While Europe might not be the biggest continent, weather conditions strongly vary. So, it does make a big difference whether you visit North countries like Iceland or Norway, Central Europe like Switzerland or France or Southern Europe with places like Valencia in Spain.
If you head to Southern Spain you will not need all the super warm winter clothes – and you will be happy with some warm pullovers and jeans. In the Nordic countries you will definitely need to pack differently.
In this post, you will find one general part of what to pack in Europe for winter. Then you will find out about what to pack for warmer countries like Spain or Malta, but you will also find out what to pack if you visit countries like Switzerland, Estonia or Iceland in winter.
Winter Weather in Europe
Before talking about what to bring to Europe in winter, we should talk weather in Europe in winter. Because your packing list depends on where you visit.
Southern Europe is much milder and warmer than Eastern Europe or Northern Europe. While you could wear a light jacket in Southern Spain in the winter months, you surely have to dress very warm in countries like Norway or Iceland.
If you come to Europe in winter – come prepared.
Be advised that the average temperature can reach as low as -10° degree Celsius in countries like Iceland and Norway and while it gets up to 15° degree Celsius in other countries.
Climate change has lead to much warmer climate in many countries – I remember the years – as a little child – where we had many days with freezing temperatures in Germany. And a lot of snow – but nowadays, snow is no longer the rule for many parts in Europe. But it can be.
WHAT TO BRING TO EUROPE IN WINTER – GENERAL ITEMS
So, the first part of the post is a general packing ist. Then you will find an additional packing list for winter.
Luggage for Europe
Here is what luggage/bags you might need for your winter Europe trip.
Suitcase: Though it depends, where exactly and for how long you travel, I recommend taking a good, light, and quality suitcase with you where all your clothes and most of your toiletries fit in.
Carry-On: If you visit for longer and aren’t a minimalist, then you might need an extra carry-on luggage.
Laundry bags: They are great if you travel for longer and don’t want your dirty and clean clothes to mix up. I prefer them over plastic bags.
Packing Cubes: They are the new must-items when it comes to traveling, they are very handy and they also come in cool colors. I recommend using packing cubes because it makes packing and organizing easier.
For my handbag, I choose a cross-body handbag with a zipper (just to be safe) and several extra pockets. My tip: The size of the handbag is important: do you carry a camera with your? A water bottle? Keep that in mind when you decide on one handbag.
Passport Holder, since i have become more minimalistic, I prefer not using a passport holder but if you need a passport (and an ID is not enough) you might want to have one.
For a day at the hotel pool or for some shopping, I recommend a beach bag or a cotton bag. Plastic bags – fortunately – do costs money in many parts of Europe…and plastic you use only once, sucks anyway, so with a cotton bag you use for years, you do the environment a favour (and it looks much better than to carry your shoppings in a plastic or paper bag).
Toiletries to Pack for Europe in Winter
Lately, I have reduced the care products. Less is better if you ask me. However, in winter our skin is also subject to stress. Here you will find a detailed list – even if I do not use all products below throughout the year, you might use more products.
If I travel for 10 days or shorter I take travel sizes toiletries which I refill with my natural and organic beauty products from home. To pack light, shampoo, conditioner, hair masks, cleaning water and cleansing milk is all in small bottles.
Of course, you could buy toiletries in Europe as well, but if you do not want to waste your time in drug stores or supermarkets, use this checklist for Europe.
(TSA Approved Clear) Travel Toiletry Bag (if you fly)
Sunscreen (even in winter – depending on where you travel to. If you go for a ski trip, then take it but you most likely will not need it for most other winter trips).
Travel bottles to refill – I refill them with my own organic products that I normally use (I do not use shampoo & conditioner provided by hotels)
Electric Hair Removal Epilator (only if you stay longer than a week or if you remove your bidy hair with it) – otherwise a razor or whatever you prefer
Face cream – (which I also use as a hand cream, so I do not have to take another cream).
Refillable Travel Size Perfume Bottle
Toothbrush and toothpaste and mouthwash plus Dental floss
Magnifying make-up mirror
Nail polish and nail polish remover + glass nail file
My favorite hairbrush (especially for longer hair) – or if you have less space take a comb
A small cosmetic bag with the following items: Mascara / Rouge / Eyebrow powder (Taming & Shaping Kit For Brows) / Tweezer / Eyeliner and Eye Shadow / Make-up brushes/ Cotton swabs
Here are a few more items which I personally do hardly use but which might be important to you, so I added them here:
hair spray, hand cream, foundation, powder, lipstick, sanitiser
Tech Stuff to Pack for Europe
I have my laptop with me whenever I fly – however, I do work online while traveling and I also watch Netflix on it.
My phone is without a doubt one of my most useful and important (travel) items.
My camera is a must – because Europe has so many great spots that need to be photographed.
I have to admit, that I still don’t have a kindle, so a “real” book is often an essential
Power Charger – how long does your phone battery last? Not long? Neither does mine, so this is an essential
Do you need an adapter? It depends on where you travel to in Europe, so please check if you need one for your destination.
Random Things to Pack for Europe
Umbrella (in many countries, like Germany, Switzerland, or England is can still rain quite a lot in the winter)
Medicine (headache pills etc.)
What to Pack for Europe in Winter
The key is dressing in layers for Europe in winter. The temperature can reach freezing levels, and yet the sun can be deceptively strong. Dressing in layers allows you to keep warm without compromising on comfort.
Also, it really depends on where exactly you travel – as I mentioned before, Southern Europe has mild weather in winter where you will not need a super warm jacket and gloves plus a hat.
Depending on where you travel, the wind might make you feel much colder than the temperature actually says.
In worst case scenario, hypothermia and frostbite will be a result if If you’re wet and not appropriately dressed.
Your items should be versatile in function. For example, pack a jacket that is both waterproof and warm. In addition, comfortable walking shoes are essential.
Everyday Attire Essentials For Europe In Winter
At the top of your packing list should be the following versatile, essential items. Using these items to dress in layers will keep you both stylish and warm.
Coat – Warm And Waterproof: A warm, waterproof jacket should be one of the very first items that you think to pack. Avoid choosing a bulky jacket that takes up a lot of space. This can make you feel uncomfortable when you have layers underneath. Instead, opt for a lightweight, trench raincoat that will keep you warm, dry, and comfortable.
Hat: Science tells us that we lose up to 10% of our body heat through our heads, meaning that it’s essential to keep this area warm. A knitted beanie is a perfect solution for keeping the warmth in while you venture out. A hat will keep you toasty warm whether you’re on the slopes, sipping coffee, or exploring the sights.
Gloves: Have you ever tried to use your phone with frozen fingers? It’s a nearly impossible task. A pair of gloves can do wonders for your mobility, dexterity, and comfort. This makes it one of the most important items on your Switzerland packing list. When selecting your options, it’s worth investing in a pair that can dry quickly and are touch-screen compatible.
Scarf Or Turtleneck: A warm scarf and/or turtleneck sweater are key items for keeping your neck covered. Not only do these items keep you warm, but they also prevent you from getting ill (and thereby ruining the fun). A turtleneck sweater is perfect as a garment to wear underneath your jacket, while the scarf can be removed easily.
Leggings: There’s a reason that almost every woman owns a pair of leggings. They are both comfortable and snug. Leggings are an essential item to pack as you can dress them up or down. You can even wear them underneath your denims as an extra layer of warmth.
