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The beautiful city of Mostar is one of my favourites in the Balkans thanks to its traditional markets, sublime scenery and tasty food. You won’t find endless things to do in Mostar but that’s part of its charm. Pull up a chair, pour a Bosnian coffee and watch the world go by!
Although these days Mostar seems peaceful and idyllic, you only need a brief summary of the history to know it was home to one of Europe’s most recent wars and the most recent genocide. As well as strolling over the Old Bridge, shopping for souvenirs and soaking up the sunshine, I urge you to learn about the heartwrenching history of Bosnia & Herzegovina to better understand this fascinating country.
How to get to Mostar
By air: The most common way is to fly into Sarajevo (I use Skyscanner to get the best prices) and get a bus to Mostar. Buses take 2.5 hours and cost around €12, best booked at the station.
Overland: it’s easy to arrive by bus if you’re coming from Split, Croatia or Kotor, Montenegro. From Split, book with Flixbus and from Kotor, book on GetbyBus. Both journeys cost around €20 and take 4.5 hours.
Tip – have some local currency left over when leaving any country in the Balkans because fees for luggage and to use the bus station are common!
By day trip: although it wouldn’t be my chosen method now, around 6 years ago I took a Mostar day trip from Dubrovnik that also included Počitelj and Kravice Falls. It was fast-paced taking in a lot during one day. The obvious downside is that you have limited time to explore all the Mostar attractions. But if it suits your travel style, browse Mostar from Dubrovnik day tours with Viator.
Where to stay in Mostar
- Hostel – there are lots of cosy hostels starting from €10 a night. The best rated one is Hostel Majdas, closely followed by Taso’s House and Hostel David.
- Budget hostel – stay at Pansion Villa Nur for incredible views, affordable prices and brilliant reviews. Check availability from €40.
- Mid-range hotel – don’t miss Hotel Kapetanovina for beautiful rooms and studios, a rooftop terrace and superb reviews. Check availability from €65. Another beautiful residence with a mid-range price tag is Shangri La Mansion for €55.
- Splash-out hotel – just moments from the UNESCO bridge, Hotel-Restaurant Kriva Ćuprija is set inside a heritage listed building with spacious, bright rooms and breakfast included. Check availability from €90.
- Apartment – the best views in town can be seen from Next to the Old Bridge Apartments (€150) and Apartment Light de Luxe (€100)
- Browse all hostels on Hostelworld and hotels and apartments on Booking.com.
What to do in Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina
From beautiful photo spots to museums and walking tours, here are the top activities in Mostar that you won’t want to miss…
Mostar Old Bridge
When you Google ‘Mostar’ or browse any stand of postcards and fridge magnets in the market, you’ll be greeted with endless images of the Old Bridge, a must for sightseeing in Mostar. Although it dates back centuries, it was a wooden bridge until 1557 when the sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent (what a thing to call yourself!) ordered it to be replaced with a stone bridge.
Our walking tour guide explained the original bridge had been built with ‘glue’ comprising egg yolk and goat’s hair. Although this doesn’t sound very sturdy, it stayed up for 427 years. Impressive!
Stari Most AKA the Old Bridge of Mostar isn’t just a pretty picture: it’s intrinsically tied to the history of the city when you consider it’s called ‘Mostar’ after the keepers of the bridge. It was entirely destroyed during the Balkan War in the 1990s and replaced in 2004, funded by the World Bank, UNESCO and others.
Watch bridge jumpers
Watching professional jumpers launch themselves off the Old Bridge is one of the most entertaining things to do in Mostar. However, they won’t jump until they have recieved €25 in donations so you may be waiting a while.
If you can time your trip around September, you may be lucky to catch the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series! It was held here from 2017-19 and again in 2022 but we’re still waiting to hear if it will return in 2023.
Just to be clear, it’s watching the professional jumpers that I’m recommending NOT jumping yourself! Our walking tour guide told us all kinds of horrific and gory stories about tourists who’ve tried, overly confident after too many drinks. Let’s just say, they won’t be trying again, partly because they can’t. Just don’t go there!
Wander across Kriva Cuprija (Crooked Bridge)
Although the Old Bridge is the most popular tourist attraction in Mostar, there are several other bridges where you can soak up views and learn about the history. One is Kriva Cuprija (Crooked Bridge) crossing Rabobolja creek.
This cobbled bridge beside a cobbled street is an idyllic part of the city. It was also destroyed and rebuilt, not due to war but floods in 2000.
