It is no surprise that Mostar is the most frequented city in Bosnia & Herzegovina, as it is one of the most charming and beautiful places. There are a number of things to do in Mostar such as spending time in Old Town and seeing the famous Mostar Bridge. You could easily spend days exploring this gorgeous city but 48 hours in Mostar is a great start.
Bosnia & Herzegovina may be a small country but it is a traveler’s delight as it has an enchanting lush countryside. You will see trees and rivers of emerald and turquoise greens that look as if they have been photoshopped!
Sadly, Mostar didn’t always have the tranquil feeling it does now. In the early 1990s, Bosnia & Herzegovina was hit hard during the Bosnian War (1992 – 1995).
During that time, both Sarajevo and Mostar were bombed and severely damaged with Sarajevo getting the most of it.
Prior to the war, Bosnia & Herzegovina was part of the former Republic of Yugoslavia but became independent in 1992.
Locals in Mostar have since come together and rebuilt what was destroyed. This country has seen its share of struggles since then but shouldn’t be overlooked because of its unstable past.
It is a European treasure for sure that you should add to your list of places to see!
Where Is Mostar?
Mostar is located along the Neretva River in the southwest region of Bosnia & Herzegovina fairly close to the Croatian border. It is an easy drive from either Dubrovnik (2.5 hours) or Split (2 hours) in Croatia.
If you flew into Bosnia, you likely will arrive at the Sarajevo International Airport (SJJ) which is a little over 2-hours from Mostar. When booking a flight, check flying into Split or Dubrovnik as options to see where you can find the best deal.
In my opinion, the best way to enjoy Mostar and nearby attractions in Bosnia is by car. The only other option you have is to take a bus with limited times or on a tour.
Driving in Bosnia is very easy and peaceful throughout the countryside. Find the best car rental rates and book your car today!
Hotels In Mostar
When staying overnight, you want to select a hotel in or as close to Mostar Old Town as possible. That way you can just step outside and be everywhere of interest in Mostar within minutes. An easy way to remember is to look for places in walking distance to Stari Most (Old Bridge). A few places that are great choices to stay at are:
Best Time To Visit Mostar
Traveling to Bosnia & Herzegovina is best enjoyed May through October where the weather is optimal. The mid-summer months might offer the warmest weather, but it will also be the most crowded.
To get the best weather and fewer crowds, go in the shoulder season of May, September, and October.
I visited in May and it happened to be highly unusual weather with a ton of rain. It was not normal for that time of year but it was still a wonderful time. Of course, Mostar’s beauty can be appreciated year-round as long as you don’t mind bundling up a bit!
A Few Things To Know
Bosnia & Herzegovina is currently not part of the European Union yet so make sure you have your passport if driving in from another country like Croatia or Montenegro. Even though they are not part of the European Union, the primary currency used is the Euro.
So, make sure to get some Euros before crossing the border (at airport or city exchange locations). And explore places to stay in Mostar’s Old Town which is a prime location!
If you have an extra day and want to visit Sarajevo, then this full-day tour to Sarajevo will be a great experience. You will learn about Sarajevo’s history, the destruction from the war, see stunning architecture, and see the site of the 1984 Olympics.
What To Do In Mostar – Day 1
If you are coming from Croatia, then Pocitelj will be on your way to Mostar (about 30 minutes from Mostar). Making your way from Croatia, Pocitelj is off of the E73/M-17 road. If you have a GPS, enter in the Adem’in Yeri Café which will take you to the right spot.
If you blink too fast, then it is quite easy to pass Pocitelj as it is a small village! It might be tiny, but don’t overlook this gem of a walled medieval village along the Neretva River. It is located up on a hill nestled among the green foliage.
Once you park, there are a few places to eat or get a “Bosnian style” coffee. Don’t forget to bring cash with you as there are several locals who are selling fresh fruit, preserves, and nuts.
I highly recommend buying some as they are so sweet and delicious on top of being a great road trip snack!
I saw it as a way to also give back to the local community as they are hard-working people that could really benefit from your purchases.
As you climb up the steps to the various levels, you might even see a local working in their garden where all the yummy fruit comes from!
