What currency for Europe?
When the euro first came into existence on 1st January 1999 – over 20 years ago, it was meant to be a huge leveller across the European community. All countries in the European union were meant to join one single common currency printed and regulated by the Central European Bank. This was intended to even out the economies of each country in the union.
This never actually happened of course and you can still pay wildly different prices for the same things in different eurozone countries.
Europe is a popular destination for Australian travellers and it can be a misconception that all countries in Europe have the euro as it’s main currency. Many countries that joined the European Union have never adopted the euro and probably never will, even though that is one conditions of joining! A lot of these countries are from the old ‘Eastern Europe’ countries such as Bulgaria, Hungary and the Czech Republic and have maintained their own currency and are fantastic value for holiday money.
The 28 countries in the European Union are:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK (at the time of writing the UK is set to leave the EU in early 2020)
Of these 28 countries, 21 use the euro but 9 still maintain their own currency:
Czech Republic (koruna)
UK (British pound)
The euro is a best selling currency in Australia because so many countries use it, but if you want to get a real value for money holiday then its good to check out the eurozone countries, like Estonia, Latvia and even Greece, where your travel money will travel a lot further.
A McDonalds combo meal in Estonia for instance is around €6.00 (represents around $9.59) the same as Greece, but in France it’s €7.00 ($11.19) and the same thing in Germany is €8.00 ($12.79). A local transport ticket in Estonia is €1.35 ($2.16), in Greece and France €1.40 ($2.24) and Germany it’s €2.70 ($4.32).
Some of the cheapest European destinations all have their own currency. Most of them are recent members of the EU and have emerged as fantastic tourist destinations, easy to get to by land or air, rich in culture and history but great value compared to the other European big hitters.
Looking at prices in Bulgaria and Poland a McDonald’s combo meal works out the equivalent of around €4.30 euros ($6.87) and a single ticket on public transport €0.70 ($1.12).
Other amazing value European countries include the Czech Republic and Croatia. You can check out the live exchange rate for each of those currencies and see what great value you can get in any of those destinations. If you want more information on the price of goods and services in any country to get an idea of how far your hard earned will go, then a great resource is Numbeo.