As in almost all the countries that had made up the European Union before it expanded to 25 members, in Spain, the official currency is the euro, which was introduced on March 1, 2002.
There are eight euro coins, ranging in value from 1 cent to 2 euros (1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents, plus 1 and 2 euros). The 1, 2 and 5-cent coins are copper coloured, while the 10, 20 and 50-cent coins are gold coloured. The 1-euro coin is silver coloured with a gold-coloured border, and the 2-euro coin is the same as the I-euro coin in reverse, which means that the coin is gold coloured with a silver coloured border.
The coins increase in size and weight with value. The 1 cent-coin is the smallest, while the 2-euro coin is the largest.
As to the euro banknotes, the low denomination ones, that is 5, 10 and 20-euro banknotes, are grey, red and blue, respectively. 50, 100, 200 and 500-euro banknotes are orange, green, yellow, and purple, respectively. Euro banknotes increase in size with increasing denominations.
All the coins are frequently used. However, 0.01 and 0.02-euro coins are becoming increasingly unnecessary as a result of the tendency to round off prices. The most frequently used banknotes are the 5, 10, 20 and even 50-euro ones. On the contrary, there is a smaller circulation of the 100, 200 and 500-euro banknotes. It is a good idea to use banknotes lower than 50 euro to pay daily expenses. You can change high-denomination bills at a bank.
Currency exchange services are available at banks and savings banks, but you can also find licensed bureaux de change at holiday destinations with opening hours longer than those at a normal bank. Hotels, travel agencies and big stores offer foreign currency exchange services at a commission that is slightly higher than that charged at banks.
As a rule, stores do not accept foreign currency, except for those at locations extremely popular with tourists, as those on Costa del Sol. However, you are advised to pay in euro.
Spain has a wealth of bank branches, which makes it easy to find one close by that offers currency exchange services among other banking services. Moreover, there are a great many ATMs, even more than bank branches. In addition, there are lots of ATMs, even more than bank branches, from which you can withdraw cash using your credit card whenever you need it.
Costa del Sol Tourist Board - Plaza de la Marina, nº4 - 29015 Málaga - Tel: +34952126272 - Fax: +34952225207 - email@example.com