Your guide to getting the most out of a Dubrovnik to Mostar day trip!
Don’t miss the Dubrovnik to Mostar day trip on your trip to Croatia.
I recently visited Dubrovnik for the first time and it was awesome. I loved how many big-ticket things there are to see and do in Dubrovnik: the historical charm of Old Town, crystal clear pebble beaches, kayaking, and all of the Game of Thrones experiences. You can even sit on the Iron Throne!
One of the other really great things about Dubrovnik is all of the day trips you can do. For me, one of the best day trips is the Dubrovnik to Mostar day trip, which is the one I did on my most recent visit.
The Dubrovnik to Mostar day trip we booked was via Viator. It takes you to the Kravice Waterfalls and then onto the historic city of Mostar in Bosnia-Herzegovina. I’ll talk more about the logistics in a little bit but first up let’s discuss why you definitely don’t want to miss Mostar on your trip.
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As I mentioned, Mostar is a city in Bosnia-Herzegovina and it’s known for its iconic bridge, the Stari Most. The town gets its namesake from the bridge-keepers, who used to guard the bridge in medieval times. They were known as the mostari.
The bridge arches over the Neretva River. Constructed in the 16th century, it was considered a masterpiece of Ottoman engineering. Unfortunately, the bridge and surrounding buildings were destroyed during the Bosnian War. However, it’s been faithfully reconstructed and was reopened in 2004. The Stari Most is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The bridge is also famous for one of its local pastimes – jumping off it! Locals have been jumping off the Stari Most bridge for centuries now, with the first recorded jump being in the 16th century. The Neretva River is one of the coldest rivers in the world and so this was pretty dangerous. So why did locals first start doing it then? A good question.
Well, it was a rite of passage for local men and Mostar. You were considered to be a man when you jumped and, according to our local guide, it was a way of attracting women. These days, it’s still a popular pastime and would-be jumpers wait around on the bridge soliciting money from tourists until they’ve got enough to make it worth their while.
It’s not something that local men have to do to prove their manhood any longer however. Our tour guide mentioned that he’d recently got married and he hadn’t jumped, and he sounded quite relieved about it to be honest. Considering the Neretva River doesn’t reach much higher than seven degrees Celsius, even in summer, I wouldn’t blame him.
What was our experience of Mostar like?
I loved Mostar. I’d seen photographs of the bridge online when I was researching day trips from Dubrovnik and I knew I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to see it in real-life. Once I’d heard about the history of the area it was even more interesting. We didn’t have long to spend here – only around three hours – so I wanted to make the most of the time we had!
We met a local guide off the bus as part of the trip, and he was excellent. He was a local who had grown up in the town and had ended up working in tourism, which seemed to be the case for a lot of the tour guides. It meant he knew Mostar inside out, and he was able to share all of his insider knowledge about the Stari Most Bridge, along with personal anecdotes.
Mostar Peace Bell Tower
We started the tour at just outside the Mostar Peace Bell Tower, outside of the historical centre of Mostar. It’s so tall it’s a great landmark to find your way back to the bus! It stands over 100 metres tall – so tall it’s almost impossible to take a photo of it! We didn’t have time to climb it but I imagine there are some cracking views at the top.
The good news is that there’s a lift at the bell tower. The bad news is that the lift doesn’t go all the way to the top. There’s a viewing area 75m up and the lift will mean you can skip 222 steps. The caveat is that there will still be 148 steps to climb out of the 370 total steps.
Explore the streets of Mostar
We wandered through the cute, cobbled streets of Mostar next. There are restaurants and shops selling tourist trinkets although, apparently, a lot of it is fake at the entrance of the city. You have to wander further in to get to the good stuff, according to our guide!
We crossed over the bridge and got to see the river next. It does get crowded here with everyone trying to grab a selfie from the bridge. On the other side there are more shops and restaurants and cute buildings in pastel shades of purple, pink, and yellow, which definitely appealed to me! We also ordered ourselves a yummy ice cream around this area!
The Turkish House in Mostar
Our final stop on our tour was the Turkish House. Also known as the Kajtaz House, this is a historical residence from the 16th century and it shows how people lived back then. It was built during the Ottoman period and is one of the largest surviving complexes in Mostar.
I found it super charming. The upstairs has an indoor/outdoor kind of vibe with an open veranda that looks down onto the courtyard below. There are authentic period pieces to admire, including paintings, vases, and lots of intricately carved coffee tables that I would love to have in my living room. We were also able to see a room upstairs where visitors would be received and served coffee. Hot if you wanted them there, cold if you didn’t!
