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We are planning to travel to fairly rural Croatia for 2 weeks staying in Plitvice lakes then Pula. We had to pay for the accommodation in Pula with Euros and as such was wondering weather it would be worth primarily bringing Euros in Croatia instead of Kuna. Online research seemed to suggest that we are better with Kuna and some people seemed to be seemed to be saying it would be best to bring sterling and change it to Kuna when we arrive, we land into Rijeka airport and it appears that the facilities there are limited - as we are getting a coach transfer we wont get chance to visit the city after the flight.

Question:

How frequently is the Euro accepted and what sort of rate would I generally expect to achieve? And how frequently are debit/credit cards accepted?

  • 2
    I would use my bank card to withdraw kunas from a bank machine in the airport. In my experience that gives the best rate, though I haven't done a fresh comparison in many years. In any event, a bank machine in the airport (from a real bank rather than a money-changing outfit) will give you the same terms as one of the same bank's machines in a town or city. If you pay with euros you can expect a poor exchange rate amounting to a premium of several percent. – phoog Aug 1 '16 at 14:50
  • If you take cash, bring your own or some left over from an earlier stop in a longer travel. Do not change money to an other currency to change it again. I would bring at most for the first day in the local money and get the rest out of the bank. I bring my own money (euro in my case) and/or left over main currency (pound or US dollar) for emergency money, to change for cash if machines fail for whatever reason. (Note, I have not been to Croatia.) – Willeke Aug 1 '16 at 16:39
  • See also: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/51585/… – user24582 Aug 2 '16 at 11:16
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You need cash for many small transactions in Croatia (most kiosks/independent bakeries, some fast food), but not for most hotels, international chain stores, and restaurants. I'd normally recommend just using a credit/debit card with a low foreign transaction fee to withdraw cash from ATM's as needed. This is true in general, not just in Croatia: except in situations where you specifically need to bring lots of cash from abroad (such as in countries with special financial situations like Iran), you almost always come out ahead just using ATM's.

If you're sure you'll need cash immediately and won't be able to visit an ATM early on, I'd suggest bringing Croatian kuna (HRK). Euros are widely accepted for things like guided tours and hotels, as you'd expect in a small EU country with lots of tourism; as you'd also expect, the rates usually aren't the fairest. The kuna is the national currency, and, in countries with highly developed financial infrastructure (like Croatia), you want to use the national currency as a tourist. Some prices (such as for hotels) are quoted in euros to protect against currency volatility and/or save tourists from having to do mental math, but they should accept kuna at the market rate.

  • In my experience it's not uncommon to find restaurants that take only cash. I don't remember seeing a taxi that could accept payment with a card. I haven't been in Croatia since the summer of 2013, though, when they joined the EU. Things may have changed in the last 3 years, but I somehow doubt that they've changed very significantly. – phoog Aug 2 '16 at 9:30
  • I agree, and that's what I meant to write, but I was careless and wrote an answer quickly on my phone. Clarified. (I don't know about taxis--those are going cashless fast in many countries, and three years is a long time--but you do still need cash for many small transactions.) – davidvc Aug 2 '16 at 10:20

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