We often get asked questions about the currency here in Croatia, how much things like food and drinks cost, and how much cash to carry around at any given time. All very valid questions! Especially when you are all set to sail the Croatian islands, as ATM’s are not necessarily available at all of the villages and even if they are, with the influx of summer tourists, ATM’s are often emptied out very quickly.
Having some knowledge about the currency and money situation before you hit the ground in a new country can help you to be prepared and know in a general sense what to expect.
THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT CROATIAN KUNA:
The local currency here in Croatia is the kuna. 1 Kuna is made of 100 lipa. Lipa has its own coin denominations: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50. All are silver colour, except 5 and 10 Lipa which are golden.
Shop keepers will often ask you for the correct change, or as close as you have. In tourist season, most visitors only have large notes to spend, even when buying an 11 kuna ice-cream, and shop keepers appreciate it when you have change to give them.
Hot tip: Even if you’re not familiar with the coins, simply hold out whatever change you have in your hand and the person serving you will generally pick out whatever coins they need.
Interesting fact: When it comes to likenesses printed on the Croatian Kuna, all are men of power. Statesmen, politicians, dukes, but no women. Hmmm…
Exchange booths (called ‘mjenjacnica’), banks and post offices will change euros, American dollars, Australian dollars, Pounds, Serbian dinar, Hungarian forint and Swiss francs. Other currencies are harder to change and it pays to ask around to find an exchange booth that will take Chinese RMB, for example. Post offices and banks are usually the most dependable places to get your money changed, or you can do so at the airport before or after your flight. On the islands, your exchange options are more limited. Tourist agencies and exchange offices are plentiful on the islands, but the rate is often unfavourable. For this reason, it is best to exchange foreign currency into kuna on the mainland.
Despite what other travel advisories state, Euro’s are generally NOT accepted as payment here in Croatia, especially not at the smaller kiosks and konoba’s (konoba: a small traditional style tavern-like restaurant). The odd establishment may accept your Euro’s but the conversion is entirely up to the person serving you which means you often pay more than you would have had you paid in kuna. For this reason, we don’t recommend trying to use Euro’s here. Sometimes prices will be written in Euro’s, for day excursions, adventure trips, boat rides and the like. This is often to make it easier for foreigners to understand a relative value, as most tourists who visit Croatia are also likely traveling to other European countries. If the prices are stated in Euro’s, it is best to ask if this means that they accept payment in Euro’s. Asking is always easier than presuming!
We have found that for the most part here in Croatia, cash is king. Whether you are shopping in the pazar (the open air fruit and vegetable market), grabbing a quick coffee from a local caffe or sampling the local seafood offerings caught fresh and cooked fresh at a konoba, cash will always be your best bet. You can still mostly pay by card for meals, and you are more likely to get a cheeky discount if you pay by cash! It’s always recommended to have cash on your person. And at larger hotels and fancier restaurants, paying by card is absolutely fine.
As mentioned in the introduction, we aways recommend withdrawing cash in the larger towns or cities, because many of the smaller villages that we visit on the island have either no ATM (ATM in Croatia is ‘bankomat’) or only one ATM that doesn’t get restocked with cash as fast as it gets withdrawn from! If you’re unsure as to which of our planned stops will have ATM’s available for your use and which stops you may need to have extra cash for, please feel free to ask your Skipper or Hostess who will be able to advise you according to your specific itinerary.
Tipping in Croatia is purely up to your discretion and is generally only done in service based industries, such as caffe/bars, restaurants, tours and on board buses or boats. In restaurants tipping is approximately up to 10%. If you are tipping, leave your tip in cash, even if you’re paying by credit card. In cafes and bars, we recommend tipping by rounding up to the nearest round figure. We remind all of our guests that they should tip what they are comfortable with and what they think is deserving based on the service that they receive.
