Things to Do in Unforgettable Mostar
Mostar is one of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s most visited tourist destinations. The UNESCO listed iconic bridge, the icy cold Neretva river running through the city, and its location near the Croatia border all help to make this city so popular.
Mostar is a trip highlight whether it be a stop on a trip around Bosnia and Herzegovina, a day trip from Dubrovnik, or even a stop on a Balkan road trip. If you have the time, stay for a day or two to get a feel for the city away from the crowds of day trippers and to explore Mostar beyond its old town.
Keep reading to find our advice for things to do in Mostar, recommendations for vegetarians, transport tips, and day trips.
Things to Do in Unforgettable Mostar
Mostar’s Recent Back Story
Mostar, literally meaning bridge keepers, has had a complicated history, most recently the tragedy of the Bosnian war of the 90s. The break-up of Yugoslavia triggered Bosnia and Herzegovina’s quest for independence; unfortunately this did not happen peacefully.
Like in Sarajevo, there was a divide between Serbs and Bosniaks, however, a third group was also included: Croats. Initially, Croats and Bosniaks, making an equal majority of the population of Mostar, largely worked together. However, tensions between Croats and Bosniaks increased, triggering a war between these two groups. The city became physically divided: ethnic Croats on one side of the Neretva river, ethnic Bosniaks on the other. The destruction of the bridges crossing the Neretva river only intensified the divide. The war lasted about a year and ended with the signing of a peace treaty.
The reconstruction, using traditional methods, of the iconic bridge in Mostar helped the city to gain UNESCO World Heritage status.
Nowadays, Mostar is recognised as a picture perfect city thanks to its bridge, Ottoman architecture and the glacial blue Neretva river.
Mostar views from Lucki Most
How to Get to Mostar
The nearest airport is Sarajevo (SJJ) which connects Bosnia and Herzegovina with several locations throughout Europe and the Middle East. From the city centre, there are multiple buses each day connecting to Mostar with a two and a half hour journey costing around 29 KM.
Mostar has good bus connections with other locations around the country including Jajce, Trebinje and Banja Luka.
Take a Free Walking Tour with Sheva
THE top thing to do in Mostar in our opinion, is to catch up with Sheva on his free walking tour. He has so much information to offer as he has lived through the war in Mostar, was part of the Mostar diving team (more info on that to follow), and knows everyone in the town. His tour is full of personal anecdotes and stories that really keeps it interesting, and helps to piece together the complex parts of the Bosnian war. It also helps you to get your bearings in the new part of town, and get good recommendations on restaurants, day trips, etc.
It is a free tour (though tips are welcomed) that is run twice daily – 9am and 6pm in the summer months, starting in front of the Hammam Museum in the old town.
Get in touch with Sheva through this link to book on to the tour: Sheva’s Free Walking Tour
Walk across the Iconic Old Bridge (Stari Most)
The Old Bridge has been functional since 2004 after three years of reconstruction since its collapse during the Bosnian War. Traditional techniques and materials were used in the reconstruction, meaning that it has kept its UNESCO status.
The view from the bridge with the traditional buildings lining the glacial blue water of the Neretva River is fairy tale-esque. It really is the iconic centre point of Mostar which draws in visitors, but because of this, it is also the busiest point in Mostar. Crossing the bridge is a challenge in itself, regardless of the amount of tourists. The curve of the bridge is pretty steep and the bricks are slippery, so definitely wear shoes with good grip for your first few attempts at least. Once you’ve crossed it a few times, you’ll have it worked out!
Search for Viewpoints of the Old Bridge
Our favourite viewpoints were from Lučki Most, from below the Old Bridge and from the small windows of the Bridge Museum. Many people recommend going to the top of the minaret of the Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque. However, the fee to go up is about 15KM. If you’re not on a backpacker budget, definitely go for it! But for us, we decided to give it a miss and head for other viewpoints.
View from the Bridge Museum
Hunt Down the Crooked Bridge (Kriva Ćuprija) AKA ‘wee bridge on the wonk’
Ok, so ‘wee bridge on the wonk’ is definitely not a recognised name, but we affectionately called it this. It is presumed that this bridge was built as a ‘dress rehearsal’ for the Stari Most as it was built in the exact same style and was completed very shortly before the building of Stari Most began. It’s also not actually crooked, but the ‘crookedness’ refers to the arching of the bridge. For a great view, grab a drink at the Old Crew pub and sit on the terrace.
