We planned to travel from Mostar to Dubrovnik to fly out on a 14:30 flight, originally, this would have meant getting up very early in order to catch a 7am bus to Dubrovnik, then getting transport from Dubrovnik itself to the airport. Bus tickets to Dubrovnik town were 27KM (one way, March 2010) or about half that in Euros. The phone number for the bus station is +387 (0)36 552-025.
I was dreading the early start, and the long bus journey. Instead, we decided to get a private driver, Srebrenko (which means Silver-man") who took us right to the airport in a new car. When we asked our hotel about the fare, they told us it very good deal compared with other options.
He was happy to stop along the way for us to take photos, buy roadside snacks etc. and was an interesting and overall nice guy. In fact, chatting to him was one of the things we liked most about our trip! He also seemed to be a safe driver, not indulging in the crazy road manoeuvres we sometimes get from taxi drivers here at home!
Our journey time door to door was about 3 hours. Make sure you allow enough time if you're going for a flight, as speeding is out of the question - fines are steep and the police can be keen to make a little extra money on the side. He speaks English (not perfectly but enough to get by), and his phone numbers are: +387(0)63901809 and +387(0)65715617
He also does Mostar to Split or journeys just about anywhere in the country. Tell him Andy and Huma sent you :-)
We rented a car in Dubrovnik and drove to Mostar. The trip took about 2 hours. The scenery was beautiful, as you travel along the coast for a good part of the way. The boarder crossings were simple and straight forward. And parking was very easy. Would highly recommend this mode of transport.
People visiting Mostar usually continue onto Sarajevo (or vice/versa) and there are two ways of doing it - bus or train. Actually for visitors there really is only one option - you must take the train. It's cheaper and more comfortable and takes roughly the same time as the bus. However, as if these aren't reason enough, the main reason for choosing this mode of transport is that the train journey between Mostar and Sarajevo is one of the most beautiful train rides I have ever been on. This train journey is as good as any I have experienced (including Switzerland)
The journey costs about €5 each way and is a steal for the traveller. The journey follows along the Neretva river, through gorges, across bridges and viaducts, throughh tunnels cut into jagged karst mountainscape and alongside glorious lakes and rural villages. Stunning scenery. Take the early morning train - 7.30 and soak up the morning glory of this great train journey.
(Pics of the scenery in my other photos)
Like a lot of people intent on visiting Mostar, we first flew to Dubrovnik (see above).
There are at least three, regular daily buses from the main bus station in Dubrovnik to Mostar at the following times.
These buses continue on to Sarajevo
From what I gather there is also an additional bus on Sundays at 13.00
From what I remember a return ticket costs around €18 with a one way costing around €10
The buses are very comfortable, usually operated by Eurolines/Autotrans. After the 'main' border crossing into BiH there is a short break at a roadside cafe.
Travelling by bus or car from Dubrovnik to Mostar involves more border crossings than you might think. Your car or bus actually crosses the border into Bosnia twice because of the BiH geographical situation, with a little piece of coastal Herzegovina cutting across Croatia. This means there are actually three border controls to cross - a bit of a pain but what can you do. Croatia into BiH, back into Croatia and back into BiH again. The borders are generally hassle free and straightforward but the longest one seems to be the 'main' border crossing into BiH, but even this is relaxed and informal. The bus driver will collect your passport and give them to the border police who will scan them and return them to the bus driver. Entering by bus you will probably not even receive a stamp in your passport.
Flying directly to Mostar is not really an option as the local airport is not regularly used by commercial airlines. There are some charter flights which brings pilgrims to Medjugorje but these are expensive and irregular. The nearest airports receiving regular air traffic are Sarajevo, Split and Dubrovnik. We used Dubrovnik airport which has direct connections to ireland with Aer Lingus. A bus will take you the rest of the way to Mostar - taking about 3 hours crossing the the Bosnia border - twice!!! - I'll explain later.
From the main bus/train station, there are several buses a day to/from Sarajevo. There were buses approx every hour during the day when I was there. The journey took just over two and a half hours and had some great scenery to look at along the way. The bus station in Sarajevo is also next to the train station. Single tickets cost 13.50KM, return tickets are 19KM.
I have heard from other people that the train also has some spectacular scenery, but there are only a couple of these trains a day. The bus is much more frequent.
It's a three hour drive from Mostar to Split by the inland route (crossing the border between Psusje (Herzegovina) and Imotski (Croatia) - if you don't stop along the way. If you've got the time, there are some interesting stops you could make.
The drive out of Mostar takes you around the back of the tall tower of the Fransciscan church and down wide tree-shaded avenues that will come as quite a surprise if all you've seen of Mostar to this point is the cobbled lanes and old stone house of the Turkish Old Town. Leaving the city and the Neretva River behind you, the road winds up through a pine-forest clad mountainside before descending into the wide central plain of Herzegovina (the other side of this region to the road from Makarska). Small villages with almost Alpine-style houses come and go along the road - it's all very peaceful and rural.
As everywhere else, border procedures are perfunctory and so you cross into Croatia and the road climbs again into a wilder landscape of stone and scraggy forest. Strange carved stone monuments and grave pits beside the roadside are marked as "XIV Century Stones" -
what are they?
Turn off onto a side track to find a spot for a picnic lunch (don't stray too far from the roadside though - the conflicts of the 1990s have left literally millions of mines all over this peaceful landscape, a real but hidden danger) and the silence is profound.
