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Europe Travel Money Guide

A European holiday is a classic trip for many Australians. It offers history, epic architecture, beaches, mountains, food, culture, and art. While the euro (EUR) is the dominant currency in Europe, not every country in the continent uses it. This means that things can get a little confusing when it comes to money matters.

The currency used in the majority of Europe is known as the euro. It is also abbreviated as € or EUR.

The euro was first launched in 1999, and aimed to unify countries in the European Union both monetarily and economically. The second phase of the euro occurred in 2002, where euro coins and banknotes were created and distributed. This meant that currencies such as French francs, Italian lira, Deutsche marks, and Dutch guilders were phased out.

The Low Down on the Euro Currency

  • Currency: euro
  • Currency code: EUR
  • Central Bank: European Central Bank
  • Currency symbol: € (euro)
  • Currency sub unit: c (cent)
  • Countries using euros: 19
  • Bank notes: €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200, €500
  • Coins: 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, €1, €2


The euro is commonly represented by its currency code (EUR) and in its symbol form (€). You will need to have euros on hand if you are traveling to one of the many countries in Europe which use the euro as legal tender.

In total, there are 19 EU member countries who have adopted the Euro as their official currency.

The most commonly used notes in euros are the €5, €10, €20, €50, and €100 bills. There are also €200 and €500 notes but these are not as often because of their high value.

Denominations of Euro

Denominations of Euro

Euros come in both banknotes and coins. Note denominations of the euro are:

500 - these are purple

200 - these are yellow/brown

100 - these are green

50 - these are orange

20 - these are blue

10 - these are red

5 - these are grey

Euro coins come in eight different denominations: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent, €1 and €2. Coins all have one common side representing the European Union. They also have a national side, which changes based on the European country of issue.

Payment Options in Europe

Payment options in Europe can vary greatly depending on which country you visit. In general, credit cards and travel cards are widely accepted, however having cash on hand may also be required.

FX ATMs provide an easy-to-use, hassle-free way of exchanging money at Australian airports before you fly. They operate 24 hours a day on a self-serve basis. Keep in mind that not all FX ATMs will offer every currency available.

Why use Travelex ATMs in Australia?

  • FX ATMs are a convenient way to exchange cash at an airport before leaving. There are no forms to fill in, and it’s self-serve. Visit our foreign currency ATM page to find a Travelex FX ATM that dispenses euro.
  • FX ATMs are 24 hours, meaning you have the flexibility to purchase euro no matter what time of the day you fly.
  • Foreign currency ATMs are fast and efficient, giving you your foreign currency within a few minutes.

Things to consider:

  • Not all FX ATMs will dispense the currency you need.
  • It is not recommended to carry a large amount of cash on you throughout Europe.

Prepaid travel cards are great value, as you are able to lock in an exchange rate at the time of purchase. You can also load multiple currencies, which is handy if you plan on country-hopping in Europe.

Why prepaid travel card?

  • Prepaid travel cards allow you to load multiple currencies. This may be convenient when travelling Europe, as not every country uses the euro.
  • Prepaid travel cards provide you with some security when travelling, as they are easy to replace if lost or stolen. You can also order two when purchasing, so you have a backup card with you.
  • Lock in your exchange rate at your time of purchase to avoid any hidden costs.*

Things to consider:

  • There may be local ATM fees when taking cash out of your prepaid travel card.
  • If you run out of cash on your card, it may take a few days for any additional money you top up with to appear on your card.

Discover how you can explore Europe with ease with our 5* award-winning Travelex Money Card!

Debit or credit cards are widely accepted throughout Europe, but transaction fees when paying by card can be quite high. You may also be required to make a minimum spend before paying by card in some stores. As such, it’s always good to have some cash handy, and to keep your bank cards as a backup in addition to local cash when travelling.

Why debit or credit card?

  • Cards are generally widely accepted in Europe, with Visa and Mastercard being the most popular.
  • You can use for hotel and other deposits without affecting your holiday spending allocation.

Things to consider:

  • Higher commissions paid by merchants to credit card companies mean that smaller businesses prefer cash payments.
  • There may be minimum amounts required to spend on cards in stores.
  • Transaction fees for paying with bank cards can be high in Europe. These can be anywhere from 2-5% of your purchase.

