Over 25 years has passed since the conclusion of the wars which followed the dissolution of Yugoslavia and devastated Bosnia and Herzegovina (and the surrounding region). Although the recovery from the wars has been slow, Bosnia and Herzegovina has been building its reputation as a premiere, yet still relatively undiscovered, tourist destination. Its location in Southeast Europe makes the country accessible, while simultaneously offering something distinctive from other European cities and slightly off the well-tread tourist path. Those who visit Bosnia and Herzegovina are delighted to find a stunning landscape and complex history, delicious, locally-produced cuisine, and a warm welcome from the local community. Whether you travel in search of outdoor adventure, new cultures and traditions, or absolute pleasure and relaxation, Bosnia and Herzegovina has something for visitors of all ages and interests.
Mostar, in particular, has seen an incredible transformation over the last few decades. The city experienced the heaviest destruction within all of Bosnia and Herzegovina during the 1990s. While some of this destruction is still visible as you walk the city streets, the beauty and charm of the city is captivating and the landscape of the Old Town is often compared to something out of a fairytale.
Mostar is located in the south west of Bosnia and Herzegovina and is the ideal base from which to explore the attractions of Herzegovina. Too often, Mostar is perceived as a day trip from nearby Croatia or Sarajevo (the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina). Upon visiting Mostar, day trippers remark that they regret not having more time to explore the city and its surroundings – these visitors vow to return and many have! Mostar alone deserves more than one day, and with so many nearby destinations, it is a fantastic location to settle in for a longer visit. So, if you are planning a trip to Mostar, make sure to stay for a few days – you won’t be sorry!
Mostar’s Old Town with the centerpiece of the Old Bridge – a UNESCO World Heritage Site - is undoubtedly the top attraction of the city. Visitors and locals alike enjoy wandering the narrow cobblestone streets dating from the Ottoman period. Central to the Old Town experience is watching a traditional bridge diver plunge from the Old Bridge and into the jewel-toned Neretva River below. The most adventurous of visitors can be trained by the local dive club so that they can make the jump themselves and add their names to the Diving Club’s official membership book! The Old Bridge Museum, located in the Tara Tower on the east side of the Neretva River, provides an in depth look at the history of the Old Bridge, including its more recent reconstruction.
The Old Town offers plenty of shops, restaurants, and cafes for visitors to pop into as they meander the streets. Sheva Walking Tours takes pride in and highlights the traditional coppersmiths who create unique, handmade copper coffee sets, jewelry, and decorative ornaments in their shops lining Kujundžiluk. Visit the Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosqueand ascend the minaret’s spiral staircase to experience the best panoramic view of Mostar. Sit at one of the traditional local restaurants overlooking the Old Bridge and taste some of the local flavor that embodies the very definition of the slow food movement; pair your dish with locally produced wine, rakija, or beer. After your meal, make your way to Tabhana where you can enjoy and learn about traditional Bosnian coffee and its associated culture at Café de Alma.
The Old Town is only a small portion of Mostar! Get outside of the historic center and explore the Partisan Memorial Cemetery, a Yugoslav-era WWII memorial and take a walk up to the Old Orthodox Cemetery in search of the grave of the famed local poet, Aleksa Šantic. A slightly longer hike (or short cab ride) up the eastern hillside will take you to the Fortica recreational area with a glass bridge overlook, via ferrata, and zipline all with spectacular views of the Neretva River Valley below.
The best way to experience Mostar is on foot with the local guide helping to narrate the city’s long, complicated history. To get the most from your stay in Mostar, be sure to take a walking tour of the city upon arrival. Sheva Walking Tours offers a range of free tours and private tours, the latter of which can be customized for your group. The team at Sheva Walking Tours is happy to answer any of your questions and will help to ensure a memorable visit to Mostar by providing essential insider tips on “the best of” Mostar.
Herzegovina has a number of gorgeous, must-see destinations, all within an easy distance from Mostar. Day trips from Mostar are offered by a number of local tourism organizations and if you are traveling by car, these locations are easily accessible and can be explored at your own pace. Biking is another option that is recently growing in popularity. Blagaj, Počitelj, Kravica Waterfalls, and Hutovo Blato are only a few of the possibilities that await you during your visit to Mostar.
Just 10 kilometers down the road from Mostar is Blagaj, the home of a nearly 600-year-old dervish monastery. The monastery is located next to the source of the Buna River which emerges from a cave at the base of a cliff. Cafés and restaurants clustered around the Buna River are a perfect location for a coffee break or meal as you take in the picturesque site. A short hike up the backside of the cliff will bring you to Stjepan Grad, a ruined fortress dating from the medieval Bosnian Kingdom and which offers expansive views of the valley below.
Although Kravica Waterfalls are stunning all year round, they are most often visited during the summer. Located just 40 kilometers south of Mostar, the 25 meter high cascades and lake are an ideal place to cool off from the hot Herzegovinian sun and go for a swim. If you prefer just to take in the view, find a spot at the cafés situated on the water’s edge and enjoy a meal or cold drink. Alternatively, pack a picnic lunch and find a shady spot on the banks of the lake.
Počitelj is located a quick 30 kilometers south of Mostar. The historic town is nestled into the hillside just next to the Neretva River. Although the first written documents describing Počitelj date from the medieval period, it is likely that a village existed on site even earlier. Explore the cobblestone streets, passing by villagers selling local treats and handicrafts. Making your way upward, you will eventually find yourself in the fortified site at the top of the hillside. The ruins, some of which have been rebuilt, are a delight to explore and the views are spectacular.
Hutovo Blato is a protected nature park and bird reserve located about 50 kilometers outside of Mostar. The site is host to 240 species of migratory birds, making it a significant birding destination. The park offers a beautiful recreational opportunity for guests who can explore pathways with informational markers and participate in a photo safari as well as go fishing and cycling.
These are just a few of the exciting destinations located in the vicinity of Mostar. If you are planning a trip to Mostar, be sure to consider all the offerings of Herzegovina and give yourself plenty of time to explore!
Interested in booking a free or private walking tour? Do you need more information or tips on how to plan your trip to Mostar and the greater Herzegovina region? Contact the Sheva Walking Tours team! We are happy to provide suggestions based on your interests and needs.
Writer and Photographer: Caroline, co-founder of Sheva Walking Tours