Mostar – Here Are 7 Things You Can Do In A Day
Originally a part of Yugoslavia, Bosnia and Herzegovina declared its independence in 1992 following the Bosnian War. With its Ottoman history, breathtaking waterfalls and Turkish influence, Bosnia and Herzegovina is quickly becoming a popular tourist destination. Bordering Croatia, Montenegro, and Serbia, it is easily reachable for day excursions.
Day Trip To Mostar
Still considered a developing country, we highly recommend that you join a tour group when traveling to – and within – Bosnia and Herzegovina. The political environment remains somewhat unstable and, if you plan on hiking, be aware minefields still exist in rural areas and open fields.
Easily accessible from either Split or Dubrovnik, Croatia, Mostar makes for the perfect day trip. Since we were in Split, we decided to book a day tour with Viator, our favorite tour company operating tours from throughout Europe. Our group consisted of only six people which made the trip friendly and fun while our Viator driver passed us through numerous border entry points without problems.
Stop In Počitelj
Our first stop was the 15th medieval village of Počitelj. Located about 30km south of Mostar, Počitelj is situated in a deep river valley along the Neretva River and surrounded by the rugged rocky mountains of the Balkans. We were immediately transported back to another era.
With an early morning chill in the air, we couldn’t wait to try a cup of Bosnian coffee. Unlike Turkish coffee, Bosnian coffee is bitter, potent and about as thick as mud – yet surprisingly good!
It is traditionally served on a round metal tray (Bosnians are renowned for their copper metalwork), along with a džezva, a ceramic cup, sugar cubes and rahat lokum (a Bosnian candy).
With the total population of Počitelj just over 100 people, everyone was extremely friendly, offering fresh squeezed juices, locally grown figs and trinkets.
Looming over the village is the Citadel, an imposing structure that seems to rise majestically from the rocky cliffs below. Built by King Tvrrko I of Bosnia in 1383, the fortress is now recognized as a UNESCO Heritage Monument while the village of Počitelj is recognized as a protected National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Things To Do In Mostar
Established in the 15th century along the banks of the Neretva River, the cobblestone streets of Old Town Mostar are lined with bazaars offering beautiful metalworks, handblown glass and textiles.
Stari Most Mostar
One of the best known sites is the Stari Most, a bridge that spans the Neretva River.
Originally constructed in 1566, the bridge stands 29m long, 24m high and 4m wide, and was considered an engineering marvel. Unfortunately, after 427 years, it was destroyed during the Siege of Mostar. Under the supervision of UNESCO, the Stari Most was reconstructed in 2004 using the same materials and technology that were originally used in 1566.
Mostar Diving Club
Mostar is also known internationally for its annual diving competition. From atop the Stari Most, divers jump to the Neretva River that flows 24m below. The tradition dates back to 1664 and is not for the faint of heart! Not only is the water very cold, but only the most trained and skilled will try the jump and, yes, deaths have occurred.
Rafting On The Neretva River In Mostar
Walking down the path from the Stari Most Bridge to the river bank, we found several local vendors offering short raft trips for only a few euros. We decided to take a leisurely 15-minute ride on the Neretva River to experience Mostar and its Ottoman architecture from a different perspective.
Siege of Mostar
Mostar was devastated during the Bosnian War of 1992-1995. While much of the Old Town has been rebuilt to reflect a storybook image, bunkers, ruins and buildings scarred from the shelling remain 27 years later. Neglected bombed out buildings line the streets, reminders that tell the tragic story of the destruction that took place. Even today, tension exists among the differing religions and cultures.
Enjoy A Traditional Bosnian Lunch
After a day exploring all Mostar has to offer, we enjoyed a traditional Bosnian lunch at the Food House Pub & Restaurant. Serving traditional, vegetarian and vegan dishes, this small, unassuming restaurant was an unexpected surprise. The Ćevapi (a grilled dish of minced meat considered the national dish of Bosnia & Herzegovina) was excellent.
Mostar and Kravice Waterfalls
A short 40km drive from Mostar is the Kravice Waterfalls. Situated in the karstic heartland of Herzegovina, it is one of the largest waterfalls in the country.
Plunging from cliffs as high as 25m along the Trebižat River, this watery amphitheater is popular among locals and tourists alike.
A few sets of stairs connect the parking lot to a winding path that lead to the Falls below. Additionally, a tram is available for those not wanting to make the trek down. Once at the Falls, we explored the beauty and hidden crevices before relaxing in the afternoon shade of the surrounding forest. A number of small restaurants bordering the water offers a great view while enjoying local Bosninan/Croatian cuisine, or relaxing with a cone of gelato or cold Staropramen beer.
Is it worth visiting Mostar? Most definitely! The friendly people we met in Počitelj, the remnants of the Bosnian Siege that remind us of the destructive power of war on buildings and people’s lives, the sheer beauty of the Kravice Falls all create an unforgettable day trip. As we passed a sign pointing opposite directions to Split and Saravjeo, we couldn’t help but wish our Viator driver turned right so we could experience more of this conflicted, yet amazing, country.
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