When visiting Croatia, you’ll be spending in kuna, the national currency. The exchange rate for the kuna is fixed to the euro — this allows the Government to make kuna more expensive during the summer tourist season, which it does every year.
ATMs are widely available all over the country, and you can pay with your Visa or Mastercard card almost anywhere. All you need is a debit, credit or travel card with a chip and a four digit PIN number.
What's in this guide?
- What should I budget for my trip to Croatia?
- Exchange rate history
- Travel card, debit card or credit card?
- How travel money products work in Croatia
- Compare travel credit cards
- Getting familiar with Croatian kuna
- Why you’ll need a combination of travel money options
- Cash pickup services in Croatia
- Get travel insurance quotes for your vacation in Croatia
What should I budget for my trip to Croatia?
During the summer season, along the coastal stretch, prices are much higher than the rest of the year. This can’t really be avoided, but if you are on a tight budget, you can scrape by staying in hostels and cheap hotels. On the other hand, if you have money to spend, Croatia is an excellent place to let loose and live a glamorous life, even for just a week.
|Basic costs||Mid-range||A luxury experience|
$95 per person
|Basic meal at a small restaurant|
|Meal at a mid-range restaurant|
$45 per person
|Walk around the city|
|A local city bike tour|
$25 per person
|Private sailing trip|
$160 per person
*Prices are approximate and subject to change.
Exchange rate history
Over the past 12 months, $1 will get you about 7HRK. While it’s extremely difficult to predict where forex rates will move in the future, over the past couple of years, changes in value between the two currencies will have had little or no significance for Americans visiting Croatia.Back to top
Travel card, debit card or credit card?
You shouldn’t have any trouble using your Visa or Mastercard in Croatia. American Express is also accepted, just in fewer places. To help avoid extra bank fees in Croatia, use a variety of cards and use each one for a specific purpose. Try to use a card that doesn’t charge a currency conversion fee and another that has no fee for ATM withdrawals — even better if you can find a card that has both features.
How to use a credit card in Croatia
A quick summary of travel money options in Croatia
|Travel money option||Pros||Considerations|
|Prepaid travel money cards|
|Credit cards for travel|
This table is a general summary of the travel money products in the market. Features and benefits can vary between cards.
How travel money products work in Croatia
The best way to spend in Croatia is to use a card with low or no currency conversion fees and no foreign ATM transaction fees — this allows you to withdraw, spend and use kuna.
Using debit cards
Banks that waive foreign ATM fees and currency conversion fees will save you the most on your trip to Croatia. You’ll find plenty of ATMs in Croatia, but you’ll be charged a user fee from the Croatian banks.
- Tip: When you’re making a purchase with your card, if you’re asked whether you want to pay in US dollars or kuna, always pay in the local currency. You’ll lose out on the exchange rate otherwise.
Using prepaid travel cards
There are no travel cards on the market which allow you to load, withdraw or spend kuna. So even if your travel card is loaded with a major international currency, currency conversion fees still apply (there are a few travel cards that don’t charge for currency conversion).
Using credit cards
There are a handful of credit cards which let you spend in another currency without paying the extra 3% foreign transaction fee. Carrying a credit card gives you the added benefit of travel insurance and discounts, depending on your provider. For added savings, take advantage of the interest-free period by paying your balance in full each month. Watch out for cash advance fees and extra charges if you make a withdrawal on credit, it’s one of the most expensive ways to get cash.
- Tip: Some credit cards offer complimentary international travel insurance when you charge the cost of your travel ticket to your card.
Using traveler’s checks
Don’t concern yourself with traveler’s checks, it is more hassle than it’s worth. Card payments are the norm in Croatia and card providers offer money back guarantees if you’re the victim of fraud.
Using an ATM
ATMs, called Bankomats, are easily found all over Croatia. When withdrawing a large sum of money, you may get stuck with large bills. The 500 kuna and even rarer 1,000 kuna will be tricky to change, especially from smaller shops. Try getting larger notes changed at a post office or in the bank of the ATM you used to make the withdrawal.
Paying with cash
Travelers to Croatia need to be prepared to spend the kuna. Even though euros are widely accepted, using euros rather than kuna will almost certainly leave you short-changed. Use kuna either by exchanging foreign currency, withdrawing from an ATM or by using credit or debit cards to make purchases.
If you’re concerned about exchanging money overseas, check out the option of sending cash to Croatia before your trip with an international money transfer service.
- Exchanging cash. Exchange booths (Mjenjacnica), banks and post offices are where you’ll be able to exchange currency — post offices and banks will be the most dependable.
- Exchanging currency. It is best to exchange foreign currency into kuna on the mainland. Tourist agencies and exchange offices are plentiful on the islands, but the rate is often poor.
- For road-trippers. One of the first things you see once you cross the border will be exchange booths. Only change enough to get you to the nearest town as these exchange booths are notorious for poor exchange rates. Make sure you have euro to change, it is by far the most accepted foreign currency for exchange.
- For jet-setters. Don’t get your money changed at the airport. If you need cash and don’t have kuna, just change a small amount to get you into town.
Compare travel credit cards
Case study: Phil's experience
An interview with Phil on the Croatian Coast
What cards did you take?
- Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard
- Charles Schwab debit card
Why did you take these cards?
- Barclaycard. The Barclaycard is his favorite card for travel. With no foreign transaction fees and rewards for hotel and flight purchases, he gets the most value from using this card on his travel. He used it mostly while he was on the TopDeck Croatian Sailing Cruise.
- Charles Schwab. He used this card because of it didn’t charge for using international ATMs and it waived foreign transaction fees. It even reimbursed him for ATMs that charged him a service fee.
Did you withdraw from ATMs?
He says he made multiple ATM withdrawals over three weeks and probably paid about $70 in ATM fees. But because his Charles Schwab account reimburse him, he was glad to get that money back. He says it was easy to find an ATM that accepted Visa and gave instructions in English.
Where could you use your cards?
There was no problem shopping at larger establishments such as supermarkets, restaurants and hotels. Phil and his friends did have to pay cash when they rented an apartment in Split. It was a private rental and the owner required cash in hand. Phil couldn’t use his card at markets, small restaurants and bars.
What do you think is the best way to take money to Croatia?
Phil says a debit card and a credit card combination are a good way to fund your vacation. He didn’t bother applying for a travel card because he says they’re pretty useless to use in Croatia.
- Load your card with your choice of 6 available currencies: Euros, British pounds, Australian dollars, Japanese yen, Canadian dollars, and Mexican pesos.
- Lock in your exchange rate.
- Use your card abroad at millions of locations.
Getting familiar with Croatian kuna
Why you’ll need a combination of travel money options
There are debit cards and credit cards that waive both the currency conversion and international ATM fees. Having a combination keeps you covered if you need credit or cash when you need it. Make the most of your trip in Croatia and organize your finances before you go. Compare the travel money products available to you to decide on the best way to take and spend money in Croatia.
Cash pickup services in Croatia
Get travel insurance quotes for your vacation in Croatia
Croatia offers travelers a chance to look into history. From the seaside castle walls of Dubrovnik — or the site of Kings Landing in Game of Thrones — to the old world charm of Zagreb, Croatia has many sights for tourists to see.
However, just like traveling anywhere Croatia presents a unique set of risks, which is why every travelers needs travel insurance. Travel insurance for Croatia covers:
- Lost luggage
- Missed connections
- Personal liability
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