One of the few divided cities in the world, Mostar still tells a story of two nations, two religions and one bridge that symbolizes their unity. Its turbulent history is still present in the lives and hearts of the people who live there. Visiting Mostar isn’t just about the great sights and the food, it’s also about the eye-opening and humbling experience of witnessing the lives of the locals, both in their division and in their unity. One day in Mostar, while short, is going to leave you with strong impressions, a full stomach and a bag full of authentic souvenirs.
What’s the best time to visit Mostar?
The best time to visit Mostar would be either spring or autumn. In the winter, the town can seem a bit grey and empty, but on the plus side there are no crowds. Summer, on the other hand, can be insanely hot, with temperatures hitting close to 40°C (104°F).
What’s good to know about Mostar?
While it is officially a city in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mostar lies at the crossroads of two ethnicities and religions – the Muslim Bosnia and the Catholic Herzegovina. Because of that, the city itself represents the clash between the East and the West. Today, religious tensions are still evident, especially in over-sized religious buildings and symbols. The Ottoman influence can be seen in the World Heritage-listed Old Town where the 16th century Old Bridge spans the clear waters of the Neretva river.
One Day in Mostar Itinerary
Follow this guide and make the best of your trip even if you’re short on time. These are the top sights and things to do on your one day in Mostar.
Grab a Turkish Coffee to Wake You Up!
The influence of the Ottoman Empire is clearly visible all over the city. It has had an impact on religion and architecture, on the clothes people wear and food. The same goes for the coffee. The Turkish coffee is present in all Balkan countries, but in Bosnia it is a true delicacy and a perfect start to your day here. Find a coffee shop and enjoy.
Go for a Stroll Around the Old Town
After your morning coffee, it’s time for some Old Town exploration. Walk along the cobblestone streets and admire the old Ottoman architecture side-by-side with Austro-Hungarian neoclassical houses. The charming streets are lined with Turkish cafés, restaurants and bazaar street shops which altogether make for a vibrant oriental atmosphere.
Cross the Old bridge
Cross the Old Bridge, the most famous sight and the symbol of Mostar. The bridge you can see today is a reconstructed version of the 16th-century Ottoman-style bridge which was destroyed during the Yugoslav war. It represents both the remnants of the Ottoman reign and the strength and suffering of the Balkan people. This UNESCO World Heritage structure is one of Europe’s finest examples of Islamic architecture.
Learn a Little Bit About the City’s Turbulent Past
Check out the War Photo Exhibition right next to the Old Bridge to get to know more about the civil war in the 90s. It’s a great opportunity to find out more about the turbulent history of Mostar and the way it shaped the lives of its inhabitants.
Shop at the Čaršija Market
The Čaršija market, an excellent example of a Turkish bazaar, is where you want to buy some oriental souvenirs. Metalware, textile, jewelry or pottery it’s all there. Authentic džezvas (coffee pots), terracotta plates, handmade jewelry, scarf pashminas, traditional Bosnian rugs… Plenty of items to choose from!
Visit the Mehmed-Pasha Mosque and Its Minaret
After you pass the bridge, you will yourself in the Bosnian (Muslim) part of the city. With many mosques and religious buildings, one really stands out – the Mehmed-Pasha Mosque. Even being a modest version of the Ottoman mosque architecture, its interior with the colorful rugs and frescoes is still very beautiful. Don’t forget to climb to the top of the minaret for the stunning 360° panoramic view.
Eat Some Turkish Delights at the Koski Basta Café
Whether you want to drink another shot of the greatest Turkish coffee or enjoy a cup of tea, Koski Basta Café is the perfect place to relax a bit and enjoy the beautiful views of the Old Town and the Neretva river. With bright cushions and an authentic Turkish feel, it’s also a great place to try some of the Turkish sweets such as Baklava cake.
Have Some Ćevapi for Lunch
Whether you want to sit on one of the many terraces overlooking the Neretva river, or you want to find some local place a bit further from the tourist crowd – don’t forget to try Bosnian Ćevapčići (minced meat dish) while in Mostar. Order a portion of kajmak, the most delicious cream cheese. It’s the perfect match.
Visit the Biscevic House
The best way to get a glimpse of what the traditional house in Mostar looked like is to visit the Biscevic house. The house was built in 1635 and it’s a great example of residential architecture from the Ottoman period with the nice courtyard in the front. The house is decorated with the furniture and household items from the Ottoman period. You can see the traditional rugs, tables, beds and even items of clothing that you can try on. The Muslibegović house is very close to it, as another nice example of the Ottoman style, so maybe you want to check out that one too.
