Getting to know Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina
Mostar is one of the most fascinating cities that I have ever visited in Europe. The historical Old bridge over the Neretva river is one of Bosnia & Herzegovina’s most recognizable symbols, and this along with the old town with its Ottoman architecture was positioned onto the UNESCO world heritage list in 2005.
This is also a popular day trip destination from Croatian City of Dubrovnik, Split, from Montenegro and also from Bosnian capital Sarajevo. In my opinion, the day trip is good but if time permits then you should plan at least 2 days to explore the beautiful city of Mostar. I was driving from Sarajevo to Mostar and the road trip was absolutely stunning. It is about 126 km Southwest from Sarajevo about 2.5 hours of driving if you don’t make any sightseeing stops. For me, it took almost 7 hours as I stopped all possible attractions on the way including a few well-known restaurants to try out their traditional Bosnian food.
Mostar is absolutely beautiful and picturesque so don’t forget your camera and the best time for a great shot should be in early morning or late evening so plan accordingly.
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Best Time to Visit Mostar
Bosnia and Herzegovina got a relatively dry climate with very hot summers and very cold winters. Spring is typically the best time to visit as the temperature is pleasant between May – June. During this period it’s warm but not overly humid and nights are cooler. Mostar is in the lower valley of Neretva river where the climate is the almost Mediterranean. In summer between July – September, it gets hotter and winter is relatively milder.
Things To Do In Mostar
Just arrived at my hotel Bristol in Mostar, parked my car in their designated parking lot little away from the hotel and Checked in to my room. The afternoon was getting late, but I had time to freshen up a bit before going out for a walkabout. A local friend of mine came to meet me in the lobby area which home I planned to stroll through Mostar for the first time.
With our time remaining in the late afternoon and into the evening our first stop was at a traditionally popular and one of the most famous pie restaurants called Buregdzinica Musala for a welcome drink. I learn from my friend that it’s Bosnian tradition to get to know each other over a cup of coffee. And Coffee is merely an excuse to strengthen these relationships.
I was full from my heavy traditional Bosnian lunch en route to Mostar from Sarajevo at Restoran Orahovica and at Restoran Kovacevic in Donja Jablanica but still could not turn down the offer.
First Stop At Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque
The most I like about this mosque was its location, just a few yards from the beautiful Neretva river, and from its vantage point in the backyard from where you could enjoy a beautiful picture friendly view of the old bridge. This 17th. century mosque is visible from the Stari Most (old bridge) the most photographed icon of Mostar.
The tall minaret is so tall can be seen from a far distance and provides a visual indication of the location of this mosque and just falling it will direct you there. The fountain (sadirvan) in the yard in front of the mosque was build to provide water for drinking or religious services which were a common Ottoman standard. If you are interested there are a couple of souvenir stores inside the complex, opposite of the mosque.
Our Next Stop At Karagöz Bey Mosque
This renowned mosque is close to the old town of Mostar and known to be the oldest of its time. The simple traditional Ottoman style mosque has a big dome and its iconic tall minaret which is the highest in the region can be seen from most part of Mostar. Visitors are welcome to climb the minarets from where they can enjoy the 360 panoramic views of Mostar.
Old Town, The Bazaar and Cobblestone Streets Of Mostar
The čaršija (the market) in Mostar is located on both sides of the Neretva River near the Stari Most (old bridge). Walking around the market we found many stores and restaurants on both sides of those narrow cobblestone streets with stalls selling rugs, painted plates, scarves, traditional pottery, copper items, and souvenirs.
The market gets busy with locals as well as tourists, during the late morning especially when the busload of day trippers pour in from Sarajevo, Dubrovnik, Split, or from Montenegro, and gives visitors a good glance of traditional Bosnian way of life.
Even you don’t buy anything just by walking on the narrow stone covered street of old town gives you a feel of ancient or Turkish bazaar influenced by the Ottoman’s.
At night the bazaar atmosphere gets colorful and very lively with lots of eye-catching goods at good prices. Having dinner in one of the old town restaurants overlooking the old bridge could be once in a lifetime event for you.
Walk Over Iconic Stari Most (Old Bridge) of Mostar
Stari Most is an old bridge in the Bosnian language, is located in the old town of Mostar, was built by the Ottoman Empire in the 16th. century. Today it is a symbol of unity for the ethnically divided city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After wandered the old town streets for a while and spent some time looking around and taking pictures in the old market it was time for us to cross the iconic bridge over the Neretva River. This was considered a major technological advance during the Ottoman Era. I liked this are so much I came back to cross the bridge again and again during my 2 days Mostar visit. For photographers, it should be the perfect place for the postcard-like shot.
As a historic landmark this is the most photographic icon of Mostar
Jumping from the bridge is a tradition in Mostar, the water is chilly most of the time, the drop is about 68 – 78 feet (20-24 meters) depending on the water level and doing this some have lost their lives and many others got injured. Standing on the edge of the bridge, looking a the river 68+ feet down below made me scared, thought dangerous to do so, but there are local drivers who usually do jump for the tourists on a regular basis (not free of course).
Old Bridge attracts tourists from all over the world particularly when the bridge plays host to a number of spectacles each year. On the last weekend of July every year, an annual diving competition is held when participating divers from many countries take part in plunging 68 feet from the bridge. There is even an official annual competition as part of Red Bull’s cliff diving competition.
I get the best attractive views of River Neretva and the whole city standing on this stone bridge.
Visit Kriva Cuprija (or Crooked Bridge)
There is a smaller and less touristic version of the Stari Most called Kriva Cuprija (or ‘Crooked Bridge’). It is located over the Radobolija River, where it meets the Neretva river, pretty close to Old Bridge (Stari Most). It was built in 1558, a few years prior to the famous Old Bridge was built. It represents typical Islamic architecture of the 16th century and definitely worth a visit.
Day Trip to Blagaj Monastery
Blagaj village is a short drive from Mostar about 3 km southeast from Mostar airport. The village is located at the spring of the Buda river and a historical Tekija or monastery which was founded by Dervish monks in the 16th. century. Today, the monastery houses a restaurant with a lookout for the water, the place is very quiet and peaceful. The Monastery is also open to visitors for a small entrance fee, but since it is still a functioning religious building appropriate clothing is required.
Where did I stay in Mostar
I loved the location of this hotel, just next to the Neretva River overlooking the Old Town of Mostar. It is only a few minutes walking distances away from the iconic Old Bridge. My room had an open balcony with a beautiful view day and night. The hotel staff was helpful and the rooms were spacious and clean. Great food choice for the breakfast. The outdoor restaurant by the river was excellent. I used their complimentary parking facility which was 2 minutes of walking distance away from the hotel. I would definitely recommend this hotel if you are staying overnight in Mostar.
My Opinion and Tips
Have you been to Mostar? Any additional tips to share?
Please leave a comment below! I’d love to hear from you to improve my knowledge.
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