In cities, debit and credit cards are accepted but in out-of-the-way locations it's handy to have cash. Most towns have ATMs, but they may be out of order.

ATMs

ATMs are found in every town large enough to support a bank and in almost all the tourist areas. If you have MasterCard or Visa, there are plenty of places to withdraw money. Cirrus and Maestro users can make withdrawals in all major towns and tourist areas. Be aware that many ATMs on the islands can lose their connection for a day or two at a time, making it impossible for anyone (locals included) to withdraw money. It's useful to have a backup source of money.

Automated foreign-exchange machines are common in major tourist areas. They take all major European currencies, Australian and US dollars and Japanese yen, and are useful in an emergency, although they charge a hefty commission.

Be warned that many card companies can put an automatic block on your card after your first withdrawal abroad, as an antifraud mechanism. To avoid this happening, inform your bank of your travel plans.

Cash

Nothing beats cash for convenience – or for risk. If you lose cash, it's gone for good. It's best to carry no more cash than you need for the next few days. It's also a good idea to set aside a small amount, say US$100, as an emergency stash.

Note that Greek shopkeepers and small-business owners sometimes don't have small change. When buying small items it is better to tender coins or small-denomination notes.

Credit Cards

Credit cards are an accepted part of the commercial scene in Greece. In fact (as part of the 'management' of the financial crisis) since 2018 Greeks earning an income, aged below 65, are required by law to have a credit card. As a result, hotels and commercial ventures must be able to process them.

The main credit cards are MasterCard and Visa, both of which are widely accepted. They can also be used as cash cards to draw cash from the ATMs of affiliated Greek banks. Daily withdrawal limits are set by the issuing bank and are given in local currency only (though you may be given the opportunity to accept or decline a fixed exchange rate of your home currency).

Exchange Rates

AustraliaA$1€0.63
CanadaC$1€0.67
Japan¥100€0.77
New ZealandNZ$1€0.58
UK£1€1.13
USUS$1€0.87

For current exchange rates see www.xe.com.

Tipping

  • Restaurants Tipping is not traditionally the culture in Greece, though it is appreciated. Locals tend to leave a few coins. Depending on where you are, you can round it up or leave around 10%.
  • Taxis Round up the fare. There's a small fee for handling bags; this is an official charge, not a tip.
  • Bellhops Bellhops in hotels and stewards on ferries appreciate a small gratuity of €1 to €3.

Travellers Cheques

The main reason to carry travellers cheques rather than cash is the protection they offer against theft. They are, however, rare these days and are not accepted as cash, though some banks may change them; more travellers opt to put their money in a bank at home and withdraw it at ATMs as they go.