Welcome to the scenic and charming Mostar Region of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). Nestled in the Balkan Peninsula of Southeastern Europe, BiH has enjoyed a rather generous increase in tourism in the past several years. The picture-postcard country is rich in natural beauty, history and culture. Filled with old-world charm and a people that will capture your heart Mostar welcomes you warmly.
The city of Mostar and the surrounding area nearby are considered one of the most breathtaking and fascinating locations in all of BiH. As you prepare your itinerary, here are a few sites that you will not want to miss!
Mostar is a picturesque city located in Southern BiH. It is brimming with history and breath-taking scenery. It was founded in the 15th and 16th centuries as an Ottoman outpost and is best known today for its fine examples of Ottoman, Renaissance and Turkish architecture. Resting in a valley and surrounded by majestic mountains adorned in varying hues of green, the serene Neretva River flows gently through the municipality. At night the city is magically aglow from moonlight and the flickering lights of restaurants that are tucked away near the river’s edge. Mostar also has an Old City section that you must visit to gain a glimpse into the city’s recent history. However you decide to tour the region, many proclaim that Mostar is a city that is impossible to forget.
No trip to Mostar is complete without visiting and photographing the historic and iconic bridge that spans the Neretva River, the Stari Most, which translated means “Old Bridge.” This magnificent arch bridge is a rebuilt 16th-century Ottoman structure and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is perhaps the most photographed site in all BiH. The bridge is a symbol of unity for a country that has a divided past. Tips for visiting the bridge—be sure to wear sturdy footwear. The slope of the bridge is steep and can be slippery. The best time to visit is around sunrise to avoid the large crowds that flock to see this amazing piece of architecture. Also, do not be surprised to see young locals collecting tips to jump from the bridge into the chilly waters below!
Tucked away on the western side of the Old City is the Kriva Cuprija bridge. Translated, Kriva Cuprija means “Crooked Bridge,” and this charming piece of engineering is a smaller version of the Stari Most. It is said that this bridge was made as a prototype for the larger bridge. Do not think that seeing the Stari Most excuses you from seeing the Kriva Cuprija, though. The location surrounding the bridge is gorgeous and serene. There are usually fewer tourists visiting this smaller bridge, which allows for more intimate viewing and the opportunity to take some truly stunning photographs.
You will feel as though you are strolling through a fairy-tale village with cobblestone beneath your feet as you explore the Old Bazar Kujundziluk. Reminiscent of the Grand Bazar in Istanbul, you can enjoy coffee or lunch in a quaint café, or shop for souvenirs in the numerous stores. Spend time exploring the many shops here to discover unique handcrafted items of high quality, including woven rugs, metalwork, jewelry, scarves and beautiful clothing. Be sure to practice price haggling, as it is expected and the way to receive a great bargain!
This beautifully restored 16th-century Ottoman mosque was built in 1557. It is considered by many to be a masterpiece of Ottoman architecture. The building and grounds suffered significant damage during World War II and again during the Bosnian War, but all have been exquisitely restored. A highlight of the mosque is the tall minaret that you can climb for a fee. It is well worth the cost, because at the top of the minaret there is an amazing unobstructed view of the entire city of Mostar and the countryside.
The Biscevic House is a traditional Turkish home that has been converted to a museum. The home was built in 1635 and is located on the eastern bank of the Neretva River. Visiting this historic home will provide you with a wonderful insight into the living conditions and lifestyles of people from the time period. Many original household items are on display, including rugs, furniture and tableware. There is also a well-maintained courtyard that is modeled in Ottoman style, where you can sit and relax and take in the simple beauty of this historic homestead.
This elegant estate was built in the 17th century and now is a museum. It has belonged to the same family for nine generations and is also considered a Bosnian National Monument. Once you pass through the estate’s large wooden doors, you will enter a spacious, well-maintained Ottoman-style courtyard. Here you can sit among lush greenery and enjoy the pure tranquility of the space. The rooms within the home are decorated with antique furniture from the period. You will also find fine examples of Bosnian needlework and other forms of craftmanship throughout the museum.
Located in the southeast region of Mostar is the village of Blagaj. Built into the surrounding cliff face is Blagaj Tekija, a 600-year-old dervish monastery. This monastery has been restored to its original splendor and is now open for tours. Flowing out of a cave near the monastery is the beautiful turquoise waters of the Buna River. The river begins here and flows serenely through the village. It is said that the water is so pure that you can drink directly from the stream. Then take a stroll along a path with restaurants nearby to an area where you can capture beautiful photographs and continue to enjoy a relaxing boat ride along the Buna River.
A short drive outside of Mostar is the historic village of Pocitelj. This small town was constructed during the Middle Ages in the 14th century and is now an open-air museum. It is filled with both history and charm. The village is nestled on a hillside, and there is free parking at the base of the hill. A winding stone path then takes you a short walk up the hill to explore the village. Within the village you can tour an ancient citadel, tower and clock steeple. There are also cafés where you can sit, eat, drink coffee and enjoy the views of the village and the hillsides and valleys surrounding you. It’s very picturesque, so please do not forget your camera!
Located just 25 kilometers southwest of Mostar is the city of Medjugorje. This village received worldwide recognition in 1981 when six local children claimed that the Virgin Mary had appeared to them. Today, many still claim that apparitions of the Virgin Mary are occurring. As a result, Medjugorje has become one of the world’s most famous pilgrimage sites for Catholics. Each year, more than one million pilgrims visit the city. A highlight of the village is Apparition Hill. Some describe the climb as slightly difficult but well worth the stunning and tranquil views of the area from the top.
A definite jewel of the area, the Kravice Falls are a must-see when visiting the Mostar region. The falls are located just 48 kilometers outside of Mostar, and the drive is easy. There is tram access from the parking area to the falls, and the route through and around the falls is generally accessible. While there, you can enjoy a swim in the refreshing water, or take a tranquil boat ride across the lake. There are also restaurants and free Wi-Fi available. Please be sure to bring your camera, as Kravice Falls offers some of the most stunning photographs in the region.
Also nearby Mostar is Hutovo Blato, a gorgeous undisturbed nature preserve. This area has ample walking paths so you can enjoy the serene silence that is interrupted only by bird calls. If you prefer to rest your feet, you can enjoy an hourlong boat ride that meanders calmly through the park. There are also canoes and kayaks to rent if you prefer to explore the river on your own. If driving around the park, be sure to have ample gas, as there are few opportunities to refuel along the way.
Now you have a list of all the must-see locations in the Mostar Region of BiH. To complement your journey, be sure to take time to converse with the friendly locals. You will learn much about the history and culture of the area directly from those who call the region home. Also, find a cute café and enjoy some Bosnian coffee, a piece of burek, and please try the cevapi! Enjoy your travels!