The BEST Things to Do in Mostar, Bosnia
On my journey to every country in the world, I spent 5 or 6 months visiting every country in Europe. I had just finished traveling in Croatia, and while there are cool things to do in Split, and even more things to do in Dubrovnik, Croatia just seemed overdone. So many tourists. So many tour guides. You know what I mean. And then I moved on from Croatia to Mostar, Bosnia, and it was a breath of fresh air. I didn’t know what to expect, would there even be any things to do in Mostar?!
Bosnia was involved in a bloody civil war just 20 years ago as they broke away from the former Yugoslavia and the country still bears the scars to this day. Mostar was a scene for many of those battles and as you wander the streets you see bullet holes strewn across buildings at every corner. It’s a sobering reminder about how lucky we are to have grown up in Western Europe, North America or ANZ.
Despite its history, Mostar has flourished in recent years, partly due to its proximity to Croatia. The Old Town and Old bridge here are UNESCO listed world heritage sites and rightly so. The town itself is pretty small (100,000 people) so you can traverse it on foot pretty easily. It’s found in a deep valley, with towering mountains all around, really quite spectacular. I spent 2 nights here, and that was about right. Spend your first day exploring the city, and make sure you check out the best things to do in Mostar:
Where is Mostar, Bosnia?
Mostar is in Bosnia. Just 2.5 hours from Split, Croatia’s Capital, and 90 minutes south of Sarajevo, Bosnia’s capital.
How to Get to Mostar?
Most people get to Mostar from Sarajevo, or from Split. There are regular buses from Sarajevo, each hour. Also from Dubrovnik, Split, Zagreb and Belgrade.
There is also a twice-daily train from Sarajevo, that’s probably the coolest way to do it. Some people come to Mostar as a day-trip from Croatia cities, or from Sarajevo, but honestly it’s a gorgeous town, so why not stay for a night or 2.
Mostar Old Bridge (Stari Most)
The centre of everything in Mostar.. The UNESCO bridge was rebuilt after getting destroyed during the civil war in the early nineties but it’s back with a vengeance. It’s been rebuilt and is now ridiculously cute. What’s not cute however is the local tradition of diving off it, all 21m into the freezing cold river below. If you pay the local dudes who linger around there, they’ll show you how it’s done. Now are you man enough to do it?! (Note: I forget my swimshorts, so couldn’t do it, that was the reason, and that’s’ the end of it!)
Mostar Old Town
Equally as beautiful as the bridge but perhaps without the drama of potentially diving to your death. The old town harks back to the Ottoman empire, with its Turkishesque bazaars, colourful narrow streets and impressive mosques. It’s a postcard in reality.
Mostar Free Walking Tour
April through to September, twice a day at 9.30 and 5pm. Meet outside the Hammam Museum in Old Town
Pay your Respect while you Walk the ‘Front Line’, where the Croats and Bosnias Faced Off
In the 90s, the Croats on the West, and Bosniaks on the East. Bulevar Revolucije was literally the front line. Blown up buildings, littered with bullet holes, serve as a reminded as to what happened here.
Beautiful views of Mostar await you if you make it to the top of the hill with the huge cross. It’s about a 90 minute (pretty boring) hike to the top, but you can take a taxi most of the way if pushed for time. Check out the warnings for mines. It’s a sombre tip of the cap to just how recently Bosnia was a warzone. The hill was used for snipers throughout the conflict. Now though, it’s serene religious spot, with breathtaking views. A much-improved situation.
The truly heartbreaking reality of the war. What used to simply be Mostar park needed to be transformed into a makeshift cemetery when the death toll began to rise. You can pay your respects at what is now Mostar Cemetary.
The most beautiful Ottoman house in all of the Balkans. It’s fully preserved and shows a great little video about Mostar bridge. A delightful little gem, this one.
Not strictly Mostar, I know. 40kms, about an hour, south of Mostar are the Balkans most epic waterfalls. The Kravice waterfalls. Don’t miss them!
Best Time to Visit Mostar?
It’s in the Balkans, so that means it follows traditional European seasons. Cold winters, but nice Spring, Summer and Autumn (Fall). So anything from late March through to late September is a great time to visit Mostar.
Visiting Mostar from Dubrovnik:
You can book a day trip from Dubrovnik to Mostar here, INCLUDING THE KRAVICE falls for about $50 from Dubrovnik, and back again.
Visiting Mostar from Split:
You can book a day trip from Split to Mostar here, INCLUDING THE KRAVICE falls for about $70 from Split, and back again.
Final Thoughts on Visiting Mostar
First, do the Mostar Old Bridge jump. I didn’t do it and I regret it so much! Secondly, don’t miss beautiful Mostar on your Croatia trip. You can easily manage a day or two to escape the tourists and come somewhere a bit more off the beaten track, right? Oh, and don’t miss the Kravice waterfalls ok?!
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