My husband and I are traveling to Greece for 2 weeks in June and we were wondering if we could pay, especially the hotels we booked, with 500 Euro notes from our cash savings. Are they still accepted in Greece?
500 Euro are legal in Greece and can be used without a problem when they are in a good condition and close to the amount that you wish to pay.
- For example assume that you want to pay for your stay around 550 euros. It is fine if you give a 500 Euro bill and a 50 Euro bill.
- It is also fine if you want to pay for instance 470 and expect only 30 Euro change.
However you might face difficulties when you give a 500 Euro bill and expect a lot of bill and coins back as a change. Merchants in Greece do need their change for transactions.
- Trying to pay 30 Euros with a 500 Euro bill will not be easy as the merchant must give you 470 of change. (The merchant will most probably deny)
- Large establishments (hotels, main gas stations, car rentals, expensive restaurants) usually try to take care. If unsure it will be wise to check with the establishment beforehand.
When you have large bills the fear of forgery can also be an issue, so do not be surprised if small stores (convenience stores, salesmen, cheap/normal restaurants) do not accept 500 Euro bills, even if you actually plan to spend an amount close to 500.
Don't even try to use a 500 Euro bill (or mention that you have a 500 Euro bill ) in an open market or street merchant. It is highly unlikely the merchant will accept, you also face the danger of being spotted by thieves. Greece is in general safe but it is good to be cautious.
This was extensively discussed here: Are 500 Euro notes accepted by banks in Spain?
TL/DR: Yes, they are legal tender but you may find some merchants will simply refuse to accept them.
Hotels and other larger establishments will likely have fewer issues but as €500 Notes are not that common, you may face problems there too.