Money and Exchange

Doing your best with money and exchange rates in Seville means you need to know about the Euro (€), banks, ATM's, credit cards and travelers checks. Understanding your best options and preparing for them before your trip can save you a significant amount of money. Every bit counts, and below I'll cover the basics to saving those bits. If you are looking for the current exchange rate you can find it through XE.com's currency converter. Keep in mind that the rate will generally be a little worse than what you see on the above page. If you want to see more of what the Euro looks like you can do so below.

The Details

The Euro

On January 1, 2002 Spain officially change to the Euro along with 12 other countries in the EU who decided to adopt the new currency. Those 12 countries are:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Greece
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Luxemburg
  • The Netherlands
  • Portugal
  • Spain

Note the absence of the UK as well as Sweden, which recently voted to keep their own currency rather than change to the Euro. Otherwise the Euro has made things a lot easier for travellers who now do not have to exchange money every time they cross a different border. While many miss the peseta few would disagree that coins are now easier to manage. Around 1992 Spain introduced a whole new set of coins for the peseta. Until the switch to the Euro you had to manage almost two of every coin - ie: two types of 25 peseta coins, two types of 50 peseta coins. To make it worse there were many machines for drinks, food, etc. which only took one tupe of coin.

In Spain there was a rush to convert pesetas earned in the black market (money not undeclared to the government) to Euros before the January 1st switch. Many chose real estate as a good way to "legitimize" their undeclared pesetas and this led to a steep increase in property values within the cities. The result has been prices of houses so high in the center of Seville that most average people cannot afford to buy a house. It's not uncommon to see the price of an apartment of 100 square meters (approx. 1075 sq. feet) in the center to go for 300,000€, or approximately $345,000.

While Spain is officially using the Euro that doesn't mean the peseta has dissappeared. Most Spaniards still think in pesetas. Some stores still show the price in both pesetas and euros, and the shopkeepers are even more likely to convert to pesetas when discussing the price of an item with you. In more than half of my conversations with Spaniards about salaries, real estate, cars and a half dozen other topics they still refer to the amount in pesetas. The result is confusion for me as I tend to think in Euros and dollars. If you want to keep up with amounts as they talk about them here then familiarize yourself with the following calculations:

  • 1€ = 166 pesetas
  • 100 pesetas = 0.66 €

So what does the Euro look like? All coins share the same front but there is a different design for each country on the back. There are also different sizes and thickness of each coin so they are easily distinguished from one another. Below are photos of each of the eight Euro coins. Place your mouse over each one to see what the back looks like in Spain.

1 ctmo 2 ctmo 5 ctmo 10

Below is the set of seven Euros in bill form. There are different sizes for bills so they are easily distinguished from one another but unlike the coins they do not have a different reverse side for each country. I haven't seen too many of those 500€ bills yet!



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Editor: Jeff Spielvogel
© 2004 JS