Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina.
For those based in Dubrovnik (blog) or Sarajevo (blog) for their holiday adventures to the Balkan states, Mostar offers one of the best day trips from either city. Driving takes just over 2 hours from both cities, making it an ideal stop for those who have an extra day in their itinerary. This old city was founded in 1452 but human settlements by the river has long existed well before that. The city is beautiful and filled with fantastic architecture and history – well worth a short day trip visit!
The most iconic photo of the small town is probably of the arched bridge, where the annual diving competition takes off from. The Stari Most is a hugely popular tourist destination and is a beautiful bridge for photo opportunities. The city was actually named after the bridge keepers (mostaris) who were guards of the bridge that crosses River Neretva, during medieval times. Initially built in 1557, this rainbow shaped bridge was actually destroyed during the war in Bosnia. The current one is a reconstruction post war, to look as similar to the original as possible. The bridge now holds the annual diving competition which first started in 1968.
Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque
A short walk along the river and you will reach an old mosque that was rebuilt in 1618. A centerpiece fountain and a beautiful little garden greets you as you enter into the courtyard. Here you can enter and visit the mosque with a small entrance fee.
I highly recommend climbing the narrow stairs up the minaret to catch a brilliant birds-eye view of the town – do watch your head though!
Eat at Sadrvan
By the time we finished walking along the river and checking out the market stalls around the river banks, it was time for lunch. We headed to Sadrvan, which offers some decent local dishes. Food here was comparable to our favourites in Sarajevo (blog)!
Another short drive away and probably getting very lost, you will eventually find Blagaj. This is a really pretty monastery under an enclosed cliff. This Dervish monastery is around 600 years old and sits on the banks of the river Buna. To get the best views, head to the right hand side of the river. You will have to go across the first river crossing, head to the back of the restaurant, where there will be a small path that allows you to be elevated for a really good view of the cliffs and the monastry.
An incredible end to our Bosnian adventure
A day trip to visit Mostar and Blagaj is a must for any traveler. Your day will be filled with exploring the charms of an old city, sighting incredible views from a minaret to climbing across the Stari Most and visiting a 600 year old monastry under a cliff. This is definitely ideal for those looking to have a relaxing and chilled day of simply just roaming about and exploring trinkets in local shops – the perfect holiday away from holiday!
Also published on Medium.