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Greece currency travel guide

Learn how much money to bring and how to save on travel fees while vacationing in Greece.

Its stunning beaches and unique islands makes a vacation to Greece a trip to paradise. Though Greece has a cash-preferred economy, credit and debit cards are accepted as well. A credit card that saves on foreign transaction fees is a good card to bring along.

But figuring out what credit cards to bring or how to get cash once you’re there can leave you feeling uncertain. Let us help you find the right travel money for your trip to Greece.

Our picks for traveling to Greece

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Travel card, debit card or credit card?

Though most merchants prefer cash, credit and debit cards are accepted at most larger businesses — especially aimed at tourists. Though it’s not guaranteed that every island will have ATMs, so be sure to get cash before you sail away.

All travel money cards let you load and spend euros while avoiding foreign transaction fees.

If you are planning a trip to Greece, do some research and choose a travel money product that suits you. A combination of travel money products is the best way to finance your Greek trip, especially since there may be times when you can’t get cash from an ATM.

Try to get a card that has no fee for foreign transactions and never use your credit card at an ATM to get cash. A credit card cash advance charges fees and immediate interest charges that come with it.

These are your options for spending money in Greece

Start comparing the different ways you can spend in Greece and find the right combination for you:

Using a credit card

Credit cards are great to have for large purchases and emergencies. Find yourself a credit card that waives foreign transaction fees, like the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card (Terms apply, see rates & fees).

Carrying a credit card may also give you the benefit of travel perks like insurance or statement credits depending on your provider. You’ll want to compare travel credit cards to find one that offers the most value for your travel habits.

Which credit card issuers are accepted in Greece?

Mastercard and Visa are widely accepted across Greece. Owners of American Express credit cards will find it easier to pay at most locations than those who own Discover cards.

For an ATM cash withdrawal, Discover card owners can only use Citibank ATMs. For American Express cards, look for Alpha Bank, Ethniki Trapeza (National Bank) and Euronet ATMs among others.

Merchant acceptanceATM acceptance
check mark iconHigh
check mark iconHigh
check mark iconHigh
check mark iconHigh
American Express
exclamation point iconMedium
check mark iconHigh
check mark iconHigh
cross mark iconLow

Compare travel credit cards

Explore top debit cards with no foreign transaction fees and travel credit cards by using the tabs to narrow down your options. Select Compare for up to four products to see their benefits side by side.

1 - 5 of 11
Name Product Fee Minimum deposit to open Annual Percentage Yield (APY) Offer
SoFi Checking and Savings
Finder Score: 4.5 / 5: ★★★★★
SoFi Checking and Savings
$0 per month
4.60% on balances of $0+
0.50% on balances of $0+
1.20% on balances of $0+
Get up to $300 cash bonus with qualifying direct deposit. Terms apply. This offer is available until December 31, 2024.
Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus
Finder Score: 4.3 / 5: ★★★★★
Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus
$0 per month
Chime® Checking Account
Finder Score: 4.8 / 5: ★★★★★
Chime® Checking Account
$0 per month
Refer a friend to Chime using your referral link, and if they complete a $200 direct deposit within 45 days of opening their new account, you both get $100.
Discover® Cashback Debit
Finder Score: 4.8 / 5: ★★★★★
Discover® Cashback Debit
$0 per month
HSBC Premier Checking
Finder Score: 3.5 / 5: ★★★★★
HSBC Premier Checking
$50 per month
(can be waived)
0.01% on balances of $5+
New customers could earn $1,500 or $2,500 if they open a new, eligible HSBC Premier checking account from July 1, 2024 through November 22, 2024, and complete qualifying activities.
1 - 5 of 21
Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
Up to 5x miles
Earn 20,000 bonus miles once you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. See rates & fees
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Enjoy 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, plus receive a one-time $250 Capital One Travel credit in your first cardholder year – that’s equal to $1,000 in travel
Up to 5x miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months ​from account opening, plus receive a one-time $250 Capital One Travel credit in your first cardholder year – that’s equal to $1,000 in travel. See rates & fees
Bilt World Elite Mastercard® Credit Card
Bilt World Elite Mastercard® Credit Card
Bilt does not have a welcome offer. However, they have a unique bonus offer of double points on the first of each month – that’s 6x points on dining, 4x points on travel, and 2x points on other purchases (except rent), up to 10,000 bonus points in a calendar year. Use the card 5 times each statement period to earn points.
Up to 3x points
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
$200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
Up to 1.5% cash back
More than an unlimited 1.5% cash back card: you'll also earn 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel (terms apply). See rates & fees
Capital One VentureOne Rewards for Good Credit
Capital One VentureOne Rewards for Good Credit
Up to 5x miles
The same rewards and $0 annual fee as the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card, but for those with good credit. See rates & fees

Using a debit card

A debit card could be a good travel money choice to take to Greece. You’ll have access to cash each time you come across an ATM, without carrying lots of cash on you all at once. Because you’re spending your own money, you avoid interest charges. Some providers — like Betterment Checking — waive the fee for international ATM withdrawals and don’t charge a monthly account-keeping fee.

Using a prepaid travel card

Travel cards can lock in conversion rates once you load USD. Use it for purchases without worrying about rates each time you spend — debit and credit cards often charge 3% for each transaction.

