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The national currency in Spain is the euro. Each euro is composed of 100 cents. The euro is also the official currency of 19 of the 27 member states of the European Union.

Exchanging for EUR

When you want to exchange currencies into the euro, look for the currency code EUR. You can exchange money at many banks, changing stations, and post offices. The safest place for exchanging is an ATM machine (known in Spain as a “cajero automático”).

Once you’ve arrived in Spain, you’ll notice the € symbol used to indicate prices. This symbol is the same across the Eurozone, no matter which currency it stands for.

Exchange rate

Of course, money exchange rates fluctuate daily. To get an accurate exchange rate we recommend using Google.

When exchanging currency at an exchange service charges may be added, these shouldn’t be more than 3%. These costs also will happen when you withdraw cash at an ATM in Spain.

Spanish currency banknotes and coins

Characteristics of the euro

The euro is divided into 100 cents.

Banknotes in Spain

Euro banknotes come in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 euro denominations. Although the 200 and 500 EUR notes are not widely used, they do exist. The most used banknotes are the 5, 10, 20, and 50 EUR denominations.

Coins in Spain

There are eight different coins euro coins which are 1 cent, 2 cents, 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, 1 euro, and 2 euros.

Using cards or cash in Spain

Credit and debit cards are commonly used in Spain. However, in small towns often cash is the only option. These towns may also not have a local ATM, so it is best to withdraw cash before you get there.

Next to this in smaller restaurants in the big cities, sometimes also require you to pay with cash. In this case, they may not have a card system (similar to the towns) or there is a minimal fee of (5 to 10 euros) to spend if you want to use the card system.

In this way, it’s always a good idea to have some cash on hand when traveling in Spain.

Currency in Spain and Paying by card

History of the Spanish euro currency

The first coins in Spain were issued by the Roman Empire, and the modern Spanish peseta was introduced in 1869. In 2002, the euro replaced the peseta as the official currency of Spain.

The peseta was a decimal currency, with 100 centimos making up 1 peseta. In 2002, most of the European Union adopted the euro as their new currency including Spain. The euro replaced the peseta at a rate of 1 euro = 166.386 pesetas.

Positive effects of the euro currency in Spain

There are many positive aspects to the euro. It’s easier for travelers coming from the European Union because there’s no need to exchange money. Next to this, the euro has a more stable value than the peseta. The euro is also used in other countries, so Spanish businesses can easily export their products abroad.

Negative effects of the euro currency in Spain

Although there are many positive aspects to the euro, there are also negative ones. The biggest gripe Spanish people have about the euro is that prices have risen in most stores since 2002 when it became official currency. Gasoline, clothing, hotels, and even public transportation costs have all gone.