Information about Money in Greece. Currency, ATM’s, Credit Cards, Tipping Policy, Money Exchange.
Greece is part of the European Monetary Union, which means the currency since January 1, 2002 is the Euro.
The Euro bills come in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 500 units.
The coins come in 2, 1, 0.50, 0.20, 0.10, 0.05, 0.02, and 0.01 units.
The Euro bills are color-coded and the size increases with the value.
The Euro coins list their value on one side and include country specific images on the reverse side. In Greek the Euro is called evro and the cents are called lepta.
ATM’s are widely available throughout the country. Check the symbols on the machine to see that they match the symbols on your card before you get started. In large cities there are Automatic Foreign Exchange Machines that take all forms of currencies but they charge high commissions. When using a bank debit card (or a check card) that debits directly from your bank account you’re bound to get better exchange rates and lower fees than if you take cash advances from your credit cards.
All major Credit Cards as well as Euro-cheques are recognized and accepted in most hotels, shops, travel and car rental Agencies and restaurants. Stickers in the front windows will advise you as to which cards are accepted.
Traveler’s cheque issued by all the major companies are widely recognized. You can cash your traveler’s cheque in all Greek and foreign banks, exchange bureaus and big hotels, but do not forget to have your passport with you. Identification is necessary for the transaction.
Tipping for Tourist-type restaurants: Ask for the bill – usually, it will not be brought until you request it. Check over the bill for obvious errors, and bring any substantial errors to the attention of your waiter. Minor error? Decide if it’s worth trying to sort it out. Confirm that a ‘service charge’ has been included. If it has, pay the bill. To reward warm service from the waiter, leave 1-2 Euro on the tray. If service has been poor, skip this step, as the waiter generally shares in the revenues from the meal and from the service charge.
Regardless of the general service, unless it has been memorably abysmal, ease the burden of the busboy, who often receives virtually nothing for his work, by leaving 1-2 Euro on the table. If appropriate, thank the owner or person in charge for the great meal. The ‘cover charge’ on the bill is literally the cost to cover the table when you sit down, and includes your bread and non-bottled water. It’s generally 50-100 cents per person. The cover charge is cannot be removed, even if you don’t drink water or eat bread. Don’t argue it.
Had a horrible experience and feel ripped off? Contact the local ‘Tourist Police’ office. They exist to handle complaints and assist tourists – not to arrest them!
Tipping for Traditional Eating Places: Ask for the bill. Check for obvious errors, and bring any to the attention of your waiter. If it’s a few cents, forget it. Note if a ‘service charge’ has been included – it probably won’t be. Tip your waiter between 10 and 20 percent of the total. Leave this on the tray, or give it to him directly. Leave some small change totaling 1-2 Euro on the table for the busboy. Thank the owner or person in charge for the great meal.
Tipping Taxi Drivers: Generally don’t expect tips (but won’t turn them down). There is a 50 cents charge by the taxi driver for handling each piece of luggage – this is not a tip, but an official charge.
Tipping Public Toilet Attendants: Tip 50 cents and bless them, since without them, there would be no toilet paper or soap there.
Don’t stress over tipping – get it close to the guidelines above, but don’t break out your calculators.
With the introduction of the Euro there are fewer exchange offices than before but you will always find one in a city. Travelers checks or foreign currencies can be exchanged at a bank or an exchange office. The fees for exchanging money varies widely although the fee is lower for cash that for travelers checks. Post offices will exchange cash but not travelers checks and will usually charge less commission than banks. If you exchange money at travel agents or at hotels the commission will normally be higher.