If you weren’t aware, Bosnia Hercegovina is the new kid on the travel block in Eastern Europe and it’s absolutely freaking brilliant!
Cheap, easy to travel, fascinating and drop-dead gorgeous, I was quickly taken with this little Balkan country and perhaps never more than by its second city of Mostar.
Located in the south, Mostar is just a hop skip and a jump from cities like Dubrovnik in Croatia and Kotor in Montenegro and makes an ideal sister destination to either of these.
Of course, it’s only a couple of hours away from the Bosnian capital Sarajevo too and is perfectly sized if you want to spend a few days enjoying a quieter, riverside repose.
Unless you’re into bridge jumping that is…
Want to know more… check out these 9 reasons why I loved Mostar…
- 3 Ideal Eastern Europe Itineraries
- 18 Things to Know Before Travelling Bosnia Herzegovina
- 15 Top Things to Do in Sarajevo
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#1 Gorgeous Bridges
So top of the list why I loved Mostar is its riverside setting and, of course, we all know a riverside city is nothing without a good bridge.
If you agree with me you’re in for a treat, because Mostar has got several and they’re all overflowing with history and instagram-ability!
The most famous is the Stari Most – a symbolic structure rebuilt after the devastating war this country endured in the nineties.
Now home to some crazy bridge jumping competitions and stunts, this tends to be the epicentre of the tourist action in the city – as many gather beneath to grab their iconic snaps or from the top to watch the crazy ones jump!
I know which side of the bridge I was on… can you guess?
There’s also the crooked bridge, which I found even more charming, and several others dotted around the city.
All in all, they add greatly to the quaint and alluring charm of Mostar, so don’t miss checking as many out as possible during your time here.
#2 Brilliant Museums
No article on travel in Bosnia Hercegovina can talk about this country and fail to mention the horrific civil war that ripped the nation apart back in the 1990’s.
While it would be wrong to continue define this country by that horrific event, nevertheless learning more about this devastating time in its history is significant, and as a traveller, I do believe it’s important to educate yourself too.
And there’s few “better” places to do this than in the museums of Mostar – another reason why I loved this city so much.
Top of the list is the Museum of War and Genocide which is open daily from 9am-9pm and costs around $5 USD to enter.
It’s not the most objective account of the history, but can provide a valuable insight nonetheless.
After all, there’s no better way to learn about a place than to go there and no better way to educate yourself than to travel with your eyes, ears and mind open.
#3 Super Street Art
And in keeping with the history of this country, it’s not just museums that you can visit to learn about the conflict that ripped through Mostar.
A lot of street art around the issue still remains throughout the city and bullet holes are a common appearance in streets and sidewalks too.
In many ways, Mostar reminded me a lot of Beirut in Lebanon.
The best place to see the street art and learn about the line that divided the city is to visit the area of Mostar near what is known as the “Sniper Tower”.
I won’t say too much more, but read up about this sadly iconic building before you visit.
#4 Great Coffee… Obvs!
Like everywhere in Bosnia Hercegivona (thanks to the Ottomans who were here a while back), coffee is the drink of the day… and it’s done well.
Indeed, great coffee and a great choice of cafes is one of the reasons I enjoyed Mostar so much.
After all, who doesn’t want to enjoy a lazy morning, sat slowly enjoying a coffee, in the sun, next to a sparkling blue river and surrounded by green mountains.
Yup, I’ll bet you love Mostar too.
And if you like Burek – see this post for more info on what it is – you’ll love this city even more!
#5 Fascinating History
So yes, if you hadn’t guessed from my last few points, it’s pretty clear that Mostar, like much of Bosnia Hercegovina, has a turbulent history.
Occupied by many an empire from the Ottomans to the Austro-Hungarians, and not discounting the more recent tragic events too, this is a fascinating place to travel if finding out about politics, religion, culture and history float your boat.
Well they certainly do mine and that’s definitely one of the main reasons I loved Mostar.
From walking the Spanski Trg – the dividing line during the last conflict – and seeing many of the ruined buildings, through to visiting the local mosques, churches and synagogues, there’s plenty to be explored in Mostar and it’s all pretty cheap to do too – budget travel win.
#6 Free Walking Tours
Being a budget traveller, it’s no surprise that I’m a big fan of a free city walking tour too and have done plenty in my time!
However the one I took in Mostar was undoubtedly one of the best throughout my time in eastern Europe.
Meeting at 9:30am and 6pm daily during the summer outside the Hamam Museum in central Mostar, my time with Sheva Walking Tour (completely free aside from an optional donation at the end) was well worth it.
2-3 hours of jampacked info from a local Mostar resident, this tour truly gave me an incredible insight into the everyday life in this city and was definitely one of the main reasons I enjoyed my time here so much.
