Since it was all-but destroyed during the Bosnian War of the 1990s, Mostar has risen from the ashes. It's a pretty medieval city in Bosnia and Herzegovina and is best known for Stari Most, its 16th-century arched bridge. A local tradition sees some brave souls dive off into the glittering Neretva river below. There's much more to Mostar than this, however, including diverse Ottoman and Croatian neighbourhoods to explore, a rich street-art scene and tempting bakeries serving treats like meaty burek pastries.
You'll find homely hostels in Mostar with brightly decorated lounges and relaxing gardens, or you can opt for somewhere clean-edged and newly renovated right in the centre. Some spots command views out over the iconic old bridge, while others have a bohemian feel thanks to common areas filled with Persian rugs, beanbags and shisha pipes. Many Mostar hostels lay on free Wi-Fi and breakfast, plus some are soundproofed and have air con for a peaceful night's sleep.
The most charming neighbourhood in Mostar is the bustling Old Town with its stone-built buildings, pedestrianised streets and Ottoman-style market. The area down by the Neretva river is a touch less hectic, making it an ideal spot for a stroll. East of the water is the city’s Bosnian neighbourhood, which has more of a lived-in feel. Echoes of the war are apparent here, with bullet holes still riddling many of the buildings. The town of Počitelj, about a 40-minute drive out of the city, is worth visiting for its medieval architecture.
After exploring the market and checking out the bridge, turn your attention to the sights outside of Mostar – including the glassy green waterfalls of Kravice and the 15th-century Dervish-built Blagaj monastery. Back in the city, the so-called 'Sniper Tower' (a former high-rise bank used by soldiers in the war) is a dark reminder of recent conflict. Preserved in its post-war state, it's now covered in colourful graffiti.
You can hop on the bus to Mostar near the Avaz Twist Tower in Sarajevo, a journey that takes around 3 hours. Dubrovnik in Croatia is also about 3 hours bus ride away. From Split, it takes 4-5 hours. The main sights in Mostar are centrally located and can be easily discovered on foot. Local buses go to further-flung towns like Blagaj.