Check out the Other Side of Mostar
Evidence of the civil war in the 90s is still present everywhere in Mostar. Many crumbling buildings in the very city center on the other side of the river Neretva still have bullet marks covering their exteriors. One of them is the Sniper Tower that was used as a sniper base. Today, this abandoned building is a visually impactful landmark, decorated with graffiti inside and out.
Where to stay in Mostar?
Gojka Vukovića bb, 88000 Mostar
Hotel Kapetanovina is a perfect choice for those looking for a modern and stylish, but extremely comfortable stay. The location is superb, next to the Neretva river, very close to Carsija and only a few minutes walking to the Old Bridge. It features stylish rooms, some of them with spectacular views of the Old Town and the Old Bridge.
Gojka Vukovića 42, 88000 Mostar
Hotel Hana is another perfectly located hotel placed in a beautiful, newly renovated historical building. It features rooms with modern designs, but also several decorated in a decadent, historical style. The Old Bridge is only a few minutes walking from the hotel.
Kardinala Stepinca bb, 88000 Mostar
Hotel Mepas is a centrally located, luxury hotel, with a magnificent panorama view of Mostar. The hotel represents an ideal blend of modern architecture and timeless elegance. A rich variety of carefully chosen amenities will appeal to the business and the leisure traveler as well. An exclusive wellness center with indoor swimming pools, 3 kinds of saunas, a massage room, a fitness room, a congress center, a la carte restaurant, and spacious rooms and suites is what makes this hotel one of the best in Mostar.
Day trips from/to Mostar
Go North and Visit Sarajevo on a Day Trip from Mostar
While in Mostar, you don’t want to miss the chance to visit Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, located only two hours north of Mostar. After a scenic drive including a brief stop in Konjic, you will get a chance to visit all of Sarajevo’s main attractions, including the charming Baščaršija district and the captivating Latinska Ćuprija, where Archduke Franz Ferdinand was famously assassinated in 1914. A relaxed stroll down the delightful Ferhadija promenade will conclude this day trip to a city that resembles a living, breathing page torn from the world’s own history book.
Discover Herzegovina on a Day Trip from Mostar
To discover more of Herzegovina, you will need to leave Mostar and set out for Blagaj, Počitelj, and Kravice Waterfalls, three of the region’s must-see attractions. On a day trip from Mostar, you will be able to visit all of these places in one day. All you need to do is relax and enjoy the ride as your professional, knowledgeable guide offers valuable insights and first-hand experiences that tell the story of Herzegovina’s history and culture. On your way to Blagaj and its 17th century Dervish house carved from living rock, you will get a chance to admire the crystal-clear blue waters of Buna Spring and Počitelj, a charming medieval village with a vibrant artist colony.
Day Trip from Dubrovnik to Bosnia and Herzegovina with Medjugorje and Mostar
Extra tips for visiting Mostar
– Leave your flip-flops and high heels at home. The cobblestone streets of the Old City are slippery and the Bridge itself is pretty steep and smooth to walk on, even when wearing sneakers.
– Be careful if you’re interested in swimming in the Neretva waters. The water can be very chilly and the current is extremely strong.
– If visiting the Mosque and other religious sites is on your itinerary, you’re going to have to bring some long-sleeved modest clothing in order to go inside. Occasionally, women don’t have to wear scarves when entering, but keep one close by just in case.
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Anca is a travel writer and the founder of One Day Itinerary - the biggest collection of travel itineraries for those who are time-limited or just want to maximize their time while traveling. Although she easily becomes homesick for Croatia, she thinks travel is essential to her happiness. She has traveled to more countries than she is years old and doesn’t plan on changing that fact. In her travel guides she aims to inspire people to travel whenever they have a spare day (or two).
WOW! WE LOVE THE CONCEPT OF YOUR BLOG. CAN’T WAIT TO READ MORE.
Safe travels xx
Leesa & Kate
Travel inspirations? http://www.wanderlustchronicles.com.au
Leesa and Kate, thank you for your kind words. We plan to cover hundreds of travel destinations, so there will definitely be much more.
If you already decided to visit the city you should also visit both sides and also suggests some other sites like the Catholic church and climb the tower. It is not nice to say that it is a Muslim Bosnia and Croatian Herzegovina. There are a lot of Croats in Bosnia too like a lot of Muslims in Herzegovina. People would get wrong impressions.
Hi Zoki, thank you for your comment. You are absolutely right and we never had any wrong intentions. We wrote it from the perspective of our trip. Of course there are always more things to see.