One of the popular day trips from Dubrovnik is trip to nearby Bosnia and Herzegovina to visit Mostar – the town with ‘that bridge’!
And yes, the bridge, known as Stari Most, is stunning in real life as in the photos.
Mostar is known as a melting pot of cultures and religions, where East meets West and North meets South. If you want to see something different and unique on your holiday, then a visit to Mostar is in order for you.
The Ottoman influence is so strong that you will forget you’re in the Balkans, right in the middle of Europe, and think you have been teleported to some oriental city.
The smell of shisha, Turkish cafés/restaurants, and the exotic Old Bazaar Kujundziluk, selling all kinds of handmade crafts, clothes and jewelry.
Mostar is a city with a fascinating history, almost a culture shock for anyone who visits from a place like Dubrovnik.
If you look at the buildings on the streets of Mostar you will see very clearly the destruction that the city faced during the war.
The Bosnian War was an inter-ethnic conflict that took place from 1992-1995 as a part of the breakup of Yugoslavia.
Since the war, Mostar is a divided city.
Croat Catholics live on the west side of town, and Bosniak Muslims live on the east side of town. Schools and the curricula they teach are separated for each ethnic group. There are two different bus companies, two hospitals, two post offices,…
The Croat (west) side feels more modern, like Western Europe. Church steeples dominate the skies in this part of town.
The Bosniak (east) side of town has an Eastern European vibe, with bridges dating from the Ottoman empire, and several minarets dotting the skyline.
Fun fact: Croats and Muslims in Mostar could not agree on a whose statue would stand as a symbol of peace in their city so they finally agreed on… Bruce Lee!
Frequently asked questions
In Bosnia, plenty of places accepts Croatian Kuna and Euros, so there is no need to exchange any currency to Bosnian Marks.
How far is Mostar from Dubrovnik
The travel distance from Dubrovnik to Mostar is about 140 km, which equals a traveling time by car of roughly 2 hours.
The scenery on the bus trip up the Croatian coastal highway all the way along is just stunning, you will barely notice 2 hours on the coach.
Passports and Visas requirements
To get to Mostar, there are two border crossings from Croatia into Bosnia and Herzegovina. The reason for this is there is one part of the coast that is Bosnia and Herzegovina so you essentially pass between the 2 countries twice each over a relatively short distance. For this reason, you need your passport for this day trip from Dubrovnik.
Visit the Embassy of Bosnia and Herzegovina website for the most current visa information.
You need a passport valid for at least three months past your planned date of departure. U.S. citizens do not need a visa for stays of up to 90 days total within a period of six months from the date of first entry.
Is it safe to visit Mostar
Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the safest places in Europe. Violent crime is virtually non-existent.
How to get to Mostar
The drive from Dubrovnik to Mostar is about 2.5 hours with a car. You can either hire a car or take one of many private or group organized tours, where the guide will explain to you country’s complex history. The third option is to go by bus, which takes about 3-3.5 hours.
Day trip to Mostar is a great idea for everyone coming from Dubrovnik or visiting the Balkan region.
Here are some reasons why!
Top 6 things to do in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
1. Stari Most – Old Bridge
The city is named after the bridge keepers (known as mostari) who guarded the Old Bridge in the medieval times.
The bridge was originally built by the Ottomans in the 16th century and it connects the two sides of the city.
In 1993 it was destroyed during the Yugoslav war and it was finally rebuilt in 2004.
Today it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a symbol of unity for an ethnically divided city.
Stari Most Tips
The surface of the bridge is steep and very slippery so don’t wear flip flops! Make sure you use some more robust footwear instead.
Jumping off the Old Bridge in Mostar
The bridge is also famous for it’s crazy and dangerous tradition of jumping off the 24 meters height bridge, which began in 1664. In 1968 the city held a formal diving competition, which still continues today.
During the day, you will spot men wearing tight black Speedos walking around collecting money. As soon as the diver has a €20 donation, you’ll get the pleasure of watching one of them dive off the bridge.
Do not try to dive yourself from the bridge! It’s dangerous and people have been injured and even died doing it. The water is chilly, the current is extremely strong and the river is not deep.
If you are crazy and you’re still up for it, you can receive “training” from locals for about 20-25 EUR that will teach you the basics of Stari Most diving.
Watch this YouTube video to see how juming off the Old Bridge in Mostar looks like.
Best Views of Stari Most, Mostar
Looking for that Instagram picture of the Stari Most bridge?
Don’t miss the biggest photo opportunity!
For the best 360º views of Stari Most, head to Koskin-Mehmed Pasha’s Mosque.