Socks: When it comes to packing socks for your Switzerland trip – the thicker the better. Chances are that you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors in the snow, and you’ll want your feet to be warm and cozy. If you plan on hitting the slopes at any stage, then you’ll want your socks to be extra-thick or padded for increased comfort.
Thermals: A quality set of thermals is your key to enjoying the winter weather in Switzerland. They provide the extra layer of heat that will allow you to spend an extra hour on the slopes, or to pack fewer items on your road trip instead of excess clothing.
Comfortable Walking Shoes: If you can only pack one pair of shoes, then make sure that they are a trusty pair of waterproof snowshoes. You’ll want your shoes to be as versatile as possible. Snowshoes allow you to enjoy a variety of activities while keeping your feet warm and dry.
One of the best top reasons to visit Switzerland during the winter months is winter sports opportunities. While most ski resorts will offer rental equipment, there are a few essentials to pack for yourself.
Ski Jacket: When choosing the perfect ski jacket, you need to consider warmth, level of waterproofing, and freedom of movement. A jacket that is adjustable in fit, seals effectively, and dries quickly is the perfect apparel for snowboarding, skiing, and other winter outdoor sports.
Ski Pants: A trusty pair of insulated ski pants are the next essential item for all winter sports fans. Make sure that your choice of pants is breathable, warm, and waterproof. These details will keep you dry, warm, and comfortable on the slopes.
Winter Protection: There are a few items that will make your winter vacation all the more comfortable. The last thing that you want is to be soaked on your first day, or get a migraine from snow blindness.
Umbrella: Regardless of what time of year you visit Switzerland, it’s always a smart move to pack a foldable umbrella. The nifty item doesn’t take up too much space. It can be the difference between a leisurely stroll in the city streets and getting caught in a flu-inspired downpour.
Chapstick: Visiting Switzerland in winter will most likely find you spending hours of fun on the snow-covered slopes. This can quickly dry out your lips and burn your skin. In this instance, you’re going to be grateful that you’ve packed your moisturizing stick of Chapstick.
Sunglasses: The best days on the slopes are the ones accompanied by clear, sunny skies and good conditions. These circumstances also increase the glare of the sun on the white snow, making it close to unbearable on your eyes. A pair of polarized sunglasses or ski goggles can protect your eyes from the wind and bright light.
CONCLUSION: WHAT TO PACK FOR EUROPE IN WINTER
Europe in winter is a fantastic travel destination. Whether you come for a ski trip in Switzerland, explore the Christmas markets in London or want to have a weekend trip to a warmer place like Valencia – Europe is so diverse and has something for every taste.
Just be aware of what to pack for Europe in winter and you can enjoy some fantastic time in Europe.
Are you planning your Bosnia itinerary and wondering about the best places to visit in Bosnia-Herzegovina? ItdidnottakelongtofallinlovewithBosnia–Herzegovina. Bosnia–Herzegovinaissuchanunderratedcountry – withoutthewarin the 1990s,itwouldprobablyhavebeenahotspotalready.
WhileIdidnothavemanyexpectations,and knew about the scenery, whatsurprisedmethemost (yes,Ihavemyprejudices) wasthatthepeopleherearenotonlyfriendly (kindofexpectedthatactually),butalsokindandfair, as in I never felt that people weretryingtoripmeoff.
The recent history of the country, and its current political system, are quite complicated, so I tried to keep it short and simple:
There are three main ethnicities in Bosnia-Herzegovina: Muslim Bosniaks, Catholic Croats, and Orthodox Serbs.
Bosnia-Herzegovina became independent in March 1992. Before that, it was part of the Republic of Yugoslavia (which included Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, and a few more countries).
This led to a war and Bosnian Serbs, supported by the Serbian government, fought against this independence.
On the other side, you had tensions between Croats and Bosniaks that also led to war in 1993.
When Bosnia-Herzegovina became independent, the country was more or less divided into different entities – The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of Srpska (in the north and east of the country), plus the district of Brcko.
In the Republic of Srpska, you will find mostly Bosnian Serbs; in the southern part (which is actually Herzegovina), there are mostly Catholic Croats; and in the rest of the country, there are mostly Muslim Bosniaks.
BUT, you will find different ethnicities in each part of the country, and before the outbreak of the war, it was quite common to have mixed marriages and the different religions living quite well together.
This changed after the war broke out in the 1990s, and nowadays, the wounds have not entirely healed and there are still tensions (which we, as visitors, might not notice).
Since Bosnia-Herzegovina (I might shorten this sometimes and just call it Bosnia, though it is not the politically correct name) was ruled by the Ottoman Empire, you will find a lot of Turkish influence in the country – also in Herzegovina.
So, while the political situation is complex, you might not realize the differences from place to place.
Money: The local currency is the Bosnian Mark/Convertible Mark (BAM/KM). Bring cash – most of the time you cannot pay by (credit) card. 2 KM is about 1.05€ (as of May 2019).
ATMs are not available everywhere, only in the larger cities. You can find exchange offices in popular tourist places.
Costs: Bosnia-Herzegovina is probably one of the cheapest countries to visit in Europe. Food, accommodations, fuel, and activities… I can hardly think of any other capitals in Europe that offer so much for so little money. So, a vegetarian lunch (in a restaurant) including drink is about 3-7€, and it’s not much more for a meat dish (of course, it depends on what exactly you order).
WiFi: Most restaurants, coffee shops, and hotels offer free WiFi in their public spaces.
Security – Travel Tips for Solo Female Traveler: As a solo female traveler, I am always aware of my surroundings. In Bosnia-Herzegovina, I traveled with my little dog though.
However, I felt quite safe in Bosnia – I cannot recall a negative experience. Crime is comparably low -, especially against foreigners.
So, it is safe to say, that Bosnia is a safe travel destination and safer than many other “popular travel destinations so the security reason is not something that should hold you back.
Just beware of pickpocketing – especially in touristy areas.
If you plan to hike in the mountains, do not leave the marked paths – some places are still not cleared of landmines.
Food in Bosnia-Herzegovina
Food in Bosnia is influenced by Turkey but you will also find a lot of pizza and pasta dishes. It is based strongly on meat – vegetarians or vegans might struggle (I did, but at the end, I still found enough to eat and actually, unfortunately, did not even loose weight).
Water: You can drink tap water – at least, I did – but double-check with your host about the water in your area.
How to Get Around in Bosnia
Public transportation: I wish that I had used some public transportation in Bosnia – especially since the trains from Sarajevo to Mostar are supposed to offer great views. Trains and buses run from major tourist destinations/cities and you can also book tours to get around.
DrivinginBosnia–Herzegovina: I drove in Bosnia-Herzegovina with my own car (crazy, I know, and I probably would not do it again).
The scenery is amazing and I enjoyed driving in Bosnia more than driving in Italy, BUT I am not saying that it was all easy and smooth driving in this country.
Here is what to know about driving in Bosnia:
Streets in Bosnia are okay – some are actually in very good condition, while others are in bad shape. Bosnia showed me what huge potholes look (and feel) like.
Drive slowly to be able to avoid them, and also be prepared for Bosnian drivers, who are fast and like to honk their horns (especially in Sarajevo).
Bosnia was the country in which I drove the least (kilometer-wise). I actually saw three bad accidents, though I probably only drove around 500 km in total (luckily, I passed them when the ambulance was there and did not see them happen).
There are very few toll roads, but you can skip them and won’t have to pay much for tolls.
