Tours usually aren’t my type of thing unless there’s no other way to reach a place or do an activity. But after hearing only positive reviews from other travellers about the day tour around Mostar offered by Hostel Nina, I decided to give it a go. For KM60 (€30), Žika (Nina’s husband) takes you to several different places in the Mostar area. And trust me, the tour was 100% worth it.
Stop #1: A local restaurant with the best meat pie in town. It’s frequented by taxi drivers and truckers, and we all know that they know where the best places to eat are. The pie is prepared the old fashioned way, in a wood fired stove, and served with yogurt. It’s delicious, filling, and keeps you going for the rest of the day. And it’s included in the tour.
Stop #2: A restored Turkish influenced monastery located next to a sheer cliff with a river flowing out of it from a cave in the town of Blagaj. The building is a perfect example of Turkish architecture and influence in the area. Oh and don’t forget to make a wish and have a drink of the crisp water from the river.
Stop #3: The historic walled town of Počitelj. The hillside town dating back to the Ottoman Empire was abandoned during the recent war but has since been restored, preserved, and partially repopulated by some of the families that fled the fighting. Žika dropped us off at the top of the town, told us about the history of the town, pointed out the main sites, and patiently waited for us at the bottom of the hill. We were left to explore on our own, climbing atop ancient forts and walls offering gorgeous views of the river and valley. There are pomegranate trees everywhere, so we helped ourselves to a couple of ripe ones 🙂
Stop #4: The Kravica waterfalls. In the summertime, this place must be heaven. Beautiful waterfulls and a perfect natural swimming hole. Žika told us that during the peak season, it’s normal to spend a few hours here basking in the cool waters as a respite from the heat. You can even go into a small cave behind one of the waterfalls. It’s no longer swimming season but the sun was out and the water was just too inviting so we went for a dip in our underwear. The water was around 11 or 12 degrees Celsius but it was totally worth diving in! Although after my boxers fell to my ankles I didn’t dive in headfirst again.
Stop #5: The Catholic boom town of Medjugorje. Before 1981, this was a small farming town of about 500 people. Today, the town has over 50000 beds available for visitors. The old village church was demolished and rebuilt to handle the influx of Catholic pilgrims. But even that wasn’t big enough as the years passed so now there’s a massive outdoor church joined to it. You might be wondering what exactly happened in 1981. That year, 6 local children said that the Virgin Mary appeared to them. Since then millions of visitors have descended upon the town and it’s become a massive Catholic pilgrimage site. But don’t be surprised if someone comes up to you and starts asking you questions about the place, the Vatican doesn’t approve of the site and regularly sends “spies” to investigate. How you could possibly investigate this 30 years after the fact is beyond me.
Stop #6: The viewpoint on Hum Hill (weather permitting). The hill overlooks Mostar and is easily identifiable by the huge cross on its summit. There are still a few bunkers on the hill from the war that were used by snipers. Even today, it’s possible to find shell casings in and around the bunkers. The view of the city is well worth the winding drive up to the top.