It’s not that big so it does fill up with crowds pretty quickly. Our tour guide had to wait for a while because the other guide was talking so loudly we wouldn’t have been able to hear a word he said! If you get a chance to visit the Turkish House in Mostar I’d recommend it.
Finding the best bridge views
After the Turkish House we had some free time to explore Mostar on our own. We wandered around for a while and then headed down to the water, where it wasn’t actually that busy. Well, there was an influencer doing an entire photoshoot in front of the bridge and there were pockets of people milling around, but it wasn’t too crowded.
We ended up sitting here for ages, watching the people kayaking, and enjoying our cheese and chorizo rolls we’d packed from the breakfast buffet at our hotel. Man, they were good!
The views of the bridge are incredible here so it was definitely lunch with a view!
My tips for visiting Mostar
1) Wear sensible shoes
The pavements here are cobbled and a little slippery – and this is particularly the case when you get to the bridge. It curves up and it curves down and it’s also super crowded with tourists. If you can, wear sensible shoes such as trainers.
2) Have a money belt
Of course, I didn’t have a money belt. That would have involved being much too organised! But our local tour guide warned us that there is a lot of pickpocketing that goes on in Mostar – and you’ll also have a lot of people wandering up and asking you for money. I flipped my backpack onto my front but I definitely would have felt safer knowing that I had a money belt. Don’t be me, come prepared!
3) Don’t pay for the views
There are many places that claim to be the place to get the best views of the Stari Most bridge. However, you’ll probably have to pay to enter. You don’t get much for free around here! However, we found the best spot by wandering down to where you can take a kayak ride. Not only were the views amazing – they were also completely free!
4) Hey there, squat toilets
I mentioned that not much comes for free in Mostar. That also applies to the bathroom situation. If you need a bathroom break then you’re probably going to have to pay for it. Oh, and you might have to squat as well. We paid the entry fee to find ourselves presented with a squat toilet. It had been a while for me and so it was a bit of an experience!
5) Bring your spare currency
Mostar is pretty unusual in that it takes a range of currencies – Euros, Croatian Kuna, and Bosnian Marks. And, apparently, they’ll accept currencies beyond even that. However, it does mean that you might have to get your head around different currencies quickly – which may make it more difficult to understand the true price of things.
You also get to stop off at the Kravice Waterfalls on the way to Mostar, which was amazing. Located in the Bosnian heartlands, it’s a popular spot to cool off from the heat. And busy or not, it’s hard not to be impressed by the stunning natural beauty of it all.
Fringed by shrubbery, the waterfalls stand at 25 feet and are totally mesmerising. The water comes from the Trebizat River and is this gorgeous shade of emerald green. With a handful of kayaks casually floating around on the water, it’s like a scene straight from a movie.
You can jump in, splash around the shore, or simply sip on some Bosnian beer at one of the beachfront cafes. Go on, treat yourself to an ice-cold drink and chillax.
My tips for Kravice Waterfalls
1) Wear your swimming stuff
I would recommend popping your swimming costume on under your clothes. It’s a bit of a schlep down to the water so you might as well cut out some time having to go and get changed in the toilets. It also means less time faffing and more time hanging out by the water – win, win!
2) Prepare for cold temperatures
The water at the waterfalls is cold. Really, really cold! The shore also shelves down really sharply so you can’t really paddle in the shallows that easily. You can’t just go in up to your knees – you’re either fully in or you’re not. We took the plunge and went in properly and I was actually gasping from the cold.
3) Be aware of currents
There is a bit of a current in the water here so I would recommend only going in if you’re a strong swimmer. I could definitely feel the pull of the current as I swam back to the shore, so be aware. Along with the icy temperatures, it’s not one for the fainthearted.
4) Pack your undies!
Remember to pack some underwear. This comes from the person who forgot to pack a spare bra and so had to spend the rest of the day in my damp bikini top… which resulted in some rather fetching damp patches on my top. Yay for that! I guess I didn’t think I’d get my top half wet but the paddling sitch wasn’t what I thought. Don’t be like me.
5) Leave yourself enough time
The walk back up to the car park may take longer than you think! As we were with a tour group we had a strict return to the bus time. However, as we were casually sauntering back about a million tourists appeared out of nowhere and started making their way down the steps. It meant we basically had to elbow our way back to the top – not much fun!
FAQs on the Dubrovnik to Mostar day trip
Can you visit Mostar from Dubrovnik?
Yes, you can. It’s around three hours from Dubrovnik so it is a relatively long day of travelling, door to door, but I would say it’s worth it to see Mostar.