Snap photos from Lučki Most
Although it’s a short walk from town, it’s worth visiting Lučki Most (a third Mostar bridge) for the views. This bridge isn’t so impressive itself but due to its location further along the Neretva river from the Old Town, you’ll get prime photo opportunities while crossing it.
Take the free walking tour
This is a must! Almost everything I know about Mostar was gleaned during this fascinating walking tour. I take these in every new city I go but rarely are they led by guides who can actually tell you about war on their doorstep from their own memories.
The Balkan Wars were so recent that someone in their late 30s will have childhood memories, and someone in their late 40s will have survived it as a young adult. This is why travelling to Bosnia & Herzegovina and speaking to the locals is so important. Obviously, it’s a sensitive topic that you won’t broch with a stranger on the street, so the Mostar Free Walking Tour is an ideal way to learn.
Times: the tours run at 9.30am and 6pm from June-August. Afternoon tours are earlier in shoulder season (5pm in April, May & Sept, 4pm in Oct), then from Nov-March, there’s just one daily tour at 11am.
Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque
Koski Mehmed Pasha is the most beautiful mosque in town and a must-visit place in Mostar, welcoming Muslim and non-Muslim travellers. The interior features spectacular rugs, stained glass and artwork.
Entry to the mosque and the minaret climb costs 14KM (€7), a little expensive but worth it.
Climb the minaret for the best view in Mostar!
For a fantastic photo opp of the Old Bridge, one of the top things to do in Mostar is climb the minaret tower at Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque. It’s included in the entry price and offers spectacular, elevated views of the Old Town, Neretva river and surrounding scenery.
It’s a tight squeeze up the circular staircase so hopefully no one is coming down at the same time you are going up! At the top, it’s also a tight squeeze and only a few people can fit at once.
Other mosques in Mostar
Karađoz Beg Mosque is another beautiful mosque in Mostar where tourists are permitted to enter and climb the minaret. The friendly imam will show you around the mosque built in 1567 and tell you about its history. For an authentic spot that feels less touristic than Koski Mehmed Pasha, it’s a real gem.
Browse the Old Bazar
In the heart of Stari Grad (the Old Town) lies one of the oldest places in Mostar full of history, food fabrics, jewellery and souvenirs. Once a point of connection between Turks and Bosnians doing business, it’s now a tourist hotspot but a lovely one.
The Old Bazar (Kujundziluk in the local tongue) is located in the cobbled streets on the left bank of the river. It’s a car-free zone that hasn’t changed much since its Ottoman Empire days.
Be prepared to haggle and you’ll get great deals. I bought beautiful earrings for €5 that I’m still wearing months later and a tote bag showing Mostar bridge that doubles up as a laundry bag while backpacking.
Learn about traditional crafts
As well as browsing for souvenirs, a trip to the Old Bazar is a chance to learn about traditional Bosnian crafts dating back centuries and passed through generations. More than 500 workshops used to operate here in Ottoman times but, due to the rise of mass production, the number is far fewer today.
During the free walking tour, we were lucky to witness a demonstration at Mostar Art Gallery and see how copper is hammered with detailed designs showing images from the region’s past. We met a young guy who had learnt the trade from his dad and would be continuing the family business.
For an educational and arty thing to do in Mostar, pop in to see skilled craftspeople at work and maybe even buy something to support them.
Spot street art brightening old buildings
If there’s one thing I love to find when travelling, it’s street art! From Porto to Zagreb, I’ve seen some fantastic street art in Europe lately.
The murals in Mostar brighten up old buildings, particularly those damaged by war. The Sniper Tower is one place to see street art and I also liked the bird mural (top left) on Drage Palavstre near the War & Genocide Museum. Birds seem to be a theme in the art in Mostar.
Climb Mostar Peace Bell Tower
For the tallest viewpoint around, the 75m Peace Bell Tower is one of the best places to visit in Mostar.
Rather than an open top, you’re looking through glass windows that are slightly dirty in places. It wasn’t the most impressive attraction in Mostar for me, but it does give a good sense of scale. It’s also interesting to see the WHOLE city including Yugoslavia-era blocks as well as just the polished UNESCO centre.
In case you’re wondering, you don’t have to climb to the top! Once you pay your €3 entry fee, you’ll jump in a lift almost to the top then climb the final few stairs. Beside the Peace Bell Tower is a modern Franciscan church that replaces an older one destroyed by war.
Find the bizarre Bruce Lee Bronze Monument
For a quirky thing to do in Mostar, find the Bruce Lee statue Have questions? So did I.