The Crooked Bridge
Kujundžiluk Old Bazaar
There are plenty of shops and stalls selling traditional items and souvenirs in Mostar Old Town, but the Kujundžiluk Old Bazaar is really where you feel like you have stepped back in time. The most common traditional handicraft here is anything designed from copper. You will hear the coppersmiths hammering intricate patterns into decorative plates, coffee pots, jewellery. Again here, be wary where you’re walking as the cobbles are very shiny, smooth and slippery.
Street Art Hunting
Once you’ve covered the old part of town, head to the newer part of town for some less touristy things to do in Mostar. We love a bit of street art and have searched for street art all around the world. Mostar is near the top of our list (closely behind Georgetown, Penang). We used this street art map as a guide, which was put together by Street Arts Festival Mostar. It’s not 100% accurate, but we managed to find the majority. There are also plenty of other murals and street art that you will inevitably find around the city. The best spots we found were near Sniper Tower and a residential area on a road named Tvrtka Miloša.
Octopus streeet art
Political street art
Vibrant street mural
Watch the Bridge Jumpers
Wandering around the Old Town, you will see some young men in very small speedos. These are the Mostar bridge jumpers and it is a very serious business in Mostar. The jumpers ask for donations as they build up the crowd, before launching themselves off the 24 metre high Old Bridge and in to the ice-cold Neretva river below. It is pretty spectacular, but also terrifying.
There is a Bridge Divers’ Club, so if you fancy giving it a go yourself, knock on their door. You will have to pay a fee and take some lessons with the instructors. If they are satisfied with your jumping technique, you will be given the all-clear to jump from Stari Most. There is no doubt about it that this is a dangerous game – Sheva, who runs the walking tour can tell you some horror stories. Make sure you always get approval from the divers’ club first.
Bridge jumpers waiting for a crowd
View the City from Millennium Cross
If you’re in Mostar, you will definitely see the hill with a large white cross at the top overlooking the town. This is the Millennium Cross. It’s a pretty controversial point due to it being placed higher than the minarets of Mostar’s mosques, but regardless of its symbolism, the view itself is worth a wander.
We walked up from Mostar town centre – doable, but not the nicest due to the mid-portion of the walk being along a main road without pavement – but most people would drive through this section, park up, and then walk the rest. When walking the final stretch, you are fully exposed to the sun, so make sure you bring plenty of sun protection and water.
Millennium Cross viewpoint
Day Trips from Mostar
Pocitelj – one of my favourite places in the whole of Bosnia and Herzegovina! A hillside stone town with abandoned buildings, crumbling pathways, stunning viewpoints, and only a few tourists. Definitely worth a half-day visit.
Read our blog post on everything you need to know to visit Pocitelj here.
Blagaj – just a thirty minute bus ride out of Mostar brings you to Blagaj, with its historic Dervish house built into the cliff face and fortress ruins.
Blagaj Dervish house
Kravica Waterfall – we did not do this because of the cost, however, we would have done if we were not on a budget. There is no public transport that will take you there, but all tour operators in Mostar will have some kind of trip lined up for you.
Sarajevo – find a huge traditional Ottoman bazaar, walk an original section of the Tunnel of Hope, learn about the Bosnian war at the museums and explore the abandoned Olympic bobsled track.
Where to Eat Tasty Veggie Food
In/Near the Old Town
Aščinica Balkan II – there are not strictly any ‘veggie’ meals here, however, if you just go in and explain that you are vegetarian, they will bring you a selection of the veggie side dishes that are on offer that day. We received two types of burek, a spinach and rice dish, a spiced rice dish with veg, Bosnian beans, and bread. We had one plate between us and it was all really good.
Hindin Han – there are lovely views over the river here. We ordered grilled mushrooms and chips, which came with sour cream and bread too. The amount of mushrooms that we received was outrageous, and they were really tasty.
Basically a kilo of mushrooms!
Bosnian vegetarian options are somewhat limited
Mozzarella’s Bosnian coffee set
Outside of the Old Town
Tecó – a bit of a walk, but well worth it. They have several vegetarian options and some vegan too. Veggie burgers, veggie sandwiches, etc.
Veggie sandwich and burger
Meat replacement burger and mushroom quesadilla
Have you been to Mostar? Is there anything that you would add to the list?
I’d love to hear your thoughts, recommendations or questions.
Thanks for reading!