When visiting Mostar in Bosnia & Herzegovina, there were a few surrounding areas I had seen photos of and wanted to visit. I looked into going on my own and getting the public bus to these places but in the end I went with the tour my hostel ran- Hostel Nina and I was so glad I did, it cost €30/£20 but it was really worth it, i saw even more places than i had initially wanted to go to and had I gone on my own I wouldn’t have understood it as well or even known where to go!
Zicka who helps run the hostel and the hostel bar was the guide, his English is amazing and he has a huge amount of knowledge on the local area having lived there all his life and being a young boy during the war of the 90’s.
There was a really good group of us that went, we left the hostel in the morning and drove 10 minutes out of Mostar for the first stop:
1. A huge tunnel running under the mountains! Our guide explained that this was built before the war to hold artillery and the people of Mostar didn’t even know it was there. It was a huge high tunnel and went around in a semi-circle for about 200 metres, the guide said no one comes here these days apart from him to show tourists and you can still see the broken polystyrene on the floor outside from where they covered the two ends for so many years and it was a really creepy feel about it. As a history lover i found it very interesting!
2. Blagaj was one of the places i had seen photos of and wanted to visit, especially after seeing World of Wanderlust’s post. Blagaj Tekija also known as the Deverish Monastery was built around 1520 with elements of Ottoman Architecture, it’s a beautiful White House built up the side of a cliff with a blue river running right next to it. We entered the monastery to have a look around, where we had to take off our shoes and put a head scarf on but i must say i was more impressed from the outside.
3. Pocitelj was next, this is a mediaeval village and ancient fortress which now only 20 families live in, I believe more people lived there before the war. We started at the top of the village and worked our way down into the bottom visiting the fort and taking in the amazing views of the river and mountains on the way with lots of photo opportunities too.
4. Kravice waterfalls is another popular near by spot, here we ordered lunch and sat by the pool where the falls were, it isn’t that big but still very beautiful with lovely clear water and of course I didn’t go in because the water was freezing (!!) but some others went for a swim!
5. Medjugorje was a place i hadn’t heard of, it was once a very small village and in 1981 a group of children were said to have seen the Virgin Mary up on a hill. Since then the village has become an attraction to many pilgrims and has increased massively in size to accommodate the people wanting to visit. There’s a church with a huge outdoor seating area and our guide said people often stay for a week in hope of seeing another sighting and praying. For me as a ‘non believer’ it was a very bizarre place but I’m glad i got a chance to see it.
6. For our last stop we drove right to the top of one of the mountains overlooking Mostar. Although it was very windy it was a great view! There’s a huge cross on top of the hill and we were able to see the road that divided East and West Mostar and the people of each side during the war. From the top we also saw the bunkers on the hill from where the Serbian army fought in the 90’s and the bunkers still there from World War 2.
Overall I loved this trip. It was a huge highlight of my time in Bosnia & Herzegovina and in fact of my trip to Europe. I met some great people, learnt a lot and saw way more than I would have seen on my own so it was money well spent!