The small Balkan nation of Bosnia and Herzegovina may not receive many tourists, but the ones it does get usually visit Mostar. This city in the country’s south rivals the capital, Sarajevo for Bosnia’s most popular tourist destination. Mostar’s popularity is likely to increase as more travelers realize how much Bosnia and Herzegovina has to offer.
This city makes a great day trip from Dubrovnik, Croatia, as you can experience nearly all of the best things to do in Mostar in a day. If you set aside one day in Mostar on your itinerary, you should have enough time to see the city’s highlights. Hopefully, with this Mostar itinerary, you’ll see exactly what this beautiful and historic city has in store for intrepid tourists.
Best Time to Visit Mostar
The best time to visit Mostar usually comes down to the weather and crowds. Naturally, you want nice weather so you can comfortably go sightseeing – without battling through packs of tourists to see everything.
High season in Mostar tends to be the summer, which is when the tour buses and people visiting Mostar from Dubrovnik come through. The numbers of visitors may not seem high compared to other destinations’ crowds, but even relatively small crowds can quickly pack Mostar’s small historic center.
The crowds are considerably lighter in the shoulder season, shortly before and after summer. April, May, and October still have wonderfully warm days, while you’ll share the city with fewer people. Offseason visits are also possible, of course, but winter in Mostar tends to be cold, and fewer attractions are likely to be open.
How to Get Around Mostar
It’s best to think of Mostar in terms of the Old Town and the New Town. While it depends somewhat on where you’re staying, you should have little reason to go beyond the Old Town. All of the best places to visit in Mostar are there, so it’s easy to reach all of them on foot once you’re in the town center. Given that all these sites are along small pedestrian streets, walking is really the only way.
If you do need to get around the broader city or venture out to nearby places such as Blagaj, look to the city’s bus network. The schedules frequently change and aren’t easy to find online, so it’s best to ask for help in person at the main bus station.
Accommodation in Mostar
As it’s a relatively small city with a concentrated historic center, there’s little doubt where the best places to stay in Mostar are. Look to stay as close to the center of the Old Town as you can, using the Old Bridge (Stari Most) as a focal point. It doesn’t really matter which side of the Neretva you stay on, though, with so many bridges crossing this river.
A good rule of thumb for where to stay in Mostar is to find somewhere close to the riverfront or the Spanish Square. That way, you’ll be within comfortable walking distance of Mostar’s most popular sights and public transport terminals.
Hotel Kriva Ćuprija puts you right in the heart of Mostar’s bazaar. You’ll be staying inside a heritage stone mansion, with the Old Town at your doorstep and outside your bedroom window. With the welcoming staff and traditional on-site restaurant, you’ll also feel the warmth of Bosnian hospitality.
For a superb value, look no further than City Apartment One. Just a gentle stroll from Stari Most, this quiet bed-and-breakfast has large rooms, modern furnishings, and a welcoming covered patio.
With even high-end accommodations being relatively cheap in Mostar, good budget options like Hostel Mirror are hardly surprising. With some of the cheapest beds in the city, this clean and friendly hostel will make you feel right at home.
For more accommodation options in Mostar, check out Booking.com. This site consistently offers the best rates, and its customer service is on point.
The Perfect 1-Day Mostar Itinerary
It may not seem like a long time to explore a city, but you can comfortably see the best of Mostar in a day. This Mostar travel itinerary will take you through the sights that make the Old Town so memorable, helping you explore the history and culture of the city in some unexpected ways. In case you have extra time, we’ll also give you a few ideas for places to visit nearby.
However, before we get to our Mostar itinerary, we just wanted to remind you to purchase travel insurance. You never know what will happen and, trust us, you do not want to get stuck with thousands of dollars in medical bills. As a wise man once said, “If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.” So don’t leave home without it.
SafetyWing offers travel insurance for only about $10 a week, making it a no-brainer to get. You can get a quick, non-binding quote below:
SafetyWing is, of course, not the only option available. Two other popular alternatives are World Nomads and Heymondo.
With all that sorted, let’s get to all the great things you can see and do with your 24 hours in Mostar.
Since it’s the city’s most famous attraction, there’s little point starting anywhere other than Stari Most. Originally a 16th-century Ottoman bridge that joined the two halves of Mostar’s historic center, it was one of the Bosnian War’s many casualties. Thankfully, Mostar got its icon back when the bridge was rebuilt in 2004.
With its name literally translating to “Old Bridge,” Stari Most was so vital to the city that you’ll find fortified towers at either end. Besides its importance for trade, what makes the bridge so iconic is its pointed arch and the 24-meter drop into the river. It also offers some of the best views of Mostar, except for the fact that the bridge itself isn’t in them!
