Heading to Greece soon and you’ve got money on your mind?
Whenever we head to a new country, it’s not always easy to wrap our head around a new currency, different ways to pay and just trying to understand the currency conversion. Something I usually struggle with (lol) and rely on Matthew for help…or the XE app of course.
If you’re heading to Greece for a 2-week vacation, a month-long digital nomad stint or maybe even moving to this beautiful country – knowing how to manage your money is important.
Getting ATM withdrawals, figuring out which ATM is the best one to use and making sure you get the best rate isn’t necessarily easy in Greece. But it’s definitely worth it to do your research and find out what to do.
After living in Athens for 2 months as digital nomads and Matthew being Matthew (not wanting to pay any fee at all), we have understood and figured out the best ATMs, the ones with the least withdrawal fees – here’s all you need to know about using ATMs in Greece.
What Currency Does Greece Use?
The official currency of Greece is the Euro. Greece adopted the Euro back in 2002 when the country joined the Eurozone. The Euro is used by over 20 countries across the Eurozone like Spain, France and Italy.
The currency code for the Euro is ‘EUR’ and the currency sign looks like this €.
If you plan on traveling to other European countries in the Eurozone, you will be using the same currency which is a good thing to keep in mind.
Can You Make Card Payments In Greece?
Yes, you certainly can make card payments.
But you might not be able to do it everywhere. We rarely had cash with us and it was just that odd thing now and then where someone wouldn’t accept a card. This is usually at smaller bakeries or gyros shops further out of the city center of Athens, for example.
For most things, especially if you’re visiting popular tourist destinations like Athens, Santorini or Mykonos, you shouldn’t have any issues paying by card at restaurants, shops and transport rentals.
Do You Need Cash While Visiting Greece?
You don’t HAVE to have cash on you at all times, but we highly recommend you do.
Whenever we arrive in a new country, one of the first things we do is get cash. Obviously after doing some research on which ATMs are best.
We don’t recommend withdrawing money from an ATM at the airport, usually. We have found in Europe, ATMs tend to have a high withdrawal fee and a bad conversion rate. It’s better to wait till you get to the city center to use the right ATM.
Sometimes, certain places just won’t accept cards and you never know when that time will strike. You don’t have to keep a huge wad of cash on you at all times. We like to keep only around €20 to €40 on us, in case we need to pay for the odd thing in cash.
Which ATMs in Greece Should I Use?
There are a lot of ATMs in Greece you can choose from. The important thing is to find the best which has the best conversion rates and lowest withdrawal fees.
An ATM in Greece is never too far away. You can easily find several ATMs in each neighborhood or main city center if you’re on the islands.
Here’s everything you need to know about ATMs in Greece.
Which Banks (ATMs) To Withdraw Money From?
Greece has a few banks you can withdraw money from. These are some of the most popular ATMs in Greece you’ll find all across the country:
- Alpha Bank
- National Bank of Greece
- Piraeus Bank
The bank we used the most was Piraeus Bank. They just happen to be right there when we need them and the fees weren’t too high. With our Revolut and WISE cards, we don’t need to worry about the exchange rate too much anyway.
Which bank to avoid? Well, let me tell you…
There’s one ATM we despise that’s found all across Europe and it’s called Euronet. You’ll find them at most European airports and beware, they are a trap! Okay, not literally a trap – just an expensive way to withdraw money. While it’s convenient to withdraw from them, if you don’t want to pay high fees like us – just avoid them altogether.
Euronet has very high withdrawal fees compared to what’s available and they do not give good exchange rates!
Will Your Credit Card or Debit Card Work In Greece?
Most cards will work in Greece. The US, Australian and UK cards will work in most places throughout the country as long as they are attached to a common network.
If you’re worried about not being able to withdraw money (which is an absolute nightmare fyi), the best thing to do is have both of the most popular card networks: VISA and Mastercard.
Between Matthew and I, we have a VISA card, a Mastercard card and an American Express card. The AMEX card is less likely to be accepted in a lot of places in Greece! That’s why it’s good to have a variation of cards.
Don’t worry though, card payments are widely accepted in Greece. If you’re visiting any of the popular tourist destinations like Athens, Santorini, Naxos, etc – you shouldn’t have a problem.
TTA TIP: Always Select Euro When Paying By Card
Have you ever experienced this?
When you pay with a card, the waiter starts to show you the payment machine and asks “do you want to pay in Euro or your home currency (eg. USD)?”
There is only one right answer: always select Euro (or whichever is the local currency of the country you’re currently in). This is another time the currency conversion can catch you out but if you select the local currency you will get the best exchange!
Where To Find ATMs In Greece?
