HBO’s hit Game of Thrones has spurred on an influx tourists to gorgeous Croatia. But you’ll find so many other reasons to make your way to its sapphire shores.
To enjoy all that Croatia offers, you’ll need a combination of cash and credit cards while traveling. Plastic is accepted throughout Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik and other larger cities.
Smaller cities and establishments on the mainland and island — especially konoba or family inns sprinkled across the country — accept cash only. Some apartment owners might even insist that you secure your room with a cash deposit, especially during the country’s peak tourist season. You might even entice a discount from vendors that prefer Croatian kuna.
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While traveling in Croatia, you’ll want to use a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. Thankfully, most good travel cards don’t charge these fees.
Which credit card issuers are accepted in Croatia?
You can avoid carrying large amounts of cash by relying on your credit and debit cards in larger cities.
In addition to prime spots at airports, ATMs in Croatian cities and towns are easy to find in banks and supermarkets.
Does Croatia accept the euro?
No. Though the country became a part of the European Union in 2013, Croatia hasn’t yet adopted the euro.
To attract travelers from the EU, local Croatian businesses might accept payment in euros. Some taxis, accommodations and restaurants advertise their rates in euros. But euros aren’t legal tender in Croatia, which means no business is obligated to accept them.
Should I use my card to get cash?
Called Bancomats in Croatia, ATMs are readily found in banks, stores and even larger hotels. Most accept major credit cards, but you’ll want to reserve using your card at an ATM for emergencies.
Unless your bank partners with a Croatian bank, credit card withdrawals are usually processed as cash advances that attract fees as high as $10 or 3% of your withdrawal amount — or more with some cards.
To avoid penalties that come with cash advances, use your debit card to withdraw money at ATMs. Or apply for a card that waives transaction fees internationally, like the debit card that comes with a Schwab High Yield Investor Checking Account.
Is it safe to use my card in Croatia?
You can use your credit card in Croatia without safety concerns by taking a few basic precautions.
- Keep your PIN safe. When entering your PIN at an ATM or card reader, use one hand to cover it from hidden cameras and people around you.
- Choose ATMs carefully. Look for machines in banks or well-lit areas, and avoid those in isolated neighborhoods, especially at night.
- Cancel your transaction if anything’s awry. A card skimmer can steal your valuable card information without you even noticing. If your machine’s card slot or keypad raises an eyebrow, cancel your withdrawal and contact your provider.
General tips on keeping safe
Crime levels in Croatia are low, but you’ll want to remain vigilant to street crime — especially during the summer tourist season. Keep an eye out in busy areas, where you could encounter pickpockets.
Don’t leave your wallet or bag unattended, and watch your belongings especially at the beach. While you’re traveling — especially if traveling solo — wear modest jewelry to avoid attracting the eyes of thieves.
Magstripe and chip credit cards
Much of Europe has move toward chip cards, but both chip and magstripe cards are widely accepted in Croatia.
Even if a business’s card reader is designed for chip cards, you should be able to swipe your magstripe card. Simply swipe your card, enter your PIN and sign your receipt.
What if I don’t have a chip card?
If you don’t have a chip card, you might want to ask your bank to replace your magstripe card. While credit card skimming and cloning scams are rare in Croatia, a chip card can provide stronger protection against fraud — and better peace of mind.
Where can I find a travel card that doesn’t come with fees?Each time you swipe or dip your credit card overseas, you’ll typically pay a foreign transaction fee equal to about 2% to 3% of your purchase amount.
One way to save more money for sightseeing is to apply for a no-fee travel card. Look into these flexible travel cards that can take fees off the table for travelers — and may offer extra incentives for you to get out into the world.
How should I prepare before my trip?
As you plan to relax and unwind on the beautiful Croatian beaches, make sure you’ll be able to use your credit cards without a hitch.
1. Get a card with no foreign transaction fees. This is one fee you can easily avoid, provided you apply for a card offering no foreign transaction fees.
2. Keep your card provider in the loop. Banks don’t like losing money to fraud, and so they won’t hesitate to block your card temporarily if they see unexpected overseas purchases. Avoid this by informing your provider of your travel plans.
3. Carry important phone numbers. Lost and stolen cards aren’t uncommon while traveling. Have important provider numbers handy so that you can call in a pinch.
4. Know where you’ll get cash. ATMs are abundant across Croatia. Exchange US dollars for Croatian kuna at banks or currency exchange centers, and call your bank about partnerships it might have with networks in Croatia for free withdrawals.
By thinking ahead, you’ll be in the perfect position to relax while taking in the natural drama of Dalmatia and beyond.
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