Our day trip from Dubrovnik
During our few days in Dubrovnik, we planned to drive to Mostar for the day. Of course, you can go with a tour company, and they will take the strain, but where is the fun in that.
As Gary and I had driven from the UK, we weren’t too sure how the Bosnia & Herzegovina border authorities would be, as we headed through in our British registered car.
The total journey was 194miles/ 313km, however as you can see from the route we opted to take a different route back to see more of the B&H countryside and villages.
We were ready
However, we were equipped with our passports, vehicle registration documents, driving licenses, insurance, GB sticker & Green Card (yep, we ticked all the boxes).
I had read comments that the queues could be lengthy, so we arrived at the Ivanica border at around 9am, and to our surprise, there was only a handful of vehicles and a coach in front.
We didn’t realise initially that there were two border controls, so the first was easy, just a glance at the passports and we were through.
Sigh of relief
However, a mile further and there was a 2nd checkpoint. This is where the documents were needed, and they were thoroughly checked.
We were asked how much we paid for the Green Card by the border control, and we said that our car insurance company issued it for free. He was quite surprised at this, I had read that you could buy Green Cards at the border crossings (except Neum), so perhaps he was expecting us to be unprepared.
We got a stamp
This was the exciting bit; we received a stamp in our passports. Now that doesn’t happen very often anymore.
So, we are on our way and heading through the amazing countryside of Bosnia & Herzegovina.
After only a few minutes we were greeted by cows in the middle of the road jangling their cowbells, this really was rural.
Mostar was undergoing quite a bit of road maintenance, so it wasn’t that easy to find parking. We opted to use a parking meter.
Hmmm next problem in the plan, we had no local BAM (Bosnia and Herzegovina convertible mark)
So, off I wandered to a local petrol station try my hand at switching Croatian Kuna or Euros into BAMs.
After a few shrugs and confused looks, I found a helpful guy that let me buy a bottle of Coke, with a five Euro note, and I received the change back in BAMs. We were good to go.
As Bosnia is not currently a member of the EU, it was quite noticeable, the differences between its richer neighbouring sister of Croatia.
The countryside along the way was extremely picturesque, and the traffic along this route was fairly quiet.
We arrived at Mostar around 11:30am, I’m not too sure what I was expecting; however, I didn’t realise how large Mostar City was going to be. Perhaps being named a city should have given it away, but I have visited quite a few small cities in my time.
Blends of Culture
We wandered towards the Old Town & the Bridge which was about 25 minutes from where we had parked. It was quiet initially; however, you could tell when you were getting closer as the tour parties came into view.
On our approach, you gained a feel of the mix of cultures within the community. Principally around the blends of architecture. The Ottoman influence was quite evident to see, particularly with the wonderful Koski Mehmed Pasa Mosque, which was built in 1617.
The original bridge was built in 1566/67 and stood for 427 years, before the awful war during the early 1990’s. The original bridge was destroyed on 9th November 1993, and a cable bridge was temporarily erected.
After the war, funding was put in place, and the reconstruction started in 2001 and was inaugurated on 23rd July 2004.
Escape the crowds
Due to Mostar’s popularity, it can be extremely busy around the entrances to the bridge. And it’s a little bit difficult to appreciate the bridge fully while walking across.
However, just a short stroll down the banks of the Neretva River, it is a lot quieter, and you get an incredible view of the bridge from below and the old town beyond.
If you’re brave enough, there is a diving competition held from the bridge every July.
The Crooked Bridge
Close by the Stari Most stands the Kriva Ćuprija (or the Crooked Bridge), its along the Radobolja River, near to where it joins the River Neretva.
This miniature version of the Old Bridge was built in 1558, eight years prior to the famous Stari Most and is believed to have been built as a trial run to its larger sibling.
The floods of December 2000 destroyed the Crooked Bridge, and a reconstruction project initiated by UNESCO was put in place to have it rebuilt.
We headed back to the car a different way and noticed that the atrocities that happened during the war are still quite evident on some of the surrounding buildings.
The route we took back to Dubrovnik was slightly different, and we encountered some pretty bad driving. It’s not surprising how many memorials & plaques are on the roadsides.
We did get flagged down by the police. However, when they noticed the British number plate they just let us through. Perhaps we were just too much trouble.
Would you like a little more?
We have created a little YouTube video of Mostar, and a bit of the drive there and back.
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Inspired to visit Mostar?
Dubrovnik is a great location to to visit Mostar from. You can either self drive as we did, or take a tour from Dubrovnik
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