Money and budget Crete
Money, banks, exchange
L'euro (pronounced evro).
- Since July 1, 2018, for withdrawals from bank ATMs (Visa and MasterCard cards), a flat-rate commission (most often 3 & euroouest, for example, no cash dispenser from Paleochora, except at Chora Sfakion, Sougia and Plakias; and again, they don't always work!
- BE CAREFUL, banks are not legal and public holidays.
Change (for our readers outside the euro zone)
- For nationals outside the euro zone, banks also charge a commission for withdrawals from ATMs.
- Numerous exchange offices in towns, open for the most part every day and quite late in the evening. Rate equivalent to that of banks, but sometimes higher commission. Compare.
- Avoid changing in tourist offices. They take a very high commission.
Settlement of invoices or purchases by this type of payment is possible in almost all tourist establishments and shops in the main towns, a little more rarely outside, a fortiori in villages (even tourist ones). And then some establishments announce that they accept cards, to warn at the last moment that the machine is down. In the most touristic places, it is a little less difficult. But in the villages and pensions, it is almost impossible ... even if, little by little, things, overall, are progressing in the right direction.
And above all, since 2017, all tourism professionals must be April 2017, the government has given merchants 3 months to acquire a bank card terminal (POS for point of sale).
A year later, we still saw posters announcing that it was not possible to pay by card, but the recalcitrant are fewer and fewer.
So plan to carry some cash with you.
Budget in Crete
Like the rest of Greece, Crete can get a bit expensive ... or turn out to be cheap. It all depends on how you approach it and when. Backpack, bus and hitchhiking, washing in the toilets of taverns, and being satisfied with souvlakia and gyros, the trip will not be too expensive!
Prices in Greece are gradually tending to reach those in the rest of Europe. This is the case in the hotel industry (only campsites, youth hostels and homestays are still relatively inexpensive).
However, with the crisis, the prices of hotels with average or chic prices have fallen, and more room for negotiation is possible ... For food, retail prices are very variable; popular restaurants are still affordable. Fortunately, public transport is still relatively inexpensive.
Within the framework of the 3rd “aid plan”, Greece had to, between 2015 and 2017, remove the reduced rate of VAT that applied in the islands. In 2018, a "Residence tax" in the hotel industry has been introduced: from 0,5 to 4 € per person depending on the standing of the establishment.
As to VAT rate in catering, it went from 13% to 24% in 2016 before going back to 13% in 2019 (drinks remain at 24%) ... The increases have also logically affected the price of admissions to museums, sometimes dramatically
Tariff indications must be considered flexibly and assessed according to the context. For example, it is often necessary to count an additional price in August in certain very tourist areas.
We tell you what in Greece is called the "door price", fixed by the authorities and indicated (sometimes) at reception, but the hoteliers or owners, if the establishment is not very full, will suggest often a more attractive price. Rates are also reduced, quite often, if you stay multiple nights. It is advisable to to negotiate.
Our price indications are based on 2 people (except for youth hostels), without breakfast.
- Trè12 & euro Cheap Average prices: for a double room with shower and toilet in a pension, count 45 to Chic: from 70 € the double up to 100 €. These are comfortable hotels.
In general, if we stick to establishments of the kind of those we select, the meal remains really affordable, especially as appetizers and dessert are most often offered: a pleasant custom respected by the majority of restaurants.
Be careful, fish is sold by the kilo, and it is expensive. Count between 30 and 60 € per kilo for the fish to grill, or even more in the most touristic places. The one you fry is cheaper: around 10 to 15 € per kilo.
- Very Cheap Average prices: from 10 to Chic: more than 20 €.
As in many spreads (tapenade, tzatziki ...).
The service is included, but it is customary to leave a little something if you are satisfied (from simple rounding to 5 or 10%).
Shopping and souvenirs from Crete
Not a lot of things to bring back, apart from olive oil ...
- Olive oil : in 0,5, 1, 2 or 4 l cans, but there are of course some 10 € per liter), the acidity rate well below 1%, an oil less than 2 years old and ... the taste!
- Local specialties : honey, wine and mountain herbs, including the famous dictame, a very popular species of oregano. They can be found, for example, in the region of Thronos, south of the Arkadi monastery (region of Rethymno) and on the slopes of the 3 main mountain ranges (White mountains, Dikti and Psiloritis).
- Craft items: carpets, hand-woven bags, pottery and ceramics, fabrics, many objects in olive wood and plenty of trinkets to bring back.
- The world's oldest komboloid gadget. A sort of rosary that is cut out to take care of the fingers. It can be purchased at some newsstands and many tourist shops.
- And of course the raki, to keep some of the Cretan heat ... To be consumed in moderation all the same.