Too many people in this world seem to think that Mostar itself qualifies only as a day trip, and there isn’t a font strong enough to tell them just how wrong they are. There is too much in Mostar for just one day, but the city itself is surrounded by some quite marvellous spots that are perfect for that day out the city, offering visitors the chance to sample some other parts of Herzegovina. These are our five favourite day trips from Mostar.
Located just 70km north of Mostar, Konjic often gets overlooked by visitors travelling between the Herzegovinian capital and Sarajevo to the north. More fool those who don’t stop in this little marvel, a city of some 25,000 people that is home to one of the region’s great stone bridges and a seriously excellent bit of Yugoslav nostalgia. The aforementioned bridge is the Stara Ćuprija, an Ottoman beauty that was constructed in the 17th century and proudly straddles the Neretva in the centre of town. The nostalgia? Well, it doesn’t get much cooler than Tito’s own bunker, ARK-D/0, a nuclear bunker built specially for Uncle Joe and 350 of his closest confidantes. A visit to the bunker is a most for any YugoNerd. If you are travelling to Konjic from Mostar, be sure to stop in Jablanica on the way back for some lamb — the best in the country, if you’re asking us.
Where to begin with Blagaj? This is the sort of spot that gets words like ‘miraculous’ thrown at it, so you know you’re onto something special. This famous old town sits less than 20 minutes south of Mostar, a short drive or bus away, and what awaits is an integral part of Bosniak culture that is a must for anyone with even the vaguest interest in the country. The Tekija is the main event, a sort-of-monastery-but-actually-a-house-of-education, hidden at the foot of a cliff that just happens to give birth to a river. You’ve probably seen photos of it. Those snaps don’t do it justice though, so get yourself here and prepare to be changed. The restaurant opposite the Tekija does a magnificent mixed grill too, if you’re hungry. The Blagaj Fortress sits on top of the town, for all you history buffs.
A miracle, no matter your level of cynicism. Međugorje might just be the most visited destination in Bosnia & Herzegovina, but that is the power of a major Catholic pilgrimage sight. It was here in 1981 that a group of children came across an apparition of the Virgin Mary, transforming a village of dying old people into a multi-million Euro tourist destination. Even if you aren’t interested in Catholicism, Međugorje makes for fascinating day trip, giving visitors an insight into what makes others tick. The Pope isn’t overly interested in the whole thing, but that’s his problem. Međugorje is 26km southwest of Mostar, although all you really need to do is follow the signs.
The waterfall complex has changed dramatically in recent years, the monetisation of it all does not detract from the gorgeous natural beauty on offer. The waterfalls are found 40km south of Mostar, not far from the town of Ljubuški, but they sort of appear out of nowhere once you’re on the right road. The Little Cows (if we’re literally translating) are the perfect place to spend a hot summer’s day in Herzegovina, diving in and out of the cool water before exploring the falls themselves, stopping for some food at one of the many waterside options. Yes, there is rakija. To get to the falls by car, head southwest out of Mostar towards Ljubuški and follow the signs once you get close. The falls are found at the bottom of a single road that is delightfully bendy, like all the great roads. Want to visit via public transport? No chance, buddy. Get a bus to Ljubuški and try your hand at hitchhiking.
Not the easiest to visit, but we don’t plant the ‘most beautiful place in the country’ flag in the ground that often. Počitelj is just about as picturesque as Herzegovina gets, a village built into the side of a hill 30km south of Mostar, just 4km north of Čapljina. Private transport is a must, although much like Kravice you can try your hand at getting to Čapljina and then hitchhiking (or even walking) the short distance back. What awaits is a village of serious beauty, perfect for wandering the narrow streets that lead up the hill to the top of the village, where one of the region’s great views awaits. The Hajji Alija Mosque sets the scene, as the magnificent Kula stretches high in the background. Pocitelj can get quite busy in the summer — as can everywhere in Herzegovina — but it is also somewhere that can occasionally feel entirely yours.
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