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When traveling to southeastern Europe, most travelers don’t visit Bosnia and Herzegovina, and instead stick to Croatia. This is their loss as this country is rich in history, food, and culture. Even if you are just traveling to Croatia, consider a day trip to Mostar as there are so many things to do in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Here are just 10 of them…
1. Stari Most
By far the most iconic, striking piece of architecture in Mostar, and possibly the entire country of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is Stari Most.
Stari Most is a bridge built across the Neretva River in the middle of Mostar that was originally built in 1566. During the Bosnian War of the mid-1990’s, Stari Most was destroyed, but it was later reconstructed to look exactly how it was originally built.
Mostar is very segregated with Christians mostly living on one side of the river and Muslims on the other. Stari Most creates a idyllic connection between the two sides, even if the societal bond between the two is not fully healed from years of war and tension.
2. Watch the Stari Most Jumpers
One of the more unique things to do in Mostar at Stari Most is to watch the people jumping into the river below. Most men born in Mostar jump as a right of passage at some point in their lives. However, there are some who do it over and over.
It’s terrifying simply watching the jumpers, but for the adrenaline junkies out there, you can actually jump from Stari Most yourself!
To jump from Stari Most, talk to some of the divers on the bridge and tell them you’re interested. From there, they will take you to a much lower platform where they teach you the correct way to jump from Stari Most.
If you are able to that and want to continue, you move to a higher platform and then eventually to Stari Most itself—78 ft 9 in (24 m) above the water below.
3. Mostar Sniper Tower
There are still plenty visible signs of the Bosnian War of the 1990’s from memorials to bombed buildings. The infamous Mostar Sniper Tower is one of those and a ghostly reminder of how recent the Bosnian War was.
The Sniper Tower in Mostar was a Yoguslav Bank that was taken over by the Croat and Serb forces during the Siege of Mostar at which point it was used as a sniper tower because of its height and location in Mostar. Snipers shot at Bosniaks all over town from the tower.
Luckily, Mostar has come a long way from the times of war, but the Sniper Tower is a haunting reminder of the horrors of war.
While the Sniper Tower is technically closed, plenty of people climb it. It’s not the safest as it’s an abandoned building, and there are no safety features.
Find out how to climb the Sniper Tower in Mostar so you can experience it for yourself!
4. Koski Mehmed Pasah Mosque
On the east side of the Neretva River from the Sniper Tower sits the Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque. It was built in 1618 and has withstood the test of time in Mostar. It was badly damaged, but not totally destroyed in the Bosnian War. However, similar to Stari Most, it was restored later on.
Upon entering the Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque, you will need to be covered, especially women. If you are traveling in shorts or showing more skin above, they do have some covering you will have to wear. Be aware that this is a cultural difference, so be respectful.
The mosque itself is relatively small and covered with beautiful tapestries and painting on the wall. The highlight of the Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque is the minaret. When visiting the mosque, you can climb the minaret and get one of the best views of Stari Most in Mostar.
The minaret is narrow and winding, so if you are claustrophobic, this might be something you skip. Don’t worry though, here are other great places to photograph Stari Most in Mostar.
5. Bruce Lee Statue
Tucked away in Park Zrinjevac, near the Mostar Sniper Tower, is a statue of Bruce Lee.
Why Bruce Lee? You might be asking…No, he is not from Mostar or Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Well, the statue of Bruce Lee was built in Mostar as a symbol of solidarity and unity, which was important in such a divided city after the Bosnian War, especially with scars of the war still so visible in every day life.
The Bruce Lee Statue is Mostar was actually the very first statue of Bruce Lee erected in the world! His statue in Hong Kong was unveiled the next day…
While visiting a cemetery is not the most exciting thing to do in Mostar, it is an important reminder of the tragic past that lives on in Mostar and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Many of the gravestones are marked with years in the early 90’s as that’s when the war was raging on and Mostar was a battlefield.
Although Mostar remains fairly divided culturally, it has made strides in the right direction since the war. The cemeteries in Mostar are a reminder to everyone that we are all still humans and are more similar than we are different.
7. Old Bazar Kujundziluk (Old Town Market)
If you are walking along the east side of the Neretva River near the Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque and Stari Most, you will inevitably walk through the Old Bazar Kujundziluk.
There are tons of stalls with lots to buy from food to artwork to handcrafts. Whether you’re in the market to buy something, it’s worth strolling around and just enjoying the Old Bazar on your way to the other things to do in Mostar.
8. Eat Burek
Burek, or Börek, is a traditional food of Bosnia and Herzegovina and many other countries in this part of the world, so getting one of these is something you must do in Mostar!
Burek is a flaky pastry that’s filled with a variety of different fillings, like potato, cheese, spinach, or meat. They are typically available from bakeries, shops, or food stands throughout Mostar, and best of all, they are cheap and easy to eat on the go!
If you get a burek in Mostar, we promise you won’t be disappointed!
9. Explore Both Sides of Mostar
As previously talked about, Mostar is still a very divided city with one side of the river being predominately Christian and the other side predominately Muslim. When visiting, one of the best things to do in Mostar is to explore both sides of the Neretva River.
Even as a traveler going through, you can really see the difference between both sides and how a community with such segregated roots is slowly, but surely healing from a bloody past.
10. Hostel Miran Tour
If you really want an in-depth tour of Mostar that explores all of it’s history from a local’s perspective, you need to check out Hostel Miran’s Tours. They run two different tours in Mostar which delve deep into the rich history of this city and region.
Plus, they run a welcoming, fun hostel where you can stay while visiting Mostar! We highly recommend staying at Hostel Miran when in Mostar!
Because the hostel’s tours only run at certain times, it may not be possible to do one if you are only visiting Mostar for a day trip from Dubrovnik, but if you spend the night, which you should, chances are you’l be able to catch one of their famous tours of Mostar!
There are so many things to do in Mostar, which is why it’s considered a must-visit city in this part of the world!