One Day In Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

by Mar 13, 2019Bosnia & Herzegovina, Instagram, Stopovers & Layovers4 comments

I’ve had a picture of the Old Bridge on the storage unit above the desk in my office for as long as I can remember – well at least since 2013. That year, one of the places I visited was Turkey and for that leg of the trip, I flew with Turkish Air which as a result I was given a promotional calendar with pictures of all the places they fly to. Naturally, I cut out all the pictures of the places I’ve been and the places I still need to go and stuck them on the storage unit above my desk.
One of the pictures was a beautiful shot of the Old Bridge. I love bridges. There is something symbolic about them. They connect people, connect land, connect counties, cross borders so we can share stories, share food, share ideas and stay connected. It’s really what I’m all about, who I strive to be when I travel and what I hope to accomplish with this blog. Damn, I can be so poetic at times, I even amaze myself. Spending One Day In Mostar is like a dream, another item checked off my bucket list of dreams!
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History of Mostar

& the Bridge of Mostar

The ‘Don’t Forget’ signs are found all around the Town of Mostar and are a reminder of the damage, the pain, and the courage to rebuild after the 1990s conflict.
  • Historically, Mostar was the capital of Herzegovina, surrounded by mountains with the Neretva river running through it.
  • Although it was first mentioned in 1452, the high light as I mentioned earlier is the bridge which in 1566 the Turks replaced the wooden suspension bridge with a stone arch one – I’m not going to lie, I would have a small washroom accident if I needed to cross that bridge as a wooden suspension bridge.
  • The name Mostar comes from Serbo-Croatian word most which mean “bridge”). The stone bridge considered a masterpiece of Ottoman engineering had a single arch of 27 metres (90 feet) wide.
  • In November 1993, the bride was destroyed during the Bosnian civil war. It was rebuilt and reopened in 2004 and added to UNESCO’s world heritage list.

Where is Mostar & Getting There

Sarajevo To Mostar

By bus There are two bus stations in Mostar with the main one in walking distance to the historic center. Buses run about every hour and take approximately 2,5 hours.   I personally find it difficult to ride a bus more an hour as I start getting motion sickness but I have to admit – the journey from Sarajevo to Mostar is quite scenic. Especially once you pass Konjic and especially if you sitting on the right side (which I happened to be). You will be treated with gorgeous views of Lake Jablanica and the Neretva river.
By train There are two trains that run from Sarajevo to Mostar. Those who know me, know I prefer trains but at 07:01 and 14:26 departure times I found that both too early to leave Sarajevo and too early to leave Mostar. Unfortunately for me, I was told the scenery on the train is stunning; passing through rugged terrain, tunnels, U-turns and viaducts. It’s also cheaper.   By car Mostar is pretty easy to get to from Western Europe through Croatia. From Zagreb, you take the A1 highway towards Split and from Sarajevo, much like the train and bus option, it’s a scenic two hour drive through the Neretva river valley. By plane Mostar International Airport (IATA: OMO) is 7.4 km south southeast of Mostar in a village called Ortješ, Mostar International has seasonal flights to a few destinations in Italy.

Accommodations In Mostar

Villa Anri

Villa Anri is located in the Old Town within the UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition to tiled floors, stone archways and traditional rugs the balconies offer outstanding views of the surrounding area, including the Stari Most.

Boutique Hotel Old Town

Also located in the Old Town about 100 meters from the Stari Most is Boutique Hotel Old Town. In addition to generously sized rooms with dark wooden beams and traditional rugs, rooms that come with large balconies have excellent views.

Bosnian National Monument | Muslibegovic House

The Muslibegovics represent a noble lineage in Herzegovina, a where its members were governors for many centuries. The hotel 12 luxury rooms and  the museum has exhibits of old documentation and artifacts 

Things To Do In Mostar

Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque The Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque is another example of great Ottoman architecture. Besides the Karadžoz Bey Mosque, it’s the most known and most monumental mosque in Mostar. It sits on the cliffs of the river of Neretva, in the center of the city.
Čaršija | Market In the heart of Mostar’s Old Town is its market or čaršija locally. There is a market on each side of the river close to the Old Bridge (Stari Most) The market has an eastern Ottoman feel and influence, with stalls selling rugs, painted plates, copper items, and souvenirs. I especially regret not purchasing something as a souvenir – especially the beautifully decorated pouring jugs on the table.  
Old Bridge The Old Bridge is actually not very old. The original Old Bridge was destroyed on November 9, 1993, during the Yugoslavian war. The thing that I thought was interesting is here you have a bridge that has survived disasters and natures elements for more than 400 years was essentially destroyed by people. However, the old bridge has a diving tradition that stretches back almost 450 years. For a few years now Mostar has been welcoming the world’s best athletes for stop 6 of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. Obviously, regular folks like you and I are not allowed to jump from the bridge. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want to anyways.
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Museum Of The Old Bridge The Museum of the Old Bridge was opened in 2006 to celebrate the second anniversary of the reconstruction of the Old Bridge (Stari Most) The museum is located within the Tara Tower consist of three distinct sections.
Kriva ćuprija Kriva ćuprija is the oldest single stone bridge built in 1558 during the reign of the Ottomans. It’s like a smaller version of the Old Bridge that connects the shores of Radobolje.

Lunch

Urban Grill From street level Urban Grill seems to be a slightly upmarket Bosnian fast-food place. But the menu spans a wide range (pasta, omelettes, fish and, of course, grilled meat) and the big attraction is the lower terrace with unexpected, perfectly framed views of the Old Bridge.

Sadrvan

On a vine- and tree-shaded corner where the pedestrian lane from Stari Most divides, this tourist favourite has tables set around a trickling fountain made of old Turkish-style metalwork. Obliging costumed waiters can help explain a menu that covers many bases and takes a stab at some vegetarian options.

Afternoon/Day Trips From Mostar

Blagaj Tekke | Blagaj Monastery In the village of Blagaj, a short drive south of Mostar is the famous tekija, or monastery, founded by Dervish monks in the 16th century. What makes it unique is how it sits at the bottom of a cliff face, overlooking a beautiful pool,  Because the monasteries restaurant overlooks the water it creates the picturesque and serene lunch vibe  For a small fee, the monastery is open to the public, however, since it still functions as a religious building – appropriate clothing is required.
Kravice Falls Also a short drive from oMostar are the Kravice Falls. Not only are the falls simply beautiful they are not a well known attraction. This means more peace and less obnoxious selfie takers.   The best time to go is during the spring when there is the more water; but that being said during the summer when there is less water you can go swimming  right under the falls. 

Dinner

Tima-Irma Despite the constant queues at this insanely popular little grill joint, the staff maintain an impressive equanimity while delivering groaning platters of ćevapi (skinless sausage), pljeskavica (burger meat) and shish kebabs. Atypically for this kind of eatery, most dishes are served with salad. Sandwiches and burgers are also on offer.
Pablo’s Incongruously named after Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, this contemporary-looking conservatory-style restaurant serves a mixture of Croatian, Dalmatian and Italian dishes, including pasta, pizza, risotto, grilled fish, Zagreb-style schnitzel and rave-inducing steaks. Downstairs there’s a clubby whiskey and gin bar.
I can’t explain how surreal it feels to cross – both physically and mentally, a place off your bucket list. It truly is a great feeling. From the moment I saw a picture of this bridge, I knew that I was going to see it one day. The bridge is simple and elegant but it serves an important purpose – connection. When a bridge that survives for 400 years only to be destroyed by humans is a sign that we as humans must start looking within. The fact that the bridge was rebuilt gives me hope that we as a species are hopefully on the right track.