You can't miss the Old Bridge of Mostar - 5 Incredible things to do in Mostar
Disrupted by a history of intense conflicts and disharmonising revolutions, the country of Bosnia and Herzegovina has had a dreadful past, with stories filled with violence, bloodshed, and misery. Apart from the heartbreaking and disorienting vibe in its air, this country does offer its tourists something pristine, something unique, and something that will leave you spellbound for your entire trip. I am talking about the quaint medieval city of Mostar! Located some 130 km from the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, you can reach Mostar buy an ultra-scenic train ride. The real deal starts when one arrives in Mostar, Bosnia, and Herzegovina. Geographically speaking, the whole touristy town is clustered around the iconic, super-enchanting Old Bridge of Mostar, aka Stari Most.
Nonetheless, the city is beautifully layered on the steep banks of the Neretva River. This city is unique in every aspect providing an ultimate sensory experience. You can smell locally cooked Cevapi, experience the gruesome sight of bullet-ridden Bosnian buildings while feeling the riverside breeze, taste the ridiculously cheap gelatos as you hear the sound of professional divers plunging into blues of Neretva. Let me introduce you to this Bosnian city in detail.
The Old Bridge of Mostar
Mostar, what today is all because of its Old Bridge, which is colloquially known as ‘Stari Most’. As the central attraction, every tourist who visits Mostar frequents the Old Bride! The Ottomans gracefully constructed the Old Bridge in Mostar in the 16th century. It bears a rich Islamic look, the old bridge is an attention magnet in the town, or wait, let me call it a city since it’s the 5th largest in the country of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Stari Most had been proudly standing until the year 1993, when the Bosnian civil war took a toll on the entire country, destroying the bridge into ruins. Today, Mostar’s old bridge has been reconstructed to exact precision, gifting the city its medieval charm back.
Fun Fact: Bosnia and Herzegovina is the only country in the world with 3 heads of states, with each representing their population groups, namely Croats, Serbs and Bosnians.
5 Incredible Things to do in Mostar
The Old Bridge of Mostar is the most popular place. However, the city is not limited to just one attraction. It is a stunning weekend getaway from bustling Sarajevo or over-exploited Dubrovnik. In fact, there are many day trips from Dubrovnik to Mostar which cover all chief attractions and highlights. Here is a list of other amazing things to do and see in Mostar:
1. Enjoy the vibe at Old Town Mostar
Very few places as welcoming as the Old Town, Mostar. It is also called čaršija; I would still prefer to call it Old Town and so would you. It is the place where I had the relished the best gelato, devoured my favourite fettuccine and cherished one of the most beautiful sceneries. The Old Town of Mostar is a dramatic ottoman market, leaving no opportunity to disappoint the tourists. Bargain with friendly handicraft vendors, glide along the slippery cobbled streets, explore every narrow street and savour the best local Cevapi!
The Old Town of Mostar rests along the Neretva River, on both ends of the Stari Most. The old Turkish architecture helps creating a beautiful vibe in the city of Mostar.
2. Enjoy Mostar at Night
Night sky turns Mostar into a fantasyland! The gloomy skies which reflect the moonlight on the cobbled pathways, hide the hustle and bustle of the daytime. The fading light from the watchtowers and restaurants make it a delight to walk in the Old Town of Mostar at night. Although you will find the shops and the bazaars closed, the silence speaks everything. The area is a delight to walk in, especially with your loved ones. Make sure to have dinner, at one of the restaurant terraces! The Old Bridge lights up impressively too. A word of caution – be aware of the pickpockets who are quite frequent in the Mostar.
3. Hang Out at One of the Terraced Restaurants in Mostar
Mostar’s restaurants are fantastic and offer a great view of the old town and the Stari Most. It was a magical experience to eat Italian and Bosnian fusion delicacies in the silence of the night amidst the empowering reflections of Mostar’s Old Bride in the blue waters of Neretva. I dined at the restaurant Kulluk, which had a fantastic terrace side location with views to Stari Most. The food was scrumptious to the core! I would definitely recommend this place.
4. Let the impressive Austro-Hungarian Architecture of Mostar Confuse you
Yes for real, Mostar is predominantly an Ottoman city, but let me inform you that it is surprising to see the equally appealing Austro-Hungarian influence in the city. Just beside the Old Town of Mostar on the west bank of the Neverta lies a large neighbourhood with post-medieval European architecture, mainly Austro-Hungarian. There are many high-end cafes clustered, welcoming you for a youthful sip of their iconic Bosnia Coffee or as the locals say bosanska kahva! I paid a visit to the Metropolitan Cafeteria, and believe me their beverages were exceptional! However, besides a couple, I am not a big fan of cafes in Mostar. Keep reading to know why!
5. Admire the Bridge Divers at the Stari Most (The Old Bridge of Mostar)
Well, you must have heard all the praise about the Stari Most, but have I informed you about the unique sporty culture surrounding this monument? A group of professional divers (probably high on their adrenaline) showcase their skills by diving from the bridge into the Neretva, plunging into the icy cold waters from a height as high as 20 meters! What a laudable sight it is seeing these young men testing the extent of human endeavour. Tourists can try it too, but mind me, you are better off bargaining at the souvenir shops nearby!
Hotels and Hostels in Mostar
Like any other touristy region, even Mostar has numerous hotels and hostels. I enjoyed my stay at the hostel cum hotel StarMo and it can be noteworthy to include this place while planning your Mostar Trip! StarMo is a newly built ultramodern property featuring sparkling clean, and satisfying interiors. The location is pitch-perfect (if you do not mind a little walk uphill after having loads of Cevapi). Nonetheless, I would like to appreciate the service and the ambience at this property.
You can also find other properties below.
These were some most noteworthy places in Mostar. I had also been to Spanish Square and Mepa shopping mall. The quality of this shopping mall truly impressed me.
The Bottom Line
Keeping aside all the impressive stuff, it is crucial to address this issue. I have a complaint for Mostar or in general the country of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The ugly cigarette culture startles me! Every second step, you come across a typical Bosnian café where it is permitted to smoke indoors actively. Well, for me, active smoking is out of the question, I am not a big fan of passive smoking too! I failed to find a single café where I had a ‘no smoking’ board. In the shopping mall, there were regulations against smoking, but it was surprising to see how cafes overlooked those regulations and people were found to be conveniently smoking on a no smoking sign!
Again, smoking is highly detrimental to your health, no matter how deeply it is infused in your culture, still, strictly refrain from it!