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Euro question

When I read that something cost 2,60 euros does that mean 2.60 euro? I've never dealt with the euro, but I am learning fast. What denomination does the Euro come in? Should I buy a bunch of 1's 5's and 10's before I leave?

Posted by
44 posts

does 2,60 = 2.60 in euro? 1- $2 coin and 60 cents in other coins?

Posted by
6898 posts

Most ATMs in Europe are able to dispense a mixture of bills. No bill smaller than 5Euro. 1E and 2E are coins. There are smaller coins as well. Much the same as your neighbor to the north of you.

Posted by
9363 posts

Yes, Jay. 2,60 is 2.60. They use a comma instead of a period to denote euros and cents.

Posted by
8677 posts

To elaborate, we would say something is $1,000.60. In Europe they would say that something is 1.000,60€.

Posted by
2876 posts

One nice thing in Europe is that, if the marked price is 2,60, that's exactly what you'll pay. The tax is already added in, unlike here where they add it at the register.

Posted by
18237 posts

Unless you are French, there are no "Euros". According to the European Central Bank, the plural of Euro is Euro (probably because so many languages don't make plural by adding 's'). The Europeans use ',' where we use '.' and vice versa. See my webpage for pictures of Euro notes and coins.

Posted by
12040 posts

To specifically answer the question, Euro coins come in denominations of 0,01, 0,02, 0,05, 0,1, 0,2, 0,5, 1 and 2. Denominations of bills in regular circulation include 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and rarely, 200. Some travelers like to bring a small amount of local currecny with them for "peace of mind" (whatever that means). Others just head to the first ATM they see at the airport. I can't imagine a scenario where you would need a large amount of small denominations immediately upon arrival. If you plan to shop at a grocery store, make sure you have at least one €1 or 2 coin. You will need it to unlock a shopping cart, but you get the coin back again after you finish with the cart. And it always helps to have a decent amount of spare change in case you need to use a public restroom... if you were not yet aware, you often must pay a small fee.

Posted by
977 posts

Jay, when we were in Europe a few months ago, people were very wary about taking 100 euro notes. Apparently there has been quite a few counterfeit 100 e notes circulating around. Our hostess in our B & B in Amsterdam first brought this to our attention when we paid her in 100 euro notes.

Posted by
11280 posts

Jay, to guarantee that you will get at least some smaller bills right away, ask for an odd amount from the ATM. For instance, if you ask for 450 euros, you may get all 50 euro bills. If you ask for 430 euros, you will get at least one 10 euro and one 20 euro bill. I've never had trouble paying for anything with a 10 or 20 euro bill (just like a 10 or 20 dollar bill in the US). For the 50 euro bills, I use them for larger amounts to break them (e.g. I'll pay for a 27 euro item with a 50, not 2 20's or anything smaller). After you do this once or twice, you'll have a large assortment of currency of various sizes. The advice to make sure to have coins handy for toilets is good. You'll also need them for museum lockers for your bags; it's common to have to put a 1 euro or 2 euro coin into the lock, which you then get back. But don't worry; as I said, once you've bought a few items, you'll have a variety of coins whether you want them or not. Remember, since the smallest bill is 5 euro, you will be dealing with coins much more often than in the US. And yes, in Europe the comma and the period mean the opposite of what they do in the US, when it comes to numbers.

Posted by
12 posts

One of my best tips for travelers to Europe that have never been is to take cash from an ATM. Do not exchange money at the airport, train station, or a shady place in town. ATM's give you the best exchange rates and European banks do not charge you. With that being said, your bank may. I use a credit union and there are no fees for withdrawing my money from an ATM (just the exchange rate). I always take out enough cash for a few days and for larger purchases, I use my VISA/MC because there will be fees with those purchases (typically 3-5%). Some places will also take AMEX (larger cities) but I have not found anywhere that takes Discover. Call your bank (all of them, including credit card companies) and let them know you are traveling out of the country. If they are not pre-warned, they might shut you down. Lesson learned in Ireland circa 2004 on my first trip. Also, I use mostly my personal bank account as my VISA card is tied into my account. I opened up a 2nd account just in case something happens to my ATM / VISA card. If I loose the card or it stops working, I call immediately and transfer money to my other account (also have an ATM and VISA card for that acct). And approximately every other day, I check my balance to ensure that my information has not been compromised. Make copies of your cards so you have the Customer Service phone #'s. Keep this locked away in your suitcase with a copy of your passport. Also, European credit cards have a micro chip in them. Some places, like train ticket kiosks or pay at the pump gas stations, do not allow you to use your American credit card because it does not have the chip. You simply have to go inside or to customer service. Lot of information. Sorry to be so verbose. If this is your first trip, I want you to have the best experience possible.

