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The euro has radically simplified travelling among several European countries.

Currency values fluctuate from country to country, and changing money constantly is time-consuming and costly. Fortunately, the euro, denoted by the symbol € (or EUR), has simplified matters in 19 countries to date: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Portugal, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.

Some of the newest European Union members – the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland – may well be introducing the euro within the next years.

Made up of 100 cents (as are Hong Kong or Australian dollars, for example ), a euro coin shows the value on its “common side”, and an image chosen by the country that issued it on its “national side”. Euros are minted in two-euro, one-euro, fifty-cent, twenty-cent, ten-cent, five-cent, two-cent and one-cent coins, and banknotes in €500, €200, €100, €50, €20, €10 and €5 denominations. All the coins and banknotes in the euro system can be used throughout the Eurozone.

Here is a helpful list of the European countries still using their own currencies, with the symbol for each one:



Britain Pound sterling (GBP / £)
Bulgaria Lev (BGL)
Croatia Kuna (HRK)
Czech Republic Czech Koruna (CZK)
Denmark Krone (DKK)
Estonia Kroon (EEK)
FYR Macedonia Macedonian Denar (MKD)
Georgia Lari (GEL / ლ)
Hungary Forint (HUF)
Iceland Icelandic Krona (ISK)
Latvia Lat (LVL)
Lithuania Litas (LTL)
Norway Kroner (NOK)
Poland Zloty (PLN)
Romania Leu (RON)
Serbia Dinar (RSD)
Sweden Swedish Krona (SEK)
Switzerland Swiss Franc (CHF)
Turkish Lira (TRY)
Ukraine Hryvnia (UAH)


Calculating all the exchange rates can be daunting, but a few simple guidelines will help you minimize paying heavy service charges or being perplexed by what appear to be fantastic exchange rates.

The best exchange rates for European currencies will be found in Europe, however if you can purchase a small amount of local currency before your departure, you will have an easier time upon arrival, being able immediately to buy that first cup of espresso or taking a taxi or train into town.

When you find a cash machine / ATM (Automated Teller Machine) / ABM (Automated Bank Machine), take advantage to retrieve money directly from your bank account, as this often results in the best exchange rates and lower transaction charges.

Shop around for the best rates offered at banks or commercial exchange outlets. The latter tend to have higher fees and lower exchange rates than ATMs and banks, however they may be open during odd hours of the day and on holidays when little else is available. Currency exchange machines are another option; the rates are not very good, but these machines can be found in airports, train stations and busy tourist spots.

Minimize the frequency of your transactions, because every time you change cash, travellers cheques or withdraw money from a bank machine, there is a transaction fee.
When you exchange is another issue. If you are based in a big city, you will have ample opportunity to change money. However, once you travel into small villages or the countryside, financial institutions and cash machines will not be as plentiful. Be sure you supply yourself with plenty of local currency before you leave for those hidden-away places.

For up-to-the-minute exchange rates between your currency and the euro or any other European currency, visit our Currency Converter.



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