Important upcoming changes for Croatia travel—Croatia joins the Schengen Zone and adopts the Euro 1 January 2023
My travels in Croatia came at the end of two eras: the use of the Croatian kuna as currency and Croatia’s exclusion from the Schengen Zone. Starting 1 January 2023, Croatia joins the Schengen Zone and adopts the Euro. Croatia’s addition to the Schengen Zone was announced on 8 December 2022.
What does this mean?
This eases movement between countries within the Schengen Zone, and it also means that you will use the Euro in Croatia instead of a separate currency when traveling in Croatia. Below is information on exchanging your kunas and the implications of Croatia joining the Schengen Zone for long-term travelers.
Croatia adopts the Euro 1 January 2023
Starting 1 January 2023, the Croatian kuna (HRK) will be replaced by the Euro (EUR) as the official currency of Croatia.
Exchanging your kunas
If you’re traveling in Croatia, spend down your kunas now. Otherwise, change them at a Croatian bank before you leave to make things easier. You will be able to exchange kunas in a Croatian bank through 2023. While there is no expiration date for bills, but coins will not be able to be exchanged after 2026.
What does this mean for prices?
There are measures in place to help prevent drastic price increases in Croatia, as a result of converting to the Euro, but my guess is prices would rise somewhat. On the bright side, this means no more weird Kuna Math (worth about $.14 or €.13; or 1 euro =HRK 7,53450). I don’t know about you, but I found Kuna Math confusing.
For more information, I found this site helpful.
Croatia joins the Schengen Zone January 2023—implications for travelers
Starting 1 January 2023, Croatia joins the Schengen Zone. This has important implications for travelers outside of Schengen-Zone countries, particularly those traveling long-term.
According to the press release from the European Council announcing Croatia’s admission to the Schengen Zone:
From 1 January 2023, checks on persons at internal land and sea borders between Croatia and the other countries in the Schengen Zone will be lifted. Checks at internal air borders will be lifted from 26 March 2023, given the need for this to coincide with the dates of IATA summer/winter time schedule. From 1 January 2023 Croatia will also start to issue Schengen visas and will be able to make full use of the Schengen Information System.
What Croatia joining the Schengen Zone means to you as a traveler
While Croatia joining the Schengen Zone will make it easier to travel from one country to another (think crossing the land border from Croatia to Slovenia, or flying from Dubrovnik to Paris), it does have some important implications for long-term travel.
Travel in Croatia will count toward the 90-day limit in any 180-day period for the Schengen Zone for US travelers, meaning that there are now fewer options in Europe for staying long-term without having to apply for a visa. Croatia does have a digital nomad visa option if you wish to stay in Croatia longer (and can fulfill the requirements).
ETIAS required for travel to Croatia, starting in November 2023
Travelers entering the Schengen Zone, including Croatia, who do not currently need a visa (find the list of countries here), will be required to register with the ETIAS system, starting in November 2023. Information about the requirements for US citizens can be found here.
If you have questions about your ability to travel in Croatia and for how long, be sure to check with trusted government sources, as information can change. This is meant as a PSA for you as a traveler.