A Travel Money Guide to Luxembourg
Located in the heart of Europe, Luxembourg has a surprising number of drawcards, considering its petite size. Explore forests, castles, gorges, and quaint villages all within easy reach of the capital, Luxembourg City.
To make the most of your trip to one of the richest countries in the world, you’ll want to be able to stretch your savings as far as possible. Did you know there are simple ways to save money just in the way you choose to pay?
This guide will give you the lowdown on the currency of Luxembourg so you can avoid nasty fees and charges. You’ll learn about:
- The official currency of Luxembourg
- The pros and cons of using a bank card in Luxembourg
- What the Luxembourgish Euro looks like
- The average costs of things in Luxembourg
- How the euro converts
- What to do with leftover euros
- How to exchange the currency in Luxembourg
- Some hot tips to help you save money
- How to buy Euros before you leave
What Currency is Used in Luxembourg
Like its neighbours Belgium, France, and Germany, Luxembourg has embraced the euro as its official currency. You might be familiar with the euro’s symbol €. The code EUR is used when you’re looking to exchange currency.
The euro is something of a powerhouse currency, beaten only by the US dollar as the most traded currency in the world. It’s been adopted by 19 European countries in total, which are collectively known as the eurozone.
Luxembourg officially adopted the euro in 1999 but it was only introduced as a cash currency in 2002. Between 1999 and 2002, the euro was used as ‘book money’ with Luxembourg’s old currency, the Luxembourgish franc staying in circulation until 2002.
You can continue exchanging Luxembourgish franc banknotes at the Banque Centrale du Luxembourg (National Central Bank of Luxembourg) for an indefinite period – and for free.
Like its bordering countries, Luxembourg commonly writes its prices a little differently than you’d be used to, with the sign following numerals and a decimal comma replacing the point, as in 10,50€.
The Euro: Familiarise Yourself with Luxembourg’s Currency
The European Central Bank is charged with regulating the circulation of euros throughout the eurozone but individual countries are responsible for minting and producing their own currency.
So while the euro has a standardised fifteen denominations, you’ll notice one irregularity: one side of every euro coin represents the countries they were issued in.
Eurozone countries are charged with providing a national design for this side of the coins. In Luxembourg, you’ll find different profiles of the Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg on the coins.
On the reverse side is a common design shared on every coin: a numerical value and a map of the European Union.
Euro coins come in eight denominations of one cent, two cents, five cents, ten cents, 20 cents, and 50 cents, as well as €1 and €2. It’s good to know all coins are legal tender across the eurozone, regardless of their national design and country of issue.
Fun fact! Euro coins from Luxembourg are the rarest in the eurozone. Even in Luxembourg, they’re uncommon.
It’s simpler when it comes to euro banknotes because they’re the same across the eurozone. They come in seven denominations of €5, €10, €20, €100, €200, and €500.
€500 banknotes are rare and being phased out of circulation but try to avoid €100 and €200 bills as well, since many merchants will be reluctant to accept them.
Using a Currency Converter
The euro is a floating currency, with its value influenced daily by factors such as supply and demand of the currency, economic policies, and political events both regionally and globally.
Our foreign currency converter below will show you the mid-market exchange rate - the midway point between the buy and sell rate. This is the ‘truest’ rate you’ll find (the one shown on Google and XE).
Use this tool to get a real-time rate of AUD to EUR and find out how much it will cost you to buy euros with S Money.
How to Exchange Currency in Luxembourg
There’s so much to plan before you head off so it can be tempting to leave the currency exchange until you arrive in Luxembourg.
Thankfully, this is a country renowned for its finance industry so you’ll have several options to exchange currency once you land.
ATMs in Luxembourg
It’s a commercial and financial hub, so it should come as no surprise that ATMs are ubiquitous across Luxembourg, in towns big and small.
Luxembourgish ATMs generally accept Visa and Mastercard but you might have trouble with a Discover or American Express card. ATMs are also more compatible with bank cards that have chip and PIN technology.
In Luxembourg, it’s standard procedure to charge for bank ATM to charge for withdrawals using unaffiliated cards. Check to see if your home bank has an affiliation with a Luxembourgish; you might get free withdrawals from that institution’s ATM.
Even if you manage to avoid paying ATM fees, you may incur fees and charges from your home bank for overseas ATM withdrawals and currency conversions.
Many ATMs offer to charge your card in your home currency. It sounds like a great deal but be mindful that they can inflate the exchange rates for their own profit. It’s always better to choose to be charged in the local currency and let your bank sort the rest out.
Currency Exchange Outlets
There are plenty of banks and currency exchange bureaus offering exchange services in Luxembourg. For the best rates, head to one of Luxembourg’s banks. You’ll hardly have problems finding one; there are more than 150 banks in this tiny country.
Be sure to check your euro bills, especially from currency exchange outlets and merchants. There’s a chance the bank will refuse damaged banknotes, which may be troublesome if you try to change leftover currency back into your home currency.
Avoid exchange bureaus in areas with high tourist traffic as these are likely to inflate their fees or offer poor exchange rates if they have a captive market.
