The small Balkan nation of Bosnia and Herzegovina may not receive many tourists, but it’s likely that those who do come make sure to visit Mostar. This city in the county’s south rivals the capital Sarajevo for the top spot as Bosnia’s most popular tourist destination. Chances are Mostar is only going to grow more popular with tourists when people realize just how much Bosnia and Herzegovina has to offer.
Quite a popular day trip from Dubrovnik, nearly all of the best things to do in Mostar can be experienced if you allow for 1 day in Mostar in your itinerary. Rest assured that this will be enough time to see the city’s sights and 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
Working out when is the best time to visit Mostar usually comes down to the weather and tourists. You naturally want nice weather so that it’s comfortable to go out sightseeing while not battling through packs of tourists to see everything.
High season in Mostar tends to be the summer season, particularly because that is when all the tour buses and people visiting Mostar on a day trip from Dubrovnik come through. The numbers of visitors may not seem high compared to other destinations, but packed into Mostar’s small historic centre, things are bound to get super busy.
Visiting even just a little either side of Mostar’s high season you should find the intensity of the crowds ease off considerably. Shoulder season months like April, May and October all still have wonderfully warm days and fewer people you have to share the city with. It’s worth mentioning that while off season travel is possible, it can get cold in Mostar and fewer things are likely to be open.
How to Get Around Mostar
As a tourist, it’s best to think of Mostar in terms of having two parts, the Old Town and New Town. While it may depend on where you’re staying, there should be little reason to go anywhere beyond the Old Town. All of the best places to visit in Mostar are found there and as such, easily reachable on foot. Given that all of these sights are along small pedestrian streets it’s really the only way.
If you do need to get around the broader city or venture out into the surrounding area to places like Blagaj, then look to the city’s bus network. As things aren’t easily found online and frequently change, it’s best to ask people in person at the main bus station for help while you’re there.
Accommodation in Mostar
Mostar is not a large city and with a concentrated historic centre, there’s little doubt where the best places to stay in Mostar are. For your stay in the city, look to stay as close as you can to the centre of the Old Town, using the Stari Most bridge as a focus point. With so many bridges crossing the Neretva river, it doesn’t really matter which side of the river you’re on.
Perhaps 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’re within comfortable walking distance of Mostar’s most popular sights and public transport terminals.
It’s hard to say no to staying in the very heart of Mostar’s bazaar and with Hotel Kriva Ćuprija you can. Situated inside a heritage stone house, Mostar’s Old Town is at your doorstep and out your bedroom window. Thanks to welcoming staff and a traditional restaurant in house, you’ll feel the warmth of Bosnian hospitality.
For superb value for money, look no further than City Apartment One. A gentle stroll from Stari Most, this quiet bed and breakfast has large rooms, a welcoming covered patio and modern furnishings.
When even high-end accommodation is cheap like it is 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. They continuously offer the best rates and their custom service is on point.
The Perfect 1-Day Mostar Itinerary
It may not seem like a long time to explore a city, but trust that you can comfortably see the best of Mostar in 1 day. Taking you through the many sights that make the Old Town so memorable, following this Mostar travel itinerary will help you explore the history and culture of the city, sometimes in unexpected ways. Plus, if you have extra time, we’ll give you a few ideas of other places nearby that you can visit as well.
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.
We personally use and recommend SafetyWing. For only around $10 a week, it’s really a no-brainer. You can get a quick, non-binding quote below:
With all that sorted, let’s get to all the great things you’ll have the chance to see and do with your 24 hours in Mostar.
Since it’s Mostar’s most famous attraction, there’s little point starting anywhere else than with the Stari Most bridge. Originally a 16th-century Ottoman bridge that joined the two halves of Mostar’s historic centre, it was one of many casualties of the Bosnian War. Thankfully, Mostar was given its icon back in 2004, when the bridge was rebuilt.
With its name literally translating as “Old Bridge”, the bridge was so vital to the city that at either end you’ll find fortified towers. Besides its importance for trade, what makes the bridge so iconic is its pointed arch and the high 24 metre drop down into the Neretva River below. Ironically, the bridge offers some of the best views of Mostar, except for the fact that the bridge itself isn’t in them.
Mostar Old Town
Beyond the bridge in either direction Mostar’s historic centre spans out with a sprawl of stone. From the buildings to the roads, everything is made of the pale grey limestone and its easy to be transported to another time as you walk through it. With the Old Town following the terrain, make sure to wander up, down and all around, especially Mostar’s western end. Sights like the delightful little Crooked Bridge are only found by those who explore beyond the main pedestrian area.
Carving its way through the centre flows the Neretva River, a beautiful deep blue scar through the countryside and stone old town. Whether its from the bridges or the various terraces that line the river, it’s responsible for much of Mostar’s beauty.