The statue has a curious history, dating back to days of communist Yugoslavia when locals, whether they were Bosniak, Croat or Serbian, developed an obsession with kung fu movies accessed via pirated VHS.
Although Mostar is now divided into Bosniak and Croat sections on either side of the river (with Serbs largely leaving during the war), they’re united by their love of Bruce Lee. The Mostar Urban Movement youth group erected the statue in 2005 as an attempt at unity but sadly, it was vandalised quickly.
Watching a child swing off his arm, I wondered if ethnic tensions will ever end in ex-Yugoslavian countries. Surely if one generation stopped passing negativity down to their children, unity could be achieved within decades… Although I guess media, governements and world events also play a huge part. Sigh.
See the Sniper Tower
For a riveting piece of history with a tragic story, pass by the Sniper Tower close to the Bruce Lee statue. Now an abandoned structure covered in urban art, it was once a Yoguslav Bank that was taken over by Serb and Croatian forces during the war.
Bosniak people risked their lives passing this tower so it’s an important part of the history, perhaps explaining why it’s never been taken down or replaced.
Cultural things to do in Mostar
For museums and history, check out…
The Old Bridge Museum
Unsurprisingly located beside the Old Bridge, this small but informative museum explains the history of the Old Bridge. As I briefly explained above, the bridge is integral to Mostar’s history and has withstood (well, apart from the multiple times it was destroyed) invasion, war and bombings.
Not only that but it represents the multiculturalism of the region, as the two remaining ethnic majorities are still geographically divided today on either side of the bridge. Basically, a visit to the Old Bridge Museum will help you better understand Mostar.
Located on the west side of the river near the Old Bazar, this is a fairly interesting museum (although far from amazing) covering the history of Bosnia & Herzegovina. At the Bosnaseum, you’ll learn about different eras and ethnic groups – Croatian Catholics, Orthodox Serbians and Bosniak Muslims – via exhibits displaying clothing, food and handicrafts.
There are also exhibits about the war and destruction of the Old Bridge. Entry is 10 BAM (€5).
Museum Of War And Genocide Victims
Without competition, the most powerful and captivating museum in Mostar is the Museum Of War And Genocide Victims documenting what happened to Muslim Bosniaks in the 1990s following independence from Yugoslavia.
It’s easily one of the most upsetting and traumatic museums I’ve been to. But, as I always think when I’m upset by the suffering of others, if they had to live it (or die during it), the very least I can do is learn about it. Still, very sensitive people should probably not visit this museum.
Entry is 12 BAM (€6) and it’s probably the most worthwhile money you’ll spend while learning about the history of Bosnia & Herzegovina. It will have you thinking deeply about religion, race, peace in the world and the value (or lack thereof) of the UN.
Note – if you’re visiting Sarajevo, the Museum of Crimes Against Humanity and Genocide is similar so you can probably pick one or the other.
Step back in time at Biscevic House
To learn about a completely different period of history, one of the best things to do in Mostar is visit a historic house from the Ottoman era.
The Biscevic House is a 17th-century Turkish residence built into the hillside. Now a museum, it’s an educational place to explore featuring Turkish rugs, clothing and ceramics dotted around rooms preserved for 400 years.
Entry is 4 BAM (€2).
Visit Muslibegovic House – or stay overnight!
After the Biscevic House, I walked 5 minutes to the other popular historic house in Mostar. The Muslibegovic House is fairly similar but with an added quirk: you can stay overnight! The friendly owner was keen to explain that, if I come back to Mostar, I should stay overnight in a preserved Ottoman suite. I certainly will!
Entry is 4 BAM (€2).
After visiting the two historic houses above, I skipped Kajtaz House but I hear it’s a lovely 16th-century residence near Lučki Most. Reviews say it has an exquisite collection of rugs, woodwork and traditional clothing that can be seen as part of a tour with a friendly guide.
War Photo Museum
Okay, I went to not one but TWO museums thinking they were this one… And never made it to the War Photo Museum! First I followed the incorrect Google pin to Bosnamuseum which, confusingly, does have a small collection of war photos.
I read on TripAdvisor that the War Photo Museum is located at the corner of the Old Bridge so I looked for it, but unfortunately got dupped by a sign beside the Old Bridge Museum advertising war photos. I ended up paying 10 BAM to watch an old 7-minute of the bridge coming down. As yo can tell, I would highly NOT recommend this place.
After further research (too late as I had left town), the correct War Photo Museum is the OTHER side of the bridge above Mostar Diving Club. I hear it’s a powerful place to visit in Mostar so you may wish to do so… If you can find it!
