During our time spent in Dubrovnik over the European summer, we wanted to make good use of our location with a daytrip to one of the neighbouring countries, and after a bit of research, we decided on a visit to the city of Mostar, in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
We researched a few different tours online, and booked one that had great reviews and a reasonable price online while in Dubrovnik, using the Viator website. There were many alternatives with a huge difference in price, but this one with the good feedback and high rating looked to be a good choice since we were travelling with children. Especially knowing it would be such a big day.
Our pick up point was a short walk from where we were staying at House Verde. Our bus was a fairly modern, clean full sized coach. When we got on the bus, we were pleasantly surprised to find age appropriate car seats for our daughters, who were the only children on the tour that day. This was a great extra peace of mind when traveling long distance, so we strapped them in, one beside each of us.
To get to Mostar, there are two border crossings from Croatia into Bosnia and Herzegovina. The reason for this is there is one part of the coast that is Bosnia and Herzegovina so you essentially pass between the 2 countries twice each over a relatively short distance. For this reason you need your passport for this daytrip from Dubrovnik.
The border crossings take some time but the wait was not too bad on the day, especially being peak travel season. This unfortunately cannot be avoided though. But we did get to stop for a quick pittstop to grab some snacks and stretch our legs at Nuem on the way through.
The next stop on the tour was Medjugorje, the place where, in 1981, six children saw an apparition of the Virgin Mary and has been one of the most popular spots for Catholic pilgrimage in the world. Honestly, I was confused about the significance of this stop at the time. And hungry. I’m not a great road traveller at times.
My priority was some food, for my benefit and the kids as it had been a long drive already so we had a fresh made toasted sandwich at a small cafe, but did not have time for much else on this stop. My father in law ducked over to see the church… but it did not look so exciting. When travelling with kids, sometimes you’ve just got to skip a few things that aren’t so important!
Then finally we made it into Mostar and wow, what an interesting city to travel through. I had read about the obvious remnants of war and it was certainly so, with buildings in ruins in places and signs of poverty. But also so much history seeping out.
We met our guide, who was incredible! By far one of the best local guides we’ve had over the years. Excellent English, in her adorable Serbian accent, and plenty of humour to keep the day interesting and fun, but also the appropriate seriousness when discussing the war and the history of Mostar.
We had a walking tour of the city with great detail and a chance to enjoy the main sights of Mostar, even with our limited time. We also had the chance to watch a short documentary film in one of the stores near the Mostar bridge, showing the footage of the bridge being destroyed during war, with a very braves camera man hiding in a nearby cave.
It’s a beautiful bridge and has been restored very well after being destroyed more than once over the years, and now it is famous for the Mostar bridge jumpers… professional divers who jump off the bridge into the water far below. Eeek! They jump for cash pretty much so we didn’t get to see a jump, as there were not enough tourists willing to pay at the time.
We had some free time in Mostar afterwards and it was no where as long as we would have liked, but enough to enjoy a delicious meal at the popular Turkish restaurant in the middle of the city and to explore a little and shop for some local wares.
Although the poverty was apparent in places, with a few beggars on the streets… kids mostly, it was still a wonderful experience and a city we would all gladly spend more time in. A couple of hours is not enough, but great when you are limited to a day trip.
On our way back from Mostar, we stopped in the small village of Počitelj, where we had the chance to explore for about 45 minutes and use the facilities. The kids were tired and so we didn’t get up the top of city walls or see very much of the village, but my brother in law ran up the top to get some video footage… the perks of being young and childless! HA! But we did get the chance to check out the markets of handmade goods, aimed at tourists. I’m a sucker for markets…
Then it was back to Dubrovnik, with the routine border crossings along the way, then the short walk up a thousand (maybe a slight exaggeration) stairs back to our accommodation.
We very much enjoyed our daytrip to Mostar from Dubrovnik, even being a sweltering hot day. It was as child friendly as could be being such a long trip, but not as fun for them being so young at the time at 1 and 3. With more time, we could have had fun at the tiny Mostar beach near the base of the bridge, as shown below.
You can find the tour we booked via the Viator website HERE, which was under $70AU with kids free at the time. Highly recommended if you only have a single day to visit Mostar.