From Budva, Montenegro, there are direct international buses to Mostar. I chose to take a night bus that didn’t cross the Croatian border since I didn’t have a Schengen Visa at that time. The trip took roughly 6 hours for 25 euros.
Cautious about the trip and at the same time trying to get some sleep, the bus ride somehow took less than 6 hours which was quite unexpected. Beforehand, I informed the driver that I was heading to Mostar city terminal, however, the driver missed to take me there. I don’t know if he forgot or he didn’t understand me. The English language is widely used in Montenegro, but English is not their main mode of instruction.
Unfortunately, I was the only passenger on the bus leaving for Mostar. Checking on my phone’s GPS, the location of the town center was not too far from where we were at. I ran to the front of the bus and talked to the driver. The bus driver pulled over and dropped me off in the middle of nowhere. Using my GPS and installed Google map, I managed to find my way to town and to the hostel after 30 minutes of patiently walking. It was almost sunrise when I got to the hostel. I knocked on the door and an accommodating owner welcomed me.
Mirror Hostel was run by a Bosnian family. It was a comfortable place with a very pleasant atmosphere. They have clean facilities, amazing breakfast, and perfect location to access tourist destinations in the locality. Their room rates are favorable and customer service was superb.
Mostar is a city in Bosnia and Herzegovina situated on the Neretva River. After many years of existing peacefully as a city, it suffered severely when the country broke its ties with the old Yugoslavian Republic during the civil war.
It went through heavy air strikes which led to losing plenty of historical sites including the 16th century stone bridge, Stari Most or “Old Bridge”; a historical landmark constructed across the Neretva River during the height of the Ottoman Empire. The surrounding areas of the bridge are also known as historic locations.
During the height of the civil war, the bridge that used to connect the city was destroyed in November 1993. With the collective efforts of the government, its people and the international community, a successful reconstruction of the old bridge was completed in 2004. Although the bridge was reconstructed as it was before the war, the scars of the once wounded city are still visible. The aftermath of its demise can be felt around.
From the hostel, I took the Braće Fejića leading the way to the old bridge. The first noticeable structures in that specific part of the city were few of the beautifully constructed Ottoman era mosques, one of which is the Karađozbegova džamija (Karagoz Bey Cami). It was designed and built in the 16th century by Mimar Sinan, the most famous architect during the Ottoman Empire. Not far from the first mosque is the second largest mosque of Mostar, the Koski Mehmed Pasha. It has a large yard with a small open-air café with a nice view of the river and the bridge.
Further ahead, near the old bridge, the pathway changes to a cobble stone road that leads to souvenir shops selling handmade and local produced merchandises. Together with the shops near the bridge are reconstructed buildings and structures of the old city. A stone tower connects the bridge to the west bank of the river through a passage way decorated with souvenir shops and friendly atmosphere. There are many restaurants and cafes lined along the Neretva River that provides great service, affordable prices plus the scenic view of both the river and bridge.
Mostar holds an annual diving competition every year during summer. Professional and skilled divers are the usual attendees of the contest. The annual diving completion dates back in the 1960’s when a formal diving completion was inaugurated. I was able to witnessed divers practicing for the event when I was in the city. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time to stay for the event.
The old bridge has a very alluring atmosphere after sun down. The street lights illuminate the quiet bridge and creates a romantic atmosphere.
After staying for less than 48 hours in Mostar, I went next to Sarajevo, the Capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. There are direct buses from Mostar to Sarajevo for 8 euros in 2016.