Since Jan 1st 2002, the Euro was introduced. Gone is the historic drachma - possibly the oldest currency - replaced by coins that look more appropriate decorating a Christmas tree; the notes are a little better. One Euro is worth 341.75 drachma. If you are bringing sterling - there are still many exchange and travel places. My previous years advice was to change sterling in Greece as you would always get a better rate than UK high street banks.
Since the Euro's introduction, it has been
readily accepted. My only criticism is still the coins. After nearly a year of
handling them, I still get confused. The shot above of our till after a busy
day at the taverna, shows just how similar they are. The notes are fine, but
all the coins are golden in colour pretty undistinguishable.
Many have commented that 'things have gone
up with the Euro'. I am not sure. Fluctuating exchange rates make this
difficult to asses. People only spent their hard earned money
on an item if they perceive that it offers value for money. If it does not
then they will not buy. If some companies have increased their prices then
the consumer can and will shop elsewhere.
Has the Euro made it easier? For us a little. Gone are
the days when Italians would come over in their high-powered boats and
demand to pay in Lira - often arguing over the rate. The next time we drive
to England we will not end up with a bag of change after the trip. With the
increased dependence on plastic money though, I wonder how long it will be
before the coins and notes just disappear.
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available all over Corfu in the town and larger resorts. There is a
transaction charge of course, but it is the most cost effective way of
changing your money into Euros.
One problem with ATMs is that,
they can, for unknown reasons not give money and gives cryptic
messages as to why, leaving people embarrassed and having to do bank transfers to cover themselves.
It seems that UK travellers will still do best to bring
Sterling cash or travellers cheques but bring the credit card(s) for the unexpected doctors bill, a present, or dinner at Taverna Agni!