Bosnia and Herzegovina was the second country on my September trip through the Balkans, and my penultimate Balkan country to visit. I heard great things about both cities, so really looking forward to my visit.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a must visit destination and sadly is steeped in recent history – with remnants of the past clearly visible. As per other Balkan countries, the locals are super friendly, welcoming and as a solo traveller I felt very safe during all times of my visit.
After a scenic 4 hour drive from Kotor, I reached Mostar. I booked my transfer just the evening before my departure via Montenegro Hostel and was pleasantly surprised to see a car and just two other backpackers, which led to a much faster and personal journey. The border crossing was quick, as we had drivers on either side of the border meant we just had to walk across it instead of waiting in the car line and the driver took us to a lovely viewpoint whilst sharing personal stories of the country along the way!
What to do in Mostar
Mostar is a pretty small place, but there is more than enough to do to cover at least 2 full days. Probably one of the best thing to do is walk about the cobbled streets of the old town and admire the beautiful city.
Due to the proximity to Montenegro and Croatia, Mostar is a population day trippers destination, so does get super busy during the day. So I would highly recommend staying for at least one night so you can see the city in the evening and morning before the tour groups arrive.
Mostar Old Bridge (Stari Most)
Probably the most iconic point in Mostar is the famous Stari Most bridge located over the Neretva River. Originally built in the 16th century, the bridge was destroyed in 1993 by the Croatian Defence Council and the rebuilt bridge opened in 2004. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Unfortunately, I missed the annual red bull ‘cliff’ diving event by just a few days – and heard it was an epic event, so maybe worth planning your visit to coincide with this.
The viewing area along the river shore is a peaceful place to relax and watch the divers jump the 20m distance into the water.
A walking tour that I would highly recommend is Sheva Walking tour. Our tour guide grew up in Mostar and provides first-hand experience of what life was like during Yugoslavia and how it has changed since.
Abandoned Sniper Tower
The former bank offices were the tallest buildings during the war is now left standing abandoned and is one of a numerous abandoned buildings scattered within Mostar. Whilst it is officially illegal to visit the building, it is safe to do so – as long as you do watch your step when climbing the wall into the building.
I visited the tower twice – during the night time, where a few hostel travellers and I admired Mostar from the roof top and during the day, where we got to see the graffiti that can be found.
Train Journey Mostar – Sarajevo
According to several articles I read before the train journey, this is one of the more scenic train journeys in the world…. and indeed it was! I could have taken a coach, which is a similar journey time to the train, but apparently not as scenic.
There are 3 departures a day in either direction and the journey time is circa 3 hours. You can purchase your ticket on the day of travel or before, from the train station counter, located just outside the centre of Mostar.
Despite being a relatively small place, there are a fair few good options to choose from in Mostar:
- Cevapi – grilled meat with onions and a pita – the national dish of Bosnia
- Burek – when in the Balkans, of course Burek is an option to try
- Food House Mostar
- Hindin Han restaurant – try and get a table along the balcony
- Café de Alma – coffee. Located close to the start / end point for the walking tour