Spending unfamiliar currency in an unfamiliar country can be daunting, particularly if you’ve never done it before. While changing your pounds and pence for the local equivalent is essential, learning how and where to use it while you’re abroad can be just as important! If you aren’t up to speed on things like exchange rates or where to get hold of extra cash while you’re on your break, here’s everything you need to know about Croatian currency!
What is the Official Currency in Croatia?
Despite Croatia joining the EU in 2013, it has retained its original currency, which is the Croatian Kuna. You’ll see it represented as Kn or HRK. The word ‘Kuna’ means ‘pine marten’ in Croatian, the fur of which was used as payment by Croats, hundreds of years ago. Despite this, you can still use Euros to pay for some items, including accommodation, transport and in some restaurants.
Finding the Low and the High Notes
Lesser value Kuna (1Kn, 2Kn and 5Kn) are round, silver coins, each embellished with the picture of an animal. To make things easier for those with visual impairments, the coins are notably different in size, allowing users to ‘feel’ which denomination of Croatian currency they are spending. Larger value Kuna (10Kn, 20Kn, 50Kn and, 100Kn, 200Kn and 500Kn) are paper notes, each depicting the portrait of a famous Croatian, such as Stjepan Radic, a 20th Century politician.
While there are 1000Kn notes in circulation, these are extremely rare. In addition, these Kuna are very different in colour, making it easy for both the fully-sighted and the visually-impaired to distinguish between them. It’s worth remembering that many shops simply don’t have the change to deal with the larger notes, so you can make your life a lot easier by carrying only smaller denominations of the currency in Croatia.
Using Croatian Coins
Much like the British Pound and Pennies, one Kuna equals 100 Lipa. These are available as 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50. The smaller denominations are made from metal alloy, while the larger ones are made from bronze-plated steel. These bear the picture of a coat of arms and, unlike the Kuna coins, have smooth edges. Kuna coins have milled edges so that the difference between them can be felt, as well as seen. While the currency in Croatia might be unfamiliar at first, paying for items with the right change can help you avoid coming home with a load of useless tender. Lipa coins are too small in worth for banks in the UK to convert them back into Sterling.
Cards and Bank Charges
Traveller’s cheques were once an easy way to get Croatian currency, but they’re falling out of favour. Credit and debit cards are a much better bet. There are plenty of ATMs in the larger towns and cities. If you do use an ATM, don’t select the option that allows you to be charged for withdrawal in Sterling. This is a procedure known as ‘Dynamic Currency Conversion’, which allows the ATM to give you a lower exchange rate. Instead, choose to be charged in the Croatian Currency