Croatia currency Kuna is still our main currency, even after Croatia has become the 28th member of EU in July 2013.
Tourists from Euro zone where Euro (€) is already is use will be able to pay in euros for all kind of services, as in nearly all tourist destinations all prices are expressed in both kuna and euros.
About Kuna – HRK Croatian Currency
One Kuna (code HRK) is equal to 100 Lipa. The Croatia banknotes are available 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 and 5 Kuna coin is more popular.
Hotels, excursions, private accommodation and plane tickets are usually priced in Euros and you can pay in either Euros or Kuna.
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 kuna Croatian currency, you can pay with Euros, USA dollars, pounds sterling or with any convertible currency. Your inconvenience will be an almost guaranteed unfavorable exchange rate, and the change you receive will very likely be in Croatia kuna.
All airports, train, bus stations and ferry ports will have a convenient exchange office to change money – Mjenjacnica. For this money exchange operation you will pay a commission of about 3%, and I highly recommend you exchange some of your currency into Kunas as quickly as possible.
You can also exchange your Croatian 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 convenient at Mjenjacnica offices than you will get in the bank, 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 had the best rates in August 2013, last time I checked.
ATMs (Cash Machines) in Split Croatia
Nowadays 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 money in local Croatian currency, 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 bank’s ATM machines) may even charge you an additional 5% off the total withdrawal amount, so try 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.
You can use your 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.
For private accommodation (rooms or private apartments), their owners will never accept any credit cards. Bring cash, preferably kunas or euros.
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.
As a last piece of advice, I recommend you try and carry at least 200 Croatian Kuna (approx. EUR 27.00, USD 30.00, GBP 23.00) 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.
Speaking of and 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.