Money in Portugal: the Euro

Money: EURO (EUR)

Portugal was one of the 12 original European Union countries which switched to the Euro in January 2002. Prior to converting to the Euro, the Portuguese currency was the Escudo.

1 Euro is divided into 100 cents.

The notes are differentiated by their size and colour and come in seven denominations. One side of the coins has a common design (the European side), and the other side has a national symbol. The three different Portuguese designs chosen were drawn by Vitor Manuel Fernandes dos Santos, an artist. He drew his inspiration from the three seals of the first king, Dom Afonso Henriques (see below for more details). All euro coins can be used in any of the euro-zone countries, regardless of which national symbols they display. The Euro is very widely accepted in Europe now and freely exchanged everywhere. In some non-Euro countries, they are used as a second currency.

Portuguese Euro Coins

The front of each coin features one of three designs common to all twelve euro area countries showing different maps of Europe surrounded by the twelve stars of the European Union. The reverse side of each coin shows individual designs relating to the respective member state.

All the Portuguese coins have as their centrepiece one of the three royal seals belonging to the country’s first king, Dom Afonso Henriques. The Portuguese one and two euro coins have the seal of 1144 with country’s castles and coats of arms set amid the European stars on the back as well. The 10, 20 and 50 cent coins have the royal seal of 1142 as their centrepiece, and the 1, 2 and 5 cent coins have the royal seal of 1134 together with the word “Portugal”.

German flag Portuguese euro coins (larger than life size)

1 cent coin (front) 1 Cent 1 cent coin (back)
2 cent coin (front) 2 Cent 2 cent coin (back)
5 cent coin (front) 5 Cent 5 cent coin (back)
10 cent coin (front) 10 Cent 10 cent coin (back)
20 cent coin (front) 20 Cent 20 cent coin (back)
20 cent coin (front) 50 Cent 20 cent coin (back)
1 euro coin (front) 1 Euro (€1) 1 euro coin (back)
2 euro coin (front) 2 Euro (€2) 2 euro coin (back)

Euro Bank Notes

The seven Euro banknotes are common to all countries using the Euro and carry the theme of the “Ages and Styles of Europe”. Each of the notes has gateways and windows on its front and bridges on the back designed in a specific architectural style. Gateways and windows are intended to symbolise the European spirit of openness and co-operation, whereas bridges symbolise the close co-operation and communication between Europe and the rest of the world.

The 5 euro note represents the classical architectural style, the 10 euro note has a romanesque design, the 20 euro note has a gothic motif, the 50 euro note represents the renaissance period, the 100 euro note depicts the baroque and rococo periods, the 200 euro note displays iron and glass architecture and the 500 euro note depicts modern 20th Century architecture.

Portuguese flag Euro banknotes

5 euro note (front) 5 Euro (€5) 5 euro note (back)
10 euro note (front) 10 Euro (€10) 10 euro note (back)
20 euro note (front) 20 Euro (€20) 20 euro note (back)
50 euro note (front) 50 Euro (€50) 50 euro note (back)
100 euro note (front) 100 Euro (€100) 100 euro note (back)
200 euro note (front) 200 Euro (€200) 200 euro note (back)
500 euro note (front) 500 Euro (€500) 500 euro note (back)

ATMs – Automatic Teller Machines (Multibanco)

Portugal has a national network of automatic teller machines (ATMs) which are identified by the symbol MB (Multibanco). You can withdraw cash from these machines 24 hours a day.

Currency Exchange

You can exchange money at the following services:

  • banks – banking hours are open from 8.30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday.
  • bureaux de change
  • automatic currency exchange machines (these are for currency sale transactions only).

Credit cards

In Portugal, the most commonly used credit cards are: Visa, American Express, Diners Club, Europay / MasterCard, JCB and Maestro.

If your Visa or MasterCard credit card is lost or stolen, contact the following telephone numbers for assistance:

  • Visa : Tel. 800 811 107
  • MasterCard: Tel. 800 811 272
So, what is your thought on this? Let me know!

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