Where to go near Mostar
Exhausted the things to do in Mostar? With a second or third day, there’s time to explore the surroundings. You can visit these 3 places listed below separately or take an organised tour to see them during the same day.
For beautiful places to visit near Mostar, you can’t beat Blagaj. I took a cheap and cheerful day trip from Mostar to Blagaj by local bus for the bargain price of €2 return.
This peaceful village is best known for the Dervish House, Blagaj Tekke, a 600-year-old Ottoman residence built into the cliff face. Once home to a guesthouse, madrasa and mausoleum, it was a key place for Dervish Muslims to visit and pray in its carefully-selected position beside the river.
Although some people just snap photos outside, I’d highly recommend going inside to tour the beautiful residence. Women must cover their legs, shoulders and hair; there are scarves to borrow for free.
I caught the bus from the stop outside the United World College in Mostar. It cost just 2 BAM (€1), and entry to the Dervish House is 10 BAM (€5) making it a cheap day out. There are some slightly overpriced restaurants along the river but I departed Mostar early and arrived back in time for lunch.
Kravice Falls are the most sublime waterfalls, cascading into a refreshing swimming hole. If they were over the border in Croatia, they’d likely be a hundred times busier. However, word is getting out these days so it’s worth visiting early if you’re coming independently. Once tour groups arrive, it’s pretty crowded.
No public transport connects Mostar (the falls are 43km away) so it’s best to hire a car, take a taxi or hop on a day tour to Kravice Falls. Entry costs up to 10 BAM depending on the season and parking costs 2 BAM. They’re open 24 hours so it’s free if you visit outside of the ticketed entry times of 8am-8pm.
Visiting the idyllic village of Počitelj is like stepping back in time, dubbed an ‘open-air museum’ because of the historic architecture comprising mosques, churches and the remains of a castle.
For hundreds of years, the town was a stronghold to protect against the Ottomans. Given the mosques here today, you can guess they eventually conquered.
Počitelj is famous for the pomegranates and figs growing in abundance around the town. Vendors in the streets will sell you fresh fruit and pomegranate juice.
Getting there: a bus taking 40 minutes departs Mostar at 11.10am and returns at 2.45pm. Otherwise, you can drive, charter a taxi or take a day tour.
Foodie things to do in Mostar
You won’t find an article on my website not mentioning food! Bosnian food may not be known around the world but I think it’s delicious. You’ll find typical Balkan dishes as well as food with Turkish origins introduced during Ottoman times.
Try the typical dishes
Some of these are…
- Ćevapi – small ground meat sausages are a Balkan classic found everywhere from fancy restaurants in Split to modest eateries in rural towns. They’re usually served with bread and chopped onion.
- Japrak – this is a tasty dish made with stuffed vine leaves, mashed potato, sour cream and/or stew.
- Sogan dolma – stewed onions are stuffed with minced meat, paprika, sour cream and spices.
Go on a restaurant crawl
A few of my favourite restaurants in Mostar are…
- Restaurant Šadrvan – I ate in this restaurant in 2017 and came back in 2022… If that isn’t dedication, I don’t know what is! They serve a fantastic range of traditional Bosnian dishes. Prices are slightly geared towards tourists but really not bad at all.
- Tima Irma – this is an amazing and affordable barbeque restaurant serving some of the best cevapi in town. Don’t forget to order a side of kaymak (cream cheese) and ajvar (red pepper paste). The only complaint is there’s no bathroom.
Enjoy Bosnian coffee
If you haven’t yet tried Turkish coffee, now is a great time. I confess I’m still learning to love it because it has more of an earthy taste than Italian coffee. However, it usually comes with sugar cubes and delicious Turkish delight. Yum!
… With dessert!
Bosnian desserts are great, as I learnt when I rented an Airbnb room from a local family in Sarajevo who baked me hurmašica after I mentioned it was my favourite!
Hurmašica are syrup-drenched pastries while baklava is a better-known and equally syrup-drenched dessert made with pistachio and filo pastry. There are countless cafes and bakeries in Mostar where you can (and should) try them!
Costs of visiting Mostar
My daily spend in Bosnia & Herzegovina was about €45 which is a mid-range budget. I did private rooms rather than hostels for once, plus I paid lots of museum and attraction entrance fees to work out what to do in Mostar and make this blog the best it can be (feel free to support my work!) plus I’m a huge foodie and have at least 2 coffees a day.
You could easily travel on a budget in Bosnia on €25 a day! Stay in hostels, eat local food and buy ingredients to cook from time to time.