Where you save in the conversion rates you may pay in fees. You’ll pay fees each time you load the card, when you make ATM withdrawals and sometimes even an inactivity fee.

Potential credit card fees in Greece

There are two major fees to watch out for when you use a card to pay for products and services in Greece:

  • Foreign transaction fees. Depending on your card, you could pay a fee of up to 3% of the amount of every transaction you make. This could quickly add up if you spend too freely.
  • Currency conversion fees. If you pay a vendor in US dollars, you could be subject to a Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC). This has additional fees as it’s a poorer conversion rate you’d otherwise get at a bank.

Paying with cash in Greece

Whether genuine or not, vendors in small shops seemingly never have any change. If you’re purchasing little souvenirs, presents or other bits and pieces, keep smaller denominations around to avoid the losing money. You can change larger notes at banks, although even banks will sometimes give you a hassle about changing more than 500 euros.

Always have an emergency supply of cash and a back-up card you can use over the counter in case of emergencies.

  • Tip: While there is no limit to the amount of cash you can bring into Greece, you must declare anything over 10,000 euros. Traveler’s checks, bills, personal checks and money orders are all considered cash. There are restrictions on the amount of money you can take out, but the majority of people don’t need to worry about this limit.

Using traveler’s checks

Forget about traveler’s checks — the days of carrying a physical check are pretty much done. Credit, debit and travel card providers all give you a money back guarantee if you’ve genuinely been the victim of card fraud. Plus, there are fewer places than ever where you can actually cash your checks.

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Greece currency

The euro comes in the denominations of €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500.

5 Euro banknote10 Euro banknote20 Euro banknote
50 Euro banknote100 Euro banknote

The main banks in Greece are:

  • National Bank of Greece (NBG)
  • Alpha Bank
  • Eurobank Ergasias
  • Piraeus Bank
  • Attica Bank
  • HSBC Greece
  • Citibank Greece

Buying currency in the US

Have euros in your pocket when you land for peace of mind at the start of your trip, as we’ve heard stories about empty ATMs. Your bank will be able to give you euros in cash, but have a look at Travelex for money transfers, as it offers competitive rates and has shops at major airports where you can grab your cash right before you hop on the plane.

Exchange rate history

As a result of an economic crisis, Greece experienced a period of unstable deflation and inflation over the last few years. The price of goods and services relative to the value of the currency is likely to change as the economy improves.

Live Rate

= 0.9211

Refreshing in: 60s | Wed, Jul 24, 03:22PM GMT

Exchanging cash at Greek banks

Greek banks tend to have the best exchange rates and are open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m, but be prepared to wait as long lines are typical. While you’ll find ATMs in most tourist areas, but they usually charge a big fee.

ATMs in Greece

Don’t be afraid to try the ATMs that have signs written in a language other than English. Often, especially during tourist season, ATMs with English signs will run out of money first.

But even if the machine is in Greek, when you insert a foreign card the ATM display will usually pop up in English. Look for a debit card from a provider that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees as well, like from Betterment Checking.

Find ATMs in Greece

Keep your travel money safe while in Greece

Greece is typically safe for tourists, and crime and violence are low. Petty crime is the greatest concern so beware of bag-snatching and pickpocketing, particularly in busy tourist areas.

Exercise basic precautions like avoid flashing any money around during transactions. Keep your wallet in your pocket or consider using a money belt to keep your funds out of arm’s reach.

How much should I budget to travel in Greece?

Despite problems in the Greek economy, it’s still on the expensive side to travel to Greece. Budget travelers should plan on $50 a day, while mid-range to luxury travelers can expect to pay between $150 to $350 a day, or higher if you plan to visit more than one of its 200 islands. All prices are in US dollars.

$20 dollars per night
Hotel room (depending on season and location)
$30–$80 per night
5-star hotel in Mykonos with a sea view and a private pool
$2,500 a night
Meal of traditional greek food and wine for two
Fine dining overlooking the sea
$200–$300 per couple
ActivitiesWalk around the fascinating ruins,
wander through seaside towns and lounge on the beach
Get a ferry ticket for an island hopping adventure
Luxury cruises from Athens to Istanbul for around

*Prices are approximate and based on summer seasonality and are subject to change.

Case study: Jessica's experience

Jessica profile photo

Interview with Jessica about spending money while on her trip to Greece

Jessica visited Athens, the Greek capital and a large Greek island, Ios.

Do you have any Greek travel money tips? Jessica says she got a better price paying cash in some places, especially on the smaller islands. She also recommends keeping 10 and 20 euro notes handy for shopping as she had a little trouble getting change for 50 euros when she was buying souvenirs in Ios.

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Kyle Morgan is SEO manager at Forbes Advisor and a former editor and content strategist at Finder. He has written for the USA Today network and Relix magazine, among other publications. He holds a BA in journalism and media from Rutgers University. See full bio

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2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    DaphneJuly 4, 2019

    Will my American Express or Discover Card be accepted in Greece

      BellaJuly 4, 2019Finder

      Hi Daphne,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      As I checked, yes, American Express and Discover cards are accepted in Greece. I highly recommend you go to this page and read more details about using credit cards in Greece.

      I hope it helps.

      Kind regards,

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