How to Spend 48 Hours in Mostar, Bosnia
River Neretva Mostar | © Sam Bedford | River Neretva Mostar | © Sam Bedford
Mostar sits along the banks of the Neretva River surrounded by craggy mountains in Herzegovina. Tourists flock to Bosnia’s fifth-largest city for the famous 16th-century Ottoman bridge, which the city is named after. A large number of visitors spend a day exploring Mostar’s mixture of Ottoman and Croatian neighbourhoods and miss out on experiencing what the city has to offer by staying a night or two. Here’s our suggestions on how to spend the perfect 48 hours in Bosnia.
Start day one with a cup of Bosnian coffee at Stari Grad Cafe to the west of Stari Grad, and make reservations for this afternoon’s Free Walking Tour. You’re going to have to walk through the old bazaar sections to reach the cafe, but, if you set out early, you’ll avoid the crowds. All types of coffee is on the menu, and Bosnian coffee is served in a copper pot and small espresso-style cup with a sweet side. Light breakfasts are available, or you can grab a burek from one of the bakeries.
The plan for the morning is to take a clockwise tour over the bridge and through Kujundziluk before returning back to the area near the bridge for lunch. Make the most of taking photographs now when there aren’t many tourists, this area will be crowded when you return later. Head over to Stari Most, taking care not to slip on the smooth surface, and follow the streets of Kujundziluk. You’ll pass several stalls selling souvenirs, copperware and traditional Bosnian items.
As you head north, take the time to visit Biscevic House, a former Turkish house turned into a museum showcasing ceramics, silver and rugs. The Karađoz Bey Mosque, a 16th-century Ottoman mosque, is a few metres to the north of Biscevic.
Old Bazar Kujundziluk | Old Bazar Kujundziluk | © Sam Bedford
Afternoon: Mostar’s Free Walking Tour
Enjoy a coffee and lunch at whichever places takes your fancy depending on how busy or crowded the restaurants and coffee shops are. The Mostar Free Walking Tour begins at 3:00 p.m. in front of the Mostar Gymnasium, lasting for a total of two hours. Alternatively, book a private tour at a time of your choosing for a small fee. The guide will take you around the attractions while giving a running commentary on the history and the realities of Bosnia, where you’ll see bullet-riddled apartment blocks, a legacy of the conflict and hear personal stories (with the chance to ask questions). The Free Walking Tour is worth the experience to understand what life was and is like in this city.
The best way to end an active day of sightseeing is to watch the sunset over the city. Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque, which is a few minutes walk to the north of Stari Most on the Bosniak side provides the perfect spot away from the crowds. As you unwind and watch the sun dip below the horizon, reflect back on what you were told on the Free Walking Tour about the events that took place here during the conflict. For dinner, head back over the river to Babilon and enjoy a meal on terraced dining areas with a bottle of local wine.
Morning: Learn the Region’s History
If you still have any energy after yesterday, visit the Herzegovina Museum. Located inside the house of former head of the Yugoslav Government, Džemal Bijedić, it is just a few minutes to the northeast of Stari Most. You’ll find archaeological and ethnographic displays along with documents that describe Herzegovina’s history. Visiting this museum is a must in Mostar if you want to learn more about the city to complement the Free Walking Tour.
The final afternoon in Mostar is about walking around and soaking up the vibes this charming Herzegovinian city emits. After spending a couple of hours walking around the Old Bazaar, head south and continue walking past the Stari Most. The Aleksa Santic Monument, displayed in a small park to commemorate the renowned poet, is approximately 100 metres to the south of Stari Most on the Bosniak side of the river. The statue itself isn’t a major attraction, but the park offers great views of Mostar. Go a little further down the road and you’ll reach Stari Pazar. If you want a picture of Stari Most, this is by far the best spot in Mostar.
Stari Most, Mostar | © Sam Bedford
Continue walking across the bridge and loop back around to the area you had yesterday’s morning coffee and grab lunch. A variety of restaurants serve traditional food, Herzegovinian wine and draft beer along with a selection of soft drinks, coffee and tea. Sadrvan, a popular restaurant, always rates high with tourists, and the recommended dish is Mostarski Sahan, which is a large platter of traditional dolma, potatoes and lamb. Vegetarians should try Hindin Han across the road.
Spend your afternoon exploring and taking photographs of the Croatian side of the Neretva River, which you’ll find to be different to the Bosnian side. Be sure to take photographs of Cathedral of Mary, Mother of the Church and go up to the top of the 107-metre (351 foot) bell tower for views of Mostar.
The best way to enjoy your final evening in Mostar after a very active two days of sightseeing is to hit the bars and enjoy the nightlife. Check out either the Black Dog, Shankly’s or the Brew Pub to kick back a few cold ones. If not, head back to the old town and get your a table with a view and savour the last moments in one of Bosnia’s most attractive destinations.