© Katie McCabe | Stari Most | Mostar | Bosnia and Herzgovina

Magical Mostar

by Katie McCabe | @awelltraveledpair | October 18th, 2018

Dear Mostar, 

You're a jaw-droppingly beautiful place that I hope everyone gets a chance to see at least once in their lifetime. 

Love, 

Katie

From Ottoman-inspired architecture to devilishly good cuisine, this amazing little town has so much going for it. During our Balkan Peninsula road trip this past September, Mostar was the stop John and I were most looking forward to visiting. After gasping at Stari Most's exquisite design and tasting some incredible Bosnian cuisine, we knew that Mostar would always have a special place in our hearts.

How to Get There

The two main ways to get to Mostar are by renting a car or taking a bus. We rented a car in Venice and did a road trip through northern Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, and Montenegro, so we knew arriving by car was our best option. We love the freedom of being able to stop whenever we'd like or veer off course a bit if something peaks our interest. We drove in from Split and it was hassle-free. Crossing the border only took a couple of minutes and there were barely any other cars on the roads. A couple staying in our B&B had driven in from Dubrovnik and got stuck at the border for over three hours! So be aware of possible delays. Driving distances / times from nearby cities are as follows...

Sarajevo - 130 km / 2.5 hours

Split - 170 km / 2.5 hours

Dubrovnik - 130 km / 2.5 hours

Kotor - 190 km / 3 hours

Note: Each of these cities has multiple tour companies that offer day trips to Mostar if you prefer not to drive yourself.

Where to Stay

There are a handful of lovely hotels in Mostar, however, I highly suggest staying with locals. One B&B in particular really caught my eye when I was doing research for our trip. It's called Guest House Goa. Not only is the house clean and comfy but the largest bedroom has its own private balcony with some of the best views in all of Mostar (be sure to book the Quadruple Room.) The property is a quick three minute walk to Stari Most, restaurants, and shopping, and there is free parking right outside. The owners are so warm and welcoming, and in the morning they prepared a delicious breakfast for John and I (for a small additional fee of €5 per person). If you decide to book this B&B, be sure to get their breakfast, it was amazing! Rooms start at $37 USD / night which is a steal.

© Katie McCabe | Stari Most | Mostar | Bosnia and Herzgovina

What to Do

Mostar can easily be explored in one day, however, for a more in depth experience, I suggest staying for two days. Here are six things you mustn't miss while in this spectacular place. 

Stari Most

As the most visited attraction in all of Mostar, Stari Most, or Old Bridge, is quite a sight to see. This gorgeous Ottoman-style masterpiece gracefully stretches over the Neretva River and has quickly become one of the most popular bridges in all of Eastern Europe. Thousands of tourists arrive every month to Mostar mainly to get a glimpse of this beauty.

© Katie McCabe | Stari Most | Mostar | Bosnia and Herzgovina
© Katie McCabe | Stari Most | Mostar | Bosnia and Herzgovina
© Katie McCabe | Stari Most | Mostar | Bosnia and Herzgovina
© Katie McCabe | Stari Most | Mostar | Bosnia and Herzgovina

Watch the Local Divers

During the summer months, spectators line the Neretva riverbanks in hopes of witnessing one of the local Mostar men diving from the iconic bridge. These men graciously accept donations from tourists, and when they feel like they've collected a fair share, they courageously jump almost eighty feet down into the chilly, emerald waters. This tradition dates back more than 400 years, with an annual diving competition taking place every July. 

© Katie McCabe | Stari Most | Mostar | Bosnia and Herzgovina

Eat at Tima - Irma

A surefire way to find the tastiest food in any location is to find where the locals eat. Situated in the center of touristy Old Town, Tima - Irma is definitely a local favorite. Not only is the food incredibly delicious but it is also very reasonably priced. Plates run around $5 USD and the portions are large! The owners of our B&B recommended we eat at Irma and it's one of the best meals we've ever had while traveling. I HIGHLY recommend dining at Irma while visiting Mostar, and when you do, order the Mijesano meso!

© Katie McCabe | Tima Irma | Mostar | Bosnia and Herzgovina
© Katie McCabe | Tima Irma | Mostar | Bosnia and Herzgovina
© Katie McCabe | Tima Irma | Mostar | Bosnia and Herzgovina
© Katie McCabe | Tima Irma | Mostar | Bosnia and Herzgovina

Wander Old Town

There is no better way to immerse yourself in Mostar's stunning surroundings than to wander the picturesque Old Town. Cobblestone streets, centuries-old buildings, and bazaar-like stores fill the town and give it such a unique charm. Cross the famous Stari Most, browse the colorful shops, purchase handmade trinkets and local spices, and sip Turkish coffee at a delightful riverside cafe.

© Katie McCabe | Old Town | Mostar | Bosnia and Herzgovina
© Katie McCabe | Old Town | Mostar | Bosnia and Herzgovina
© Katie McCabe | Old Town | Mostar | Bosnia and Herzgovina

Visit the Nearby Blagaj Tekija

A fifteen minute drive outside of Mostar will take you to the beautiful Dervish Monastery Blagaj Tekija. Nearly 600 years old and built at the base of a captivating cliff, Balgaj is a must-see while visiting Mostar.

 

Visitors can tour the inside of the monastery for €2 / per person but must obey the dress code - women must cover their legs and shoulders with a complimentary robe and everyone must remove their shoes. Afterwards, you can explore the mesmerizing grounds and grab lunch at one of the riverside restaurants. 

Tip: If you don't have a car, the number 10 bus will take you to Blagaj from Mostar center in about thirty minutes. 

© Katie McCabe | Blagaj Tekija | Mostar | Bosnia and Herzgovina
© Katie McCabe | Blagaj Tekija | Mostar | Bosnia and Herzgovina

Visit the Nearby Kravice Falls

Kravice Falls is another nearby attraction that is definitely worth a look. About an hour drive outside of Mostar, twenty majestic waterfalls, all pouring into the same emerald green lake, create a breathtaking scene like no other. If you like mystical wonderlands filled with waterfalls, swimming holes, and colorful flora, then a visit to Kravice Falls is a must.

© Katie McCabe | Kravice Falls | Mostar | Bosnia and Herzgovina

When to Go

The best months to visit are April, May, September, and October. Daytime highs sit comfortably around 70 to 80°F, and the town isn't too crowded. The summer months of June, July, and August are packed with tourists, and the afternoon temperatures can soar close to 100°F. The winter months of November through March are cold and wet. If you don't mind the damp chill in the air, then you can experience the beauty of Mostar with barely any other tourists around. 

Note: This area of the Balkan peninsula does get a fair amount of rain year-round, so be sure to pack an umbrella.