Gas prices are quite cheap (one of the cheapest in Europe), so fill your petrol up here. Gas stations often accept credit cards, but ask in advance.
Be prepared to drive on mountain roads. Some are small and narrow, and some are great and easy to drive.
Parking in Bosnia is interesting – many people just park anywhere they want. I saw people with parking tickets on their windshields though.
Except for Sarajevo and Mostar (and probably Banja Luca), finding parking spots is often quite easy, and by European standards, quite cheap and often even free.
No, I never was pulled out by the Bosnian police and I was not asked to pay any bribe (though I read from travel bloggers who had to pay bribes or fines).
PLACES TO VISIT IN BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA
VisitSarajevo – 1 or 2 Days
Prior to my trip, I had no idea what to expect. I had not done any research, nor did I see images on Instagram or Pinterest. The only thing that came to my mind when I thought of Sarajevo was the war – which is such a pity.
First of all, the war is long over. Second, the capital of Bosnia is a fun and thriving city that is perfect to visit.
If you are in Bosnia for three days, I suggest visiting Sarajevo for one day. If you are in Bosnia for 5 days or longer, I recommend staying at least two days.
While it is true that the city suffered a lot from the war in the 1990s, not all of its main attractions are about the war. But you might want to visit a few places where you can learn more about the siege of Sarajevo.
In one day, you can visit the old town of the city and the mosques. There are also the churches (Orthodox and Catholic) and even an active synagogue that you can visit.
Also, head to the Latin Bridge to find out more about World War I – the trigger for the war actually happened in Sarajevo, where the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was shot.
With one day in Sarajevo, you should head to one of the vantage points for some great views. Good news: reaching them is not too difficult or time-consuming, so doing it in one day is doable.
Sarajevo is quite walkable, so it is easy getting around. Most of the sights are also close to each other (where else in the world do you have an Orthodox church, a Catholic church, a synagogue, and a mosque exist peacefully in such close proximity?).
With two days in the city, make sure to also visit the Tunnel of Hope and explore other places in the city for more viewpoints, such as the abandoned Bobtrack.
I drove from Mostar to Sarajevo, and with all the breaks, it took me almost a full day to arrive in Sarajevo.
You could do it in a few hours, but what fun is that? Okay, the views are still great, but plan in enough time for breaks.
This route is one of the most beautiful places in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The scenic views, the empty streets, the pretty Lake Jablanica– drive along the E 73 and you will be rewarded with great views.
At the end of the lake (or beginning) is the pretty little city of Konjic. While it is small and not home to many sights, it is great for a stroll and taking lots of pictures.
If you do not want to rush, I suggest staying here a night before continuing your journey.
In Mostar, and also north and south of it, you will find the stunning Neretva River, with a watercolor that is just gorgeous.
The streets here (especially north of Mostar) were my favorites – wide and easy to drive, with the river to your side.
It is just a short drive, so you can do the whole trip from Sarajevo to Mostar in one day. Just make sure to stop here and enjoy the beauty before continuing your trip.
Mostar and Blagaj – 1 Day
If you are short on time, you can combine a trip to Blagaj and Mostar and visit both in one day. If you are not in a rush, I recommend staying in Mostar for the whole day.
Join a free walking tour in the morning, then explore the beautiful old town on your own and watch the people dive from Stari Most.
Stari Most? This is one of the most famous attractions in Bosnia-Herzegovina and is a must-see in the country. Though the bridge was completely destroyed in the war, it was rebuilt in 2004 and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Mostar is touristy but still gorgeous. If you can make it happen, spend the evening in the old town as well, as it is quite charming with its cute little shops (if you want to buy souvenirs, this is a good place to do it) and pretty decorations on the houses.
Blagaj is another place to visit in Bosnia and it is easy to get to from Mostar (by bus and car, and there are also organized tours). At the spring of the river Buna, you will find the ancient Dervish Monastery, which was built into a 200-meter-high cliff. You might have seen this image on Instagram already – and it is just as charming in real life.
In the summer months, you can also do a boat tour and visit the cave. But if you don’t fancy a visit to the monastery itself, you can just enjoy the little waterfall in front of the monastery and have a lunch/drink at one of the restaurants lining the river.
These two places are south of Mostar and can easily be visited in one day (if you are in a rush, you can even visit both of them and Blagaj during your one day in Bosnia).
The Kravica Waterfalls are one of the most beautiful places to visit in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and you can combine them with a trip to Pocitelj on your way to Mostar.
They are located in the Veljaci village near Ljubuski, and were created by the flow of the tufa on the Trebizat River – the waterfall is about 26-28 meters. You can rent a boat and go very close to the waterfalls.
There is another, smaller waterfall. The Kocusa Waterfall is only 5 meters, but the length of about 50 meters makes up for it.
It is not as big as the Plitvice Lakes in Croatia, and depending on if you want to go on a little hike and chill, it will probably take between 1-6 hours here.
From there, you can head to the next place.
If you come from Croatia, this will probably be one of the first places that will cross your itinerary for Bosnia-Herzegovina:
Pocitelj lies about 20 kilometers from Croatia and 30 kilometers from Mostar.
The village is tiny – seriously tiny – but it is still one of the best places to visit in Bosnia. While it is not overly famous among western travelers, it is quite famous with Turkish visitors, and buses bring them in large groups to Pocitelj so it can get busy.
If you are wondering why mostly Turkish visitors flock here, my explanation would be that this village is a perfect example of the Ottoman Empire, which ruled Bosnia for several hundred centuries. So, the mosque and village center are typical examples of the Ottoman Empire – and it still looks untouched.
For the best views, head to the top – from the Fort of Pocitelj, you have great views over the village, the pretty Nevreta River, and its surroundings. There was no one to collect an entrance fee for the fort, but I am not sure if that is always the case. Either way, I think it would be quite cheap if there was an entrance fee.
On the way down, you can visit the mosque for a small entrance fee.
The sellers further down have some snacks, which have a beautiful presentation. You can also buy fresh fruits, fresh juices, rugs, clothes, and a lot of different souvenirs (they use a lot of plastic, so I made sure to always have my cotton bags with me when I went shopping).
Down there are some restaurants (which get full once the tourist buses come) that have WiFi – and you can park your car for free.
I guess it takes between 1-4 hours to explore this little village.
From there, you are not too far away from Kravica – another great stop on your Bosnia vacation.
Neum – 1 Day
Do you have more than 5 days in Bosnia? Then here are a few more tips on places to visit and things to do in Bosnia.
Do you want to spend time at the beach? I am not a beach person and the weather was not beach-perfect when I was there, so I stayed in Neum for two days to recharge and work a bit.
However, if you are a beach person, you could visit Neum, which borders Croatia to the east and west.
The town of Neum is the only town situated along the 20km coastline of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The city state of Dubrovnik gave up some of the coastlines in the 17th century to the Ottoman Empire, so they would defend them and help them fight against theVenetians.
You have to cross the 20km coastline of Bosnia if you want to drive from the region of Dubrovnik, Croatia to other areas of Croatia in the north.
To me, it did not look as fancy as some parts of Croatia, but it is quieter than some other beaches on the Adriatic Sea, and it is much cheaper than a beach day in Croatia.
Rakitnica Canyon– 1 Day
Are you up for some adventures? Then Bosnia is the place to go – whether you like white water rafting, canyoning, mountain biking, or hiking adventure.
