Driving into Mostar through lush mountains and colorful farm land of Bosnia and Herzegovina we immediately noticed the difference in the landscape from Montenegro. After so much research about this ancient city, we could not wait to see it for ourselves. Read on to find out the 10 must see and do things we found in Mostar.
We settled into our rooftop apartment overlooking the main pedestrian walkway and started deliciously planning our days. There are so many reasons for visiting this ancient city. We wanted to make sure that we would get to see and do all of them.
Mostar, the official capital of the Herzegovina region of the country Bosnia and Herzegovina was first mentioned in 1452 AD. It has seen an incredible amount of change during the last 550 years!
Here are our favorite 10 things to see and do in Mostar:
Stari Most (Old Bridge)
The Neretva River which flows through Bosnia and Herzegovina is a color of turquoise that is hard to duplicate. The majority of the historic city center is clustered around the banks of this stunning river, showcasing it as Mostar’s star.
If Neretva River is the star, Stari Most is the crown jewel of the city. Built by the Ottoman’s in the mid 16th century the bridge had to be reconstructed after it’s bombing during the civil war of the 1990’s. Many cafes and restaurants are positioned along the hillside of the river to ensure their patrons can get the best view possible of the star attraction.
It is easy to see why we chose Stari Most as our favorite of the 10 things to see and do in Mostar.
Diving from the Old Bridge
Walking along the cobblestone path of the Old Town Bazaar and seeing Stari Most for the first time took my breath away. The sand colored bridge bathed in the sunlight transposed me to a different time centuries ago. I was mesmerized by the beauty of it only to be shaken back to reality by audible gasps and a loud splash down below. A diver just threw himself off of the 20 meter high bridge!
Diving off this Old Bridge dates back to the 17th century, when young men trying to prove their manhood, started diving off of it in a medieval maturity test. Today, the fine art of cliff diving continues.
Prior to taking the plunge, the daredevil jumpers walk about the gathered crowds to collect as much money as they can. Therefore be prepared to wait prior to documenting the spectacle.
Old Town Bazaar
Winding along small cobblestone walking streets is the Old Town Bazaar. Dating back to the middle of the 16th century, the Bazaar is filled with characteristic craft shops, mosques and traditional restaurants.
During the Ottoman era, this was an important trading area of the region with more than 500 shops producing different wares most notably copper and carpets.
We really enjoyed shopping daily for fresh produce in this eclectic Bazaar easily making it our 3rd favorite thing to see and do in Mostar.
A miniature version of the Old Bridge was built in 1558 on the Radobolja River called the Crooked Bridge. Some believe it was built as a trial run for the more daring construction of the iconic Stari Most.
The area around the Crooked Bridge is quite lovely as it is built right where the Radobolja River meets the Neretva. The narrow cobblestone streets look onto the river spilling over with cafe’s and restaurants all trying to catch a glimpse of the water.
Koski Mehmed Paša Mosque
The best views of Stari Most are undoubtedly from the Koski Mehmed Pasa Mosque minaret. For a small fee it offers 360 degree views of the bridge and old town itself. This beautiful mosque was built in the early 1600s by the Ottomans, and today it is one of the best preserved in the area.
Strolling through Mostar we saw a lot of beautiful and varied street art. The art street scene here has been rapidly growing, culminating in an annual Street Art Festival. By now artists from all over the world have contributed to the 50+ murals spread out across the city. These murals are mostly found on walls of ruined and abandoned buildings, a legacy of the 1990’s war in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Fortica Hill Park
Running up Fortica Hill above Mostar was a great way for me to get my heart rate up and see some panoramic views of the city. Although the road is shared with cars, thankfully I did not encounter too many of them.
At the top of the hill stands a very large Bosnia and Herzegovina flag. It is also the start of a 570 meter zip line attraction. The park also has several mountain biking/running trails deemed good enough for annual mountain biking competitions. In addition, the park has numerous remains of Austro-Hungarian and Italian fortifications. These are from World War I and II and add some history to the natural beauty of the area.
If this park is not enough for your adventure spirit, nearby Velež Mountain has over 200 km of forest roads and trails. They are ideal for running and mountain biking.
Swimming in the Neretva River
Mostar can get pretty hot in the summer months. The Neretva River proves to be a great watering hole for experienced swimmers. The current is strong and the water is quite cold, so be prepared prior to jumping in.
For those daring enough, there are plenty of diving experts along the Old Bridge who will provide “training” to certify you to dive off the iconic bridge and enjoy the Neretva River from 20 meters above. Daredevils have made this one of the top things to see and do in Mostar.
Blagaj Tekija is a Dervish monastery about 30 minutes south of Mostar. This 600 year old masterpiece is situated at the base of a cliff, next to the source of the river Buna. The origin of the river is a magnificent karstic spring emerging from a cavern beneath this vertical cliff.
The Tekija was first founded during the height of the Ottoman empire. Time and rock slides have led to extensive repairs and reconstruction to the buildings. Today the place appears mostly as it did in the past. It is a unique and picturesque landmark that looks even better in person than in pictures.
For a few euros, we took a short boat ride into the cave which is the source of the Buna River. The water here is pure enough to drink directly from the cave. It is sighted as being better than bottled water.
Blagaj Tekija is very much worth the trek. It was one of our favorite things to see and do in the Mostar area.
An hour drive south west from Mostar are the Kravice Falls. Your experience there will depend on the time of year that you visit. During the spring the falls are quite full and spectacular. The volume of the water starts to recede thereafter.
In the summer the falls are great to visit for a swim. Be prepared to spend between 3-5 Euros/person depending on the time of year that you visit. The entrance fee is collected between 8.00 and 20.00 only. The falls are open 24 hours a day. If you arrive before or after this time your entry will be free.
We fell in love with Mostar and with everything there is to see and do in the area. The charm of the old city, history and natural beauty of the region is hard to beat. We hope that you get a chance to visit and find your 10 favorite things to see and do in Mostar. Please hurry though as word is getting out about this jewel.
Have you visited Mostar? What were your 10 favorite things to see and do? Did we miss anything? Drop us a comment and let us know.