You don’t have to worry about locating an ATM in Greece, they are pretty much everywhere! This applies to you whether you are traveling through the mainland in cities like Athens and Thessaloniki or on the islands in the Cyclades and Crete island.
Here’s where you can find ATMs in Greece:
- next to Greek banks
- shopping malls
- along the streets
- near restaurants
- at the airport
In short: it’s easy to find ATMs in Greece. The only place it might become hard to find an ATM is in rural areas on the mainland or in some islands that are a little more isolated.
One of the places we struggled with finding ATMs was actually on the island of Paros. Matthew and I were spending our honeymoon here and we stayed in a town called Naousa. located north of the island. It’s a very beautiful town if you have the opportunity to visit!
I remember we had to go to the main city, Paroikia, to withdraw money from an ATM. I’m not sure if that’s because they didn’t exist in the town or if we needed to go to the city to also get SIM cards. This was back in 2019 and I can confirm there are multiple ATMs in Paros now. You can withdraw from Alpha Bank or Piraeus Bank!
Other than these odd moments if you find yourself in a (very) rural area, you shouldn’t have any problems finding ATMs in Greece!
Are ATMs Free In Greece?
Unfortunately, we don’t think any ATMs in Greece offer free withdrawals.
We lived in Athens for 2 months and visited Greece 3 times in the last 4 years, but we couldn’t find an ATM in Greece that didn’t charge a withdrawal fee. They were always around €2.50 to €3.50 per withdrawal which can add up if you keep getting cash out.
If you do find one, please let us know! Matthew will be ever so thankful 😛
Is It Best To Take Cash Or Card To Greece?
The best thing to do is to have both!
We recommend bringing multiple debit cards and credit cards with you if you can have a variation too. We have Wise cards which are Mastercard and Revolut cards which are Visa. There are numerous occasions where Revolut wouldn’t work but Wise would for some reason. It has saved us on numerous occasions to have both!
You don’t need to have euros before you land in Greece. We’ve found you usually get bad exchange rates if you withdraw in your home country. It’s easy to pay with a card in Greece (tapping or inserting) which you can do until you get to your hotel/Airbnb or the city center.
If you want the best conversation rates and lowest withdrawal fees, you might need to wait till you get to the city center. The airport ATMs in Greece are complete rip-offs! Matthew absolutely hates paying these kinds of fees and he will avoid them like the plague.
Is Contactless Payment In Greece A Thing?
Yes, most definitely!
When you can pay card, you will usually be able to simply tap your card instead of inserting it. This also means that you can use Apple Pay or Google Pay to pay for things. It’s important to note, there may be a daily limit of €50 for a contactless transaction. If you exceed that limit, simply insert your card as per usual.
I’ve found most American cards, for whatever reason, don’t always have the tap ability. For example, my Chime card doesn’t have the contactless option. I added my card to Apple Wallet and now I can use Apple Pay to make contactless transactions with my Chime card still.
And if all else fails, you will always have the option to insert your card, enter your pin and pay for your transactions!
The Cards We Use For Better Exchange Rates
As you just read, Matthew hates these small (but annoying) withdrawal fees and horrible conversion rates. You can bet he has done his research on what the best travel cards are as we travel full-time.
What did he come up with?
If you don’t know what Wise or Revolut is, they are basically fintech companies that offer free ATM withdrawal and the best currency exchange rates. We use them almost every day while on the road and since having them, we’ve barely worried about how we’re going to pay or get cash withdrawals.
We’ve written honest reviews about both cards – Revolut review, Wise review if you want to check them out! They deliver their cards to most countries so if you’re a digital nomad on the road already – don’t worry, they magically get it to you! It’s very quick and easy to sign up. Both companies have great apps that are user-friendly making it easy to continuously convert, exchange and withdraw cash.
These are the some the best ‘bank’ cards for any digital nomads traveling and working remotely.
Conclusion: ATMs In Greece Are Plenty, But Watch Out For The Fees
Here’s the bottom line on ATMs in Greece:
You can find them everywhere! Alpha Bank and Piraeus Bank are the most reliable and in our experience, they had lower withdrawal fees. This brings me to my sad point, yes – you’ll have to pay a fee to withdraw money in Greece. Since being digital nomads in various countries, we’ve usually found at least one bank that offers free withdrawals. Not Greece!
It’ll cost about €2.50 to €3.50 per cash withdrawal. But don’t forget, card payment is widely accepted all across the country and the islands of Greece! You can insert or use contactless payment to make transactions.
We hope you have a great time in Greece and this blog answered any questions you had about the ATMs in Greece, getting cash out and making card payments!