Whilst in Dubrovnik, Croatia we took the opportunity to rent a car and visit Bosnia & Herzegovina. We picked our hire car up from the old town, Dubrovnik and set off on the beautiful coastal road heading north. Being my first time driving on the right hand side I was a little nervous but soon relaxed.
Our first destination was Kravice Waterfalls, to get here we had to cross the Bosnian border twice with no problem. It took about 2.5 hours to get to Kravice, we followed apple maps the whole way without any problems, Vodaphone now have a ‘Europe zone’ meaning you can use your phone just like at home without any charge.
There is plenty of parking at the waterfall, it costs 1KM for parking and 2KM per person to enter the falls. Unprepared we didn’t have an Bosnian Mark (the local currency), however they accept Euro (which we also had none of) as well as Croatian Kuna, so it was 50HKR, about £5.⠀⠀
From the car park there are quite a lot of steps down to the waterfall but for people with less mobility there is a small train going backwards and forwards. It took 10 minutes to walk down to the waterfalls and wow! The falls are 26-28 metres high and has been described as a mini Nigeria Falls – it was stunning. There is a small lake about 120m in diameter which was crystal clear water, as it was a little overcast we didn’t take a swim in the falls but enjoyed a coffee and the view at the cafe, there are 2 cafes at the waterfalls, they’re not expensive.
From Kravice falls we traveled to Mostar, this took just under an hour. Not really sure where to go in the city we followed some signs for the centre and suddenly the tarmac road turned into a rocky road surrounded by derelict houses at this point we turned around. We finally discovered the old town and found a car park 10 minutes walk away, again we didn’t have any Bosnian Mark or Euros for the machine but luckily there was a parking attendant who changed our Croatian Kuna into Euros for the machine.
The friendly parking attendant directed us towards the old town and again from a uneven road with derelict buildings we arrived into the busy touristy old town. The streets where filled with souvenir stores and touristy restaurants. Walking through the old town we could see the large Turkish influence with the traditional outfits, local foods such as baklava, kebabs and Turkish Tea being served. It reminded me of the souks of Marrakesh.
The Old Bridge or Stari Most is located in the old town which was rebuilt in the 16th century by the Ottoman Empire (Turkish) and was award a UNESCO world heritage site. The Bridge is 29 metres tall and stands above the River Neretva connecting the Muslim and Christian communities of Mostar. Star Most is also famous for its traditional diving competition held every summer, it’s tradition for young men to jump from the bridge into the river. Since 2015 the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series has visited the bridge on their tour. The River Neretva is known for being extremely cold making jumping very, most of the men who jump are trained divers however if you brave enough to take the leap trained local divers can train you to jump off for a fee. Whilst we were on the bridge the divers were shouting to the crowd, asking for money to dive. They finally got €30 and decided that was enough to warrant a show. As promised he dived into the river, metres below.
We decided to have some lunch in a restaurant on the river edge, the staff were really friendly again. At this moment I went to get some cash from the machine on the touristy street and the machine decided to retain my card, great! Luckily there was a number on the machine which I called and managed to get through, during this time a stall owner realised by panic and came over and started talking to the bank on the phone. The stall owner was so friendly and helpful and tried her hardest to get my card back but after speaking to my own bank they confirmed once it’s retained it’s destroyed, lucky it was the last day of our holiday not the first.
After finally paying for our lunch we continued walking down the cobbled street and entered a courtyard with a fountain tap, tea stall and garden area, home to Koskin-Mehmed Pasha’s Mosque. It’s free to enter the courtyard but you must get a ticket to continue into the gated path by the river side which has fantastic views of the river and the bridge. This ticket also grants you entry into the Mosque and to the top of the stipple which has incredible views over Mostar and the River Neretva below. From the top of the tower you could see the diversity of the city, from the old town, touristy area to the outer city and derelict buildings.
Setting off from Mostar we took a different route back to Dubrovnik travelling through the west of Bosnia & Herzegovina which is absolutely stunning. The views driving back were amazing, travel through small towns with locals selling fruit and vegetable at the side of the road. We didn’t reach the border on this route until we were 10 kilometres from Dubrovnik, where we got our passports stamped with a Bosnian stamp.
I’d love to go back to Bosnia & Herzegovina and explore more of the beautiful country and history. The people were really friendly and helpful and couldn’t help you enough.