Pocitelj is a historic urban spot that still has locals living there although many were displaced after the war in the 1990s. As you explore the village, it will feel as if you have stepped back into time to a simpler and quieter era.
It is currently on the tentative list to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site and very deservingly so. It is a very peaceful historic town with welcoming locals to greet you.
As you make your way up the cobblestone steps to the top of the village, you will be met with gorgeous views of the town and the Neretva River below. A few notable sites to see while in Pocitelj is the Gavrakapetan Tower of the Old Fortress.
You can’t miss it as it is at the top and a perfect place to take in the views from. Another pretty sight to see is the Mosque of Sisman Ibrahim-Pasa that sits snugly among the greenery.
After leaving Pocitelj, make your way to Blagaj which is in the direction of Mostar continuing on the E73/M-17, turning right onto M-17.3. It should take about 30 mins to arrive in Blagaj but to make it easier, plug Blagaj Tekke into your GPS.
Situated on the Buna River, Blagaj is one of those places where your jaw will drop at its spectacular beauty.
I might have said, “Oh wow!” a few times as I couldn’t take it all in fast enough…
The star attraction in Blagaj is Blagaj Tekija, a 600-year-old monastery. It was built by Dervish monks at the base of where the steep cliff meets the Buna River. It makes for a dramatic and gorgeous landscape.
Ready for lunch by now? Just walk across the bridge and take your pick of restaurants opposite from Blagaj Tekija.
I chose to eat at the restaurant that I thought had the best view. At the time I visited, Bosnia was getting an incredible amount of rain which was unusual for May. As you can see in the photos, the river swelled up and over onto the patio terraces of the restaurants.
While enjoying lunch with a spectacular view, you might not want to move as it is the most peaceful spot to relax. Watching the Buna River flowing out from the cave at the base of the cliff, it is easy to become mesmerized by the sound of the gushing water.
After breaking the trance you are in, head back over the bridge and pay a visit to the Blagaj Tekija monastery.
You can go inside and see the different prayer rooms but do note that you need to remove your shoes. Females need to be covered up but luckily, they provide long wrap-around skirts and large scarves for you to use to cover your head and shoulders.
Depending on the season, you can take a boat ride for a small fee into the cave.
From Blagaj, Mostar is about a 20-minute drive that is easy to navigate. Once you arrive and check into your hotel, take the time to wander Mostar’s Old Town.
Mostar is a very laid-back town where you can slow down and take your time wandering without having to feel rushed. Without question, Mostar will capture your heart and the following are great reasons why!
Stari Most (Old Bridge)
Most likely you have seen a photo of Stari Most (Old Bridge) especially if you are on Instagram. The bridge is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for good reason as it is a landmark to appreciate and preserve.
Originally built in the 16th century, Stari Most connects the two parts of the city over the Neretva River in what I like to think of as a romantic and fairy-tale-like way. It is architecturally one of the most beautiful arched bridges and what has put Mostar on the map for tourism.
Although the bridge you see today is not the original Old Bridge. It is an exact replica rebuilt in 2004 after it was destroyed by a bomb in the Bosnian War in 1993.
The Old Bridge was attacked as a way to hurt the town’s movement to and from each side of the river. Both locals and people from different regions came together to repair the destruction Mostar suffered and build the bridge again.
The craftsmanship that went into rebuilding the bridge is phenomenal. Stari Most has always been seen as a symbol of beauty and strength but even more so now.
It demonstrates the resiliency of the Bosnian people when faced with such devastation.
And even though it is not the original “Old Bridge”, it truly does look just like it. To really appreciate Stari Most at all angles, walk along both sides and even go below on the Neretva River’s edge to get a different vantage point.
Tip: Make sure that you don’t wear flip flops or any shoes that don’t have a good grip. And if you do, walk carefully over the bridge as the stones can get slippery. I made the mistake of not having the best shoes and it was a bit rainy at times so walking over was a little challenging! Thankfully there is a raised stone every few feet which helps.