When I drove from Bosnia to Montenegro – on the M 18, a beautifully scenic, but also bumpy, road with many potholes – I realized how big adventure is getting in Bosnia. It is not that I dislike outdoor adventures, but it is not my priority when I travel, so I did not seek out these activities.
However, there are many spots in Bosnia that are great for outdoor and adventure lovers.
You can go on a canoeing trip through Bosnia’s longest and deepest canyon – Rakitnica Canyon.
If you plan to visit Montenegro, too, then go to the border and do some white water rafting before continuing your journey in (the more expensive) Montenegro, and enjoy some time in the Tara Canyon (which looked absolutely gorgeous), or you can do more activities.
More Places to Visit in Bosnia-Herzegovina
Above mentioned places can be seen in about 5 days, but if you have more time then you could visit some more places in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
If you head north, you will find the second largest city in the country. It is located in the Republic of Srpska and it is the capital. If you want to head to Serbia afterward, this is a good place to visit.
I did not get to visit Banja Luka, but it is supposed to be beautiful – with a lot of nature close by!
Screbenica is another famous place in Bosnia – unfortunately, it is because of the tragic past and the genocide that happened during the war. In this small town in Eastern Bosnia-Herzegovina, close to the Serbian border, more than 8,000 Muslims were killed and nowadays, you can visit the memorial and learn about the past.
CONCLUSION: WHERE TO GO IN BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA
Again, this country has won me over and I cannot wait to re-visit and see more of its beauty and meet the incredible people who have gone through so much and yet always have a smile for visitors. Apparently, I did not get to see all the beautiful places in Bosnia – or even the most interesting places – but I think, if you have 5 days or even one week in Bosnia you can see quite a bit and I do believe above mentioned places are some of the best places to visit in Bosnia-Herzegovina and hopefully, this Bosnia itinerary has been helpful. So, whenever you visit, enjoy!
Are you planning your Sarajevo itinerary and wondering about the best things to do in Sarajevo in 2 days? First of all: great choice. Sarajevo is amazing and exceeded all my expectations I had and I am happy to share my travel tips with you. Second, here are the answers to your question on what to do in Sarajevo.
To be honest, I never ever had Sarajevo on my radar – I visited, more or less, because I was in Bosnia and visited Mostar already and thought it wouldn‘t hurt…
Truth be told, it quickly became one of my favorite cities in Europe.
It is fun, friendly, and exciting, with a lot of history and a positive future. So, when you plan your Sarajevo trip, this post will help you find out about the best things to do in Sarajevo and how to plan your days.
Though this is not a typical Sarajevo itinerary, I structured the post around the best Sarajevo attractions so that you can easily plan your itinerary – whether you stay one day, two days, three days, or even longer in Sarajevo.
So, before talking about the top things to do in Sarajevo, here are some travel tips for Sarajevo.
Sarajevo became the capital of independent Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH, for short) in 1992 and was created by the Ottomans in the 15th century – if you walk through Sarajevo, you will quickly see the Turkish influence here. And it surely had an Istanbul vibe here – though it is much, much smaller.
It is also the largest city in the country, and home to different ethnicities and religions. Bosniaks (Muslims),Catholics (Croatians), Orthodox (Serbs), and also Jews and Roma.
There is no segregation in schools (as there is in other parts of the country), and before the war, mixed marriages were quite common.
While mixed marriages are not as common now, you can say that the people live peacefully alongside each other though there are some barriers (like mixed marriages are not that accepted anymore as it used to be). And while Islam is the dominant religion, you will also find churches (Catholic and Orthodox), as well as a synagogue, which is still active.
They are all located close to each other, and while the area is called Little Jerusalem, it seems they all exist peacefully here-
SARAJEVO TRAVEL TIPS
Here are some quick travel tips for Sarajevo, before talking about the best things to do and see.
How to Get to Sarajevo
By plane: Sarajevo has an airport that is 12 km from the city center. From there, you can use a bus (cheapest option) to get to Basarsija – the old town center. The buses run according to the fight schedules.
Taxis should be around 10€ to the city center.
By bus: There are two bus stations and you can get to Sarajevo by bus from places like Banja Luka, Belgrade (Serbia), and many other cities in BiH.
By car: Sarajevo is located in the central part of Bosnia and Herzegovina and is linked to the transversal of the two most important main routes in the region: the Adriatic highway and by car – via Zagreb – Belgrade.
By train: The main train station is a 10-minute walk from the center of town. From there, you can easily get to the old town via public transportation (the train ride from Mostar to Sarajevo is supposed to be very scenic, as was my car drive).
Driving into Sarajevo was quite pleasant (despite the fact that I arrived during rush hour), but driving in Sarajevo itself was kind of a nightmare. The streets are extremely narrow, and parking in the old town is impossible. But once you have arrived in Sarajevo, ditch your car and get around on foot (more on that later).
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How to Get Around Sarajevo
Most of the places I mention here, and the main Sarajevo landmarks, are located in the city center and it is easy to walk around.
But you can use public transportation (buses, trams, trolleybuses, and minibus lines). One ride costs a bit less than 1€ and you can buy tickets from the driver (or at a kiosk, which is also a few cents cheaper).
Don´t forget to punch your ticket to avoid being fined.
There is also a sightseeing bus tour (hop on and hop off) that shows you around Sarajevo.
Taxis are quite cheap (starting fare is about 1€ and 1 kilometer is about 0.60€). I used a taxi once to get up a mountain (more on that later) and it was a taxi ride and a rollercoaster ride in one. So, walking surely is the most relaxed way of getting around.
People / Language
In Sarajevo, Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian are spoken. I was very pleased to find that many people speak basic English – even the older ones – and many speak English very well (German is also spoken by some). So, if you speak English (assuming you do since you are reading this post), you will not have any problems communicating.
The people in Bosnia-Herzegovina were the friendliest I have ever come across in my travels.
And Sarajevo holds a special place in my heart – the people are kind, friendly, and open.
While the majority are Muslim, they practice a liberal form of religion that makes it easy for all people to feel welcome and to enjoy a wonderful, liberal atmosphere.
And though there is poverty in the country and in the city (you will see quite a few beggars, even some that are children), I never felt that people were trying to rip me off. They were very welcoming toward visitors and were happy to see foreigners (knowing what positive influence tourism can have on the country), but more likely because they are just nice and kind.
Where to Eat in Sarajevo
Food in Sarajevo reminds me pretty much of Turkish food – kebabs, baklava, and other Turkish-influenced dishes.
The only aspect that is missing here is the vegetarian food that you can find in Turkey (e.g. bulgur). So, if you love eating animals, you will love it here. But even as a vegetarian (and vegan), there are some options – mostly falafel – and there are two restaurants/cafes that have good vegan food.
TIP for healthy and vegan food: Falafel House – Bravadziluk 32, Sarajevo
Where to Stay in Sarajevo
I stayed in Sarajevo for five nights – and changed my hotel once.
Hotel Michele: If you want something better and not in the hustle and bustle, then I recommend this unique 4-star hotel that is located about 600 meters from the old town.
The staff is incredibly friendly and you have a place to park (which you probably won‘t have in a hotel directly in the old town). It is a bit of an uphill walk, but a great place to stay if you want to escape the craziness of the old town – find out more about Hotel Michele and check out the rates.
M´Ali Rooms: I spontaneously decided to stay a few days longer in Sarajevo and booked a room at M´Ali Rooms for a very good price. It is located directly in the old town, and within seconds, you are right where all the people are.