Old Town Center
Mostar’s historic center sprawls out in either direction beyond the bridge. With the buildings and roads all made of pale gray limestone, you’ll feel transported to another time as you walk through it. Make sure to wander up, down, and all around, especially at the western end. You can only find sights like the delightful little Kriva Ćuprija (Crooked Bridge) by exploring beyond the main pedestrian area.
Flowing through the center of the Old Town and into the countryside is the brilliant turquoise Neretva. With the various bridges and terraces lining the river, it’s responsible for much of Mostar’s beauty.
As picturesque as the river is from above, it’s well worth making your way down to the water’s edge. If you head down the long staircase at the west end of Stari Most, you’ll find yourself on the rocky banks of the Neretva. From here, you’ll not only see how clear the water is, but also get a whole new perspective on Stari Most and the Old Town.
If you go down at the right time of day, you can watch the famous Mostar Bridge Jump from below. In a scary local tradition, young men regularly make the daring leap from Stari Most into the Neretva. You’ll see people lining up on the bridge above you, and then, after a few false starts, the bold locals will take the plunge. It’s always comforting to see them resurface and swim back to shore!
Heading back across Stari Most, you’ll come to Kujundžiluk on the eastern bank of the Old Town. Lined with traditional stone and Ottoman houses along a quaint cobblestone street, this bazaar has retained its original look over the centuries. Here you’ll find craft stores, inns, and restaurants that keep the bazaar’s traditions alive. This is the perfect place to get a souvenir from your time in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque
Islam is one of the most common religions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, so you’ll see some beautiful mosques there. The one to visit in Mostar is the Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque. Built by the Ottomans in 1618, the original mosque was another landmark severely damaged during the war, but the reconstruction is stunning.
Sitting in a gated courtyard, this mosque is not only an iconic feature of Mostar’s riverfront view but also beautiful up close, with an ornate interior illuminated through colored windows. Best of all, you can get a truly special view of the city and Stari Most from its minaret. While you have to pay to enter the tower, the free view from the terrace below is a treat of its own.
Traditional Ottoman Houses
You can visit multiple traditional houses throughout the Old Town. If you’re curious about what life looked like in an old Ottoman household, it’s worth seeking one out.
Muslibegovic House, named after a local noble family, is a beautiful Ottoman home from the 17th century. Now a hotel and museum, this grand house has kept its look and furnishings from bygone eras. Biscevic House and Kajtaz House are also popular choices.
Not all of Mostar’s historic landmarks are centuries old. The city was hit particularly hard during the Bosnian War, suffering a lot of devastation. In the more modern parts of Mostar, you’ll find plenty of buildings that still bear bullet marks and scars from the conflict. One of the most prominent is the former bank just off the Spanish Square, now known as the Mostar Sniper Tower. As its name suggests, this was a snipers’ nest for Croatian soldiers during the conflict.
The Sniper Tower is now a skeleton of a building, full of broken glass and debris. However, it has become a popular canvas for impressive street art, inside and out. As private property, the building isn’t open to visitors inside, but there’s plenty of art to appreciate from the street.
Sunset Dinner by the River
For getting dinner and watching the sunset, Mostar’s riverfront is the place to be. Find a restaurant like Restaurant Babilon in the Old Town and sit on its terrace overlooking the river for a real treat. Facing the river, you may be looking in the wrong direction for the actual sunset, but the reflection of the sky’s changing colors in the water is a delight.
Have More Than 24 Hours in Mostar?
Although you can explore most of Mostar in one day, there are quite a few worthwhile sights nearby. If you have some extra time, you won’t regret finding out what else Bosnia and Herzegovina has to offer. Below are some of the best day trips from Mostar to get you started.
A little outside Mostar lies the village of Blagaj by the gentle Buna River. The landmark that most visitors seek out is the Blagaj Tekke (Dervish House). What makes this historic Ottoman monastery so interesting is its cavelike setting at the bottom of a cliff with the Buna flowing past. In the hills above the village, you’ll find the ruins of Stjepan Grad (Blagaj Castle), another fascinating gem that makes Blagaj worth visiting.
Much like neighboring Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina features several beautiful waterfalls, including Kravica (also known as Kravice Falls). Just a stone’s throw from the Croatian border, Kravica is a ridge of waterfalls pouring into a large central pool. Once you’ve admired the white water cascading through the lush undergrowth, you can go for a swim in the cool Balkan waters.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a land steeped in complex history, which includes a surprising number of surviving castles. You’ll find a perfect example in Počitelj, a small village of stone houses south of Mostar. Above the town, surrounded by stone walls, stands the medieval citadel of Počitelj Castle. Despite the country’s relatively recent troubles, this important regional castle for the Ottomans has remained surprisingly intact.
Now that you know what to do in Mostar in one day, you can confidently explore one of the highlights of Bosnia and Herzegovina – perhaps even one of the best places to visit in Europe.
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