Currency in Crete is the euro (€), with seven notes (five, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500) and eight coins (one- and two- euro coins and one-, two-, five-, 10-, 20- and 50-cent coins).
ATMs widely available in cities, towns and larger villages. Visa and MasterCard accepted in cities and tourist centres, not in villages.
- The easiest, quickest and usually cheapest way to obtain cash is by using your debit (bank) card at an ATM linked to international networks such as Cirrus, Plus, Star and Maestro.
- There are ATMs in almost every town large enough to support a bank, and in tourist areas. In rural areas, only larger towns have ATMs, so plan ahead, especially in the southwest. It pays to have a back-up.
- Cash is king in Crete, so always carry some with you and plan to pay cash almost everywhere. It’s also a good idea to set aside a small amount of euros as an emergency stash.
- Shopkeepers and small-business owners have a perennial problem with having any small change. If buying small items it is easier to tender coins or small-denomination notes.
- Big resorts and hotels accept credit cards, but family-owned properties rarely do. Ask. Likewise, upmarket shops and restaurants accept plastic but village tavernas and small shops almost never do.
- The main credit cards – MasterCard and Visa – are widely accepted. American Express and Diners Club are common in tourist areas only.
For current exchange rates see www.xe.com.
- Banks will exchange major currencies in cash or travellers cheques. Your passport is required to change travellers cheques, not always for cash.
- Post offices can exchange banknotes – not travellers cheques – and charge less commission than banks.
- Travel agencies and hotels often change money and travellers cheques at bank rates, but commission charges are higher.
- Automated foreign-exchange machines are sometimes available in major tourist areas. They take all the major European currencies, Australian and US dollars and Japanese yen, and are useful in an emergency, although they charge a hefty commission.
- Restaurants Usually service is included, but a small tip is customary if service was good. Round up the bill or leave 10%.
- Taxis Round up the fare by a couple of euros. There’s a small fee for handling bags; this is an official charge, not a tip.
- Bellhops Bellhops in hotels or stewards on ferries expect a small gratuity of €1 to €3.
The main reason to carry travellers cheques rather than cash is the protection they offer against theft. They are, however, becoming obsolete as more and more travellers opt to withdraw cash at ATMs as they go. American Express, Visa and Thomas Cook cheques are available in euros and are all widely accepted and have efficient replacement policies.
Cash is king in Crete. Most large towns have ATMs but they can be out of order for days at a time. It’s therefore wise (and necessary) to carry extra cash in a safe place like a money belt. You can usually use debit and credit cards (Visa and MasterCard) in cities and large resorts, but check. They are rarely accepted in small villages. American Express and Diners Club are accepted in larger tourist areas but unheard of elsewhere. (Note: card companies often put an automatic block on cards after the first withdrawal/charge abroad as an antifraud mechanism. To avoid this happening, inform your bank of your travel plans.)