One of the popular day trips from Dubrovnik is a trip to nearby Bosnia and Herzegovina to visit Mostar – the town with ‘that bridge’!
And yes, the bridge, known as Old Bridge (Stari Most), is stunning in real life as in the photos.
Mostar is a city where East meets West, a melting pot of cultures and religions.
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 restaurants, and the exotic Old Bazaar Kujundziluk, selling all kinds of handmade crafts, clothes and jewelry.
If you want to see something different and unique on your holiday, a day trip to Mostar is a perfect choice!
Mostar is a city with a fascinating history, almost a culture shock for anyone who visits from a place like Dubrovnik.
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!
Where is Mostar
Mostar is located in Bosnia & Herzegovina, a country in South and Southeast Europe, situated within the Balkans.
How Far Is Mostar From Dubrovnik
The driving distance from Dubrovnik to Mostar is 131 km (81 miles), which is about 2:30 hours drive.
Dubrovnik to Mostar border crossing
To get to Mostar, there are two border crossings from Croatia into Bosnia and Herzegovina. The reason for this is Neum, a city where Bosnia and Herzegovina has short coast cutting Croatia into two parts.
These crossings can get very busy in the high season, so expect delays. There is no way to predict how much time you will have to wait to cross the border, it can take anywhere from 5 minutes to 1 hour.
Croatia has begun work on a bridge that will connect the mainland to the Pelješac Peninsula just before the Bosnian border, bypassing Neum (see photo above). The purpose of the bridge is to achieve the territorial continuity of the Republic of Croatia by connecting the Dubrovnik-Neretva County with the remainder of the Croatian mainland.
How to get from Dubrovnik to Mostar
There are 3 ways how to get from Dubrovnik to Mostar:
- With an organized tour
- By bus
- By car
With an organized tour
If you want to do just a day trip from Dubrovnik to Mostar, without spending a night there, then your best option is to take an organized tour.
This is the easiest option with the least amount of thinking.
There are plenty of tour companies offering daily day trips from Dubrovnik to Mostar with almost identical itineraries.
Most of the tour companies offer a pick-up and drop off from your accommodation place and an English-speaking tour guide who will give you all information during your trip.
There are 3 options when doing a day trip from Dubrovnik to Mostar:
- Visit Mostar and Kravice Waterfalls
- Visit Mostar and Međugorje
- Take a private tour and customize the entire trip
At least four buses depart from Dubrovnik to Mostar daily, including one overnight bus.
The earliest departure from Dubrovnik is at 08:00 arriving in Mostar at 11:45. The latest departure is at 22:30 arriving at 01:55.
A one-way bus ticket from Dubrovnik to Mostar costs around 15€.
The advertised journey time by bus is about 3.5 hours, but expect it to be longer because of the border crossing delays, especially during the high season (June-September).
During low season buses are less frequent, but there are at least two daily buses (mornings and afternoons) all year round.
All buses depart from the Dubrovnik main bus station, which is located in Gruž, right next to the ferry port, 3 km (1.8 miles) from Pile Gate in Old Town.
Hiring a car allows you the most flexibility, however here are few things you should know before renting one:
To rent a car outside of Croatia, you must have a green card, which is a green sheet of paper stating which countries the car has a minimum level of insurance required to be in. It has become unnecessary within the EU as all cars must be covered in all other EU countries. Bosnia is not in the EU, therefore the requirement.
Some car rental agencies automatically have it included in their rental fees, while some don’t have it so they will add a daily fee (around 9€ per day).
Before booking a rental car be sure to confirm with the company whether this is provided, or to read the full rental terms to make sure they won’t try to charge you extra when you pick up the car.
NOTE: You don’t need a green card to just cross the border through Neum. Car hire companies treat the 15 minutes transit at Neum as an exception and make no charge.
One-way drop-offs fees
If you plan to travel one-way from Dubrovnik to Mostar and leave the car at a location different from the pickup place, then you will have to pay a one-way fee for dropping off the car in a different location. These fees can be very expensive, sometimes costing up to 300€. There are few car rental companies that don’t charge extra fees for this service, so try to find them.
Bad roads and no Google maps
The roads in Bosnia are often in a rather bad condition and the road signs are not so straight forward.
Don’t forget that data roaming in Bosnia-Herzegovina isn’t free so make sure you have Google maps installed on your phone or bring a GPS device with you for the journey. Also, keep in mind that Google Maps doesn’t do well with road conditions, it shows you the fastest route, but not the best one.
Just 40 km (25 miles) outside of Mostar, Kravice Waterfalls are a must stop when doing a day-trip to Mostar!
Waterfalls are lovely to see if you’re in the area but not as a full day activity as there is nothing else to see at the falls or the surrounding area.
There are numerous impressive waterfalls and they are around 25 meters (82 feet) high.
You can swim in the lake and even under the waterfalls, picnic, take a boat ride up close to the falls or sit and have a drink or something to eat. There are small beach areas around the lake if you want to bring a towel and lounge. the
Although secluded, this natural attraction can become crowded in the high summer season as it is a popular bathing spot for locals and tourists.
From the parking, you can walk or take a small train down the hill to get to Kravice Waterfalls. A train arrives infrequently and it costs 1€ (2KM) per person. If you’re doing an organized day trip to Mostar you’ll have 1shour free time at the waterfalls. So, it is better to save time walking up and down the stairs and take 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 Marka.
There are 4 ways to reach Kravice Waterfalls:
- As an organized day-trip from Dubrovnik. Most of the day-trips to Mostar also include Kravice Falls.
- By taking a taxi from Mostar. With the driver waiting for you for an hour or so, it will cost around 50€ to get there and back. You can also tell the driver when to come back.
- By taking a bus from Mostar to Ljubuški for about 4€ (7 KM ) and then a taxi for about 10€ (20 KM) one-way. I don’t recommend this option as it’s complicated and it’s hard to match bus schedules.
- By taking an organized tour from Mostar to Kravice (40€). It starts at 11:00 and lasts for 1:30h.
Međugorje is a popular religious destination, located 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. Estimates suggest more than 30 million pilgrims have made their way to the site since 1981.
NOTE: If you’re not religious I don’t recommend visiting Međugorje since it’s an entirely religious destination and there is nothing non-touristic to do or see there.
What to do in Međugorje?
What you can do in Međugorje depends on how much time you have.
The most popular things to do in Međugorje are 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 need around 30 minutes to climb the hill, when you get to the top you can spend as much time as you wish at the statue of Our Lady, and then go back down.
What 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 jumping 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 a 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. Old Bazaar Kujundziluk
Kujundziluk – the town’s 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.
4. 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 infants, ridiculously young children smoking on the streets…
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