#7 Amazing Day Trips
And while we’re on the subject of tours in Mostar, I’ve got to say that while staying here you should definitely take at least one of the incredible day trips on offer here.
My top pick is an excursion that includes the towns of Blagaj, Pocitelj and Kravice Waterfalls, as well as an amazing hidden bunker and the stunning surrounding countryside.
I went with an option called Moran’s Tour (the owner of the company is called Moran!) and found this is an incredibly personal, eye-opening, fact-filled and fun day.
In fact, I’m even going to say it was one of my favourite days during my whole travels in eastern Europe – quite the accolade I know!
Just go to Hostel Miran to book or check out this Hercegovina day trip from Mostar, which would make for a brilliant alternative.
#8 Top Instagrammability (sorry not sorry!)
No question when it comes to Mostar’s Instagrammability and being a travel blogger, sadly I’ve got to admit this pushes any city higher up my love list.
From beautiful bridges to stunning scenery, Mostar is a treat for your camera and will have you falling in love with Bosnia Hercegovina if you haven’t already.
Wandering around the city and ensuring you take a day trip beyond to some of the lovely countryside around will soon have you discovering what I mean!
#9 Chilled, Small and Safe Vibes
And last, but not least, the 9th reason on my list of why I loved Mostar so much is because it’s safe, small and chilled.
Instead of feeling like a bustling city, this is more like a quiet provincial town and from the cobbled streets to the quiet parks, from the cemeteries to the local markets, this is a super easy place to travel alone… and on a budget!
Mostar Mini Travel Guide
When to Visit Mostar?
I highly recommend visiting Mostar during the summer months of June through September when you’ll have the best time to soak in the lovely city and its surrounds.
Just beware that in July and August, things can get very crowded here (and very hot)!
Winters in Mostar can be cold and wet, so I’d avoid these months!
How to Get to Mostar?
Most people travel to Mostar from either Bosnia’s capital, Sarajevo, or from Split or Dubrovnik in Croatia.
It’s easier to get buses from all these destinations, I highly recommend checking out Busbud to book yours in advance.
Otherwise, it’s also easy to find day trips to Mostar from all the above destinations – a great idea if you’re short on time.
Check out these top-rated picks…
- From Sarajevo: Mostar and Cities of Herzegovina Day Tour
- From Split: Mostar Tour with Kravica Waterfalls
- Dubrovnik: Mostar and Kravice Waterfalls Full-Day Group Tour
How Long to Spend in Mostar?
Given that you’ll want at least a full day to explore the city of Mostar, as well as a full day for the excursion I describe above, I’d suggest at least 2 full days for your itinerary here, which means if you’re arriving from far away, you’ll probably want 3 nights.
In my opinion, this is a perfect amount of time to get a good feel for this city.
Where to Stay in Mostar?
When it comes to top places to stay in Mostar on a budget, I highly recommend Musala – a cute house, turned budget accommodation spot a few minutes walk from the city centre.
Delightfully close to the bus station, the owner here, Sasa, is a Mostar local and full of helpful information and stories that he’s more than willing to share.
Grab the best prices for your stay at Musala here!
Alternatively, for something with a bit more comfort and space, check out Villa Flower – a range of apartments that sleep 2-4 people.
Boasting onsite parking and brilliantly located, they also get great reviews thanks to their comfort and cleanliness.
Top 4 Packing Items for Mostar
#1 Good Camera – You will be pretty much snapping non-stop during your time in Mostar and will need a good camera to do this city justice. I highly recommend the Sony A6000, which I use for all my travels and love, not least because it’s light, compact and robust!
#2 Good Walking Shoes – There will be a lot of walking in the city of Mostar, it’s as simple as that! Make sure your feet are comfortable on those cobbles therefore with a pair of New Balance Trainers.
#3 Good Water Bottle – All the city sightseeing is thirsty work, so make sure you have a metal water bottle that you can refill as you go, because Mostar tap water is drinkable… and free!
#4 Good Backpack – And to carry your water bottle, camera and guidebook, you’re going to need a decent backpack that will help you balance the weight as you walk the city streets. In my opinion, you can’t go past the Bobby Anti Theft Backpack, which is also perfect for helping you avoid pickpockets too.
Travel Insurance for Bosnia
World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while travelling and claim online from anywhere in the world.
Alternatively, if you’re a long-term traveller, digital nomad or frequent remote worker seeking travel health cover, check out Safetywing’s Nomad Insurance policies.
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So that’s my 9 reasons why I fell in love with Mostar.
Have you visited this gorgeous city?
Did you like it too?
Tell me how much and why in the comment box below…