From Pesetas to Euros: Story of Currency in Spain

Tips for Handling Euros in Spain

If you’re wondering what currency is used in Spain, where to change money once you arrive, and if tips are expected, you’ll find all that information and more here. This is a wealth of helpful data.

What is the official currency of Spain?

Spain adopted the euro as the EU’s single currency in 2002. The euro (both € and EUR) is the second most actively dealt currency in the global forex market. The European Central Bank is responsible for printing the currency.

The sign follows the numeral in most countries that use the euro, as in 1€.

The peseta was the country’s currency until 2002, but it was only accepted within Spain; thus, the switch was a welcome one.

Official currency of Spain
Official currency of Spain

History of Currency in Spain

Pre-euro Spain used a variety of currencies, including the real, escudo, and peseta. The most common cause of the change was the merging of territories. Naturally, different areas gave various names to their currencies until one system of payment was established.

For nearly five centuries, beginning in the middle of the 14th century and ending in 1864, the Real was the official currency of Spain. This standard currency, worth three maravedes, was established by King Peter I of Castile.

Gold and silver were used to create these Iberian coins. In the same year, the Spanish dollar, often known as the silver peso, was introduced and had the same value as eight reales. In international trade, the Spanish dollar was widely accepted in the Americas and Asia.

There were silver and gold versions of the Spanish escudo (or shield). In 1566, the first escudo was released, and it was made of gold. It remained in circulation until 1833. From 1864 until 1869, silver escudos were in circulation. After being valued at multiple reales each, escudos were phased out in favor of the peseta.

From 1869 to 2002, the peseta was Spain’s national currency. The Catalan term peceta, a diminutive of peça, is where we get the word peseta, which means “small piece.” Pesetas, the currency of Spain in the 15th century, were silver coins worth two reales each.

History of Currency in Spain
History of Currency in Spain

The Spanish government issued a proclamation in 1868, joining the Latin Monetary Union in an effort to standardize the country’s currency. In this way, the peseta became the official currency of the country. The plan’s end goal was to create a more robust economic climate suitable for doing business.

Spain’s economic changes that happened after the acceptance of the euro

Foreign investors flocked to Spain after its acceptance into the European Union in 1985, and the market was liberalized. The EU’s harmonization fund, established to help the bloc’s less developed members and narrow economic gaps, mostly benefited this nation.

Several projects funded by the European Union helped the Spanish economy. Building airports, motorways, and bullet trains were a few of them. Spain’s economy had a brief decline in the 1990s but has since recovered.

It now has one of the world’s top 15 economies and ranks fifth among European nations. Even though it started slowing down at the end of 2007, its GDP growth has been above average for 15 consecutive years.

Like many other nations, Spain’s economy went into recession in the second quarter of 2008. The building industry collapsed, the real estate bubble burst, and exports dropped. In 2009, Spain’s unemployment rate was the highest in all of Europe.

Spain’s agriculture and livestock industries remain significant despite the country’s rural population decline and the country’s transition to new economic models. Cereals, vegetables, olives, wine, citrus fruits, meat, dairy, and fish are among its primary exports.

Currency in Spain
Currency in Spain

When it comes to manufacturing, the textile, shoe, and food and drink industries are at the very top. Spain’s economy relies heavily on the metal, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries. In addition, the country is a major producer of ships, automobiles, and equipment.

Still, tourism is perhaps the most widely practiced economic activity. More than 82 million foreign tourists go to Spain each year, spending an estimated €87 million while there.

Best travel money cards to use in Spain

Debit, credit, and prepaid cards are some of the finest ways to travel with money. Using a bank card to make purchases in Spain, especially in the larger cities, shouldn’t present much of a problem.

You can use different bank cards when you travel, and each one has its own pros and cons, so let’s look at them one by one:

Debit cards are a convenient form of payment in Spain because you likely already have one in your wallet. Just watch out for the sort of debit card you have because some banks impose high fees for transactions made at ATMs and overseas.

Credit cards provide some safety net in an emergency, but they aren’t always the most convenient payment method when you’re on the road.

If you take money from an ATM with a credit card and use it to make a purchase abroad, you may incur high cash advance costs in addition to the usual ATM withdrawal fees.

Debit, credit, and prepaid cards
Debit, credit, and prepaid cards

Prepaid travel money cards make it easy to load euros, one of the world’s most widely used currencies. There might not be a price to convert currencies, but there could be fees for things like reloading your card or using an ATM.

It’s also not a good idea to allow the amount on a prepaid travel card to go to zero because reloading it might take several days.

Some tips about travel currency for a trip to Spain

While Spain is a popular vacation destination (after all, who could resist the allure of Barcelona’s twisting streets? ), many visitors end up wasting money because they don’t know how to make the most of their foreign cash.

Here are some helpful hints to save you from running into such a scenario and to get the most out of your euro:

The costs of the airport’s currency exchange are high. If you’re looking for an excellent deal or even a decent one, stay away from these.

Only Take what you anticipate spending; exchanging Euros back into Australian Dollars might be costly. And nobody wants to travel with large amounts of cash hidden in underwear and toiletries.

Get a variety of bill sizes and values – Get a combination of smaller currencies to make it easier for yourself and the merchants. Taxis in Spain are only required to make changes up to the value of €20, and certain stores and eateries will not accept €100 bills.

Euro coins in Spain
Euro coins in Spain

Check the rate of exchange – Although websites like Google and provide a somewhat accurate representation of the market conversion rate, you should be aware of the wide range of fluctuations in currency exchange rates offered by different banks and exchanges. Try to bargain at or near the going rate.

Hidden fees, the misery of our (financial) life, can have a significant impact on the total cost of your vacation. Be aware of any hidden bank costs associated with using a card outside of the country.

Having a card is useful, but if you use the wrong one, your bank account might take a serious blow. Do your homework and get your hands on the finest travel credit card to get significant savings.

Some vacationers only bring cash with them, while others never even consider anything but a credit card. But the best choice will depend on your circumstances. Put the big ticket items like hotels and auto rentals on the card and save your cash for minor victories like public transportation, sightseeing, and eating out.


You’re planning a vacation to Spain and will soon get to enjoy all the things we like about this destination, including the works of Picasso and Gaudi, tapas and paella, bullfights and flamenco, and sangria on Spain’s beautiful beaches.

So, how exactly can you survive off of Spanish currency? This tutorial was written to provide you with an in-depth understanding of the euro, the history of currency in Spain, foreign exchange, and making purchases in Spain.

Related Articles

Back to top button