Bosnia and Herzegovina…now that’s a mouthful. It’s one of the lesser known countries in the Balkans, positioned to be cast in overpopulous Croatia’s shadow. But these countries were once united and part of a former republic which you may be familiar with, Yugoslavia.
In a sad series of events that includes a horrific war, Bosnia was stripped of almost any coastline as the new countries emerged to re-establish their territories. On visiting the area, Bosnia appears to have recovered slower from the war than its neighbours Croatia and Montenegro. The country has more visible remnants of the war. Bombed buildings, barren land..
But beyond this front are some hidden gems of Europe that the common tourist may not be familiar with. In particular, the quaint Bosnian town of Mostar was a personal favourite during my trip. It was a bit like a mini turkey, a melting pot of east meets west.
Getting off the beaten track can prove rewarding and it certainly was in the case of Bosnia & Herzegovina. Here are some of my recommendations of what to do when in Mostar!
1. Stari Most: The Old Bridge
Undoubtedly the icon of Mostar, the old bridge is the heart of this city. It was deliberately bombed during the war to demoralise the Bosnians and this 16th century ottoman bridge was only recently reconstructed and reopened in 2004. It now serves as a spot for the daredevils of the Mostar Diving Club to jump 12 metres into the Neretva below!
2. Kravice Waterfall
Something for the nature buffs. These cascading waterfalls intertwined with mossy greens are incredible. A great spot to feel in touch with nature and go for a dip!
3. Blagaj & Vrelo Bune
A small town about 20 minutes out of Mostar takes you to a little house perched at the source of one of the most azure rivers you will ever see. It feels almost like a fairytale!
A mix of medieval and ottoman architecture, this old city was of strategic importance back in the day. Climbing up the town to the top makes for a neat view over the valley and river.
Eat Drink Sleep
EAT: anywhere on either side of the bridge for a good view of the bridge and some good old sheesha. Sunset is a great time to go to snag some great pics from the prime locations of these restaurants.
DRINK: Ali Baba’s Cave. This cool club/bar in a cave!
SLEEP: Hostels start at around 9 euro a night and are more than comfortable. Mostar is cheap!
I stayed at: Hostel Dina, a stones throw from the old town.