29 September 2021 / Bosnia / Europe Photo Credit: Rick Cooper Photography
Originally a part of Yugoslavia, Bosnia and Herzegovina declared its independence in 1992 following the Bosnian War. While it remains a developing country, it has become a popular tourist destination. With its Ottoman history, Bosnia and Herzegovina is a blend of Middle East meets the West.
The 15th Century medieval village of Počitelj is definitely worth a visit. Located about 30 km south of Mostar and situated in a deep river valley of the Neretva River and surrounded by rocky mountains, Počitelj will transport you back in time.
Although the total population of the village is small (just over 100 people), you will find everyone extremely friendly offering fresh squeezed juices and locally grown figs.
Bosnian coffee is a national pride. Unlike Turkish coffee, Bosnian coffee is bitter, potent and about as thick as mud – but surprisingly good! It is traditionally served on a round metal tray (Bosnians are renowned for their metalwork), with a džezva, a ceramic cup, sugar cubes and rahat lokum, a Bosnian candy. Put your western-trained coffee tastebuds aside and experience some Bosnian coffee!
Established in the 15th century along banks of the Neretva River, the cobblestone streets of Mostar are lined with bazaars offering beautiful metalworks, handblown glass and textiles.
Take a leisurely 15-minute raft ride on the Neretva River to experience Mostar and its Ottoman architecture from a different perspective. Walk down the path from the Stari Most Bridge to the river bank where you will find several local vendors offering short raft trips for only a few euros.
Stari Most Bridge
Mostar is perhaps best known for its bridge, the “Stari Most” which spans the Neretva River. Originally constructed in 1566, it stood 29m long, 24m high and 4m wide, and was considered an engineering marvel. Unfortunately, after 427 years, it was destroyed during the Bosnian War. Under the supervision of UNESCO, the bridge was reconstructed in 2004 using the same materials and technology.
A traditional diving competition is held from the Stari Most is each year with divers jumping from the bridge to the river f 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 most skilled will try the jump and, yes, deaths have occurred.
Located about 40 km southwest of Mostar is the Kravica Waterfalls. Plunging from cliffs as high as 25m, this watery amphitheater is popular among locals and tourists alike.
A Caution About Traveling To Bosnia – Herzegovina
While a trip to Bosnia-Herzegovina should be on your itinerary, it is important to remember it is still a developing country following the Bosnian War which devastated many of its cities including Mostar. The political environment remains somewhat unstable as well.
Although we rarely take part in tour groups when we travel, preferring instead to explore and experience destinations and cultures on our own, we highly recommend that you join a tour group when traveling to – and within – Bosnia & Herzegovina, especially if you plan on hiking (minefields still exist in rural areas and open fields).
We chose to use Viator which operates small day tours from Croatia to Bosnia-Herzegovina. Our group consisted of only six people, and the tour guide was very well knowledgable in passing us through the numerous border entry points without problems. Once we arrived in Počitelj, Mostar and at the Kravica Waterfalls, our driver let each of us explore the areas on our own which was a plus.