In 1981, Greece joined the European Union. One of the goals of the Union was to adopt a universal standard of currency. Rather than favoring one type of established monetary system over another, they developed a new type of money that would be recognized and accepted by all EU members. This would make it more convenient for travelers as they would no longer find it necessary to exchange their money every time they crossed the border. This new unit of exchange was called the euro.
On January 1, 2001, the Greek government introduced its people to the euro, officially discontinuing any further forging of the former unit of exchange, the drachma. Though drachmas are still in circulation, they are only accepted by small, private vendors and change is generally given back in euros.
The euro denominations include seven banknotes with values of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euros. There are eight coins worth 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents, as well as coins worth 1 and 2 euros.
The banknotes all look alike throughout the eurozone. The coins have one side that is the same in all member states; while the reverse shows a national symbol of the country it represents. The smaller value Greek coins bear images of historical ships, while the coins of greater denominations display famous figures and images significant to Greek history.
All coins are accepted in all countries regardless of their apparent differences.
As the euro is the only acceptable form of currency in Greece, it is best to exchange any other forms of currency at the bank or airport upon arrival. The Greek government sets the exchange rate, so it shouldn't vary much from one location to the next, but the fees for changing currency vary widely from place to place. Additionally, you can withdraw money from international ATMs as you are only charged your usual bank fee.