Sarajevo is a pretty safe place to visit. However, always be aware of where you go and watch your valuables carefully (especially in the old town).
Since I visited Sarajevo with my dog, I am not sure if I am really the right one to give this advice, but I felt safe and secure.
I am always a bit cautious but did not have the feeling that I needed to be more cautious than in other European cities.
The people are extremely friendly and open – many speak English and it was not difficult to talk to locals.
However, since I was traveling with my dog, many people were probably even nicer because they loved Puppygak.
Travel Tips for Traveling With a Dog
In Sarajevo, Muslims are the majority. And while I am not religious, I know my folks and let me tell you: Muslims normally don’t like dogs (and that’s a nice way of putting it). However, people in Sarajevo were crazy for Puppygak.
Maybe because he is small (and of course, overly cute) and you do not see that many dogs in the city center.
Only about a quarter of the hotels and apartments allow dogs and you cannot take dogs into many restaurants.
As long as the weather is good and you can sit outside, it should not be a big deal. In colder months or on rainy days, it is another story though.
More Things to Know Before Traveling to Sarajevo
Smoking is very common – very common.
Currency: Bosnia and Herzegovina’s currency is a convertible mark (KM). 2 KM is about 1.05€ (as of May 2019).
Some bigger stores accept credit cards, but most hotels (especially the apartments), restaurants, cafes, etc. do not accept them. Cash is not only king here, but king and queen.
Water: You can drink tap water and will find plenty of water fountains where you can refill your water bottles (especially near the mosques).
Costs: Sarajevo is probably one of the cheapest capitals to visit in Europe. Food, accommodations, fuel, and activities… I can hardly think of any other capitals in Europe that offer so much for so little money. So, a vegetarian lunch including drink is about 5€, and it’s not much more for a meat dish (of course, it depends on what exactly you order).
Museums cost around 2-3€ and a tram ticket is less than one euro. A scoop of ice cream is between 0.50-0.75€.
PLACES TO VISIT AND THINGS TO DO IN SARAJEVO
Okay, let´s get started about the most beautiful places to visit in Sarajevo and the top things to do.
One of the best things to do in Sarajevo is a walking tour.
Truth to be told, even if you do research prior to your trip, walking tours can help you understand the city, its people, its history, and more in a much better way than if you learned it on your own.
In Sarajevo, you can do free walking tours, or you can do a walking tour that is not free. There are different free tours – I did two of them.
One focuses on the recent history (including the Sarajevo siege in the 90´s and life during that time) and one is a general walking tour that covers more of the city (how it developed, the Ottoman Empire, the Austrian-Hungary Empire, and how they both shaped and influenced the country). Both are interesting, and if you are in Sarajevo for two or three days, I recommend taking both tours.
If you do the tours, you will see some of the main places in Sarajevo – so, I suggest doing them at the beginning of your Sarajevo trip.
The general Sarajevo history tours start at 10:45 am each day, from the Susan Sontag Square/National Theater.
The second tour of the day (recent history) starts at 3:45 pm at the same place.
Those tours are free, though I always recommend tipping. How much? It depends on how much you liked it (also, I base it on how many people take part – I tip more if there are only 2-3 people).
OldTown / SarajevoBaščaršija
One of the main places to visit in Sarajevo is the old town. You will feel like you are in Istanbul or a Turkish city rather than in Eastern Europe. Baščaršija is the old part of Sarajevo, dating back to the Middle Ages.
Drinking coffee and sitting with friends is deeply rooted in the culture here and the locals spend a lot of time in the old town. According to my guide, this is also why prices here are fair (same prices for locals as for visitors). There are no tourist traps and the food is good.
But you´ll also find many shops selling art crafts, souvenirs, jewelry, but also western brand products.
If you buy souvenirs, you might have to haggle a bit. I mean, this is also in their culture. But as for food and drinks, you don’t have to worry about being ripped off.
Apart from getting lost in the streets of the old town (for me, it meant literally getting lost since it is a small area, but feels like a labyrinth, and even after five days, I did not really get the hang of it), there is not much more to do here.
Special places to visit in the old town are:Baščaršija Square and Sebilj Fountain.
One of the top things to do in Sarajevo is to visit these sights. Sebilj Fountain is a wooden fountain that is located in the marketplace of the Old Town’s bazaar at Baščaršija Square. It was built in the 18th century and still provides fresh drinking water today.
However, even if you come here early in the morning, you will always have to share the place with the local pigeons (you can even buy food and feed the pigeons, though this is probably not a good idea). Tip: When the school ends all kids come to this place- making it even busier. If you want to avoid the biggest crowds come before lunchtime.
But there is also the Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque that is the largest mosque in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and an important center for the country’s Islamic community.
There is the Baščaršija Mosque, too, which was built in the 15th century. You can visit the mosque, and while you do not have to wear a scarf, you should take care to cover your shoulders and legs.
Then there is the Morića Han, an inn that you can visit, with a history that stretches back to the 16th century.
One of the things you will see in Sarajevo, even if you are not looking for them, are the Roses of Sarajevo.
It is a kind of memorial to remember the people who died in mortal shell explosions during the war, from 1992 to 1995, carried out by the Army of Republics Srpska.
Those roses are exactly where the people died and the concrete scar was filled in with red resin. There are about 200 roses throughout the city and the attack with the highest number of casualties happened at Markale Market.
When you leave the old town and head to the modern shopping street, you will find the “Where East and West Meet“ spot. If there are not any other people standing around, you might miss it!
It is the place where East and West collide and connect.
As you stand on this spot and turn to face west, the background of your photographs will show “Eastern” or Ottoman Sarajevo.
And if you turn 180° to face east, you’ll have the main walking area in the center of town, Ferhadija, behind you, which is home to some Austrian-Hungarian architecture.
From there, you just need to keep walking for another few minutes to reach the Eternal Flame.
The Eternal Flame memorial is dedicated to those who died during WWII – when the country was invaded and occupied by the Nazis and the facist independent state of Croatia for four years.
From the Eternal Flame, you can head to the Miljacka River. The river flows through Sarajevo, dividing the city into southern and northern sides.
However, as much as I like Sarajevo, I named it the world´s ugliest river – though this might be an exaggeration, and it just takes time to get used to its dark brown color (you will see more of the lake in the picture below- keep an eye for the paragraph about the Yellow Fort).
The Latin Bridge is one of the best places to see in Sarajevo: It is conveniently located near the old town and it just takes a few minutes to get there and should not be missing on any Sarajevo itinerary.
Here is where WWI started – more or less.
The Bosnian Gavrilo Princip killed the Archduke of Austria-Este: Franz Ferdinand and his wife (at that time, Sarajevo was ruled by Austria-Hungary) were driving down the street when they were assassinated at this bridge.
This assassination became the trigger point for World War I.
It definitely is one of the main Sarajevo attractions, even though the museum itself is said to have only information.
From the bridge, it is just another few minutes walk to reach the City Hall.
This pretty building (and a perfect example of Austrian-Hungarian architecture) was bombed in the war in 1992. It was, and is, the National and University Library of BiH.
Most of the books were destroyed by the bombing of the Bosnian Serbs, but the building was completely rebuilt and you can now visit it.
HouseofSpite– Inat Kuca
This house symbolizes the stubbornness of Bosnians today. Opposite City Hall, you will find a house that is now a restaurant.