Given the convenience of bank exchanges and ATM withdrawals in Luxembourg, travellers cheques seem passé. Few businesses accept them and you’ll probably suffer exorbitant exchange rates for them.
Buying Euros Before You Go
If you like the reassurance of having the local currency readily available from the moment you step off the plane, you have three options to pick up the cash before you go:
- Buying euros online to be delivered or for you to pick up in-store.
- Swapping AUD for EUR at a currency exchange store.
- Buying euros at the airport.
Online money changers like S Money often have the best exchange rates by offering the real mid-market exchange rates you see on Google or XE.
Travelex and Travel Money Oz also offer foreign exchange services online but it takes between two and five business days before the currency is ready for pick-up or delivery so you need to be organised!
Buying your currency in-store can be a good option but it all depends on where you go. The money changers in the centre of the main cities tend to be more competitive than smaller stores in the suburbs.
Only change money at the airport as a last resort. The exchange rates and fees at Australian airports are among the worst in the world so avoid it at all costs if you want to get the best value.
Using Your Bank Card in Luxembourg
Some of the best travel money cards include debit, credit and prepaid cards. While you might expect Luxembourg to be ahead of the game with bank cards, it’s not as straightforward as you’d think to pay with plastic.
Visa and Mastercard are commonly used while American Express may be accepted in bigger establishments.
The value you get from using a bank card will vary depending on the type of card you use and the provider so we’ve listed some of our best recommendations below.
Credit cards aren’t common in Luxembourg but the bigger the establishment, the greater the chance you have that they’ll be accepted.
Pay attention to the fees you may incur by using your credit card overseas. These could include cash advance fees for ATM withdrawals, international transaction fees, and overseas ATM withdrawal charges.
Prepaid Travel Cards
A prepaid travel card is made for international travellers so surely it’s the best option, right?
Though you avoid some fees, you might end up squandering those savings on other charges, such as reload fees and inactivity fees. Travel cards also usually apply ATM withdrawal fees.
Not only that, it’s often expensive and tricky to convert remaining balances on the card back to Australian dollars upon your return.
It can also take days for your currency to actually load onto your card, leaving you potentially cash-strapped.
But don’t fret! There are some good alternatives. The Revolut and TransferWise debit cards allow you to prepay or buy your currency ahead of time. Plus they both use the best online market exchange rate you see on Google or XE.
But if you do want to use either of these cards, plan ahead. It takes 1-2 weeks for delivery.
The Average Cost to Travel Around Luxembourg
Although it’s one of the richest countries in the world, Luxembourg can be surprisingly affordable, especially with some clever planning and budgeting.
To help you cost out your trip, here are some of the average costs of things in Luxembourg:
€120-200 per night
A double room in a mid-range hotel
A meal in a nice restaurant
A glass of beer
A public transport ticket
Entrance to a museum
Leftover Euros at the End of Your Trip? What to Do with That Unused Cash
It’s annoying returning from a trip with a wad of foreign cash but there are plenty of ways to dispose of these unwanted coins and notes:
- Your airline might distribute envelopes for currency collection to donate to charities (check out Qantas’s Change for Good program with UNICEF).
- Australian international airports often have collection boxes for unwanted currency, which is donated to charity.
- Drop off your currency at any branch of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, which then gives every cent to UNICEF.
- Change your currency either at the airport or, better yet, with a money changer in the city.
- Why not hold onto those euros for a friend just heading off? It’ll be a lovely surprise and going away gift for them!
- Keep your money for later trips to Europe. The euro is the official legal currency of 19 eurozone countries and accepted by many more.
7 Travel Money Tips for Trips to Luxembourg
Many tourists waste money through not finding the best ways to exchange their currency.
To help you avoid this predicament, here are a few practical tips to help you get the most bang for your … euro:
- Avoid the airports! Currency exchange bureaus at the airport charge epic fees. If you like a good deal – or even just a reasonable one – avoid these at all costs.
- Only carry what you need – It can be expensive to change euros back into AUDs so only take what you think you’ll spend. Not only this – nobody likes to tuck wads of notes into their socks and toiletries for safekeeping on longer journeys.
- Ask for a mix of denominations – Make it easy on yourself and the vendors by getting a mix of smaller notes.
- Check your exchange rate – Google and XE.com are the standard market exchange rate but you’ll notice how wildly bank and currency exchanges can vary their rates. Try to get as close to the market rate as possible.
- Look out for hidden fees – The bane of our (financial) existence, hidden fees will often make a huge difference to the cost of your holiday. Be particularly wary of hidden bank fees for overseas card usage.
- The right card makes all the difference – Having a card is convenient but it can take a hit to the bank account if you have the wrong card. Research and arm yourself with the best card for travel for big savings.
- Mix it up! Many travellers only use their credit card while some only think about cash. But the best option depends on your situation. Save the card for huge purchases such as hotels and car hire and reserve your cash for smaller wins – transport, attractions, or meals out.
Learn more about the Euro Currency Exchange
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