ATMs are readily found in most countries in Europe. They provide a convenient way of withdrawing local currency as you need it. Foreign card withdrawal fees can be quite high in Europe. Additionally, if you plan on going off-the-beaten-path ATMs may become less common, so taking some cash is essential.

Why withdraw cash in Europe?

  • In most countries in Europe ATMS are easily found, especially in the bigger cities but also in smaller towns.
  • Withdrawing cash as you need it means you may not have to carry large amounts of cash with you.

Things to consider:

  • There may be ATM conversion fees associated with withdrawing cash from a foreign card.
  • Taking out smaller amounts will inflate the cost of fees. So at times, you may be forced to take out a larger amount than planned.

FX ATMs provide an easy-to-use, hassle-free way of exchanging money at Australian airports before you fly. They operate 24 hours a day on a self-serve basis. Keep in mind that not all FX ATMs will offer every currency available.

Why use Travelex ATMs in Australia?

  • FX ATMs are a convenient way to exchange cash at an airport before leaving. There are no forms to fill in, and it’s self-serve. Visit our foreign currency ATM page to find a Travelex FX ATM that dispenses euro.
  • FX ATMs are 24 hours, meaning you have the flexibility to purchase euro no matter what time of the day you fly.
  • Foreign currency ATMs are fast and efficient, giving you your foreign currency within a few minutes.

Things to consider:

  • Not all FX ATMs will dispense the currency you need.
  • It is not recommended to carry a large amount of cash on you throughout Europe.
Good to Know - Europe Money Tips

Good to Know - Europe Money Tips

Europe is made up of many countries and cultures, and monetary customs can change from country to country. Keep the following customs in mind on your travels for smooth sailing:

While tipping is generally appreciated in most of Europe, services are included in the bill in Scandinavian countries like Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and Denmark.

If you’re travelling to destinations like Greece and plan on buying small souvenirs make sure you keep smaller denominations on hand, as store holders often do not have change for larger notes.

When using your ATM card in Europe, you will be required to know your 4 digit pin code.

You may find that some countries that do not officially use the euro still accept it in touristy areas. This includes Albania, Poland and in the Czech Republic, however it is recommended that you take local currency with you.

American Express cards may not be as readily accepted in stores throughout Europe due to their high merchant charges.

Don’t forget to consult our Europe Travel Checklist for some more extra tips before you depart!

Which Countries Use Euro

Not all countries in Europe use the euro. This can get confusing, as some countries can be part of the European Union and not use euro, and some countries are not part of the European Union but still use euro currency. This means that when you travel, you may have to take into consideration local currencies and visa requirements depending on where you are visiting.

Countries that are members of the European Union that use euros are
AustriaBelgiumCyprusEstonia
FinlandFranceGermanyGreece
IrelandItalyLatviaLithuania
LuxembourgMaltaThe NetherlandsPortugal
SlovakiaSloveniaSpain

Countries that are not part of the European Union, but still use euros are:
AndorraMonacoSan marino
Vatican CityKosovoMontenegro

Countries that are part of the European Union that do not use euros are:
BulgariaHungaryCzech RepublicLithuania
PolandRomaniaUnited KingdomCroatia
DenmarkSweden

The following countries are not considered part of the European Union. They do not use euros, so you will need to prepare local currency before visiting.
AlbaniaArmeniaAzerbaijanBelarusBosnia Herzegovina
GeorgiaIcelandKazakhstanLiechtensteinRepublic of Macedonia
MoldovaNorwayRussiaSerbiaSwitzerland
TurkeyUkraine

Frequently Asked Questions about Money in Europe

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  • Do I have to tip in Europe?

    While best-practice differs from country to country, generally tipping is appreciated in Europe. You can tip anywhere between 5% and 10%, and usually will need cash to do so.

  • Can I use Travellers Cheques in Europe?

    Travellers Cheques are not generally accepted in Europe, and are becoming increasingly harder to cash. Instead consider taking a travel money card.

  • Can I still use the euro in European countries that do not use it?

    Euro is generally not accepted in countries that do not use it as their official currency. If you are travelling between countries that use the euro and ones that don’t, you will need to change cash before you enter.