Large historic man-made pieces of architecture tend to be a major tourist drawcard for most cities and Mostar is no different. Often referred to as Bosnia and Herzegovina’s “cultural capital”, it’s the majestic reconstructed Stari Most (Old Bridge) that enchants visitors from around the world. Like many other Bosnian cities, Mostar wears scars from the armed conflict in the 1990s.
But the medieval city has been rebuilt, attracting day trippers from neighbouring Croatia as well as visitors passing through the Balkans. Come and spend 24 hours in Mostar to walk the cobbled lanes of the old town and be welcomed by the locals. Discover Kujundžiluk (‘gold alley’), where cafes serve Turkish coffee, trinket sellers display brass tea sets and artists sell homemade wares. Dive into the city’s past and take a short drive to explore the surrounding area.
24 HOURS IN MOSTAR
WHAT TO SEE IN MOSTAR
The main attraction is the Mostar Stari Most (“Old Bridge”), the beautiful historic Ottoman-style bridge which crosses the Neretva river. The bridge you see and can cross today is a reconstruction of the original which stood in the city for 427 years until the bombing of the city during the Croat-Bosniak war in 1993. The UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the most exemplary pieces of Islamic architecture in the Balkans. If you’re fortunate, you may witness young men of the Mostar Diving Club dive off the 21m high bridge.
TIP: Wear sturdy walking shoes. All the reviews and recommendations are valid as the stones are slippery from the wear and tear of millions of visitors. There are “steps” to help guide you.
Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque
Mostar’s second largest mosque is among the city’s most famous symbols, as its minaret features in many photos of the Stari Most. It’s also arguably the most “popular” as visitors are welcome to enter the mosque and climb the minaret for 12km (6 euros). Offering a top-notch view of the Stari Most as well as panoramic views of the city, we’d recommend going early in the day or in between prayer times to beat the crowds.
Shop the bazaars in the Old Town
The Old Town is quite compact so impatient visitors may argue that there is not much to see in Mostar. To us, it provides the perfect setting to observe Mostar slowly, engaging all of our senses and practicing our street photography.
On each side of the Stari Most, you’ll find stalls selling a range of trinkets. From brass or copper Turkish coffee sets and handmade jewellery, to souvenir magnets and fake designer goods, it’s an ideal opportunity to pick up an inexpensive memento of your visit.
Kravica (Kravice) Waterfalls
When you’re conducting your research of what to do in Mostar, don’t forget the surrounding region. Croatia doesn’t have all the beautiful waterfalls. Kravica waterfalls (often erroneously called Kravice) is fast becoming a hotspot for travellers to Herzegovina. Approximately 40 minutes drive (40 kilometres/25 miles) from Mostar, Kravice is a popular swimming and picnic area. Parking is free but there is an entrance fee where Bosnian Marks, Croatian Kuna and Euros are accepted. We paid 25 kuna each (approx €4 or 6km) before walking down the paved zigzag path to the waterfalls.
There is a mini-train service which drives up and down the hill for €1 each way if you are unable or do not wish to walk. At the base of the lake, there are a few restaurants and cafes with limited options. Keep this in mind depending on the time of day you visit. Toilet facilities are also available. Unfortunately, there are no public transport options to Kravica. If you have not hired a car, there are tour companies which offer day trips from Mostar or you can hire a taxi to and from Mostar.
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK IN MOSTAR
The reviews on Tripadvisor, Foursquare and Google do not lie. If you want to know where to eat in Mostar, this is THE place you MUST visit. This successful family-run restaurant dishes up some of the BEST Bosnian food in the country. From cevapi to mezze platters for two, you’ll eat like royalty but feel like you’re in your grandmother’s kitchen.
Tourists will queue until a table becomes available and it’s definitely worth the wait. Servings are more than generous, the service is swift and warm and you can fill two bellies with a mezze platter and a bottle of beer each for less than €20. Do not miss eating at Tima-Irma when you visit Mostar; you won’t regret or forget it.
Black Dog Pub
A bit grungy-looking from the outside but full of character on the inside. Check out Black Dog Pub to sample some of its craft beers. Old number plates are bolted to the columns, flags adorn the ceilings and currency from around the world decorates the bar. Squishy couches inside and a beer garden outside mean there is plenty of room to sit and drink. Live music from around 8.30pm.
HOW TO GET TO MOSTAR
WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT MOSTAR
€, kn or KM
The official currency of Bosnia and Herzegovina is the Bosnian Convertible Marka (BAM). Fortunately, given Mostar’s proximity to the border with Croatia as well as the increasing number of tourists, most businesses accept Croatian Kuna and/or Euros as legal tender. You can obtain Bosnian Marka at exchange offices or banks, but there are also several ATMs placed around town.
The Early Bird Gets The Worm
If you’re not a morning person and you plan to spend a night in Mostar, take heed when selecting your accommodation. Catholicism and Islam are practiced in the city but it’s the first adhan (call to prayer) at dawn that you will hear first from a minaret which may wake you unexpectedly.
Red Bull Gives You Wings - No, not really
With a diving tradition stretching back 450 years, it is befitting that since 2015, Stari Most has been one of the tour stops in the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. The Stari Most is the only location where elite divers perform breath-taking acrobatics leaping off a UNESCO heritage listed monument.