If I could impart one useful bit of information on Mostar it is this: if there is anything you particularly want to do, or photos you want to take, then do it either really early in the morning or in the evening.
By 11 AM the streets of Mostar are teeming with day-trippers, mostly up from neighbouring Croatia, often travelling in huge packs plus a guide and generally getting in the way of everything.
I wasn’t expecting Mostar to be as busy as it was.
However that aside it is a lovely little place to spend a few days. I spent three days/four nights here.
Things to do in Mostar
- The iconic bridge
Stari Most, the iconic bridge that has become a symbol in the city. It’s ok you won’t need to go and look for it; you will probably find yourself crossing and recrossing the bridge more times than you can count. The bridge was destroyed in the war and then rebuilt using traditional Ottoman materials and techniques. It has a small museum dedicated to it; I didn’t find the museum too interesting, although I’m not really a museum person anyway.
2. Shopping! No I hate shopping too, but like the bridge it will be hard to avoid the markets. There are good prices to be found if you enjoy that sort of thing; even I succumbed to a purchase of two silk scarves for a bargain five euros each.
3. Kriva Cuprija
Although Stari Most is the most famous bridge, there is also another stone bridge a short distance away. Kriva Cuprija, or the crooked bridge, made it through the war only to collapse during heavy flooding on New Years Eve 1999. It also has been painstakingly rebuilt.
4. There is an excellent exhibition of war photos taken by a New Zealand photojournalist, Wade Goodard. These photos bring home a powerful message about Mostar during the early nineties.
5. Koski Mehmed Pasina Dzamijo.
If you only see one Mosque whilst you’re in town, then this is the one. You can climb the minaret to get some superb views of the old town.
You can do all of that quite comfortably in one day. Other things I did there included a visit to Musibegavic house, a hotel with a museum part that you can walk around. It was nothing special. Really it was just a glance at an old (around 300 year old) Ottoman house, so maybe if you haven’t seen one before you might enjoy it.
Also I took a walk along the old front line, now known as Bulevar Revolucije. During the war this street was divided with Bosnians on one side and Croats on the other, both shooting at one another. You can see a lot of destroyed buildings, holes from mortar shells and that kind of thing and it makes for quite a poignant walk.
Day trips from Mostar
The best way to visit any of these places is with your own transport. You can do it on the bus, like I did, however it does take more time that way; by the time you have located the bus, got where you want to go, visited and then found the bus back that is the whole day gone pretty much.
This is relatively close to the city, so you could get a cab if you wanted to be lazy. I got a bus from the main bus station Sometimes the bus doesn’t go into the station but just stops on the road beside it, apparently. When you get there you will find a lake, waterfall and a Dervish monastery that you can go wander around. There is a restaurant serving great trout, plus a few hikes.
2. Kravice waterfall.
A pretty little water area where you can swim, take selfies, walk to a bigger waterfall or just sit in the sun. Unfortunately, there was no sun on the day I went and by the time we got there it started to rain really hard. Still good, and I can imagine that with sunshine it would be even better. Lots of the travel agents in town do little day/half day trips here(this is how I did it), although they need a minimum number of people to run and so sometimes they don’t get enough.
This is a stone village dating back to the middle ages. It is a nice place to spend 45 minutes to 1 hour. There are the ruins of a castle and the village still looks much the same as it would have done centuries ago (there are laws to ensure this and the residents can’t just sell their homes to an outsider). The bus for Capljina stops there.
Apart from all this, I enjoyed just wandering around the old town. There were buskers, awesome ice creams for 0.50 euros, plenty of restaurants and bars and it felt like a reasonably safe place to be. Nobody really hassled me trying to sell me stuff, and the beggars (normally organised gangs) were not too persistent. The main annoyance was simply the volume of people there.