It used to be in the spot where the City Hall is now. The Austrian-Hungarian monarchy wanted to built the town hall at that location, but the owner of the house wasn’t willing to sell/leave his house.
Eventually, the Austrian-Hungarians and this man came to an agreement:
His house was moved, brick by brick, over the Miljacka River. Now, it directly faces the new City Hall and the House of Spite (Inat Kuća) is now a restaurant.
If you have not done any walking tours but followed this itinerary (and had lunch in between), then it might be time to plan the rest of your first day.You are near the old town now and can either have an early dinner or eat after the following two activities.
Just behind the old town (also in other parts of the city) are a few cemeteries. Not all cemeteries are for victims of the war, but when you head to the Yellow Fortress (more on that in a bit), then you will find the KovačiCemetery.
This cemetery, with its sea of white pillar-shaped headstones, really stands out. Even if you do not want to visit (which is totally understandable), you might wonder what it is because you will see them from different perspectives throughout your visit.
For great views, I have several suggestions. If you visit the above-mentioned cemetery, it takes another 3 minutes of uphill walking (maybe a ten-minute, steep, uphill walk in total) to arrive at the walls of YellowFortress (Žuta Tabija).
The fortress itself is not that stunning, but you have great views. You do not need to pay for entering the fortress and can enjoy the views from 8 am until midnight for free.
There is a cafe that you can have a drink at – watching the sunset from there is pretty great and a fun (almost) free thing to do in Sarajevo.
More religious places for the first day: If you would like to visit more religious sites, you will be pleased to find that Sarajevo is home to mosques, churches (Catholic and Orthodox), and synagogues that you can visit, and which are all in and close to the old town. You are within minutes of all kinds of religious places.
Here are some more places you can add to your itinerary:
Cathedral of Jesus Sacred Heart
Cathedral Church of the Nativity of the Theotokos
Day 2 – If you use this post as an itinerary, then this is the second day in Sarajevo.
If you have 48 hours in Sarajevo and want to learn more about the history of the war, then visit the Tunnel of Hope.
When Sarajevo was besieged during the war, this was the only access Sarajevo had to the rest of the world.
The 800-meter-long tunnel was used to deliver medicine, food, and artillery, which helped the locals survive and the army fight during the siege.
It is located just outside of the city center and you will need to get there via car, an organised tour, taxi, or public transportation.
Entrance is about 5€ (without a tour) and you can walk the 800 meters of the tunnel and visit the museum. But if you are not familiar with the history, it might be easier for you to join a guided tour.
People in Sarajevo (mainly Muslims, but also Catholics, Orthodox, Jews, and other minorities) lived in the city while under the fire of the Bosnian Serbs – who sat in the hills surrounding Sarajevo.
In the old town and the city center of Sarajevo, you will see many signs of the war, such as houses that are still not fully restored and seem to be pocked by bullet holes. However, many of these holes are not actually from bullets, but rather from mortar fragments.
The houses that have bullet holes are outside the old town, closer to the hills that were easy to reach via guns.
Sniper´s Alley is a place from which you can see sniper‘s houses in the hills and also houses that are scarred by bullet holes.
Locals named it Suicide Alley, as snipers would shoot almost immediately when someone walked along the streets – even at kids and women.
If you do the walking tour, you will receive explanations here – visiting the alley was extremely touching to me. However, with less than two days – or if you want to focus on the positive side of Sarajevo – it is not a place that must be on your Sarajevo itinerary.
After your time in the Tunnel of Hope, you have several more options for spending the day.
This next activity is not only for rainy days – you can visit the Srebrenica Gallery at any time of the year or in any weather.
More than 100,000 people died during the (nearly) four years of the Bosnian War. Srebrenica became one of the most prominent places of the war.
Over 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed by an army of Bosnian Serbs over the course of three days in the United Nations’ “safe area“ – Srebrenica, which lies in the east of Bosnia.
This genocide is the worst in Europe since World War II. Gallery 11/07/05 plays educational films on a loop about Srebrenica and the Sarajevo siege.
Wilson’s Promenade – Sarajevo’s most popular walking area – is approximately two kilometers long and runs along the right bank of the Miljacka River. It is lovely to see another side of the city. You’ll notice that this place is visited mostly by locals.
Though I did not get to visit Tito Cafe, I enjoyed this different side of Sarajevo and got to see the golden can of beef. This is a monument that stands as an ironic thank you to the UN for the food they delivered during the war. As my guide told me, the people were incredibly thankful for the food deliveries, and it was not meant as an ungrateful gesture, but more of an irony as the food was terrible.
Here are more tips for great views. The White Fortress is located a bit higher than the Yellow Fortress and takes a bit more effort to reach.
It took me probably about 25-35 minutes, and though the fortress itself is closed for renovations at the moment, the views were great – especially as you get to have views to the other side, which is quieter and perfect for nature lovers.
At the fortress itself, you cannot do much. So, if you are short on time, the Yellow Fortress is probably the better choice because you can sit down and relax more.
However, from there, it is also not far to the Yellow Fortress, so you can combine them.
For the best views, head to Mount Trebevic. Apparently, from there, you have great views of Sarajevo – when I visited, it was foggy and rainy, so I did not get to see them.
However, you can combine it with either a hike up (should take about 60-120 minutes) or use the cable cars in Sarajevo to take you up (for around 10€, round trip).
You can even drive up to the very top (there are free parking spots available).
If you are at Mount Trebevic, add the abandoned bobsled track to your list.
I would not say it is a must-see in Sarajevo if you are only in Sarajevo for one day, but if you are in the city for two or three days, you can definitely add it – especially because you can easily combine it with a hike/drive up Mount Trebevic.
Sarajevo hosted the ’84 Winter Olympics and you can visit the bobsled and luge track, which still stands (in most parts) at the top of Mount Trebević Sarajevo.
There is no entrance fee and you can visit and walk along the luge track comfortably, which is now full of graffiti.
I was warned by locals that this side of the city (locals were not sure if it is still in Sarajevo or if it actually is in East Sarajevo, which is part of the Republic of Sprska) is not as safe as Sarajevo.
So, I got the tip to visit on a sunny day when many other people would be around, as robbery there is more common.
However, I then decided to drive up accompanied by my little dog, who proves that size doesn’t matter and he is a great security dog, on a rainy day. I am generally a careful person and would not have hiked up that rainy day knowing that solo travelers were popular victims of the thefts.
Saving the best for last: Whether you have one day or more, my tip is to visit the Vidikovac and end your day at the restaurant there.
Not for the food (which was average), but because sitting at the outdoor restaurant and overlooking Sarajevo – while the sun goes down – was surely one of the best things to do and the best place to visit in Sarajevo.
The restaurant is more elaborated than the cafe at the Yellow Fortress, and it is not well-known among visitors (I got the tip from the receptionist). The restaurant is busy and popular among locals.
Food is very affordable (I paid only 3€ for a large vegetarian pizza) and you will get big portions for just a little money (service is slow though). It is a great place to see on a sunny day.
You can either hike up (which should take about 45 minutes from the old town, though it is uphill and steep) or take a taxi. A taxi ride from the old town costs about 3.50€ and it is not only a taxi ride, but a wild rollercoaster ride, too.
I hiked down (yes, in the dark) as I could not bother to call a taxi to pick me up again.
You can also drive up there yourself (free parking spots available), but I am not sure the streets there are made to be driven by non-locals. It is seriously a bit crazy driving there, but if you have nerves of steel, why not?
