There are so many things to say about Mostar and Bosnia, a destination I’ve been dreaming of for years. Delicious Veg food, great wine, breathtaking landscapes…
But here I want to tell you something you have to know before leaving, that will help you to enjoy at best your Mostar Experience.
Balkans are great, but there are some aspects that make them different than other most popular areas of Europe and interestingly far from our limited imaginary.
Here are my tips before you leave for Mostar, Bosnia.
#1 – Comfortable and OLD shoes.
I love old shoes: leaving with old shoes is better than with new ones because they know your feet and your way of walking. This particularly applies when it comes to villages like Mostar.
In Mostar, for shoes being comfortable is not enough. For me, ballerinas are very comfortable but if I had traveled with this type of shoe I would have had them holed at best, the tendons of my legs inflamed forever at worst .
Mostar is slipy! The stones that form the streets of the beautiful old town are as poetic and characteristics as dangerous.
The most suitable shoes are tennis shoes or boots with rough soles, ankle boots, hiking shoes but preferably NOT new (as they have a too smooth sole).
#2 – Also visit the surroundings
The interesting part of Mostar is the old town, very small, so you can visit it in one day and the others you can make this place yours by creating your own rites, such as observing people on the old bridge, sipping Turkish coffee, drinking local Blatina wine, looking at the landscape in the different moments of the day, with different colors and shades.
But after a few days it is good to start exploring around.
In most hotels you can find small guides with tour suggestions for Blagaj, Kravice waterfalls, Sarajevo.
You can also enjoy great “wine tours” in the local cellars and vineyards. Ask to your accomodation’s managers to book a tour for you, they’ll surely be kind and do this.
Tours are very cheap: 20-25 euro per person for small groups (3-5 paople), 30-35 euros if alone or in pairs.
I chose a “do it yourself” tour to Sarajevo, taking a bus from the station (less that 3 km from the old town, 5 euros with a cub).
I chose the bus because, mindful of my whereabouts in Serbia, I know that by bus you can see more slices of local life.
A kind and unlively bus travel partner, renamed Petreckteck by me, told us that we were right and that it’s better to avoid the train because “the train is terrible.” Even the hotel managers recommended us the bus, but I didn’t get the reason.
The fact is that even the bus trip is tough stuff: Mostar-Sarajevo are 145 km and with the local bus it takes 3 hours of uphill bends in the woods (actually, the stops are in tiny villages and even in deep forest).
All this, without any pause to pee. So, I am assuming that I’d do it a thousand times again, I’d recommend you not to drink too much before embarking on this trip, that I would not recommend to girls with menses.
#3 – Alcohol free places
Both Sarajevo and Mostar have many observant Muslim inhabitants, and they also run restaurants and pubs. So if you want to drink a beer or a glass of wine be sure that the place you choose serves alcohol because somewhere they don’t. If in doubt, just ask. They will say, “Yes we serve alcohol” or “no, we don’t” always with great kindness.
#4 – They all speak English
Everybody speaks English. Paradoxically it is even more difficult to communicate in English here than in the bigger Sarajevo. This is because Sarajevo is not just a tourist town, and much of the working class just has some memory of German language, while good part of Mostar business comes from tourism.
#5 – Mind the humidity
Mostar looks like a magic place! A riot of labyrinthine paths with unique views, all coiled around a river (Neretva) which is constant music of the place.
Poetry aside, if you suffer from cervical pains and headackes, wear a hat in the evening, because even if the day is warm and climate is mild until mid November, in the evening humidity rises and it’s colder.
#6 – If you need a good accomodation…
I was in Villa Nadin and heartily recommend it to everybody. Quaint but classy, never kitsch. Beautiful rooms, beautiful garden and nice common room. Always clean, the managers are really kind and will alwys be helpful.
All for now. I tidy my memories up and I’ll be back to you.