Using a foreign currency is puzzling enough for many people, that it can legitimately degrade your traveling experience. For this purpose, we take a look at the official Macedonian currency, which is the Macedonian denar, and cover the history, conversion rates to USD, EUR, CHF, and provide some context for the value of each coin and banknote.
Bookmarking this page will save you a lot of headache, for you will be able to convert prices on the go, as well as access information on exchange offices in the capital city of Skopje.
Introduced in 1992, on the 26th of April, the Macedonian denar replaced the 1990 version of the Yugoslavian Dinar. The currency was reformed one year later, when in May, 1993 the new design was introduced, along with several new banknotes.
Before we go on, here is some trivia for the curious mind – the name of the Macedonian currency, the Macedonian denar, comes from the name of the ancient Roman monetary unit – which was the Denarius.
Two symbols are used to describe the currency:
- Ден – which are the first 3 letters from the cyrilic version of the word
- MKD – the official and international currency symbol for the denar
The annual inflation of the Macedonian denar is 0.2%.
Macedonian currency exchange rates
If you only need a quick conversion tool, one such is provided below. It convert MKD to USD, MKD to EUR, CHF to MKD, among many others.
The conversion volume in USD, EUR and CHF is dwarfing all others in significance for a number of reasons, but we are concerned with convenience here. Most of the tourists are either from the European Union and US, or stopped in one European country before finally arriving in Macedonia.
The tool below converts currencies like EUR, USD, CHF to Macedonian denars (MKD)
As for CHF to MKD, it is interesting to know that many Macedonians are working abroad, essentially helping their families with foreign currency deposits. The Albanian ethnicity that works abroad is largely concentrated in Switzerland and Germany, whereas the bulk of the Macedonian diaspora is settled in USA, Canada, Australia or New Zealand. Recent immigrations however, especially among the youth, are happening to Qatar and Malta.
There are many exchange offices throughout every city with readily available Macedonian currency, accepting exchanges to most of the major international and national currencies. Bringing your money in Euros is perhaps the best option (dollars too, though the value may change slightly more when compared to the MKD to EUR rate that is almost fixed).
You can find a list of several exchange offices in the city of Skopje, along with their location on this map.
The value of 1 USD to MKD is slightly changing on daily basis, but do not expect more than 2% daily volatility in the exchange rate. It is, therefore, a better option to use Euros instead, where the exchange rate volatility is even smaller.
With that out of the way, let’s describe each coin and banknote of the Macedonian currency system, and provide some context to how much goods and services you can buy with each, while staying in Macedonia.
Macedonian currency – coins
The first minting in 1993 produced the 50 deni (half a denar), 1 denar, 2 denar and 5 denar coins. The half a denar was practically never seen in circulation, since it was minted only in 1993. For that reason, the National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia decided to withdraw it.
Instead, in 2008, two other coins were introduced – the 10 denar coin and the 50 denar coin.
Below is a picture of the 1 denar coin, which is currently the lowest value in the Macedonian currency system. It is used as change, and having few of these in your pocket won’t buy you a thing. The front of the coin is featuring a number with what is supposed to be sun rays emanating from behind. The back of the coin features the Macedonian shepherd dog.
The 2 denar coin has double the value, and is also usually meant as change. Five of these, however, can buy you a cheap treat, or something within the similar value range. The front is identical to the 1 denar coin, only with a different number, while the back features the Macedonian trout.
The 5 denar coin is more valuable. It has the same front as the rest, and a Macedonian wild cat on the back. The size is noticeably different when compared against the 1 denar coin. It is the largest-sized coin from the pack. Six of these, in some parts of the town, can buy you a decent size dough meal. It takes 10 of them to make a single dollar, so you do the math.
The 10 denar coin was introduced in 2008, along with the 50 denar coin. They both have replaced the banknotes of the corresponding value. The color, as you will notice, is different from the rest of the coins shown above. Whereas the 1 denar, 2 denar and 5 denar coins were golden, the 10 denar coins and the 50 denar coins are silver. This one features a peacock on the back.
The 50 denar coin is the equivalent of two buss tickets, or one Burek meal (decent size traditional dough with meat or cheese), or one destination ticket for the cable car on mount Vodno. In smaller towns around the country, it goes even further in buying you transportation or food. On the back of the 50 denar coin is a picture of Archangel Gabriel, as presented on the fresco from the church of St. Ghiorghi in Kurbinovo, from the 12th century.
Macedonian currency – banknotes
The first issuance in 1993 put in circulation the 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500 denars. Three years after, the 1000 denars and 5000 denars were being added. Twenty years later, in 2016, 200 denar and 2000 denar banknotes were added as well.
Today, the 10, 20 and 50 denars in the form of a banknote are not in use. The 5000 denar banknote is discontinued as well.
While 200 denar and 2000 denar banknotes are in circulation, they are slightly rarer, so expect to use the 100, 500 and 1000 denominations the most. Following the concept from above, we will try to put the value of each banknote in context of what it can buy in while staying in Macedonia, but for more insight visit our article on the cost of living in Macedonia.
The 100 denar banknote is very common in everyday usage, since it can buy a lot of things on its own. You can have a breakfast, plus the equivalent of two buss tickets, and still have some denar coins to show after. The front features Skopje from engraving by Jacobus Harevin, and the back is a view of Skopje from an Albanian house.
The 200 denar banknote can buy you a large pizza. These are new in circulation, so expect to be more preserved. On the front, there is an early medieval bronze fibula, and on the back some artistic elements on the façade of Colorful Mosque in Tetovo.
The 500 denar banknote can place you in a nice restaurant for a full course dinner, or buy one large pizza and still leave you with a ticket for the movies. On the front it features a gold mask, excavated from Trebenista Ohrid, and on the back a flower of poppy.
The 1000 denar banknote is enough to seat two people for a decent dinner, in a nice and fancy restaurant, and it is roughly around 4% from the average Macedonian salary. The front features an icon from the church of St. Vraci, Ohrid, and the back Gregory’s gallery, the church of St. Sofia.
The 2000 denar banknote is more than 8% of the average Macedonian salary, and it can buy you two tickets for the movies, a fancy dinner for two, plus taxi ride back home. On the front it features a bronze artifact in the form of a cup poppy, while on the back there is the decoration on the inside of the gilded bowl “source of life”.
This concludes the extensive guide on the Macedonian currency, the exchange pairs of USD to MKD, EUR to MKD, and CHF to MKD, as well as some additional information to make your stay easier by learning to discriminate between the different number of coins and banknotes.
Bookmark this page so you can use the convert tool, the exchange office locator map, and the visual aid to know what is what when buying and paying with Macedonian denars.
An outdoor junkie and an adventurous spirit who loves the mountain. Slavko regularly talks about travel, lifestyle design, holistic health and fitness. You can find his writings on popular magazines around the net, and his regular guides and columns in The Lifestyle Updated.