Mostar is a gorgeous town in southern Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the number one tourist spot in this part of the country. It is known for the iconic Old Bridge – the symbol of the town and Herzegovina.
It is popular for its proximity to the Adriatic sea, rafting on the Neretva river and Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. But there’s quite a lot of other things you can do and see here, and I’ll try to cover them all.
Keep on reading to find out what are the best things to do in Mostar and its surroundings!
The Old Bridge (Stari Most) is the symbol of this city. And it is one of the first things you will see when you get there, since it truly dominates the panorama of Mostar.
Stari Most is an iconic sight, with a tragic history. The bridge was originally commissioned by Suleiman the Magnificent in the 16th century, and it was a remarkable example of Islamic architecture in the Balkans. However, during the war in 1993, the bridge was destroyed and then restored again in 2004.
Today, the Old Bridge is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which attracts thousands of people every year to observe the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. Divers climb an erected platform and launch themselves in the cold Neretva below. And until you’ve stood on the bridge and seen just how far below that is, you won’t truly understand how brave those men and women are.
You can also frequently spot some locals in swimwear on the bridge. They are ready to entertain you by jumping in the cold river, but for a price – they won’t jump until they’ve collected 50KM.
Don’t just take photos of the bridge, or of the view from the bridge – go inside the Herzegovina Museum, which is the next thing to do in this charming city!
The Herzegovina Museum actually consists of four different sites. One of them is right next to the Old Bridge, and it is dedicated to its history. You can see photos of the original bridge built during the Ottoman rule, as well as learn about its reconstruction. And since the museum is located in the Tara tower, you will have lovely views of the bridge below.
Very close to this museum site, you will also find the Svetozar Corovic Memorial House. He was a novelist, and he worked closely together with Aleksa Santic – one of the most prominent poets from Bosnia and Herzegovina. There is an Aleksa Santic memorial room in the house, which is dedicated to the life and works of this amazing artist.
The third museum site is the Dzemal Bijedic Memorial House. The former prime minister of Yugoslavia was born in Mostar, but this museum site is not actually dedicated to his life. In fact, the Memorial House depicts the architecture and culture of the area over the past three centuries. And you can also see what the traditional Bosnian avlija (garden) is all about.
The fourth and final museum site is the MUM interpretation center. It features four permanent exhibitions about Herzegovina, including the flora and fauna of the area, as well the culture and tradition of people who live there.
Mostar is one of the most popular cities in the country for rafting, so all you adrenaline junkies will have something to do there. The Neretva river is pretty wild and unpredictable, so this experience will be amazing for both amateurs and pros.
Of course, you will need to go a bit outside the city, and head towards Konjic and Boracko Lake. That is where most rafting tours start from. There’s several different companies and types of tours to choose from, and they vary in price and duration.
The Franciscan Monastery and Church are still undergoing renovations, but they are nearly finished and you can visit the complex. The original church and monastery were built in the 19th century, but damaged during the war. The restoration took a really long time because the new church is much larger than the previous one.
This entire complex boasts paintings by Italian artists from the XVI and XVII centuries, a vast library with more than 50,000 scriptures, stunning statues and several exhibits from the modern times.
The Peace Bell Tower is the best viewpoint in the city. In fact, this is the tallest building in Mostar, and you can climb to the top for an amazing panorama of the town below.
Biscevic House is one of the few houses from the Ottoman rule that were authentically preserved. It is located on the eastern bank of the Neretva river, and it is a must-visit for those who really want to know more about the tradition and culture of the area.
The house was originally built in the middle of the 17th century, and it is known for being propped up on two very tall stone pillars above the river.
The interior of Biscevic House is still decorated authentically – you can see traditional Turkish rugs, silverware and furniture, as well as the two courtyards that are amazing examples of Ottoman architecture.
The hose consists of two storeys, and the second storey is the museum, which features three rooms. There’s a small bedroom for married couples, a female room and a male room, which is the most beautiful in the entire place.
The Karađoz Bey Mosque was built in the 16th century and designed by the Mimar Sinan – a Turkish architect who designed hundreds of buildings for three different sultans. One of his apprentices would later design the Old Bridge.
You can climb to the top of the minaret for gorgeous views of the town. And you can also go inside and explore the interior of the mosque – however, bear in mind that you need to be adequately dressed to be able to enter. Your knees can’t be exposed, and women should cover up their hair.
