Destinations,  Greece

Does Greece Use the Euro as a Currency?

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Does Greece use the euro? Are you planning a trip to Greece and searching for information to plan the financial part of your trip? Great! Money is extremely important part of travel plans.

In this article, I will tell you if Greece uses euro, why, and a few more useful information regarding money during your Greek trips.

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Does Greece use the euro?

The answer is simple and straight-forward. Greece is one of the EU members. And yes, Greece uses the euro. The euro is the official currency of Greece. Ok, I guess I’ve answered your main question. Nevertheless, carry on reading, as I will also explain why, and I will give a few very useful tips regarding money during your holidays in Greece.

Why does Greece use the euro? Short euro currency history

Greece has been one of the European Union member states since 1981.

They were in the first group of countries that joined the euro zone, so they adopted and started using Euro banknotes and Euro coins (Euro cents) as of  January 1st, 2002.

Monetary union, so one single currency, was agreed upon and signed by European leaders in the Maastricht Treaty in February 1992. Since that time, preparations for the common currency were active. The introduction of the euro took place in 1999, but only as an ‘invisible’ currency for electronic payments. The introduction of the euro as a standard currency in 12 EU member states took place as of 01.01.2002.

You can read a little bit more about the history of the euro on European Union’s and European Commission’s websites.

At the moment, European countries that are in the Euro area and use Euro currency are: Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy, Ireland, Malta, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Cyprus, and Greece. So it’s 20 out of 27 member states of the European Union.

The number of countries that are non-euro area members of the European Union is 7. These are: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Sweden, and Denmark. A few of these countries are planning to join the Euro zone in a few years, depending on their economic situation.

From non-EU countries, it’s Montenegro that uses Euro currency as theirs.

What is the Euro exchange rate for different currencies?

Obviously, it’s impossible to keep up with the current exchange rate on the travel blog, so just adding this as some generic guidelines.

The euro is a bit stronger currency than US Dollars and less strong than the pound, United Kingdom currency.

1 Euro = 1,09 USD

1 Euro = 0,86 GBP

(exchange rates as of 04.12.2023).

When talking about financials and currency, it’s also worth mentioning the financial crisis that touched Greece after 2008. If you are interested in such topics, you can google more about the Greek crisis and the debt crisis.

What was Greece’s official currency before the euro?

Before European currency, Greece used its own Greek currency, which was called drachma, which was divided for 100 lepta.

If you are interested in knowing more about modern drachma history, you can read about it on the national bank, Bank of Greece, website.

The modern drachma was used from 1833 to 2002. But drachma, as a currency, was also used in ancient Greece, during around 10 centuries. It’s quite amazing to think about that.

Tips regarding money during the trip to Greece

Now, let’s look at a few tips regarding the financial aspects of trips to Greece.

Credit cards payments are generally accepted in Greece. So you shouldn’t have any issues with paying by card in restaurants, even in smaller towns, especially in tourist areas. However, it can happen that a restaurant or hotel would accept only cash, especially these smaller, family businesses.

So I would really recommend having some cash. And I think Greece is a country where you should have cash with you.

Additionally, there are a few situations in which you will likely participate as a tourist and where you will need cash.

First of all, these are public buses. In bigger bus stations, you can, of course, buy tickets at ticket offices with a card. But if you travel to islands, very often you buy tickets just from the driver (or second person, assistant) in the bus, using cash. So it would be most convenient if you had some cash with you and not only bigger banknotes but also smaller banknotes or coins.

You may also need cash for taxis, or for taxi boats if you are going to use them (and you may, especially on islands!). Also, cash can be useful when buying local products from very local stands.


Generally, you can find ATMs without huge trouble. Even in smaller Greek islands, I saw ATMs, for example, in Folegandros or Koufonissia. Although, you should be aware that these ATMs on smaller islands can occasionally not work.

In many places, you will also find exchange bureaus where you can exchange foreign currency to euros.

Furthermore, when being in Greece, you will stop for coffee often and eat some small pastries in the bakery, so it would be good to have these smaller euros to pay.

Another reason is to have some coins with you for a tip (tipping in Greece is not mandatory, but nice to do).

So, as you can see, you will be able to pay by debit cards in many situations, but it would be safer and more convenient if you did have some cash with you. To be honest, I recommend it as a standard approach for any trip, and the best way to travel, especially in Southern East Europe.

Does Greece use euro: Summary

The most important information for you is that Greece uses the euro, and that it’s good to also take cash with you. But hopefully all the additional information was useful and interesting for you.

Have you already planned your holidays in Greece or are you only starting to arrange them?

I have a lot of useful tips and travel guides regarding Planning a Trip to Greece.

Check out here if you are looking for information about Greek airports.

Looking at Greek islands? Check out where to stay on Santorini, Crete, Ios, Paros, and Kalymnos. In this article, I show great and quite budget-friendly hotels (personally checked during my stays).

And I prepared posts regarding Santorini too! Here you can find all Greek articles.

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