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Traveling in Greece and how to get Euros...

My question is since it is so hard to get Euros in Greece right now, I will be in Turkey first for about a week and then in Greece for 3 weeks so I am going to need Euros... Rather that use the terrible exchange rate over here, where can I get Euros in Istanbul before I arrive in Greece, Is the best the Post office like in Europe or bank or exchange place????

Posted by
11292 posts

The problem with getting euros in Turkey is that you will be converting dollars to lire, then lire to euros. Even if you never see the lire during the transaction, this is how it will be processed - two separate transactions, with two losses from the exchange and/or two sets of commission fees.

Posted by
2 posts

But if I get the Euros over here the rate seems to be 120... and people have been telling me we can't get euros in Greece!!!! any suggestions???

Posted by
2900 posts

Hello Zeno!
It makes it harder to give advice when you dont give key information. When you say "here" do you mean USA?? And when you say "since it is so hard to get Euros in Greece right now" -- does this mean you have not read US newspapers or watched TV news for a month??? There is NO difficulty in tourists using ATMs in Greece to get whatever amount of Euros you need! The ONLY limitation is on GREEKS, who can only withdraw €60 per day. How many Euros YOU can withdraw depends solely on the policy of your US bank; go there and inquire in person; usually the big banks have a per-day limit of $200 worth or so, but if you request it, they can raise your limit to as much as $750 worth of Euros per day -- and at the current EXCELLENT exchange rate that's over €680. Of course, you don't plan to spend that much per day.... it just means you can make infrequent visits to ATMs.

If you are complaining about the fees, that is the problem of the bank you use. The Biggie Banks (chase, bank of america etc) charge $5 per transaction PLUS 3% of the amount withdrawn. They don't do this in US, why do they do it abroad?? Because they CAN. Greed is the answer. Smaller banks, or Credit unions, will have smaller or NO % fee, or online banks like Capitol One. The same Greed factor applies to most "garden-variety" credit cards... the upscale "fancy" versions will charge no % -- but then, they have an annual fee or require a certain high level of expenditure. Shop around -- here's a useful online listing of fees charged by various banks & CC companies. http://flyerguide.com/index.php/Credit/Debit/ATM_Cards_and_Foreign_Exchange

Also, it's VITAL that you inform your bank(s) and credit card(s) that you'll be having transactions abroad. and give exact dates. Otherwise, at the first transaction, your card or account will be "frozen" because it will be interpreted as fraud, or stolen card etc. Finally I do not understand what you mean about "the terrible exchange rate over here" ??? What is "Here"??? if you mean the US, the current rate is $1.10 = €1. That is the BEST rate since about 2002! I cannot understand what your complaint is -- Please explain.

Posted by
2900 posts

Zeno, do you base your knowledge of the world on what "people have been telling me" ??? How about consulting the press, or even just googling "ATM withdrawals in Greece August 2015". "People" is not a reliable information source.

Posted by
4535 posts

There are currently no restrictions on non-Greeks withdrawing cash from ATMs there. The only issue has been some ATMs running out of cash. But things have stabilized considerably in the past month.

No currency exchange will give you a decent rate. They all are in business to make a profit and will charge you between 10-20% in bad rates and/or fees for your business.

I do recommend having some euro in hand on arrival that you purchase locally before you go. A major branch of your local bank, Wells Fargo or AAA (assuming you live in the US) are all good options with rates typically around 5-10%. You might then keep that as a reserve and only spend it if you run low on cash and can't replenish and/or towards the end of your trip.

Posted by
975 posts

What we do is after arriving at Athens airport we go to the airport ATM and withdraw whatever Euros we need. It's easy, safe and at a great rate. We fly from the US but for us to purchase Euros in the US we have to pay an exorbitant fee . . . so instead of that we just leave the arrival area, walk a little ways to the ATM(s) and withdraw what we need. As Janet states it's only NON-Greeks who have limits on how much they can withdraw. You'll have no problem at the airport ATMs since most Greeks use the ones nearest to them in their neighborhoods.

Posted by
5265 posts

When tommyk5 says above that "it's only NON-Greeks who have limits on how much they can withdraw," I think he means "it's only GREEKS who have limits on how much they can withdraw." That's what Janet and others have been telling you, as I do also.

So, first notify your home bank of the dates you'll be in Greece, then use your debit card at the ATM at the Athens airport, and/or others in Greece, to withdraw euros from your home bank account. That will get you the best possible exchange rate. Any fees your bank may charge will be small compared to what you'd pay to get euros in the US, in Turkey or any other non-euro country, or at currency exchanges in Greece and other euro countries.

Anywhere you travel, for safety, it's best to use ATMs located in front of (or inside of) staffed branches of major banks. That reduces your chance of theft, gives you someone to see if the machine eats your card, and also gives you an easy way to get smaller bills if the machine gives you too-big denominations. Equally true in US and worldwide.

All the above would apply as well to your time in Turkey.

Posted by
2900 posts

Thanks Dick for adding that extra tip for peace of mind ... use ATMs in front of/in banks, during banking hours. I've never had a card "eaten" or stuck inside a machine, but it could happen, I suppose, and I feel more secure with bank staff nearby just in case.