’s a big markup, you may be better off choosing a different option such as making an ATM withdrawal on arrival or getting a travel money card.
Some banks like Barclays and Lloyds let you order euros online for branch collection or home delivery. Double check the fees and rates carefully, and compare to a few other online options, before you confirm.
Currency exchange desks are available at all major airports, and because euros are a major currency you can usually get a spot exchange by simply paying with your card or handing over pounds in cash.
The downside here is that airport currency exchange is usually very expensive. There’s no competition so providers don’t necessarily have to offer the best exchange rates, which can mean you pay more than you need to for your travel money. Check if you’re better off making an ATM withdrawal on arrival in Greece on arrival instead. This will usually get you a good exchange rate, and can be free if you use a travel money card.
How to exchange currency in Greece
Tourism is big business in much of Greece, so you’ll have no problem finding currency exchange services in cities and popular tourist areas. If you’re carrying clean and undamaged GBP notes you can switch them to euros in cash, although you’ll want to compare a few services first to make sure you’re getting the best available deal.
More about the currency used in Greece
Let’s take a closer look at the coins and notes you’ll need to use during your visit to Greece.
Denominations of euros
Euro notes denominations are as follows:
Each euro is split into 100 cents. The euro coins in circulation in Greece are:
Euro coins are minted across all Eurozone countries, and can have slightly different designs based on where they’re from. Coins minted in different countries are still OK to use in Greece - in fact, all euro coins are accepted in all Eurozone countries, no matter where they were minted.
Travel money tips for Greece
Here are a few extra tips so your money goes further when you’re in Greece:
Get a travel money card - specialist providers like Wise or Revolut offer cheap and convenient cards you can use to spend in euros and a selection of other popular currencies
Carry extra payment options - its a smart idea to have cards on a couple of networks, and some euros in cash, at all times, just incase a merchant can’t take cards or won’t accept the network your card is issued on
Avoid airport currency exchange - converting pounds to euros at an airport is convenient, but expensive thanks to bad rates and high overall fees
Always pay in the local currency - if a merchant or ATM asks if you’d rather pay in your home currency, say no. Paying in pounds will lead to higher overall costs as the merchant can choose the exchange rate used - when in Greece always pay in euros to avoid this unnecessary cost
Check your card fees - look out for international ATM fees, foreign transaction fees, and cash advance charges in particular
Don’t make ATM withdrawals with a credit card- cash advance fees, foreign transaction fees, and immediate interest make this a very expensive option
Don’t carry too much cash - pickpockets love distracted tourists, so keeping only a little cash on you at any one time is simple common sense
How much does a trip to Greece cost?
How much your trip to Greece will cost can vary depending on what you plan on doing. Here are a few common costs to give an idea.
Visa cost: No visa usually required for trips for up to 90 days (Schengen rules apply)
Transport in Greece: Local transport tickets are around 1.2 EUR each way
Taxi: Around 3.5 EUR to start, then about 1.6 EUR per mile
Car hire: Cheapest compact cars are likely to start from about 15 EUR per day
Room at a hotel: Very varied both by location and season - shopping around is essential
Dinner at a mid- range restaurant: 45 EUR for 2 people
Track GBP-EUR exchange rate
You’ll be able to do more in Greece if you get a good deal on your travel money. One good way to do this is to monitor the live mid-market exchange rate for euros. That way you can convert your currency when the rates look good - and also check the pounds to euros rates offered by different providers to see what markup is being used.
Use the Exiap rate tracker to conveniently view, track and compare the GBP - EUR exchange rate before your holiday, and while you’re away.