- €10 for a bed in a hostel dorm
- €12 for a private room in an Airbnb, from €20 for a whole Airbnb
- €5 for museum entrance
- €10 for a meal and drink in a touristic restaurant (half that in very local places. Don’t pay more than €5 for cevapi anywhere!)
- €12 for the Mostar to Sarajevo bus
- €25+for day tours with GetYourGuide or Viator
- €1 public transport for example the bus to Blagaj.
Here’s some extra info for planning your trip to Mostar.
Is Mostar worth visiting?
Absolutely! It’s beautiful, cultural and historical with plenty of options for learning or simply relaxing, soaking up the vibes and enjoying the cafes.
Of course, if you ONLY love huge cities with skyscrapers and international cuisine… Well, maybe then you won’t think Mostar is worth visiting!
How many days to spend in Mostar?
Some will tell you a day is enough in Mostar but I don’t agree. Yes, you can whizz around the main things to do in Mostar and soak up the ambience of the city, but there are lots of museums, mosques and historic houses plus so much food to try!
So if you love culture and want to learn about the history, spend two days in Mostar.
I spent a third day visiting Blagaj (I had visited Kravice Falls and Počitelj on a previous trip but you can opt for a day tour including all three).
Most travellers don’t visit Mostar alone because there’s no international airport for quick mini breaks. It’s more common to visit as part of a trip including other places in Bosnia & Herzegovina or a Balkans backpacking trip.
Some of my favourite places nearby are…
Although Mostar is charming, it was Sarajevo I really fell for. For a European capital city, it’s incredibly traditional and well-preserved. You’d barely know it was the modern day!
Regarding the history, there are many fantastic places and people to learn from. The free walking tour is a great place to start. I’d also recommend staying in Apartmen Dove with a friendly local family upstairs. It’s a no-frills place up a steep hill but I had a great time.
Read next: 35 things to do in Sarajevo
After 3 months living in Croatia in 2023, I’m your girl for tips and tricks. It’s easy to catch a bus from Mostar to Split in 4.5 hours or Mostar to Dubrovnik in 3 hours.
You’d barely believe this is Bosnia’s neighbour because it’s so much more touristy and expensive and has a different feel because of the architecture relating to the Catholic rather than Muslim majority, and the coastline rather than inland cities.
Dubrovnik is the smaller and more touristic of the main coastal 2 cities, although Split is also rammed in the summer. I would suggest going in shoulder season to enjoy Split day trips to the islands and Krka Falls without too many other people around.
Zadar is another beautiful coastal city for your Croatia itinerary. The capital of Zagreb isn’t my favourite but it has decent cafes and street art, plus it’s a good base to explore Plitvice National Park.
I would definitely encourage a trip to Montenegro because it’s stunningly beautiful with incredibly clear waters and opportunites for swimming and boat trips.
It’s somewhere between B&H and Croatia in terms of tourism. Kotor and Budva are popular cruise stops in the summer months but there are plenty of hidden gems and less-visited places, too. It’s a small country so you can base somewhere and explore as day trips by car or group tours.
Stari Bar near Bar was my favourite stop on my Montenegro itinerary. Backpackers shouldn’t miss it because there’s a fantastic hostel, the Grove, in an old converted mill with fruit trees in the grounds, spacious dorms with orthopaedic mattresses, and friendly staff who organise daily trips and group dinners. Just amazing!
Thanks for reading!
More Balkans blogs:
- What to do in Belgrade, Serbia
- The top attractions in Pristina, Kosovo
- The ultimate Albania itinerary
- Things to do in Tirana, Albania
- Montenegro itinerary – without a car
- Guide to Kotor, Montenegro
- Things to do in Skopje, North Macedonia
- 2 week Romania road trip
- Things to do in Brasov, Romania
- Things to do in Timisoara, Romania
- How to spend 2 days in Sofia, Bulgaria
TRUSTED RESOURCES FOR VISITING BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA
Getting around by air – I use Skyscanner and search by month to see the cheapest dates.
Driving in Europe – use Rentalcars.com to compare car rentals in European countries (and all around the world).
For hotels and self-catering apartments, I use Booking.com. You can filter by review score and price to find the best-rated budget places. For hostels, I use Hostelworld.
To save money on accommodation, I use Trusted Housesitters, a website that connects homeowners going away and travellers who can sit their homes & pets.
Browse tours and Mostar activities on GetYourGuide and Viator.
Need travel insurance? I use World Nomads. They cover 150 countries and have 24-hour emergency assistance.
Check out my resources page for more travel discounts and budget tips from my 10+ years on the road!