WHAT THINGS COST:
In our opinion, Croatia is like many places, things can be as cheap or as expensive as you want them to be! Where Croatia differs to many other countries we have travelled to, is that there is a wide range of domestic products available that are often better quality and cheaper than what can be found in the supermarket or on the main thoroughfare. This goes for things like wine, olive oil, fruit, vegetables, and even goes for lunches and dinner. The general rule is the more mainstream it looks to you as a foreigner, the more expensive it is likely to be! Wandering off the beaten path is always recommended, asking your driver where he recommends for dinner is smart thinking and not being afraid to get a little lost often results in discovering hidden treasure down back alleys. Check out the tabs below to get a more specific idea of what common things cost.
The price of food can vary from a cheap and cheerful local čevapi burger to take away for about 40 kuna, to a sit down local meal at a konoba that can range from 70 kuna for a pasta, up to 100 kuna for a pizza and over 100 kuna for specialty meals like steak and seafood. OR you can dine out at a higher end restaurant for around 250 kuna (or more!) per person.
Catching a taxi in Croatia can be a stressful experience if you are not prepared. Taxi’s in Croatia (and especially Dalmatia) tend to fall into two categories: official taxi’s and grey area taxi’s. Official taxi’s may use their metre but it is not necessarily a given, especially when the trip is a standard one, such as from Marina Kaštela to Split airport which tends to be 150 kuna in a regular taxi for up to four persons. Often these standard trips come with a set price. It is recommended to discuss and agree upon a price before you get into the taxi. Please be aware that most taxi’s only accept payment in cash, and if you do not have the correct amount of cash in kuna, you may end up paying more!
Coffee (or ‘kava’ in Croatian) generally ranges from 10-25 kuna, depending on whether you drink espresso, Americano or something more milky like a latte or cappuccino. In most local style caffe, the coffee orders tend to be simple and to the point: coffee with milk, double coffee with milk, small coffee with milk and coffee, no milk. If you’re lucky, you might come across a specialty coffee location like our favourites in Split, D16 and 4coffee Soul Food (blogs on these fab locations coming soon!), that have a few fancy tricks up their sleeve. D16 also does the beloved Kiwi Flat White and house made almond milk!
It is impossible to talk Croatian holidays without talking about local beer and wine. A standard Croatian beer (Karlovačko or Ožujsko are common Croatian choices) at a konoba or caffe/bar will set you back about 15 kuna, while a foreign beer or a local craft beer can range from 20-40 kuna. We always recommend tasting the house wine when you are out for dinner. House wine often comes with a good story about who made the wine (it’s not unusual for the wine to be made by a family member or a close friend!) and a much cheaper price point than anything on the wine list. You can expect wines from the wine list to set you back about 140 kuna or more with imported wines generally being the most expensive, while a litre carafe of house wine is generally about 80-100 kuna.
Sightseeing tours and getting inside access to some of the incredible history and natural beauty that Croatia is home to can vary in price depending on popularity and season. Tickets to get into the Hvar fortress is only 25 kuna per person, 20 kuna per person for Klis fortress overlooking Split and 50 kuna per person for the amphitheater in Pula. Sightseeing tours and single day boat/bus tours are often priced in Euro’s as they are more expensive and can vary a lot depending on how many sights you will be squeezing into the tour!
Buying at the supermarket might be more familiar, but here in Croatia it doesn’t necessarily work out cheaper! We tend to recommend buying local items like bread, cheese, vegetables and olive oil from the bakeries and fresh markets, if you are lucky enough to have these nearby. If you don’t, buying from a supermarket can be made much easier if you buy things like bread, cheese and meats from the deli. To give you an idea of the cost of other things you might be buying, milk is approximately 6 kuna per litre, Coke generally does for about 10 kuna for a 2 litre bottle, a packet of potato chips (or crisps, as our friends in the UK would call them!) is around 10 kuna, depending on whether you buy a local brand or not. Because, just like many countries, domestic brands are always going to be cheaper than imported brands!