+ The Swiss Franc (CHF). Coins and banknotes. Where to exchange Spain

The Swiss Franc (CHF)

The Swiss franc is the official currency of two European states, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Its ISO 4217 code is CHF and its symbol is Fr. The Swiss franc is divided into 100 “rappen” or “centimes”.

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As of the date of this update of March 20, 2023, the equivalence of the Swiss franc currency with respect to the euro is:

  • 1 euro EUR = 0.99 CHF francs
  • 1 CHF franc = 1.01 EUR EUR

As you can see, converting from euros to francs is very easy since they are two monetary units that travel practically at the same time.

History of the Swiss Franc

Since the end of the 18th century, all Swiss cantons and cities issued their own currency, each with its own value, its peculiar characteristics and its own denominations (francs, thalers, guilders, rappen…).

The result was a complex monetary system that placed many obstacles to trade, which is why in 1850 the federal government decided to establish the franc as the single currency for the entire Swiss territory.

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From then until today, the CHF has remained one of the most stable and secure currencies in the world, a refuge value in times of crisis. In all its history it has only suffered one devaluation, in 1936, as a consequence of the Great Depression.

For years the abbreviation “Sfr” (Swiss franc) was used to distinguish the Swiss franc from the French franc and the Belgian franc. But after the appearance of the euro and the disappearance of these currencies, the symbol of the Swiss franc became the current “Fr”.

The Swiss National Bank, based in Bern, is the institution responsible for issuing banknotes and distributing Swiss franc coins.

These coins are minted by the Swissmint, which is the official Swiss mint, also based in Bern.

Swiss franc coins

The franc is divided into 100 rappen or cents (“centimes”). The currently valid series consists of the following Swiss franc coin denominations:

  • Rappen coins: 5, 10, 20.
  • Swiss franc coins: ½, 1, 2 and 5.

On the obverse of all Swiss coins is a representation of Helvetia, the female national personification of Switzerland, whose name comes from the Helvetii tribe. And on the reverse, the denomination of the coin together with some oak leaves.

20 swiss franc cents coin

20 swiss franc cents coin

In the coins of 5, 10 and 20 rappen his bust is represented in profile, while in those of ½, 1 and 2 francs he appears standing, carrying a spear and shield.

50 swiss franc cents coin

50 swiss franc cents coin

The only exception to this design is the 5 Fr. coin, on whose obverse is the image of a Swiss shepherd.

The reverse is also different, since the Swiss coat of arms is shown next to the face value and the oak leaves are replaced by an edelweiss, the flower of the Alps and at the same time a symbol of the country.

The value of this coin at the current exchange rate is about 4.90 euros.

5 swiss franc cents coin

5 swiss franc cents coin

The material of all the rappen and Swiss franc coins is cupronickel, except the gold-colored 5 rappen coins, which are made of an alloy of copper, nickel, and aluminum.

Another curiosity is that the denomination of ½ franc is used for the 50 rappen coin. This same circumstance occurred with the French franc, today disappeared.

Swiss franc banknotes

The current series of banknotes issued by the Swiss National Bank (SNB), started in 2017, is the ninth in the history of this currency. But it has the particularity of having a vertical design, instead of the usual horizontal one.

NOTE: The validity of the eighth series of Swiss franc banknotes ended in 2019. But it was extended until April 30, 2021 exceptionally. The old Swiss franc banknotes of the eighth series could be exchanged in person in Switzerland, at the local post offices (CFF, Poste) until October 30, 2021.

All banknotes are marked in the four official languages of the country: German and Romansh on one side and French and Italian on the other.

There are currently six Swiss franc banknotes with denominations of:

  • 10 fr.
  • 20 fr.
  • 50 fr.
  • 100 fr.
  • 200 francs and
  • 1,000 Fr.

The drawing of a hand performing a symbolic action that highlights the traditional values of the country together with a globe represented in different ways is represented on all obverses.

Swiss franc banknotes obverse

Swiss franc banknotes obverse

The reverses feature images of famous Swiss landmarks.

Swiss franc banknotes reverse

Franc banknotes reverse

As of September 12, 2019, the series has finally been completed. The new 100 Fr banknote was missing. Since then the series is complete in all its denominations.

The new Swiss franc banknotes have already been recognized for their innovative design and advanced security systems that make them virtually impossible to counterfeit.

Next, we put images of these bills. As a curiosity, take a look at the terrestrial globe that appears on the six new Swiss franc notes: on each note it shows one side of the Earth until it makes a complete 360 degree turn on its axis.

Terrestrial globes in new Swiss franc banknotes 2019 series

Terrestrial globes in new Swiss franc banknotes 2019 series

Swiss 10 franc banknote

The 10 Fr. note is yellow in color and the theme of its design is the sense of organization. The obverse shows hands holding a conductor’s baton, while the reverse features an image of the Lötschberg Tunnel beneath a clockwork mechanism.

10 swiss franc banknote

10 swiss franc banknote

The value at the current exchange rate (March 2023) of this banknote is about 9.79 euros in Spain, at a currency supplier in Madrid or Barcelona, for example.

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20 Swiss franc banknote

Red in colour, on the 20 Fr. note the hand on the obverse holds a prism and the globe of the world displays the astronomical constellations on its surface.

