Money in Croatia – The Croatian Kuna
The Croatian currency is the Kuna (not the Euro!), which is divided into 100 lipas. (The word ‘Kuna’ means marten, a weasel-like animal, whose fur Croats used as payment many centuries ago. The word ‘lipa’ means lime tree, but we don’t know the connection here!) When listed as a price, Kuna is abbreviated to Kn.
The Kuna comes in dominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 as notes and 1, 2, 5 and 25 (25 Kn being largely commemorative) as coins. The Lipa comes in coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50. In Croatian, 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
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 all resorts, towns and cities in Croatia, in banks, supermarkets, airports and elsewhere.
As a foreign card is inserted into the machine, you will most likely be presented you 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.
Are Euros accepted in Croatia?
You will find that you can pay for some items – private accommodation, taxis, some small restaurants – in Euros. Do note that this is entirely on anunofficial basis; the Euro is NOT an official currency and NO business/individual is required to accept them as payment. (It is just the case that some businesses, particularly small/family-run ones are happy to receive Euros – this probably harks back to the days of Yugoslavia when people were happier “holding” Deutschmarks rather than the unstable Yugoslav Dinar.)
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 purely because so many visitors to Croatia are from Euro-using countries, and some business owners display Euro prices to make it easier for them. Likewise, whatever your currency, you may have a rough idea of what its exchange rate against the Euro is – but you’re unlikely to know what the exchange rate against the Kuna is!
When will Croatia join the Euro?
Although Croatia did join the EU on 1st July 2013, there are no concrete plans to adopt the Euro as the country’s official currency. So the answer to this question is – who knows?!
Currencies to take with you and changing money in Croatia
Taking your ‘home’ currency (U.S. Dollars) to Croatia and changing it there will not result in any problems – it’s very easy to exchange for Kunas in the country.
Hotel exchange rates are usually quite poor, so try to avoid changing your money at your hotel. You’ll probably be better off changing your money in a bank or in one of numerous Bureaux de Change dotted around towns.