Croatia is awash in traditional handicrafts such as embroidered goods, woodcarvings, and ceramics, all of which make for great souvenirs. The local shops are well stocked , and you are very likely to find everything you need: from international brands, designer clothing and accessories, to excellent local items, difficult to find antiquities and tasty food items.
One of the best places to look for gifts in Croatia include the Istrian region which offers scale models of the famous istarski kažun. This is a small Istrian field stone hut that people used to protect themselves from bad weather. Other possible buys might be the sopile and roženice, traditional musical instruments, as well as organic honey, olives and grapes, and different types of homemade liquors. In Gorski Kotar you might find some excellent jewellery boxes, wooden coats of arms, as well as ceramic objects, silk pieces and paintings. Under Velebit is famous for its souvenir Kula Nehaj, a small-size Nehaj Fortress, as well as for its Puži? (snail) figurines, the emblem of the Senj Summer Carnival. Further worthwhile buys might be lace and cheese from the island of Pag, as well as lavender from the island of Hvar. Shopping for gifts in the capital city is made easy by Zagreb County’s Basket of Souvenirs, an institution where you might find just about everything you might want to buy all in one place. Generally you should be aware that prices vary depending on the particular shop, so check several spots before making a purchase.
Shops are usually open from 8am until 8pm during weekdays, while on weekends they close early, at around 2pm or 3pm. Some shops in the larger cities are open on Sundays. The local currency is the Kuna (HRK; symbol Kn), available in denominations of 1,000, 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5 Kn. Foreign currency can safely be exchanged in banks, by authorised dealers and post offices. The receipt issued for each exchange transaction (Receipt for the Purchase of Foreign Means of Payment) is very important. A copy of the receipt is given to the customer and it should remain with them until they leave the country. The foreign traveller can then convert unused Kunas back into their currency after presenting the receipt. This type of transaction can be only be done at banks. Upon departure, visitors can reclaim Value Added Tax (VAT) on expenditures of more than 500 Kn. Just make sure that receipts are retained after your purchases, as the local financial police have the right to impose a fine on visitors lacking the relevant documents. This measure aims to prevent VAT evasion by shopkeepers.
The most widely accepted credit cards include American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa. More precisely , Diners and MasterCard cards are accepted at the offices of Zagreba?ka banka, while Privredna banka Zagreb works with MasterCard and with AmeX. The major place for the Visa card is HVB Splitska banka, and corresponding ATMs are ubiquitous. The ATMs of Zagreba?ka banka accept EuroCard and MasterCard, while the ATMs of Euronet also accept Diners, American Express and Visa.
Most banks accept traveller's cheques. If you wish to avoid additional exchange rate charges, you might want to take traveller’s cheques in US dollars, pounds sterling or in euros. You should be aware that products and services in Croatia cannot be paid directly with travelers cheques. These must first be cashed in exchange offices into the local currency. Bank drafts issued by well-known international banks can also be drawn in Croatian banks for Croatian Kunas. Personal cheques are unacceptable as means of direct payment, but they can be cashed in almost all of the local banks. However, we strongly recommend that you bring cash in some widely accepted currency, such as USD and/or EUR.