The same goes if you want to enter Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque, the one depicted in the photo above. This small mosque dates back to the 17th century, and it is located right next to the river. It offers amazing picturesque views of the town from the top of the minaret, which you can climb for a small fee.
Mostar Old Town is full of narrow, cobblestone alleys. And they are swarming with souvenir shops and patisseries where you can buy some authentic items and sweets. Bazar Kujundžiluk is one of the souvenir shops, for lack of a better word.
It is more of a traditional market, full of authentic items from the area. And of course, all kinds of souvenirs – from bullet-shaped pens to jewellery and dzezva (traditional Bosnian coffee pot). If you’re looking to buy some things to remind you of this lovely town, this is the spot to go.
Kajtaz House is the oldest house in Mostar – it was originally built in the 16th century, and it still standing proud and tall. It is an amazing example of architecture of the time, even though only half of the original house is preserved. The other half was sold and destroyed during the war; the part that remains today is the women’s area of the house, according to the current owner.
The current owner of the house is descendant from the original owner (Kajtaz) who was a judge (kadija), during the Ottoman rule. He claims that the part of the house that remains today was the area where the judge’s four wives lived.
The house is decorated traditionally, and you can see furniture and clothing garments that are decades and centuries old. The current owner will take you on a private tour, and it is well worth your time if you want to know more about the history and culture of people of Mostar.
The Turkish Hammam was originally built in late 16th century, and it was a bathhouse. Today it is a museum – the original building was restored, and it showcases some of the objects used in the traditional bathhouse. Among other items you can see an ibrik – a small container with a spout, used for pouring liquids.
This is a really small museum and don’t expect to spend a lot of time here. There’s not really much to see other than traditional bathing equipment, including some soaps and towels from the time. But there is a gift shop here, where you can buy some of these items – a pretty cool souvenir to take back home.
If you don’t know a lot about the history of Bosnia and Herzegovina, then you should definitely stop by this museum. It is a great opportunity to learn about the country, and just how far reaching the effects of the recent war are.
In fact, the museum is run by war victims, which tells you just how recently it ended. It features lots of different exhibitions – personal belongings exhumed from mass graves, photos of the destroyed Old Bridge, military equipment, statues depicting victims and many others. It is going to be a little hard to swallow, but it is a very educational experience.
The Aleksa Santic monument is located in a park not too far away from the Old Bridge. The park offers gorgeous views of the river and the town below, and it is a good place to sit down and just enjoy the peace and nature.
Santic is one of the most esteemed poets from Bosnia and Herzegovina. His works are well known even today, nearly a century after he passed. He is considered a pioneer of the sevdalinka – the traditional Bosnian love ballad, heavily influenced by Muslim love songs.
And considering that Aleksa Santic was a Herzegovinian Serb, he is also famed for bridging the national and cultural divides that nearly tore up this country.
Blagaj is a very small town-village in southern Herzegovina, and it is about 12 kilometers away from Mostar. You can get on a bus, and you will be there in some 20 minutes – the trip is more than worth it.
It is famous for the spring of the Buna river, which is one of the reasons why so many tourists flock to this tiny town. The river is stunning, and the entire scene is worthy of a postcard – this is a great opportunity to get some truly exquisite landscape photographs. Or selfies, depending on what you prefer.
This town is also popular for the Blagaj Tekija (khanqah/tekke), which seamlessly fits into the natural surroundings. It was originally built in the 16th century, soon after the Ottoman rule, and it is one of the finest examples of Islamic architecture in this part of the country.
Another popular tourist attraction here is the Blagaj Fortress. It is locally known as Stjepan Grad, and it is actually a town-fortress complex situated on the hills above Blagaj. The path to the fortress is a great opportunity to do some trekking, as it is situated on a tall hill and is rather inaccessible. But when you reach the top, it will all be worth it – the air is pure, the nature around you is amazing, and the views of the Mostar valley are breathtaking.
Close to Blagaj is Via ferrata Vulin Potok. It is a great opportunity the explore the rocks of Herzegovina, and a wonderful experience for any avid rock climber. The tour begins in Eco Centre Blagaj, and it lasts for some 3.5 hours. It doesn’t require you to be a pro – the track is amateur friendly, and suitable even for people with very little skills.
But it does require lots of technical equipment, including a helmet, a climbing belt, fingerless gloves and a via ferrata set. The good news is that you can rent the equipment on the spot.
Anna is the co-owner of expert world travel and can't wait to share her travel experience with the world. With over 54 countries under her belt she has a lot to write about! Including those insane encounters with black bears in Canada.