Mostar was formerly one of the most ethnically diverse cities in Bosnia with a mixture of Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs all living together in the one city. Mostar was very heavily damaged during the Bosnian war and some 20 years later there are still many visible signs of the war. Today the city of Mostar is still a divided city with Croats and Bosniaks occupying either side of the city that is divided buy the beautiful Neretva river.
Mostar is a great destination for a backpacker. If you visit Mostar you will get an opportunity to learn more about the Bosnian war in the space of a few hours then in a month of reading. You will also get to visit some of the most beautiful sites in the region and as good as any on the continent. It has deliciously cheap food, a plethora of quality hostels and brilliant informative and fun cheap tours to join.
A small, family run Hostel with a great friendly atmosphere. Freshly cooked home made breakfast every day. A great place if you want to meet other travellers and get a home-away-of-home-feeling in your travelling. There is a fully-equipped kitchen connected to the common area, clean bathrooms, big lounge area and a large outside area for socialising. They run day tours that take you to swim in the Kravica waterfalls and other places. Book Hostel Majdas here!
Sky Lounge has really good facilities and offers lots of easy to book tours and events. Do not miss the War Tour or the Kravice Falls tours. They are both unmissable and can be booked through the hostel. Book Sky Lounge here!
I feel bad only mentioning three hostels here, because there are so many good hostel in Mostar. Seriously, just get one of the booking sites and pick one with high reviews and you won’t be disappointed. I heard good things about Hostel Nina from other travellers while I was in Mostar. They will also be able to book War Tours and Kravice Falls tours for you. Book Hostel Nina here!
Sights and Highlights
This 16th century Ottoman style bridge is clearly the centre of Mostar both literally with its location across the Neretva River, and also figuratively as it clearly dominates the culture and identity of Mostar. The fact that it forms such a large part of the identity of Mostar makes it all the more sad that the bridge was destroyed by the Croatian Army during the Bosnian War. Thankfully the bridge was reconstructed after the war using same techniques and with the salvaged raw materials from the original bridge. Once again the Stari Most is the city icon that it deserves to be.
Jumping from the highest point of the bridge into the river below has long been a rite of passage for the young men of Mostar. Tourists are also allowed to jump from the bridge, but you are required to pay a fee of €25 to the local dive club. The fee will allow you to become an honorary member of the Mostar Dive Club after you have jumped, and most importantly it will ensure that someone is waiting for you close to the edge of the river to drag your body out should you manage to injure yourself in such a way that you can’t make it to the edge. It is common for backpackers to jump, particularly Australians (Hamish and Andy can be thanked for that), but you certainly do so at your own risk. I doubt any travel insurance will consider paying your medical bills if they find out how you injured yourself. Having said all this, I jumped, and it was amazing.
Most of the hostels in Mostar will be able to arrange a local guide to take you around the city and use it to explain what Mostar was like during the bitter conflict of the 90’s. The tour leaves nothing sacred and tells it how it really was during the war. Although it doesn’t seem like something to do on holiday, you’ll gain a much greater appreciation of the city and its occupants when you get the chance to see, even briefly, how much it has gone trough and changed.
Just like the war tour above, all accomodation in Mostar will offer day trips down to the Kravica Falls. They also include visits to several other very unique and interesting locations a long the way. Don’t worry too much about which tour you go on, they all go to the same destinations and cost roughly the same price.
This place is very popular, for good reason. The food is delicious and the prices are very good. Quality Bosnian food. Having said that, do not feel bad if you decide to skip this place and try and find another joint with a few less people. All of the restaurants in the centre of Mostar offer similar high quality dishes at good prices.
A fun bar with some pretty cool live music most nights of the week. The best thing about this place is that they make there own beer, and its tasty!
This bar has one of the best locations I think I have ever seen. It is located inside a natural cave close to the banks of the Neretva River. The bar turns into a pretty decent club at night time and seems to be place that most of the backpackers in town end up at most nights.
In order to see the countryside it is strongly advised to sign up for one of the tours available through your hostel. They will provide transport to all the sites as part of the tour and outside of that, everything you want to see and do is walking distance.
Getting In and Out
There is a train line that runs from Mostar to Sarajevo. It is a beautiful journey and you get to see some really nice parts of the Bosnian countryside. There are also plenty of buses and shuttles that connect to both Dubrovnik and Kotor if you are coming from that direction. Your hostel will almost definitely be able to book a shuttle for you, or direct you to an updated bus timetable
- Documentary about Mostar during the war. Strong recommendation that you watch this amazing piece of footage after you have visited Mostar.