Mostar is the cultural, political and historic center of the Herzegovina region. For most people the image that comes to mind first when mentioning Bosnia-Herzegovina is that of the Old Bridge, the Unesco World Heritage listed symbol of the city that connects the two banks of the Neretva river.
We also came to Mostar because of the Old Bridge but discovered the city has more to offer than just the bridge.
These are our 8 favorite things to do in Mostar
1 Gaze at Stari Most (Old Bridge)
This is what most people come to Mostar for, including us. The world famous 1566 stone bridge got totally destroyed during the Bosnian war, Mostar being in the frontline. You can clearly see that the bridge is a reconstruction, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that this still is one of the most beautiful views in Europe from almost all angles imaginable.
Most people take their pics from the banks of the river at the foot of the bridge or from the terraced section across Rabobolja Creek. You get great shots from both positions, but it is also worth taking a photo from the Lucki bridge south of the Old Bridge for an overall shot of the beautiful setting on the Neretva river. Or even better: climb the minaret of the Koski Mehmed-Pasha Mosque (see below).
2 Climb the minaret of the Koski Mehmed-Pasha Mosque
This mosque was built in 1617 and still has some of its original paint and wall decorations. More interesting however is the possibility to climb the minaret. Located 100 meters north of the Old Bridge it affords awesome panoramic views of the city and the Old Bridge. Because of the relatively high 6 euro entrance fee for the combined ticket for the mosque and minaret not many people go up, giving you somewhat of an exclusive experience. When I took the above photo I had the minaret completely to myself.
3 Wander through the old town
The old city center of Mostar is steeped in history as far back as the Romans. It saw its fair share of destruction during the 1990’s war in Bosnia, but the old center has been restored and has regained its old charm. Historic sites can be found in short walking distance of each other and it’s a good place to shop for souvenirs.
4 Visit Kajtaz House
Mostar’s rich heritage can be found on the outside, in its Ottoman architecture, but is also worth to take a look inside one of the old Ottoman homes. We visited the Kajtaz House, Mostar’s most historic old house hidden in a side street just outside the old center of town. The preserved harem section of the house is full of original artifacts and is still in the process of being renovated. The current owner, a descendant of the family that originally built the house in the 16th century, interrupted his reconstruction work to talk to us for a while and explain about the house. Very interesting.
5 Have lunch or dinner with a view
Mostar boasts several restaurants with great views of the Old Bridge, and the Neretva River. The dinner we had at one of the restaurants there, however, was by far the worst we had in Bosnia-Herzegovina. We had a much better experience at Hindin Han, one of the incredibly scenically located restaurants around Rabobolja Creek and the 1558 Crooked Bridge (Kriva Cuprija).
6 Look for street art
All around Mostar you’ll find some empty shells of buildings that got destroyed during the Bosnian war. The skeleton of the Neretva Hotel near the Musala bridge is one of the best known. Some more buildings can be found around Spanski Trg that was right on the frontline.
The most notable is the nine-storey tower of the former Staklena Banka, that was used as a sniper position during the war. Now parts of the ruined building and the surrounding area are being used as a canvas by street artists.
7 Wonder about the Bruce Lee statue
Probably one of the strangest things you’ll find in all of Bosnia-Herzegovina is the statue of Bruce Lee in Zrinjevac Park, next to Spanski Trg. The life size bronze monument of the popular martial arts star by sculptor Ivan Fiolic was placed in the park in 2005. It’s supposed to symbolize universal justice and victory of good over evil. We thought it was just weird.
8 Take a day tour to Blagaj, Počitelj and the Kravice waterfalls
Mostar is the prefect base to make a day tour to the Blagaj Tekija (a scenic dervish house at the mouth of a cliff-cave), the 15th century fortified town of Počitelj and the amazing Kravice waterfalls (you can swim in front of the falls). We had our own wheels, but many guest houses and tour operators in Mostar offer this as a day tour.
For more about these three great sights check out our post about the 14 reasons to visit Bosnia-Herzegovina.
What are your favorite things to do in Mostar? We’d like to hear from you!