Croatia adopted Euros as official currency as of January 1st, 2023. You can pay for all goods and services with the same currency used in most European countries.
Croatia became a member of EU in July 2013, but it took us another decade to also enter the monetary union. Our old currency Kuna is no longer in use. Old banknotes can still be exchanged until 2026.
This article will give you a brief rundown of old Croatian currency Kuna and some tips and tricks to pay conveniently and save money.
About Kuna – HRK Croatian Currency
One Kuna (code HRK) is equal to 100 Lipa. The Croatia Kuna banknotes available were with value of 1000, 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, and 10 Kuna (kn).
The Croatia coins are in value of 5 Kuna, 2 Kuna, 1 Kuna, 50 Lipa, 20 Lipa, 10 Lipa, 5 Lipa, 2 Lipa, and 1 Lipa (with a limited edition 25 kuna coin circulating on occasion). 5 Kuna banknotes are removed from circulation as 5 Kuna coin was more popular.
Hotels, excursions, private accommodation and plane tickets are always priced in Euros now. Very few businesses will accept other currencies.
The word “kuna” means “marten” in Croatian since it is based on the use of marten pelts as units of value in medieval trading. Find out more about history and etymology and when the idea of a kuna currency reappeared in Croatia.
Exchanging Money in Split Croatia
If you don’t have EUR currency at hand you will often run into issues. US dollars, pounds sterling or some other popular currencies might be unofficially accepted at certain places per discretion of private owners. Buying things like ferry or bus tickets with foreign currency will almost always be impossible. Even if some restaurant or bar owner accepts other currencies, your inconvenience will guaranteed result in a very unfavorable exchange rate.
Most airports, train, bus stations and ferry ports will have a convenient exchange office to change money – Mjenjacnica in Croatian. Typically this will involve a 3% or higher conversion fee.
You may also be able to exchange your currency at your hotel or any bank office in Split town, and it’s rather easy to find exchange points in Split. It is difficult to say if the exchanging rates are more favorable at Mjenjacnica offices compared to banks, but usually you can expect lower fees and better exchange rates at banks.
In city center you can try exchange office at Brace Radica Square (locally called, Vocni trg – Fruit Square). This exchange office often has good exchange rates.
There is a significantly lesser demand for exchange offices since Croatia adopted EUR so many have closed their doors. This makes ATMs the easiest and most convenient way to get cash.
ATMs (Cash Machines) in Split Croatia
You can find ATM machines everywhere around Croatia. Just look for the “bankomat” sign. If you are getting to Split by plane at the Split Airport passenger terminal ground floor there is a Splitska Bank ATM machine.
ATMs in Split Croatia are reliable when you need quick cash, but it can be difficult to figure out the fee charged for this convenience. It may be wise to ask your home bank about these costs, especially if you’re traveling on tight budget where every penny counts.
From my experience for a value of $200 (USA dollars), a 5 $ fee was applied. You can check ATM charges and fees for most important USA banks at Bankrate website.
Your bank (or even our local bank ATM machines) may even charge you a flat fee plus an additional 5% off the total withdrawal amount, so it’s probably better to withdraw larger amounts fewer times.
The daily limits of withdrawals from ATMs depend on your banking contract. It is advisable to withdraw more cash every time, thus avoiding repeating transaction fee payments.
Credit cards are broadly used in Split Croatia and Central Dalmatian islands but with some restrictions. Credit and debit cards like Visa or Master Card are much more widely accepted than American Express or Diners cards. From my experience most places will not accept American and Diners cards.
You can use your debit or credit cards for paying hotel bills, rent a car services, or day trip excursions from (most) local travel agencies, but at small taverns (konobe) it is highly advisable to have cash at hand.
If business or accommodation owners don’t accept credit card payments don’t be surprised to pay even up to 20% more in foreign currencies. You probably don’t know the exact exchange rate at that moment so it will be “rounded” to a higher number, and it’s unlikely you will receive change in any currency.
Private accommodation (rooms or private apartments) owners will never accept any credit cards. Bring cash, preferably euros.
Cryptocurrency and other digital payments
Rijeka is a town in the north Adriatic where I saw nearly every bar accept crypto payments for their services. This is an exception, however. It’s extremely rare that I see bars or restaurants in other places accepting crypto payments so widely.
If you want to use your cryptocurrency to pay for things I recommend getting a Binance, Coinbase or other crypto exchange Visa card. These will be accepted anywhere other Visa cards are.
Other payment methods such as Paypal, Venmo, AliPay or Apple Pay or not popular and rarely used in Croatia.
Avoiding inconveniences and saving money
If you’re looking to further save money and avoid paying additional transaction fees I strongly recommend to book your accommodation in advance.
Pay your hotel, hostel or apartment rental using online booking agencies, where your credit card is welcomed as a paying method, and you can even get additional discounts and deals.
Bring at least a couple of Mastercard or Visa debit or credit cards and make sure your accounts are funded in Euros to avoid additional exchange rate fees.
As a last piece of advice, I recommend you try and carry at least €50 per person at all times. At the very least you don’t want to be caught off guard at some local restaurant and unable to pay your bill with your country’s currency or in case they don’t accept cards. Don’t expect the ice cream vendor by the beach to accept credit cards.
Besides Euros, US Dollars and British Pounds are in most cases the only foreign currencies that you may be able to pay with. Don’t expect anyone in Croatia to know (or go check) up to date exchange rates for Canadian or Australian dollars, or any other currencies.
In case you’re curious to find out how much money you may end up spending during your visit to Croatia, refer to my Split travel costs guide. I broke down the average expenses for different budgets, so it may help you understand how much cash you will need.