How to Handle Money Matters in Greece

Greece is a beautiful country with a rich history, culture, and cuisine. It is also a popular destination for travelers who want to enjoy its stunning landscapes, ancient monuments, and sunny beaches. But before you pack your bags and head to the land of gods and heroes, you need to know how to handle money matters in Greece. In this blog post, we will cover everything you need to know about currency exchange, ATMs, credit cards, and taxes in Greece.

Currency Exchange in Greece

The official currency of Greece is the euro (€), which is also used by 19 other countries in the European Union. The euro comes in notes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 euros (the last one being very rare) and coins of 1 and 2 euros as well as 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents. You can check the current exchange rate of the euro here.

If you are traveling from a country that does not use the euro, you will need to exchange your money to euros. There are several ways to do this:

  • At the airport or port:

    You can find currency exchange bureaus at the Athens International Airport, the port of Piraeus, and other major airports and ports in Greece. However, this is usually the most expensive option as they charge high fees and offer unfavorable rates.

  • At a bank:

    You can exchange foreign currency at any Greek or foreign bank in Greece. Banks usually offer better rates than exchange bureaus, but they may charge a commission fee and have limited opening hours (usually from Monday to Friday, 8 am to 2 pm).

  • At an ATM:

    You can withdraw euros from any ATM in Greece using your debit or credit card. This is probably the best way to get cash in Greece as ATMs are widely available, operate 24/7, and offer competitive rates. However, you may have to pay a transaction fee to your bank and/or the ATM provider. Check with your bank before you travel to find out how much they charge for foreign withdrawals and if they have any partner banks in Greece that offer fee-free withdrawals.

Tip: To avoid carrying large amounts of cash, it is advisable to exchange or withdraw only what you need for a few days at a time. You can also use your credit or debit card for most payments in Greece (see below).

Credit Cards and Debit Cards in Greece

Credit cards and debit cards are widely accepted in Greece, especially in major cities like Athens and Thessaloniki. You can use them to pay for hotels, restaurants, shops, museums, taxis, and other services. However, some smaller businesses or rural areas may not accept cards or may charge an extra fee for card payments. Therefore, it is always good to have some cash with you as a backup.

The most common cards accepted in Greece are Visa, Mastercard, and American Express. You may also be able to use other cards like Diners Club or Discover, but they are less common. Make sure to inform your bank that you are traveling to Greece before you leave so that they do not block your card for suspicious activity. Also, check with your bank what fees they charge for foreign transactions and if they offer any benefits like travel insurance or rewards.

Tip: To avoid dynamic currency conversion (DCC), which is when the merchant converts the amount to your home currency at a poor rate, always choose to pay in euros when using your card in Greece.

ATMs in Greece

As mentioned above, ATMs are a convenient way to get cash in Greece. You can find them everywhere: at airports, ports, train stations, bus stations, hotels, shopping malls, tourist attractions, etc. They usually have instructions in English and other languages besides Greek.

To use an ATM in Greece, you will need a four-digit PIN code for your card. If your PIN code is longer or shorter than four digits, you may not be able to use it at some ATMs. In that case, you can try another ATM or contact your bank for assistance.

ATMs in Greece dispense euros in notes of 5, 10, 20, and 50 euros. Some ATMs may also dispense notes of 100 euros or coins of 1 or 2 euros. The maximum amount you can withdraw per transaction varies depending on the ATM provider and your bank limit, but it is usually between 200 and 600 euros.

Tip: To avoid ATM fees, try to use ATMs that belong to your bank or its partner network. You can also look for ATMs that have the Euronet logo, which are fee-free for most cards.

Taxes in Greece

The value-added tax (VAT) in Greece is a consumption tax that is added to the price of most goods and services. The standard VAT rate in Greece is 24%, but there are reduced rates of 13% and 6% for some items like food, books, medicines, etc. The VAT is usually included in the price tag, so you do not have to pay extra unless otherwise stated.

If you are a non-EU resident, you may be eligible for a VAT refund on your purchases in Greece. To qualify, you must spend at least 50 euros (including VAT) at a single store that participates in the Tax-Free Shopping scheme. You must also obtain a Tax-Free Form from the store and present it along with your passport and receipts at the customs office when you leave Greece. You can then claim your refund in cash or by credit card at a refund point at the airport or port.

Tip: To save time and hassle, you can use a service like Global Blue or Planet that handles the VAT refund process for you. You can find their offices and kiosks at major airports and ports in Greece.


Greece is a wonderful country to visit, but you need to be prepared for its money matters. By following the tips and advice in this blog post, you can handle currency exchange, ATMs, credit cards, and taxes in Greece with ease and enjoy your trip without worries.

Have you been to Greece? How did you handle money matters there? Share your experience and tips in the comments below!