On the back, where some butterflies appear, it is dedicated to the Locarno Film Festival. The central theme of this banknote is creativity.

20 swiss franc banknote

20 swiss franc banknote

The value of this note in Spain, March 2023, in currency suppliers is about 19.58 euros.

50 Swiss franc banknote

The 50 Fr. green note represents adventure. The hand on the obverse holds a dandelion flower while the globe represents the oceanic and atmospheric currents of our planet. On the reverse there is an image of the Alps and a person paragliding.

50 swiss franc banknote

50 swiss franc banknote

The equivalent value of this bill is approximately 48.95 euros in March 2023 in currency suppliers in Spain.

100 Swiss franc banknote

The 100 Fr. banknote of the latest series was released on September 12, 2019. It is dedicated to water as a representation of the humanitarian values of the Swiss and for this reason its main color is aqua blue.

On the obverse, hands are shown drinking water from a fountain as a principle of fundamental need of people.

100 swiss franc banknote obverse

100 swiss franc banknote obverse

The image on the reverse is that of a water channel that is taken from a glacier to an irrigated area.

100 swiss franc banknote reverse

100 swiss franc banknote reverse

The value of this banknote at the current exchange rate (March 2023) is about 97.90 euros.

200 Swiss franc banknote

The brown 200 Fr. note is decorated with symbolic images referring to science.

The globe is shown with the division of the continents in the Cretaceous era, while the hand illustrates the famous rule of three. The image on the reverse is that of the CERN building in Geneva.

200 swiss franc banknote

200 swiss franc banknote

The value of this note at the current exchange rate (March 2023) is about 195.80 euros.

1000 Swiss franc banknote

This banknote, whose exchange value in March 2023 is no less than 979 euros, was put into circulation at the beginning of 2019. It is violet in color and is decorated around the theme of communication.

On the obverse, two hands that shake in greeting and a globe decorated with phonetic signs; for the reverse, an image of the Swiss National Council, based in Bern.

1000 swiss franc banknote

1000 swiss franc banknote

Swiss franc exchange rate

The exchange rate of the euro against the franc is usually quite stable, with slight fluctuations. If you search Google for “euro to swiss franc exchange rate” you will find dozens of websites (“currency converters”) that offer a “rate” of the day.

You will also see this graph with the prices of that pair of currencies from Google Finance.

Something like this (March 20, 2023):

Euro to Swiss franc exchange rate 20th March 2023

Euro to Swiss franc exchange rate 20th March 2023

As you can see, the change in the last 5 years has oscillated between CHF 1.19 and CHF 0.96 per euro, staying at the current 0.99 (March 2023).

But keep in mind that this chart represents the value of the Swiss Franc “currency” against the Euro, and not the lower real banknote currency.

In fact, in currency suppliers in Spain you can buy Swiss francs at an exchange rate of around 0.97 CHF for each euro. Nothing to do with the euro-swiss franc currency exchange.

So, when you see these values in Google and other currency converters with your mobile, you should keep the following in mind:

  • It is an unofficial rate, and therefore unreliable. In other words, if you click on the “Disclaimer” link, you will get this warning from Google Finance:“Google cannot guarantee the accuracy of the exchange rates displayed. Please confirm current rates before making a transaction that may be affected by changes in exchange rates.”
  • This rate can only be held by banks among themselves, that is, it is impossible to obtain it as an individual. It is what is known as the interbank exchange rate.

If you need francs in banknotes you will have to go through the ticket retail market (bank or currency supplier). This market means that the francs have had to be “transported” by someone for you to enjoy (or bought from travelers from Switzerland passing through Spain previously).

In other words, moving banknotes from one place to another has logistical costs that will make their sale price more expensive (the exchange rate that will be applied by whoever sells them to you).

The Swiss franc is a relatively easy currency to obtain in our country. In any case, its rates are usually more expensive in Spain than in Switzerland. If you decide to buy new Swiss francs in Spain, it is good to anticipate the purchase and order them online to obtain a better price.

Where to exchange francs

The three most popular places to exchange francs in Spain are banks, currency suppliers and the airport. Let’s make a quick comparison of prices in each of them to clear up any doubts:

  • Airport: for 1,000 euros, today, March 20, 2023, the currency supplier that operates at Spanish airports would give you 800 francs at the El Prat airport in Barcelona and 808 francs at the Madrid-Barajas airport (rates taken from Global Exchange´s website).
  • Banks: the franc is a very stable and convertible currency. All the big banks (Caixa, Santander, BBVA or Sabadell) and the Rural Savings Banks (Ruralvía) exchange francs for you. But they have the ugly habit of charging you an exchange rate in addition to a commission that will be around 3%. This means that if you change 1,000 euros to francs, they take about 30 euros of commission and then apply an exchange rate of 970 euros. Keep that in mind and compare with Cambiator.
  • Competitive currency suppliers: in Cambiator you would get 979 francs with Eurochange, with the exclusive price that we have negotiated with them.

As you can see, the least recommended place to exchange Swiss francs is the airport, a hotel or any business that charges you a commission in addition to an “exchange margin” (difference between the price you paid for the currency and the price you sells it to you) like banks.

Euro to Swiss franc rate today

To find out the euro to swiss franc exchange rate, the best thing you can do is use our currency comparator.

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Franco suizo, CHF

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