Mostar Bridge Diving
Depending on the time of year you are visiting, you might get to see professional divers jumping off the Stari Most bridge. The diving takes place during the summer months and I have heard is very impressive and entertaining to see.
The divers will wait to collect money and once they have enough to their satisfaction, get ready to be blown away by their talent!
I visited in May and there was no diving to see at that time. But it was also very rainy too. Oh, and I hope it goes without saying, but DO NOT try diving off the bridge yourself! Leave it to the professionals…
At this point, you are likely hungry and ready to try some excellent Bosnian dishes! Some of my favorite places to eat are Sadrvan Restaurant, Tima-Irma, and Hindin Han. I would recommend eating at one for dinner and try another one for lunch on Day 2.
Bosnian food is a mixture of Balkan, Yugoslav, and Middle Eastern cuisines and is so delicious! Although you can find vegetarian dishes, meat does seem to be the centerpiece of many meals.
The main meats are lamb, beef, and chicken cooked (usually grilled) with the tastiest spices and sauces.
A few traditional Bosnian dishes to try are Maklube (meat, rice and fried vegetables in a pot) and Cevapi (grilled minced meat with pita bread and raw onion on the side). Or try Burek which is a meat-filled pastry that is cut into sections like a pizza.
Another favorite that I found mouth-watering is Klepe that is similar to a ravioli pasta filled with minced meat and a creamy garlic sauce. Oh and for dessert Baklava really hits the spot…
What To Do In Mostar – Day 2
Enjoy A Bosnian Coffee
There is no better way to start the day than a cup of coffee. And since you are in Bosnia, you have to try a traditional Bosnian Coffee (somewhat similar to Turkish Coffee). If you haven’t tried either, just know that it is going to be very strong!
The process of making it is what sets Bosnian coffee apart from its Turkish cousin. Bosnians consider having a coffee as an excuse to have a conversation.
They believe that “the world stops when coffee is poured” and in a way that is so true!
There is definitely a technique to pouring a Bosnian coffee and I must admit I struggled with it a little at first. Begin by placing the chewy, sugary like candy into the cup. I actually liked nibbling on these tasty treats.
Next, pour the coffee over the top of the sugar cube and slowly keep pouring being careful not to toss in the coffee grounds. It reminded me of a very strong espresso that although very good, was a little too much for me. I am so glad I tried it and shared in that experience!
Tip: Two great places to try traditional Bosnian Coffee and close to Stari Most (Old Bridge) are Stari Grad Cafe and Cafe De Alma. Stari Grad is great if you want to sit back and watch people coming and going off the bridge.
The “Don’t Forget” Stone
Now that you have your caffeine fix, walk in the direction of Stari Most. As you walk through the arch and about to start onto the bridge, turn around and you will see the “Don’t Forget” Stone that is sitting on the ground of the archway.
This small stone is a reminder of the Bosnian War and the horrible devastation that Bosnians endured during the 1990s.
Although the Mostar you see today is so tranquil and peaceful, it wasn’t always so. The stone is to remind people visiting that the war was not that long ago in history.
When you see the “Don’t Forget” Stone, make sure to pay your respects and take a moment to realize the loss this city experienced. As you glance around the city reflect on how much strength Mostar has and how far it has come.
Note: There is another “Don’t Forget” Stone on the opposite side of the river at the end of the cobblestone market street.
Shop Old Town’s Čaršija
Čaršija means “Old Bazaar” and is the market area across the bridge along the cobblestone streets running parallel to the Neretva River.
Nestled in the heart of Mostar’s Old Town the bazaar has numerous vendors that are selling rugs, copper items, painted plates, and handicrafts.
As you are walking through, you can definitely feel the Ottoman influence throughout.
I particularly enjoyed that none of the merchants were pushy but rather pleasant and helpful. That is a rarity that I have experienced in other countries. If you happen to get up early, you might get the chance to wander the cobblestone streets all to yourself!
Koski Mehmed Paša Mosque
This beautiful mosque can be seen from all around Mostar, especially its tower. If you are standing on Stari Most, you can see the mosque’s tower at the end of Old Town and is a perfect photo backdrop.
