Spain is a member of the European Union (EU). In 2002 the euro was implemented as the common currency for most EU member countries. For the traveler, this means one can move from many EU countries to the next without stopping to exchange currency. Note: Not all EU countries have adopted the euro as their currency.

Notes can be found in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500-euro denominations.

Coins start with the 1-cent piece and end with the 2 euro piece.

The denomination side of euro coins is the same in all EU currency countries. The image on the face side of the coin varies correspondingly with the EU country that released the coin into circulation.

Best way to exchange money:
In the past, the best place to exchange money was a bank ATM machine but some banks are now adding a 3% fee on to foreign ATM withdrawals. Make certain your bankcard is of the four PIN number type; this is the standard in Spain. ATMs in Spain are compatible with the Cirrus or Plus system. If you have any doubts about the usability of your ATM card, contact you bank prior to leaving. You might also want to check with your bank to ask about their fee structure on international exchanges.

Bank ATM machines can be found in the lobby area of both the Madrid and Barcelona International Airports.

Credit Cards are another way to exchange money in Spaineither through withdrawing cash or by making a purchase. It is a good idea to check your credit card policy for fees related to international exchanges and cash money withdrawals. Even with fees, credit card purchases usually provide a better rate of exchange than a street cambio (exchange) vendor does.

Note - there are two levels of fees, VISA and MASTER card charge a 1% fee on all transactions but some banks then add their own 1-3% fee. There are banks that charge no additional fees for credit cards use over seas, it is these no additional charge banks you want to get a credit card from.

Traveler Checks - In these days of ATM's and credit cards, the old fashion, paper, Traveler Checks are not very usefully. If the paper Traveler Checks are in the currency of the country you are visiting, you might find they are accepted by individual stores, but even this is become rare. As back up money for emergencies, Traveler Checks may still have a role. The best place to cash or exchange Travelers checks are in the offices of the company that issued them, American Express, Thomas Cook, etc. Finding Branch offices of the issuing Traveler Check is not always convenient if not at times impossible. Banks will cash Traveler Checks for an additional fee. The newer,Traveler Checks come in the form of a bank card. The card is used just like a credit card but you charge the card using real cash before leaving home. I have no experience with the bank card variety of Traveler Checks.

Spanish Banks - If you have cash to exchange check the street Cambio (money exchange) vender fees and then try a Spanish Bank. You will be hit by currency exchange fees at a Spanish bank but, in my case, the clerks always seem to feel so bad at charging so much for the exchange. Historically Spanish bank exchange fees have been less than the street, money exchange, shops

Given the current fee system on bank and credit cards the Cambio venders may now be competitive. As all things in travel, the old rules may no longer apply when it comes to exchanging your money in to local currency.