Who can you book a trip to Mostar with?
We booked our trip through Viator. I just googled day trips from Dubrovnik and there were a lot of options to choose from on the Viator website. We opted for the Mostar and Kravice Waterfalls day trip, which also included the Turkish House in Mostar. I didn’t know what the Turkish House was at this point but a lot of the reviews said it was definitely worth seeing, and I would agree!
How much did our Dubrovnik to Mostar day trip cost?
The day trip cost just over £40 each, per person. You can book it online so you don’t have to rock up on the day with your cash or anything. They will come and pick you up from your hotel or at least a hotel in the nearby vicinity. The organisers came and picked us up but I don’t know if that’s the case in the summer when it’s a lot busier and there are much larger groups.
When should you book your Dubrovnik to Mostar day trip?
We booked our trip two days beforehand, during our trip at the beginning of May. However, the popular tours will be flagged to say ‘likely to sell out’. I can imagine that it gets a lot busier in summer so you may need to be a lot more organised than we were!
Is a day trip to Mostar worth it?
Definitely! I loved being able to visit a whole other country during our trip to Dubrovnik. The Stari Most bridge is amazing – as soon as I saw the pictures on the website I knew I wanted to see it for myself. The waterfalls were also just as amazing as expected. It was also interesting hearing about the history of Bosnia-Herzegovina on the bus ride on the way.
It’s the kind of intel I would never hear about if I just stayed in Dubrovnik during our trip.
How long do you need in Mostar?
I’m not gonna lie, we didn’t have a huge amount of time. It was around three hours in total. However, once you factored in a tour with a local guide and a tour of the Turkish House there wasn’t that much time to play with.
Mostar isn’t a big place and it doesn’t take too long to wander around so this was fine for us, but if you want to have more flexibility to spend more time here then you can travel here yourself, by bus or by hiring a car.
Top tips for your visit to Mostar
1) Book early!
If you want to go on the Dubrovnik to Mostar day trip I would advise booking as soon as possible, possibly even before you arrive in Dubrovnik. We arrived in Dubrovnik on May 1st, which is the first day of the season, according to locals. This meant that everything was a little sleepy – at least in the Lapad area where we were staying. Dubrovnik’s Old Town was already busy with tourists!
However, everyone made it very clear that any calmness was the quiet before the storm. You can’t read anything about Dubrovnik without hearing how busy it is. Our tour guide also mentioned that in summer they’d often have to wait an hour to cross the bridge on the journey because it gets so congested.
My advice is, if you want to book a day trip, don’t wait until the last minute. Get it in the diary as soon as possible to guarantee your spot.
2) Set your alarm clock!
If you love having lie-ins during your holiday time then a day trip from Dubrovnik is going to be a bit of a shock to the system as it’s a very early start. We were picked up from our hotel at 7.05am but it could be even earlier depending on where your hotel is. You may also have to factor in a twenty-minute walk if they can’t pick you up at your hotel.
Luckily our hotel breakfast started at 6.30am so we were able to shovel down some breakfast and pack some cheese and ham rolls in our backpacks to eat for lunch. Winning!
3) Bring your passport
When you go on the Dubrovnik to Mostar day trip you have to have your passport with you. This is because you have to cross the Croatian border a number of times in order to get to Bosnia-Herzegovina. Yes, not just once. You have to go out, then in, then out again. It’s like the hokey-cokey of border crossings. In out, in out, shake it all about is about right.
You’ll need your passport each time. For us, it was easy enough. We simply handed over our passport to our tour guide each time. We were also asked to have proof of vaccination if you’re fully vaccinated – or a negative test if you’re not vaccinated, to be able to cross the border. That may not be the case forever more, but that was the case for us.
Interestingly, our tour guide shared with us that they’re in the middle of constructing a bridge which will mean you no longer have to cross the border. This is set to open later this year and it’ll mean everything should be a lot quicker and more efficient.
Other day trips from Dubrovnik
I mentioned earlier that there are other day trips you can do as well as the Dubrovnik to Mostar day trip. One of the other ones that we were considering was the Dubrovnik to Montenegro day trip.
However, after a long day on the bus we decided we didn’t fancy doing another day trip in the space of a week, particularly as there is so much to see and do in the Dubrovnik area. But if you would like to do more, here’s a quick look at what you can do…
- Dubrovnik to Montenegro
- Dubrovnik Elaphite islands cruise
- Blue cave boat tour from Dubrovnik
- Kotor Bay day trip from Dubrovnik
That was my guide to the Dubrovnik to Mostar day trip!
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