Koski Mehmed Paša Mosque was built in the early 1600s by the Ottomans and is a lovely mosque to visit. It also saw a lot of damage during the Bosnian War and was rebuilt like Stari Most. Inside the mosque has bright-colored stained glass and carpets throughout.
There is a fee to go in for 8 Euros which includes walking up to the top of the minaret. The tower is very narrow and steep so it is difficult to climb when there is a lot of people. I lucked out and was the only person there.
But I can only imagine the traffic jam that might occur during a summer mid-day! If you are claustrophobic or scared of heights due note that it might be a little unnerving but I promise it is worth it.
The winding staircase up the minaret is in total about 88 steps and will get your heart rate up for sure. Once you reach the top, be ready to be awed with a 360-degree view of Mostar.
This happens to be the best view of the Stari Most (Old Bridge) as you get more of an aerial view of it. For this reason alone, visiting should be a priority. Do be careful as the balcony is tiny (really tiny!).
Tips: Although I wasn’t asked to cover up, do dress respectfully, and make sure your shoulders are covered. Like with any other church you may visit. To avoid the crowds, try to go early or later in the day to make going up the tower easier.
Museum of the Old Bridge
If time allows, I highly recommend visiting the Museum of the Old Bridge (Stari Most). It is located right off of Stari Most before you walk along the cobblestone street of vendors. Built in 2006, the museum serves to provide the history of the Old Bridge also known as Stari Most.
It goes in-depth on info about the Old Bridge (original Old Bridge) and the rebuild of the Old Bridge (new Old Bridge) post the destruction of the war.
There are photographs, videos, and artifacts with great detail on how both locals and people from all over came together to fix the bridge. Everyone involved showed their passion to make Mostar great once again.
It is humbling and heartbreaking to see what Bosnians had to experience but I think it is important as visitors to try to understand this important time in history.
Tip: There are three sections that your admission will get you into. The first part is in the Tara Tower that climbs 5 floors. On the top floor, peek out and get a bird’s eye view of the Stari Most and Old Town. Then walk over to the ruins underneath the base of the bridge followed by the third section of photographs and videos.
Kriva Cuprija also known as the “Crooked Bridge” is a smaller version of Stari Most that doesn’t get nearly as much attention.
It is older than Stari Most and said to have been built to test the construction of the future Stari Most. You will find it to be much quieter than the crowds surrounding its famous sister.
There is even a restaurant and hotel named after this bridge, the Hotel-Restaurant Kriva Cuprija that can be seen from the quaint bridge. Another restaurant that is close and I mentioned earlier is Hindin Han that has great food.
By now it should be mid-day and time to leave Mostar. If you are heading back in the direction of Croatia, you must stop to see Kravice Falls on the way.
From Mostar, the Kravice Falls is about a 40-minute drive. Kravice may not be as famous as Croatia’s Krka or Plitvice, but they are a spectacular wonder to see!
You can easily spend a few hours or up to a day depending on your schedule. Make sure to bring your swimsuits and towels to take a dip into the refreshing water. The waterfalls are an impressive 28 meters high (or ~ 92 feet).
After swimming in the lake and falls, enjoy a beer as you bask in the sun. There are places to get snacks and drinks in case you don’t bring any.
Have a wonderful time exploring the best to see in 48 hours in Mostar!
Got Travel Insurance?
I had always heard that it was wise to get travel insurance before going on a vacation. But I always thought that would be extra money to spend and not needed as my medical coverage would be enough. Well, I am here to tell you that I was wrong to ignore those recommendations! Granted for most trips, nothing goes wrong but it just takes one bad accident or hospital visit to change your perspective.
On a trip to Panama, I traveled with both of my parents. Long story short, my dad got severe pneumonia. He was hospitalized for four days and they were the scariest few days. In the end, he was treated and we were on our way again but we lost out on a lot.
Because we had to cancel excursions and activities, we were out that money. Since this trip, let’s just say I will always purchase World Nomads travel insurance for all those normal and random things that can go wrong. I have since used World Nomads and have been very happy with their service. It is worth the peace of mind knowing that myself and my loved ones will be covered!
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