It’s been two full years since I’ve last been to Mostar, which is the same amount of time that I lived there. That’s a pretty weird fact that I’ve been processing this summer, and I’m thinking about writing about my thoughts on it when I get some free time.
The reason for this post, however, is that I was recently asked for advice by someone who was visiting Mostar. I figured I’d share that here. It’s not comprehensive by any means, but it’s a start.
Nearly all the tourist attractions in Mostar are in the Old Town. You certainly can’t go wrong exploring that area, going down the different alleyways, pausing for a drink at one of the cafes along the river, browsing the shops, etc.
However, it’s not very big, and I think the rest of the city is great to explore as it’s also not that large and very walking-friendly.
You could walk from Old Bridge to the farthest bridge on the right side of the map in no more than 40 minutes. This map is a bit old but it’s definitely accurate enough to give a good picture of the city. The Old Town is near the bottom of the map, in the center-left. In the descriptions that follow below, I mentioned street names when they were on the map. But don’t be surprised if you don’t see too many street signs when you’re in the city itself, and if you come upon streets or alleys that aren’t marked on the map.
–The Park: Mentioned in some of the directions, I capitalized it because this park is for Mostar what Central Park is for New York City. It’s basically the only park of its size in the entire city, perfect for people watching, and has lots of green grass — ideal for quick naps in the summer sunshine. It’s the green triangle in the center of the city on the map.
–The Cross: Visible from almost anywhere in the city, which is helpful for orienting yourself if you get turned around. It’s possible to hike up there, you just need to follow the road all the way to the top – make sure you don’t stray from the road, as there are land mines on the side of the hill.
–Spanish Square: Called Spanski Trg on the map, this is the square at the center of the city. It has the most famous school building of the region, which was the one I went to school in, it’s the orange building. But then take in what’s around there – all the ruins, the people walking about, the mountains, etc. It’s such a beautiful square and just sitting there for a bit and observing your surroundings, you’ll catch a glimpse of what life is like in urban Bosnia, away from the tourist crowds.
–Hindin Han: Best traditional Bosnian restaurant, at least in my opinion. Located in Old Town, on the Catholic side of the river, near a pub called Black Dog (which I highly recommend – not the most authentic Bosnian experience but it’s my favorite place to get a beer and sit by the river) and a small bridge that looks like the bigger, more famous one (the “Crooked Bridge”). If you go with someone, get the meat platter for two people to share, it’s a great sampler of Bosnian meats.
–Palacinke Bar: Delicious, amazing crepe-style pancakes. From Spanish Square, head down the street called Zvonimirova. You’ll pass Coco Loco on your left (a bar with a great outdoor patio and relaxed vibes by Balkan standards -as it’s not a loud, dressy nightclub), then The Park, then you’ll come to an intersection. Go straight at the intersection, it will be on your left after you pass the Irish Pub.
–Marinero: My friends and I loved the chicken salad, we had it nearly every time we went there. It’s located in something called the “Orca Centar.” (a colorful shape on the right side of the map) To get there, go down Kneza Domagoja from Spanish Square. At the intersection, go straight past Mepas Mall, past a church (there’s a yellow cross on the building), and then turn right when you see signs for a bunch of restaurants, cafes, etc, including Cake Bar which you can see from the road. It’s next to Cake Bar – which is also worth a visit :)
–Del Rio: Arguably one of the nicer restaurants in Mostar. Tries to have a bit of an Italian vibe, if you’re looking for something reliable and nice to take a break from street food, this is a good place. Pasta and meat dishes are the best, my friends liked their salads as well but honestly I think Marinero is better. Pasta will only cost you 10-15KM ($6-9). They bring bread with your meal that is really delicious and free. Located across the bridge straight from the bus station, bottom right side of map, on the ground floor of the tall, light purple building.
–Patak: Pizza! I usually got the “Vegetarian” pizza, there’s a really good salami one as well, but I would guess any of them could be good. The crust is a bit thinner and softer than you’d usually find in the US. Good sandwiches here too. From Spanish Square, head towards the bridge, which is the sort of the main bridge of the city. Locals call it Tito’s Bridge (Titov Most on the map). Anyways head towards the bridge, but take the first street to the left (Alekse Santica). Patak will be on your left a little ways down.
–Palma: Come here for kebab, which is a shredded meat sandwich that originated in the Middle East but is a fast food staple all over Europe. Only 3KM for a small one, 5KM for a big one; the small was enough for a meal for me. They also have decent ice cream in the summer and lots of cakes. Located just past Patak down that street (Alekse Santica).
–Musala Buregzednica: Ice cream and sirnica, enough said. I love this place; didn’t help that it was cheap (1KM per scoop, 2.50KM for 4 pieces of sirnica). Definitely, hands down, my favorite place for ice cream in the city (only possible exception is one that just opened right before I left near Rondo). There’s a really traditional Balkan pastry that can be filled with lots of things – cheese (sirnica), meat and potatoes (burek), spinich and cheese (zeljinica), pumpkin (tikvica), etc. I like sirnica the best :) Musala Square is on the Muslim side of Tito’s Bridge. Go there, then look for the United Colors of Benetton store – this place is right next to it.
–Jump Jump: Across from The Park. I love their ‘Biejla Kava’ (coffee with milk), one of the best in Mostar that I know of, and they also have amazing chocolate cake. It’s more like a French silk pie than it is a cake, it has that mousse consistency; it’s delicious.
–Aleksa: Across the street from Hotel Bristol (red circle 2 on the map), there is an alley between two buildings. Go to the end of the alley, on the left is Aleksa. A pretty good restaurant as well. The patio is beautiful, surprisingly peaceful / secluded for being as centrally located in the city as it is.
–Calamus: It’s in the tall glass building that’s visible from Spanish Square that says Koncar on the top. Walk down Dr. Ante Starcevica from Spanish Square. Go into the building and take the elevators to the top floor. The cafe has indoor seating (and it’s air conditioned!) with huge windows, and outdoor seating, both providing amazing views of the city.