Mostar is the most tourist frequented city in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Most of the tourist parts of the city are within the Bosniak (Muslim) areas, but a large section of the city is also inhabited by Croats (Catholics). Unfortunately, the two populations remain mostly segregated, but younger generations are beginning to attend mixed schools. See History of Bosnia-Herzegovina for more info.
1. Stari Most (Old Bridge)
The Old Bridge is at the center of the Old Town, and the classic photo op of this region. To note: the bridge is extremely slippery! Be careful. A walk over the bridge offers stunning views back towards the Old Town, including the picturesque mosque, and lots of turquoise water.
Local men regularly jump off of the bridge! However, many more ask for money than actually jump. In general, be wary of anyone wearing a speedo or swim trunks. The ones who actually jump tend to wear a wet suit. Usually they'll wait to collect around 30 euros before jumping in. There are a group of regulars who make a living by jumping, although it is dangerous and many sustain injuries. It's also a right of passage for the young men of Mostar. Every summer, the locals gather for a diving competition and last year Redbull sponsored a professional competition in the same spot.
To get the best views, head over the bridge from the Bosniak side and turn left down the first path between shops. Continue past a few restaurants and down to the riverside where there are stunning views back up at the bridge. This is a good spot to bring a towel and hang out for a bit, although it's not suggested to swim here. You might even catch a jump!
2. Old Town
The Old Town of Mostar tends to be fairly touristy as it's not too far of a trip from the Croatian coast. Heading out in the morning or late afternoon is the best time to enjoy the Old Town without too many other visitors. While nothing spectacular, it's worth checking out the shops for local gifts. Once you hit the cobblestones, slow down and take your time walking around!
3. Dine with a view
Eat a meal while enjoying a view of the bridge! We went for lunch, but it would be even better to go during sunset. There are a bunch of restaurants along the side of the river. None of them are known for spectacular food, so there's no need to be especially choosy on a food basis. But some do have better views than others! We ate at Restoran Babilon. To get there, cross the bridge and take the second right into a courtyard where you can see the restaurant in the far corner (there will probably be a friendly woman there handing out menus that can direct you). Make sure to eat outside and go down two or three levels to make the most of it! The tourist menu, offering a local meal, soup/salad, and dessert is expensive for the region but pretty tasty. You also can't go wrong with the vegetables stuffed with sausage. If this is your only stop in Bosnia-Herzegovina, try to get some Burek or Cevapi!
In, Out, & Around
By Bus. The buses in BiH are casual and easy to navigate. You can buy a bus ticket days ahead of time online, at the bus station ahead of time, or the day of either at the bus station or on the bus. It's normal for buses to stop on the side of the road to pick people up, and drop them off farther along the road at places that don't necessarily look like stops. If you find yourself in need of a bus ride, it seems fairly easy to wave one down that's headed the direction you want to go. I've seen a few people use a sign with their destination on it, but waving usually does the trick.
From Sarajevo: Easy 2.5 hour bus ride takes you to a station a 5 minute walk from the Old Town.
To Dubrovnik: It's a 5 hour bus ride, but the main road crosses the border three times. Depending on the time of day, these can sometimes be time consuming.
By Private Car. Many hostels offer a private car ride to your destination for the same price as a bus. Since there are so many border crossings on the way to Dubrovnik, this is the way we chose to get there. By taking non-highway roads we got there faster and were delivered right to our hostel. Also, a great opportunity to hear about the local history! Obviously, be careful where and with whom you get in a car. We went with an older couple and felt comfortable with our driver.
Around. Mostar is a small town. Everything is within walking distance.
Where to Stay
Hostel Miran was one of our favorite places we stayed on the whole trip! Miran is welcoming and the life of the party. While we were there he planned a concert by one of the other people staying there, and had food brought in for all of us to enjoy together. He also offers a tour of Herzegovina, which we heard was awesome but didn't have enough time to go on. His house is a five minute walk from the Old Town.