Bosnia and Herzegovina is home to people of three faiths, three languages, and two alphabets. Despite its tumultuous past in the 1990s, today, Muslim Bosniaks, Catholic Croats and Orthodox Serbians are trying to reconcile their past and coexist in this country of about 3 million people. Mostar, is a wonderful example of the diversity in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The minarets call for prayer while the church bells echo through the day. The sleepy Neretva river flows peacefully through the Old Town of Mostar, almost like a much needed calming presence in this once conflict riddled town. An old bridge once a architectural marvel that was destroyed in the war and re-built after, stands proudly once again. There is something about Mostar I really can’t put down in words. It’s mysterious and magical and it takes you back in time. What blew me away most about Mostar and Bosnia are the people! Every Bosnian I met was very friendly and kind. They sure made a lasting impression on me! This post is a complete travel guide to Mostar that will help you plan your trip there and experience the charm of Mostar!
Orientation to Mostar
Bosnia boarders Croatia to the North and West, Montenegro to the South and Serbia to the East. Mostar is in the South West of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Arriving in Mostar
Mostar is a popular day trip from Split (2 hours) or Dubrovnik (2 hours 15 minutes). People also arrive here via train from Sarajevo which is the capital of Bosnia & Herzegovina. Or from Montenegro across the border.
I drove from Split, Croatia and I was greeted in Bosnia by some beautiful scenery of mountains and vineyards. I drove out of Mostar to Montenegro and the drive out was also really pretty. Although, there were certain areas that were very remote on the way out.
If you are driving, then you need to get insurance also known as a “green card” to enter the country. Good news is that your rental car company can provide this for a reasonable fee. Bosnia will not let you enter without this. You also need your vaccination card as well. I’ll be covering this in more depth this weekend…stay tuned!
When to Go
The best time to visit Mostar is generally between April and October. Winters are usually wet and cold. It can rain in the spring and fall but it’s not as bad as the winter. Peak Summer (July and August) is usually great from a sunshine stand point but it’s also hot and can be crowded at peak daytime when the day trippers are in town. Best time to visit given all this in general is May and September.
How Much Time to Spend
I recommend a full day with an overnight stay to fully appreciate Mostar. The town is really pretty at night and early morning when the day tripper have left or are yet to arrive. If you are driving from neighboring Croatia or Montenegro, arrive early as possible so you can enjoy everything there is to do.
The official currency of Bosnia & Herzegovina is the convertible mark. However, most places in Mostar will take euros or Croatian kunas. Euros are preferred over kunas and has a better exchange rate than the kuna does. Most places are cash only so make sure to either bring euros or be ready to exchange or pull convertible marks from an ATM.
Even though I read many articles about visiting Mostar, no one really spoke about currency and money and this is something I wish I knew before I got to Mostar. Had I known this before I would have brought more euros with me.
If you are a frequent reader here, you know that one of my favorite tips for staying connected is to get a local sim card. However, if you are only in Mostar for a day or two then you may not need a local sim card. If you don’t have roaming and don’t want to get a local sim, the best thing to do is to download offline google maps. This is what I did and it worked really well. Just make sure you are downloading and area that also includes the border crossings too so that you have coverage for the entire journey.
Where to Stay
I stayed at Shangri La Mansion. It was a super clean and beautifully maintained hotel, just a 2 minutes walk from Stari Most (old bridge). All you had to do was cross the road in to Old Town! There is also a lovely rooftop with good views of the town as well. The couple who runs the hotel is very friendly and accommodating. You can check the place out HERE
Where to Eat
This would not be a complete travel guide to Mostar without talking about where to eat. Bosnian food is so delicious! Here is where to try it in Mostar.
National Restaurant Tima -Irma
Owned and run by a woman, Tima-Irma is a very popular spot for food in Mostar. Go early to get a seat. The food was absolutely delicious! I shared this platter below with a fellow American tourist I met along the way and we couldn’t finish it!
Another popular place that serves traditional Bosnian food. The setting was really pretty too! I got dessert here and it was great!
There are numerous river side cafes and restuarants but I had read good reviews about this place and it didn’t disappoint. There’s a direct view of the bridge from this restaurant. I ordered a cheese platter which was really cheap compared to what I would have paid for something like this in another country. I also got Herzegovina wine which was really good that I even came a second time just to have more wine!
What was most memorable about this place is the really great conversation I had with the Bosnian server. He was born the same year as the war ended and had some really interesting thoughts and perspectives about his homeland. I really enjoyed speaking with him and listening to him.
What to See and Do
Next up on this complete travel guide to Mostar is what to see and do. I can honestly say that I have never been to a place like Mostar. It has been in my bucket list for a while now and I couldn’t believe I got to visit. Here are my favorite things to do.
- Stari Most (Old Bridge)
- Old Town
- Koski Mehmed-Pasha Mosque
- Kriva ćuprija
- Lucki Bridge
Side Trips from Mostar
There are 2 worthwhile side trips you can do from Mostar making Mostar your base. The first one is only 12 km from Mostar and can be easily done on the same day you visit Mostar. The second one is 41 km from Mostar near the Croatian border.
- Blagaj Tekija – Blagaj Tekija is a Dervish Monastery about 12 km from Old Town Mostar. It sits as the base of a cliff on the Buna River. The source of the Buna river, Vrelo Bune can also be found here
- Kravica Waterfall – These falls are like a smaller version of Plitvice in Croatia. I skipped it because of the location (I was not going towards Croatia from Bosnia) and because I visited Plitvice National Park a few days earlier. Given that these falls are about a 50 minutes drive one way from Mostar, this one may be best done on the way in or out of Mostar from/to Croatia or on a second day
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Also visiting Split, Dubrovnik and/or Hvar? Check out my posts below!
I visited Mostar as a part of a 12 day road trip around the Balkans! Check out this trip HERE or below!
Driving in Bosnia and other surrounding Balkan countries? Check out my detailed post HERE or below!