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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.

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
LuxembourgMaltaThe NetherlandsPortugal

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

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

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.