CONCLUSION: SARAJEVO – THINGS TO DO
Hopefully, this post has helped you finding out about the best things to do in Sarajevo – it truly is different from most European cities, but so full of friendly, nice people and so much history that it makes it one of the best places to visit in Europe.
Planning your Mostar trip and wondering about the best things to do in Mostar in one day? Then this post is for you – because you will find the answers (and more) in this post.
It seems that Mostar has become extremely popular in the last few years – Instagram has probably promoted Mostar in a better way than any other social media channel could have done. Especially the old bridge has become very popular and pictures of the bridge are shared quite often.
However, Mostar has more to offer. The bridge is just one great sight but you should plan one day in Mostar to see and experience the city.
It is a beautiful, old town, and while you could see the attractions of Mostar in a few hours, I recommend staying a full day (or even overnight) so you can experience Mostar in the evening (it has a special atmosphere then). But it is definitely a great day trip from Dubvronik, or even Split, in Croatia.
Like many places in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mostar suffered a lot during the war in the 1990´s. Luckily, this is the past and I am sure the city (and country) will have a bright future ahead, with its friendly and welcoming locals and the beautiful attractions it holds.
So, while the war and its scars are visible, the focus is now on the gorgeous and cute places in Mostar!
While it is officially a city in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mostar lies in the Catholic Herzegovina, in the southern part of the country. And unlike Sarajevo, the capital of the country, there is segregation in the schools – meaning Muslims and Christians are taught separately.
The city is divided by the gorgeous Neretva River. On the western side of the river, you mostly have the Catholic Croats, and on the eastern side, you have the Muslim Bosniaks.
As a visitor, you will not notice the tensions. Your day will be filled with friendly locals and plenty of beautiful places in Mostar.
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TRAVEL TIPS FOR MOSTAR
Before jumping to your Mostar itinerary, or better yet, before talking about the best things to do in Mostar, here are some travel tips for your first trip.
How to Arrive in Mostar
Many people arrive from Dubrovnik (Croatia) or Sarajevo. Both cities have airports and you can get to Mostar via bus or trains (from Sarajevo only). Apparently, the views are scenic, as well as by car.
If you drive with your own car, make sure your car is insured in Bosnia-Herzegovina and you carry your green insurance certification with you.
Parking in the old town will be tricky. I booked accommodation that offered parking and left my car there for the entire 24 hours (and did not need it at all). There is some parking available, but it will cost you (around 8-12€ a day).
If you get to Mostar from Dubrovnik, Sarajevo etc. you can book your tours in advance.
You will not need a car or public transportation while visiting Mostar in one day (unless you plan some trips to attractions near Mostar). Just make sure to wear comfortable shoes (cobblestone streets – just saying).
Where to Stay in Mostar
If you stay in Mostar overnight (totally recommend it) then you will have a couple of good options.
If you come by car, your options might be limited though (especially if you visit with a dog, as I did, I had only a few options).
Villa Park: I stayed at this hotel. It offered free parking and was about 1km from the main attraction (Stari Most). I was happy with my choice as the rates here are quite good and the staff was lovely. Click here to check out the rates for Villa Park.
Hostel Majdas: This family-run hostel has been rated very well amongst backpackers – affordable, friendly and centrally located. Check out rates here.
Best Time to Visit Mostar
Mostar is extremely popular, despite the fact that temperatures rise up to 43 degrees Celsius and it gets busy – busier than normally. If you can, avoid July and August for your visit.
I reckon that May and the beginning of June are good months to visit, or late in September and October. I was lucky with the weather in April, but after my visit, it rained for a few days straight.
More Things to Know Before Visiting Mostar
The currency is Bosnian Convertible Marks (KM), but you can mostly pay in Euros, too. However, bring enough cash because credit cards are hardly accepted.
Bring your refillable water bottle – there are water fountains (especially around mosques) and you can drink the water without a problem.
Many people speak good English (and many even speak German), so you will have no communication problems if you speak English.
Mostar is quite cheap. Bosnia-Herzegovina is one of the cheapest countries to travel to in Europe, so Mostar is really affordable for most of us (especially if you come from Dubrovnik on a day trip).
The food is heavily influenced by Turkey, but they did not bring over many of the vegetarian dishes, so it is mostly meat-heavy food (if you are vegetarian/vegan, this might be a little challenging, but it is not impossible to eat good food in Mostar, even if you don’t eat animals).
There is also quite a lot of Italian food, like pasta and pizza.
The city is a great place to visit – safe, fun, and interesting. As a solo female traveler (with a little dog), I felt safe at all times, day or evening, and overall, Bosnia-Herzegovina is a safe country to travel to.
People love smoking – cigarettes and shisha (or hookah). Yep, you cannot help getting the smoke in your face.
Mostar at a Glance
Bosnia-Herzegovina was under the rule of the Ottoman Empire for more than 400 years – so, it is not only the food that has a Turkish influence, but also the religion (Islam) and the architecture that will remind you of Turkey.
The beautiful mosques and other buildings make it a pretty, kind of exotic, place. After the Ottomans, the Austrian-Hungary Empire ruled the country (which ended with the start of WWI). However, in Mostar itself, you do not see that much Austrian influence (unlike in Sarajevo).
And while it is not yet on the radar of a lot of western visitors (though this has changed in recent years), you will find many Turkish tourists – so it is surely not a hidden gem.
THINGS TO DO IN MOSTAR IN ONE DAY
So, here are the best things to do in Mostar in 1 day.
Admire Stari Most
The Ottomans also built the first bridge in Mostar that straddled the Neretva River in Mostar, linking the two parts of the old town together.
I did a tour and according to my tour guide, Mostar means “Bridge Keepers,” as the Stari Most was the only bridge people could cross, and keepers stood at the end of each side, collecting money from people crossing it. Visiting the bridge is probably the best thing to do in Mostar – even if you have less one day in Mostar, this is THE must see sight.
For about 400 years, it was the only bridge that linked the two parts of the town – so, even back then, it was a gold mine (and I am pretty certain that it is now as well, since it is the main reason for many to visit, and thus, again an important source of income).
However, the bridge was completely destroyed during the war in 1993. With donations from foreign countries (and their own financial investment), the bridge was rebuilt and opened in 2004. It is an exact replica – stone for stone – and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The bridge is beautiful, no matter which direction you look at it from. But the bridge itself is also quite slippery (anti-slip shoes would be great here). There are stoppers every few inches – which help you not fall over – though they make it almost impossible to bring kids in strollers.
There are a few nice spots where you can take pictures from the “beach,” the mosque, the Lucki Start Bridge, and all the restaurants that offer great views. but one of my favorite spots was actually from the bridge itself.
Be warned: It gets really busy. I visited at the end of April and it was packed already. If you don’t want to rub shoulders with everyone else, come here early in the morning (and of course, it is lovely in the evening, too).
Watch People Diving
Do you like watching people jump from bridges? Well, here you can. (Mostly) locals jump from Stari Most. They collect money and once they have collected a certain minimum, they jump.
While it is a spectacle (best seen from the beach), it kind of scares me. I was lucky to see one jump, but I think that’s enough.
However, while jumping from Stari Most has always been big, it has now become even bigger as there is a “cliff diving” event that takes place annually, too.
Stroll the Old Town
Mostar has probably one of the cutest old towns in the Balkans. The streets are narrow, cobblestoned, and full of souvenir shops and restaurants. While it sounds like any other old town in Europe, the Turkish influence makes it special.
