The city of Mostar was named after the bridge keepers (mostari) who in the medieval times guarded the Stari Most (Old Bridge) which connects the city over the Neretva river. The original bridge stood for 427 years, until it was destroyed on 9 November 1993 by Croat military forces during the Croat–Bosniak War – a war still ripe in the minds of locals and can still be seen and felt today. The bridge was rebuilt in the exact style of the original, and re-opened on 23 July 2004.
Bosnia use their local currency of Bosnian Marks but most shops in the main tourist areas like the Old Town will accept Euro, taking an equal 1 euro for 2 marks.
How to get to Mostar
Mostar is well connected throughout the Balkans. Buses travel to Mostar from Dubrovnik, Split and Kotor daily, and regularly from Sarajevo. See Bus Croatia for schedules and to buy your tickets in advance.There are two bus stations in Mostar, due to the segregation of the city in the war. To be best connected with Mostar Old Town & most hostels, use the East bus station.
A word of warning about Balkan buses; make sure you print your ticket. They don’t mess around and you will have to buy another ticket if you don’t come prepared.
How to get around
Mostar town is easily walkable – you won’t need any other transport to get around. Day trips to further regions outside Mostar can be a little difficult, however taxis are quite cheap or speak to your hostel as many organise day trips.
Where to eat
Cevapi (small sausages) is a very tasty, local food and served up at most restaurants, and a must-try in Mostar.
Urban Grill is one of the best views in town to eat – sit out on the terrace overlooking to the Old Bridge and enjoy a local beer!
Tima-Irma also serves up hearty and fantastic food at a cheap price.
Where to stay
Hostel Nina is an absolute gem of a hostel. It is family run and has a great homey feel, super welcoming staff, nice spread for breakfast (including fresh cooked omelettes) and they also run a day trip to 5 amazing locations near Mostar every single day for only €35. The guide has lived in Mostar his whole life and was in high school during the war, and delivers first hand chilling recounts of his experiences.
Example budget for one day in Mostar
€26 per day
– Hostel: €9 per night
– Hostel breakfast: Free
– Souvenir in Old Town: €2
– Cevapi for lunch: €5
– Dinner at Tima Irma: €10
How long to spend in here
3 days is ideal for your stay in Mostar – two days for exploring the town and one for a day trip to surrounding areas.
What to see and do in Mostar
The annual bridge jumping competition, held at the end of July, dates back over 487 years and is the traditional right of passage for the young men of the town to leap from the bridge into the cold river below. Still to this day, contestants from all over Bosnia and surrounding countries come to Mostar to compete, throwing themselves headfirst into the cold river below. It is the biggest event of the year with hundreds of locals and visitors crowding every spot on the river edge, and as the sun sets the whole town erupts into a party. Red Bull also do an annual Cliff Diving tour which stops in at Mostar in September each year.
If you're not visiting during this time, you can still see locals or tourists jumping off the bridge every day - sometimes the locals will ask for a tip to jump.
The historic town of Mostar spans across a deep valley and surrounds the emerald green Neretva River, which has a total length of 225km and is one of the coldest rivers in the world (as low as 7 degrees Celsius in summer). Spend some time wandering through the Old Town, there are plenty of unique souvenir shops in the čaršija bazaar (markets) and historic buildings to see including Muslibegović House and the Kriva Cuprija (the mini Stari Most, and supposedly the practice for the actual bridge!)
Located 40km drive from Mostar, Kravice Waterfalls is a stunning day trip. Nina’s Hostel runs daily tours to the waterfalls as getting there without your own transport is almost impossible. I’m a pretty solid independent traveller but sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and this is one of those times.
Besides, Hostel Nina’s tour is unmissable.
The Dervish monastery is nearly 600 years old and situated between the base of a cliff and the source of the river Buna. Above the monastery is a cave where bones were discovered, dating back 4000 years. A fresh spring is located right at the base of the cliff next to the monastery, over 400 metres down into the rock. The water is so clean and pure you can drink straight from the riverbed and if you do, it is aid to bring you back here again one day. The first time I visited I leant over the side of the rocky edge and refilled my water bottle with the clear water naturally chilled to 7 degrees and took a sip. A year later, I returned. I guess the legend is true…
Počitelj is a small town located 30km from Mostar, a name which translates to ‘a place to rest’ as it was the furthest one could travel in a day when making the journey from Mostar to Dubrovnik. Once a bustling town which thrived on those who stopped during the commute, only 38 people live here today.
No cars can access the houses, only steep steps and rocky paths reach their doors. Cilmb to the top fortress for spectacular views across the valley and river below.
The Hostel Nina day trip stops here and one of the locals will come and greet you with homemade pomegranate juice – make you sure you try it! Absolutely delicious. There are several daily direct public buses to reach this town, but for some of the buses you will have to buy a ticket to Čapljina (few km south from Počitelj) and ask a driver to drop you off in Počitelj.