Posted by
12040 posts

One more point... Unlike in the US, where ATMs almost uniformily issue $20 bills, many ATMs in Europe dispense a combination of 50, 20 and 10 notes, depending on how much cash you withdraw. In some, you can designate which denominations you want. Some bank branches even have ATMs that will issue coins, although you probably won't see these at an airport.

Posted by
588 posts

If you want to ensure that you have some smaller denomination notes, then request an irregular amount like €230. That way you are bound to get at least one €10 note.

Posted by
9 posts

Catherine's advice above is excellent. I just want to add that I always order some Euro from my bank before I leave the US. I like to have cash when I get there, so I don't have to exchange at the airport or look for an ATM right away. At my bank, it takes about three days to get the Euro, so plan ahead. Also, I follow Rick Steves' advice about taking 300 (or so) Euro out every time I visit an ATM. Many establishments in Europe like the cash, and that way fewer people are handling your credit card. Check with your bank to see if you qualify for an account that will not charge you a foreign transaction fee at ATMs. When I called my bank to inform them I was going to Europe, the customer service rep said I qualified for an account upgrade which included no foreign transaction fees.

Posted by
263 posts

A little off the topic....I realized last visit that a pocket coin bag/purse would come in handy. While my wife could stash the coins in her purse, I had to constantly dig in my pocket for the 1, 2 and smaller coins. Matter of fact, since I spend time in Switzerland, I think two coin "purses" would help me keep the euro from the franc. Also, I received change in a grocery store and did not look carefully. I got a coin from a country in Africa that looked just like a 1 euro coin....my guess is it wasn't worth 1 Euro. Probably an honest mistake, but the cynic in me said that could be a profitable transaction for the store owner.

Posted by
8064 posts

Oddly enough, there are a lot of countries whose coins look just like a 1 euro coin, and they get passed around quite a bit. I don't think it is on purpose. I find them in my wallet all the time. People put them in rolls of coins, or spend them and they just keep getting passed on to the next person. This is not a scam from the merchants. Unless you spend a moment really looking at the coin, you won't notice it, and which cashier in a busy store has time to check each coin that is handed to them?

Posted by
3662 posts

To Larry: Good advice, except for a little geographic confusion. You are referring to Canada which, thanks to the quirks and kinks of the border along the Great Lakes system, is also due south of downtown Detroit.

Posted by
20 posts

To Southam: Beat me to it! It's Bob and Doug in the "Great White South"!! Did they get the peameal at the Dominion on Huron Church Rd.?

Posted by
16441 posts

Southam, you beat me to the punch. It is actually a Trivial Pursuit question.

Posted by
263 posts

Oh Ralph....how many times I have envied those European men and their messenger bags. My pockets get jammed with my wallet (stuffed with loyalty cards, credit cards, $1 bills) keys, cell phone, money......sometimes I wish I had a bag to carry it all! But my wife cautioned that some parts of the US would not be very receptive of my fashion sense, especially where we live. No scarf, but sometimes I have this mad desire to wear a sweater around my shoulders when it is hot out!!

Posted by
262 posts

Does any know the limit on what you can take out of an ATM in one day in Europe? Thanks!

Posted by
9363 posts

Debi, that depends on two things - the limit YOUR bank puts on your card, and the limit of the individual ATM. No way to know what the ATM will allow, but if it's less than your bank's limit, you can do more than one transaction.

Posted by
11613 posts

Best advice is to notify your bank and credit card companies that you'll be traveling (they are increasingly wary of transactions that are outside your normal geographic area), and ask your bank to increase your daily withdrawal limit if you think you will need to. Amex charges foreign transaction fees, Capital One (mosts cards) does not. There'll be a cost for getting euro before you leave, but it may be worth it to not have to stop at an ATM as soon as you land.

Posted by
9 posts

Debi: we were just in Spain and Portugal. We found that every ATM we visited had a limit of 300 Euro.

Posted by
18237 posts

I was in Germany in May. My bank's withdrawal limit was $500. I had no problem taking out just less than the Euro equivalent of $500 (380-390 Euro?).

Posted by
2966 posts

My husband had a messenger bag for years in the U.S. before we ever moved to Europe. Scarves too (albiet more of the winter variety). Guess he was Euro before he knew it. But San Francisco is supposed to be the "most European city in the U.S." so maybe that accounts for it. I can't imagine being an American man and not having a bag to carry around (other than looking like a fashion-challenged schoolkid carrying a backpack around as an adult). A messenger bag is a fashionable, attractive, and practical option that should be adopted by everyone, and a nice looking messengerbag would never be mistaken for a "man purse".

Posted by
8064 posts

I am with Sarah, a messenger bag is more like an attache case with a strap. College students certainly carry this type of bag too. A messenger bag is just that, it is not a "man purse". I cringe every time I read this word. If men are that worried about not looking viral and manly while slinging a bag over their shoulder, maybe they should buy one in OD green, or in camoflauge, or in cowhide.