Besides all the shops and restaurants, you also have some pretty, colorful buildings (which stood out against the stone buildings that dominate the scenery). If you want to buy rugs, souvenirs, and other things, you will probably find it here.
Also in the Old Town, you will find traditional Ottoman Houses – some of them are open to visitors.
So are Biscevic House, Kajtaz House, and Muslibegovic House. Muslibegovic House, built in the 17th century, is now a hotel and a museum.
Walk Kriva Cyprija Bridge
Mostar’s Crooked Bridge, Kriva Cyprija, is a miniature Stari Most. It is set in the lovely surroundings of the Old Town, in front of a waterfall, and was built a few years before Stari Most.
The bridge survived the war, but was destroyed in a flood in 2001. However, it was rebuilt and this smaller version of Stari Most is less busy (and the point from which you can reach the beach) and this is why I think, it is another of the things to do in Mostar.
Visit Mehmed-Pasha Mosque and its Minaret
As mentioned, I visited with my little dog. Even though he was in a bag, we were not allowed to enter the mosque nor the grounds of the mosque (though there were discussions amongst the people working there, but in the end, we ended up not going).
However, this is probably one of the best places to visit in Mostar. The pictures taken of Mostar from here look beautiful, and so does the mosque itself.
The 17th-century Koski Mehmet-Pasha Mosque is the second biggest mosque in Mostar and located on the east side of the center. You cannot miss it when you are in the old town as the minaret is quite dominant.
You can enjoy the views from the mosque grounds (entrance is around 3€), but you can also climb the 88 steps of the minaret for panoramic views of Mostar for an entrance fee of about 6€ and if you have one day in Mostar you will have enough time to pay it a visit.
Stroll the Neterva River
Wondering what I have a thing with rivers – yes, it may sound weird, but I love a nice river. And for the longest time, my favorite river was the Aare River in Switzerland – but the Neterva River is among my top 5 most beautiful rivers. It runs through Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The current is fast, the water color is beautiful… and you can stroll along it. Unfortunately, you cannot always walk right next to the river, but take your time and head out to the less crowded places to walk alongside it. If you just stay a few hours in the town you will probably not have enough time to do so, but with one day in Mostar that should be on your itinerary.
Swim in the Neterva River
Are you a good swimmer? I am not, but in the summer months, it can get really hot in Mostar. Taking a dip in the cold water of the Neterva River is probably one of the best things to do.
However, if you go to the beach area near the bridge, it looks a bit calmer, but the current is very fast. Do not underestimate its strength and stay away from swimming in the river if you are not a good swimmer.
But you surely can dip your feet into the water, which is still refreshing.
“Don´t Forget“ Stones
In Sarajevo, you have the “Roses of Sarajevo,” and in Mostar, you will find some stones that will remind you of the terrible war that took place in Bosnia-Herzegovina more than 20 years ago.
The rebuilt Mostar Bridge is just one of the reminders, but these stones will also act as a commemoration.
Drink a Bosnian Coffee
I was afraid that Bosnian Coffee would knock me out. But it did not, and I recommend that you give it a try. Since I could not eat much of the local food, I decided to have at least something that was local. So, having a Bosnian Coffee it was. It is not the same as Turkish coffee, even if it looks like it is.
Bosnian coffee is made in a copper pot called a dzezva (which you can also buy in many souvenir shops for when you get back home), followed by a specific ritual – I cannot even describe it (I had some help from the waiter), but they are normally helpful in showing you how to prepare the coffee.
Go on a Walking Tour
I joined a free walking tour (while they are free, I always tip as it is the only income of the tour guide, so remember to tip if you are satisfied with the tour) and learned more about the history of Mostar before the war in the 1990´s, during the war, and also about the current situation and main Mostar attractions.
They are offered once or twice a day (not in the winter months), but not every day. They are a great way to explore the city and learn more about it.
The starting point is at the Spanish Square, which is a 10-minute walk from the old town. The tour covers many of the best things to see in Mostar, but you have time afterwards (tour takes about 90 minutes or so) to visit these places on your own.
Visit War Photo Museum
Next to the old bridge is a small museum – the War Photo Museum which exhibits photos from the time of the war in the 1990´s. Entrance fee is a few € and it should not take too long to walk through but it is quite small.
Visit Mostar Sniper Tower
Close to the Spanish Square (meeting point of the free walking tour), you will find the Sniper Tower. In this area, you will also see more signs and scars of the war than in the old town.
This is where you will find the Sniper Tower. The former bank was used by Croatian soldiers as a hiding place and shooting ground. The building has not been repaired or torn down, so you can see it from the outside.
Learn About the War at the Museum of War and Genocide
Traveling with a dog, I decided to not visit the museum – also, it is supposed to be intense but it is probably a good way to learn more about the war as the museum explains what happened during the 1992-1995 war.
Entrance fee is around 5€ and the museum is located between the old town and the modern shopping street.
MORE PLACES TO VISIT IN MOSTAR (OR NEAR MOSTAR)
One day in Mostar in a great idea – but I suggest making Mostar your base for two or three days and visiting some of the surrounding areas.
Here are some of the places I visited before I arrived in Mostar (more detailed posts will follow):
Head to Blagaj Monastery
This is another Instagram star and one of the most beautiful places in Mostar (or near Mostar). The monastery sits at the base of a cliff alongside the Buna River.
While it is also from the time of the Ottoman Empire, the 600-year-old Blagaj Tekke monastery was built for the Dervish cults.For the monastery, you have to pay a little entrance fee. In the summer months, there is also a little boat that brings you right into the cave.
It is located about 10 kilometers from Mostar. I drove my car, but you can also take a bus from the Spanish Square (bus line 10 and 11) or do an organized tour.
Spend Time at Kravice Falls
Not as impressive as Plitvice Lake, my trip to Kravice Falls was still a nice little highlight and should be on your Mostar itinerary.
Stretching over 100 meters, the cascading Kravice Falls are a popular place to visit near Mostar.
They are about 40 kilometers from Mostar and you have to pay an entrance fee (prices depend on the time of your visit – in April/May it is about 4€; in summer, around 8€). You can also combine this with a trip to Blagai (especially if you drive yourself). It is the perfect place to spend some time outdoors while still being close to Mostar.
The beautiful and ancient fortress village of Počitelj is a popular and picturesque stop – especially if you drive from Croatia to Mostar by car.
You can visit the mosque for a small entrance fee or climb the tower (which was free during the time of my visit, but there might be a small entrance fee in the summer months. I am not sure about that, but can imagine it being the case). The tower offers amazing views, so even for an entrance fee, it is well worth it!
CONCLUSION: WHAT TO SEE IN MOSTAR
While hardly known in the western world, Mostar is quite busy as tourist buses bring lots of travelers. Some streets and restaurants get busy within seconds.
While they are mostly Turkish visitors, I have heard the voices of German and French people, too. I can see it becoming even more crowded and well-known with the increasing popularity of Bosnia-Herzegovina as a travel destination.
Hopefully, this post has helped you find out a bit more about beautiful Mostar and about the best things to do in Mostar in one day or even longer. Whether you visit as a day trip from Dubrovnik, Split or Sarajevo or if you decide to stay a bit longer to experience the beautiful places near Mostar – it surely is worth a visit and whenever I think back of Mostar – and Bosnia -Herzegovina – I have a big smile on my face because of its beauty and its people!