The unit of currency in Croatia is the Croatian kuna, which was introduced to the newly independent country in 1994, replacing the Yugoslav dinar at a rate of 1 kuna for 1000 dinar.
Kuna literally means 'marten', a throwback to earlier times when the currency of the region was animal skins and marten pelts were considered valuable. One kuna is sub-divided into 100 lipa (which means linden tree).
Foreign Currency Exchange and Buying Kuna
Planning a holiday to Croatia requires some currency management. Kuna can be purchased in foreign banks and at selected bureau de change prior to travel, but the exchange rates tend to be worse than those available on arrival in Croatia.
Croatian banks dispense kuna to foreign cards from their cash machines, but a slightly better rate is sometimes obtainable by buying the currency over the counter with a card.
Cash withdrawal per ATM transaction vary from bank to bank, but are in the region of 1,600 - 2,000 kuna. Dollars, Euro and Pound sterling are all widely accepted in the banks for cash exchange.
The most common foreign currency in use in Croatia is the Euro, which can be used instead of the local currency in many cases, especially in the tourist areas on the coast, where bars, restaurants and even supermarkets will accept Euro on request.
The exchange rate tends to be slightly lower, however, with 1 euro converted at 7 kuna, whereas the normal exchange rate fluctuates between 7.1 and 7.5.
Using Kuna Outside Croatia
Although the Croatian kuna is not a 'hard' currency as such, it is widely accepted in Western Bosnia, in the ethnically Croat region of Herzegovina.
This includes the coastal town of Neum, through which travellers from Split to Dubrovnik must pass - with prices lower in Bosnia, Neum is a good place to stock up on supplies. The generally accepted exchange rate is 4 kuna to the Bosnian Mark, about 10% higher than the rate in the bank.
Croatian Kuna Exchange Rates
The kuna is closely aligned to the euro and the exchange rate between the two currencies rarely moves more than 3% from 7.3 kuna to the euro.
The weakening of the pound is reflected in a 2002 exchange rate of 11.5 kuna dipping to below 8 kuna in 2010. It is currently around 8.5. The US dollar fluctuates between 5 and 6 kuna to the dollar.
Croatian Coins and Banknotes
Croatian coins coming in the following denominations - 5, 2 and 1 kuna, and 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 lipa. A mildly interesting curiosity about Croatian coins is that those minted in odd years are named after plants and animals in Croatian, whereas those in even years are named in Latin.
Bank notes reflect glorious characters of Croatian history, with towns of Croatia on the back (in brackets below):
1000 kuna Ante Starcevic (Statue of King Tomislav and Zagreb Cathedral) 500 kuna Marko Marulic (Diocletian's Palace in Split) 200 kuna Stjepan Radic (The army buiding in Tvrdja, Osijek) 100 kuna Ban Ivan Maћuranic (St. Vitus Cathedral in Rijeka) 50 kuna Ivan Gundulic (Old City of Dubrovnik) 20 kuna Ban Josip Jelacic (Eltz Manor in Vukovar) 10 kuna Bishop Juraj Dobrila (Pula Arena and Town Plan of Motovun) 5 kuna Fran Krsto Frankopan and Petar Zrinski (Old Town Fort in Varaћdin)