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Greece Travel Advisory

"Holidaymakers to Greece are being advised to take euros in notes and coins in case an escalating debt crisis prompts the country's banks to switch off their cash machines.

The Greek tourist board in London said that while it anticipated no immediate problems, visitors should avoid relying solely on credit cards or local ATMs."

Posted by
10344 posts

That would be something, if the country switched off all the ATM machines.

Posted by
796 posts

We always like to carry euros to Greece anyway (and elsewhere too) but if the Greek Tourist Board is doing the warning, it is well to heed it.

Posted by
4535 posts

That's a pretty significant warning, coming from the Greek Tourist Board itself.

As I understand it, there is a real concern that Greece will drop out of the euro and if they do, their own currency will be essentially worthless. That may well cause a run on banks to get euro. Banks would respond by shutting off their ATM machines. And they would need some time to restock the machines with a new currency anyway.

Posted by
1304 posts

This is actually a bit of a scare story run initially by the Telegraph which has a political agenda: it's anti Europe generally and anti the current Greek government.

If you check the British government page which they quote it actually says exactly the same as it says for every other country: essentially that people should not rely on just one source of money while abroad and should ensure they have enough ready cash for any emergency. This is clearly good advice but isn't being given specifically about Greece.

Without getting into the politics there is a chance that Greece will exit the Euro at some stage. If so it is likely that all parties will try and engineer a soft landing. When Cyprus had a credit crash a couple of years ago the cash machines were down for a couple of days but then things got back to normal.

I'm not trying to say there's no reason to keep an eye on the situation. (We're off to Andros at the end of next week and will probably keep a little more cash in hand than normal.) On the other hand I don't think there's any reason to really worry.


Posted by
963 posts

If you google this,there is not much (except the new twist of Russia and China...)you will see what Rick said years ago-

' Whatever type of bank card you bring, it’s smart to carry several hundred U.S. dollars in your money belt for emergencies. I’ve been in Greece and Ireland when every bank went on strike, shutting down without warning. But hard cash is cash.'

Posted by
435 posts

I just returned from Greece and cash was preferred for almost all transactions including meals and various purchases.
(The hotel was fine with accepting credit card for payment).
Only cash is accepted for entrance fees to the museums (Acropolis and Archaeology).

Posted by
369 posts

In the unlikely event that Greek banks are closed for a significant amount of time, I would think that dollars (currently a very strong currency) would be gladly accepted by any merchant, hotelier or restaurant owner with half a brain.

Many, many years ago, I remember some relatives who went to France and Spain in the mid to late 1960's. They brought along the "Kennedy" 50¢ pieces and used them for tipping. (I know, tipping in Europe is not like the USA.) The locals were overjoyed to get these coins and the Americans spent less tipping than they might have otherwise. Win, Win.

Posted by
4685 posts

The stories are drawing a parallel with Cyprus where the banks were shut for about two weeks in March 2013. The ATMs emptied quickly and credit cards couldn't be used. No two situations are the same though.