Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: What currency do I take to Macedonia?
Simon Calder’s career in travel started at Gatwick Airport, where he cleaned aircraft for Laker Airways and later worked as a security officer. He became The Independent’s Travel Correspondent in 1994, and is known as “the Man Who Pays His Way” because he does not accept free travel facilities. He writes across the Independent titles, as well as for the Evening Standard.
Friday 17 May 2013
Q. What currency do I take to Macedonia? The denar is not easily exchangeable, and the country is not yet in the EU. Please advise if taking euros or sterling would be the best option
A. The former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia, in the southern Balkans, is a niche travel destination - and highly rewarding to anyone with a spark of independence and adventure. The capital, Skopje, isn't the most beautiful city in Europe - or even in the region - but the surroundings are dramatic, unspoilt and populated by friendly people.
When Yugoslavia fell apart, the former republic of Macedonia retained the currency, the dinar - which, to distinguish it from the Serbian version, is spelt "denar". However, the currency that counts is the euro. The best plan is to take plenty of them as cash, in low denominations (nothing bigger than €20) and change them locally as and when you need to. You should get around 60 denars for €1, which in the average bar will be enough to buy a beer. Little and often is the rule for currency transactions, because you don't want to be left with you when you leave the country.
Finally, the US dollar is also welcome - so if you have a few left over from an American trip, take them along too.
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