Located north of the Old Bridge, you must pay a fee to climb up the minaret. But a visit to the mosque and the minaret is included in the fee.
For 12KM, you can take a photo of the Old Bridge with the spectacular view from the top of the minaret. To get to the top, it’s a narrow, claustrophobic spiral staircase with steep stairs, but it’s worth it!
The most popular spot to photograph the bridge are rocks below Stari Most.
There are two viewing areas of the bridge. The smaller area is nearly directly underneath the bridge and next to a cafe. The larger area is an elevated area (next to a destroyed building) which shows off Stari Most at a nice angle.
2. Bosnian cuisine
One of the best things about Mostar (and the main reason why people from Dubrovnik go to Mostar) is food!
Restaurants in Mostar are ridiculously cheap and offer delicious meals.
During your day trip to Mostar from Dubrovnik, enjoy traditional Bosnian cuisine. Prepare yourself for complete satisfaction with Bosnian specialties like ćevapi (grilled dish of minced meat), burek (meat pastry), baklava (sweet dessert pastry made of layers of filo filled with chopped nuts and sweetened and held together with syrup or honey).
Traditional Bosnian food shares similarities with the Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine, a legacy of 400 years of Ottoman rule.
3. Kravice waterfalls
Just 40 km outside of Mostar, Kravice Waterfalls is the perfect place to spend a summer day. It is a must stop when doing a day trip to Mostar!
Kravice Waterfalls serves as a main summer cool-off spot for locals in this part of the country. There are small beach areas around the lake if you want to bring a towel and lounge.
Around 25 meters high, the waterfalls cascade into a stunning emerald colored lake.
Swim in the lake and even under the waterfalls.
After seeing Stari Most, Kravice Falls are the highlight of a trip to Bosnia.
You need to walk down the hill to get to Kravice Waterfalls. There is a small train that is available to transfer visitors down the hill, but it arrives infrequently. 1 euro per person. If you’re doing an organized day trip to Mostar most probably you’ll have 45 minutes to spend at waterfalls. So it is better to save time walking up and down the stairs and get a train so you have more time on waterfalls.
Entrance fee for Kravice Waterfalls
• October – May: 6KM or €3
• June & September: 8KM or €4
• July & August: 10KM or €5
You can also pay in Kuna or Mark if you have the currency on hand.
4. Old Bazaar Kujundziluk
Kujundziluk – the towns old bazaar – a Turkish-era street market situated in heart of the town with Ottoman architecture, cobblestone narrow streets full of artisan shops offering bronze carvings, pomegranates, and other fruits.
Turkish influence makes this market exotic.
There are many types of handmade items and art along with other items like modern clothing that weren’t handmade.
There’s a little bit of something that everyone can enjoy.
5. Try Bosnian coffee
Coffee and cigarettes are both a huge part of the culture.
The coffee is very strong and is presented in a traditional Bosnian coffee pot. The coffee is accompanied by sweets similar to Turkish delight.
How to drink Bosnian coffee? It’s all about taking the smallest bite of the sugar cube and then sipping the coffee. The coffee and sugar meet in your mouth, you don’t mix the sugar in your coffee. Then you eat a little of your Turkish delight (a gelatin-like sweet candy typically made from fruit).
Bosnians smoke a lot. There’s supposedly a national law that prohibits smoking in public, but it is completely ignored. You will see mothers smoking while holding infantsa, ridiculously young children smoking on the streets…
Međugorje is a town located in the Herzegovina region of Bosnia and Herzegovina, around 25 km (16 mi) southwest of Mostar and close to the border of Croatia.
Since 1981, it has become a popular, but unapproved site of Catholic pilgrimage due to reports of alleged apparitions of the Virgin Mary to six local children.
Referred to as “Our Lady of Međugorje”, the Catholic faithful believe the apparition of the Virgin Mary continues to bring messages to visionaries to this very day. Because many people claim to have experienced phenomena including seeing symbols that appear in the sky, Međugorje is a major pilgrimage site for Catholics all over the world. In fact, estimates suggest more than 30 million pilgrims have made their way to the site since 1981.
What to do in Međugorje?
What you can get done in Međugorje depends on how much time are you spending there. If you are there for the entire day, or will you be there for just 1 hour.
Most popular things to do in Međugorje include attending the mass at St. James church and climbing the Apparition Hill (Mt. Podbrdo).
The Church of St. James is the symbol and the heart of the Parish of Međugorje. The Hill of Podbrdo is the place where the Međugorje events started. It is on this hill that Our Lady first appeared to six children back in 1981. You can climb the hill, quite easily in 30 minutes, spend as much time as you wish at the statue of Our Lady, and then back down.
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