Throughout our journey, there have been certain places that have captivated us – Mostar is one of them. In so many ways it resembles the other fairytale European cities we’ve visited, with the quaint historic center so appealing draped across the Old Bridge and down both sides of the Neretva River. But with the recent war and differing religions, it felt oddly foreign for Europe. As our mini-van bus rolled out toward Split, Croatia, we reflected on our week in Mostar and were glad we spent more than the average half day most tourists give the city.
Why we loved our week in Mostar: Affordability
In addition to the fascinating history, we were also pleased to find that Mostar was an affordable city, which allowed us some leeway in our budget for a few indulgences. We have become accustomed to making certain sacrifices in order for our budget to work and still be able to experience a place, but with the combination of inexpensive accommodations, restaurant prices and sights, we were able to fit more into our week in Mostar (and still only averaged $58.50/day).
Why we loved our week in Mostar: Local Living
Our apartment (found on Airbnb.com for $26/night) was located on the east side of the river within a 10 minute walk to the Old Bridge. Like many of Mostar’s traditional homes, we entered through a gate into a private courtyard. One of the more spacious apartments we’ve stayed in recently, it had a full kitchen (including a stove!) and a separate bedroom. The apartment had belonged to our host’s grandmother, so it felt like staying at a friend’s house rather than in a rental. Our host, Tarik, embodied the spirit of the Bosnian people: proud of his country and caring of his guests, all with a quick sense of humor.
Why we loved our week in Mostar: Local Cuisine
Experiencing the local cuisine in Mostar was a real treat, especially since the region is known for grilled meat. We dined on savory platters of cevapi (sausages), japrak (grape leaves filled with meat and rice) and shish kebabs (skewers of beef and lamb). Grilled mushrooms with thick sour cream, burek (a flaky pastry filled with onion and potatoes) and somun (Bosnian pita bread) rounded out our meals. Each filling platter cost between $3-7, with riverside restaurants charging a bit more than the family run Konobas. While my jeans may be slightly snugger than a week ago, it was all very economical…and gave me a
nice needed break from the kitchen.
The people watching – a mix of locals and tourists in the off-season – was best enjoyed at the cafes cluttering the narrow, cobblestone alleys of the old town. An afternoon cappuccino or local Mostarsko beer (both less than $2 each) at an outside table provided hours of entertainment.
Whether it was the poignant history, conversations with our host, our appetite for the traditional food, or relaxed afternoons idled away in cafes, we felt a strong connection during our week in Mostar.
We want to know: Would you stay a week in Mostar? Too long or too short? Tell us in the comments!