With Croatia joining the Euro on 1st January 2023, this section provides visitors with information on money in Croatia as it stands at the moment – in particular, details about the current Croatian currency, the Kuna, and how to obtain it both prior to and during your visit to Croatia.
Money in Croatia – The Croatian Kuna
The Croatian currency is the Kuna, which is divided into 100 lipa. When listed as a price, Kuna is abbreviated to Kn.
The word ‘Kuna’ means marten, a weasel-like animal, whose fur Croats used as payment for goods many centuries ago. The word ‘lipa’ means lime tree, but we don’t know the connection here!
The Kuna comes in dominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 as notes and 1, 2, 5 and 25 as coins. (The 25 Kuna coin is largely commemorative.)
The Lipa comes in coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50.
The plural of Kuna is Kune (pronounced ‘koo-neh’), although it is fine to pluralise it – as many outside of the country do – to Kunas. (We always ‘say’ Kunas, in fact, to make things easier in all our travel advice despite it being wrong!)
In the opinion of many, the Kuna is overvalued but is nevertheless a stable currency. The current exchange rate between the Kuna and various world currencies can be found at the Croatian National Bank website.
Obtaining Kunas prior to your visit to Croatia
These days in the UK, it is possible to obtain Kunas prior to your trip to Croatia at many foreign exchange stores. Alternatively, the easiest way might be to purchase your money online. Once you order the amount you want the money can either be posted to you (for a charge) or it can be picked up at an airport prior to your departure.
Do also check with your own bank or local money exchange office to see if you can order Kunas online with them.
Money in Croatia – ATMs
Alternatively, you may not see the need to purchase Croatian Kunas prior to your trip – which is perfectly understandable. In this case, our first piece of advice would be to take a bank card/cash card instead. This avoids the need to travel with large-ish amounts of cash, and ATMs are readily available in almost all resorts, towns and cities in Croatia, in banks, supermarkets, airports and elsewhere. Even small islands (but not all!) usually have at least one ATM. This really is one of the easiest ways of obtaining money in Croatia.
As a foreign card is inserted into the machine, you will most likely be presented with a choice of languages – no need to navigate through Croatian-language menus. The exchange rate you’ll receive will be fairly good, and there may only be a small service charge, which depends on your bank back home – you may want to check before travelling. Local banks may also charge an operating fee on top of this.
If you travel abroad a fair bit, you may like to see if you can find a bank/cash card provider in your home country that will offer you a debit card that doesn’t incur charges (or only very low charges) when used aboard.
Are Euros accepted in Croatia?
You will find that you can pay in some places – private accommodation, taxis – in Euros. Do note that this is entirely on an unofficial basis; the Euro is NOT yet the official currency and NO business/individual is required to accept them as payment.
But why do some places accept Euros, you may wonder? This harks back to the days of Yugoslavia when people were happier “holding” Deutschmarks rather than the unstable Yugoslav Dinar. It is more likely for small family-run ones to accept Euros.
So why are some prices in Croatia quoted in Euros?
You may well find that prices in some accommodation places, restaurants, and elsewhere quoted in Euros. This is because so many visitors to Croatia are from Eurozone countries. Some business owners, therefore, display Euro prices to make it easier for these visitors.
Likewise, whatever your currency, you may have a rough idea of what its exchange rate against the Euro is. However, you’re unlikely to know what the exchange rate against the Kuna is!
When will Croatia join the Euro?
After many years spent in the process of applying to join the Eurozone, Croatia will finally adopt usage of the Euro on 1st January 2023. You can read more about this here: ‘Amazing journey’: EU accepts Croatia as 20th euro zone member.
The Croatian Euro and cent coins will feature designs related to the country – a map of the country; a pine marten (a kuna); Nikola Tesla and Glagolitic script, the first known Slavic alphabet. You can see the designs on the Croatian government website.
Currencies to take with you and changing money in Croatia
Taking your ‘home’ currency (Euros, UK Pounds or U.S. Dollars) to Croatia and changing it there will not result in any problems. All are easy to exchange for Kunas in the country, although other currencies can of course be changed too.
If your home currency is something other than these three, and you’d like to play it safe, the best currency to take to Croatia is Euros.
Hotel exchange rates are usually quite poor, so try to avoid changing your money at your hotel. You’ll be better off changing your money in a bank or in one of numerous money-changing places dotted around. Look out for signs for a ‘mjenjačnica‘.
Paying by debit and credit cards
Paying for items (accommodation, shopping, food in restaurants) is a bit hit and miss in Croatia. In larger shops (supermarkets, drugstores/pharmacies, souvenir shops) cards are readily accepted. Paying by card in a hotel is also very straightforward. More established restaurants in larger towns should also accept cards. The smaller the town/restaurant (particularly on the islands), the less likely that cards are accepted. It’s therefore always a good idea to have some cash to hand.
Tolls can be paid by card, as can entrance tickets to the national parks. Transport (bus, train, ferry tickets) can be paid for by card; in many cases, these tickets can be bought online before travel.
Private accommodation places, in almost all cases, do not have the infrastructure to accept cards; they must be paid in cash. However, your accommodation will advise you on this before you arrive so you can prepare yourself!