But as picturesque as it is from above, it’s well worth making your way down to the water’s edge. From the west end of Stari Most head down the great long staircase and you’ll find yourself on the rocky banks of the Neretva River. 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 of Mostar.
What’s more, come down at the right time of day and you can watch the famous bridge jump from down there. A scary tradition among locals, young men regularly make the daring leap from Stari Most into the waters below. From below, you’ll see lots of people lining the bridge above you and then after a few false starts, the bold locals will take the plunge. It’s always particularly comforting to see them resurface after the drop and swim back to shore.
Back across Stari Most it’s time to visit the bazaar on the eastern bank of Mostar’s old town. Situated along a quaint cobbled pedestrian street, the Kujundžiluk as it is known, has managed to retain its Ottoman look over the centuries. Lined with traditional stone and Ottoman houses, here you’ll find local craft stores, inns and restaurants that keep the bazaar’s tradition alive. If you’re after a souvenir from your time in Mostar and Bosnia and Herzegovina, this is the area to get it.
Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Islam is one of the most common religions and that means you’re going to find some beautiful mosques there. For Mostar, the one you have to visit is Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque. Built by the Ottomans in 1618, this mosque is not only an iconic feature along Mostar’s riverfront but also beautiful up close.
Sadly, it too is a reconstruction as the original mosque was severely damaged during the war. With a wonderfully ornate interior illuminated through colored windows, the mosque sits within a gated courtyard. Best of all, from its minaret you’re treated to a truly special view of Mostar and Stari Most. While you have to pay to enter the tower, the view from the terrace below isn’t too bad either.
Traditional Ottoman Houses
Throughout the Old Town of Mostar are a number of traditional Ottoman houses you can visit. If you’re curious what life looked like in an old Ottoman household, then it’s worth seeking one out. Both Biscevic House and Kajtaz House are popular choices, as is Muslibegovic House.
Set inside a beautiful Ottoman house from the 17th century, Muslibegovic House is both a hotel and a museum. Named after a local noble family, the rooms inside this noble house have kept their look and furnishings from bygone eras.
Mostar Sniper Tower
Not all of Mostar’s history is centuries old. The city was hit particularly hard during the Bosnian War and suffered quite a lot of devastation. Head to the more modern parts of Mostar and you’ll find plenty of buildings that still bear bullet marks and scars from the conflict. One of the most prominent buildings is the towering bank just off the Spanish Square, known now as the Sniper Tower.
As its name suggests, this former bank was once a snipers’ nest for Croatian soldiers during the conflict. Now a skeleton of a building, the inside is full of broken glass and debris. But both inside and out have become a canvas for lots of street art. If you go inside the building you’ll be trespassing on private property, but there’s plenty to be appreciated from the street.
Sunset Dinner by the River
When it comes to watching the sunset and getting dinner, there’s no question that Mostar’s riverfront is the place to be. Finding a restaurant like Restaurant Babilon in the Old Town and sitting on its terrace overlooking the river, you’re in for a treat. Facing the river, you may be looking at the wrong direction for the actual sun setting, but the ever changing colors of the sky over the river gorge are sure to delight.
Have More Than 24 Hours in Mostar?
Although you can explore most of Mostar in one day, there are quite a few sights nearby if you have more time. Trust us, you won’t regret spending a little extra time finding out what Bosnia and Herzegovina has to offer. Below are some of the best day trips from Mostar to get you started.
Only a little way outside the city limits of Mostar lies the village of Blagaj. Sitting by the gentle Buna River, Blagaj is home to two fascinating gems. The landmark that most visitors seek out when they come to Blagaj is the Blagaj Tekke, a historic Ottoman monastery. What makes this monastery so inviting though is that it’s tucked into a cliff face and cave with the Buna river flowing past. Elsewhere in the hills above Blagaj you’ll find the ruins of Stjepan castle.
Much like neighboring Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina has several beautiful waterfalls to visit, with Kravica Waterfall being one. Lying a stone’s throw from the Croatian border, Kravice as its also known, is a ridge of waterfalls that all pour into a large central pool. Once you’ve admired the white water cascading through the lush undergrowth, you can then go for a swim in the cool Balkan waters.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a land steeped in complex history and a surprising number of surviving castles. A perfect example of that is the small village of Pocitelj south of Mostar. Above this village of stone houses and surrounded by stone walls, you’ll find the village’s medieval stone castle. An important regional castle for the Ottomans, Pocitelj has remained surprisingly intact despite the modern troubles that Bosnia and Herzegovina has had to endure.
Now that know what to do in Mostar in 1 day, you are prepared to visit one of the highlights of Bosnia and Herzegovina and even one of the best places to visit in Europe.