Soon you're on the motorway, the sea and Split are in front of you now, but before you reach the city you'll come through a tunnel. Look to your right to see the fortress of Klis high above you. The views from its terrace are spectacular. Just before you reach the bottom of the hill, you'll pass the turnoff to Roman Solona - you could easily spend a few hours here.
Mostar has a relatively small old town, that's why there is usually no need to use public transport. Apart from that the old town consists of many pedestrianised streets or pathways which are not accessible to cars or public transportation. So Mostar's old town is best explored on foot.
This also offers you the chance to have a look in the smaller sidestreets.
Also keep in mind that the area around the old town is hilly and can be quite steep, so proper shoes might be recommended.
We took the bus from Sarajevo . It took 2.5 hours and there are buses leaving every 1.5 hours. Cost $12.00 ( make sure you have 1KM for the toilet and 1KM for the bag you want to store underneath the bus !! It’s a very scenic drive. Bus was comfortable!! The Mostar terminal was near the OLD TOWN center.
Best taxi driver in area Mr Adi Pasic, drives passangers to and from airports in Split, Dubrovnik and Sarajevo to Mostar and other destinations, modern car with aircondition an other facilities, at the same time gives a lot of tourist information about local area, send him an e-mail on email@example.com or call him on +38761628078 and book a trip with him, he is very fiendly and helpful guy!
There's an excellent new road from the Croatian Riviera town of Makarska that will take you to Mostar. Traffic is not heavy and the views across to the Adriatic and the islands off the coast are quite spectacular as you climb the scarp. It's only 8 kilometres from Makarska to the Bosnia-Herzogovina border - a real backwater crossing. From there you'll descend into the wide central valley of Herzegovina, a peaceful landscape of farms, vineyards and small villages. Another 50 kilometres and you'll reach the turnoff for the Christian pilgrimage town of Medugorje, worth a short detour if visions and miracles and seriously tacky souvenirs are your thing, and then its only a few kilometres more before you enter the Neretva Valley. The old Ottoman town of Pocitelj with its serene and souvenir-free mosque makes another interesting short stop and then it's on to Mostar - 90 km from where you started in Makarska.
We chose this road as we had been on the Croatian island of Brac. With a very short ferry crossing from Sumartin at the eastern end of the island bringing us in to Makarska, we were out of the town and on our way within 10 minutes - ideal.
It's only 120 km from Dubrovnik to Mostar, making a day trip between the two cities perfectly feasible, especially if you're driving yourself. Rental cars can travel between Bosnia and Croatia without any need for additional insurance.
Several Dubrovnik tour companies offer day tours - it's a long, 12 hour day but I would certainly say it's worth the effort.
By bus the journey takes about 2 1/2-3 hours and with daily buses leaving Dubrovik at 8am and returning in the early evening, you would have time to have a pretty good look around and enjoy a leisurely lunch. It would be a long day however and staying overnight would make for a more enjoyable Mostar visit.
Border formalities are very straightforward but you will need your passport.
The road travels north from Dubrovik up the coast for 70 kilometres and then turns inland to follow the delta of the Neretva River, which, although heavily farmed, is still the largest remaining area of wetland in this part of the Mediterranean. After passing through this the road enters the gorge of the river where the lansdcape becomes more dramatic and rugged as you approach the mountains. 25 km before Mostar you'll see the pretty little Herzogovinan village of Pocitelj climbing up a hillside on the right hand side of the road. Tour buses usually make a brief stop here, using public transport won't give you that opportunity. If you're driving you can decide for yourself how long you want to stay - an hour would be sufficient to have a good look around though if you want to climb up to the fortress you will need longer.
During a visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina in May 2007, my friend and I undertook the train journey between Mostar and Sarajevo. The following information was correct as at the time of our visit:
There are 2 or 3 trains from Mostar to Sarajevo each day, and a few buses. We were told that the journey time by bus and train was approximately the same, but the train journey offered far more spectacular views.
We caught the train from Mostar station at 18:30 and arrived just before 21:00 - a journey time of about 2 1/2 hours. The journey was via Jablanica and a handful of other stops at various mountain towns and villages.
A one way ticket cost 10 KM - at the time of our visit this equated to about 5 Euros or £3.50. We purchased our tickets from a ticket counter at Mostar train station about an hour or two before we travelled. As far as I could see, there were no machines from which to purchase tickets, but I could be mistaken. About 30 minutes before departure, the doors are opened and passengers can make their way from the departure hall to the platforms. There appeared to be only 2 platforms at Mostar station and the Sarajevo-bound train left from platform 2. It departed pretty much on schedule, give or take 5 minutes.
The train was comfortable but far from luxurious. We sat in a 6 seat compartment with two elderly Bosnian men and lots of luggage.
The journey is indeed a spectacular one, weaving through the mountains and offering great views of the emerald green Neretva river and some beautiful lakes and mountain scenery. There are also dozens of long dark tunnels along the journey.
Mostar's train station is located right next to the bus station, a 15-20 minutes walk from the old town and the bridge. There are ATMs, cafes and small shops located inside the station.
Sarajevo's station is located between the old and new towns. We were met upon arrival by a member of staff from the hostel we had booked and he took us on the tram (a 10 minute journey) to the old town region of Bascarsija.
There are many daily buses between Mostar and the Croatian coastal cities of Dubrovnik and Split.
The following details relate to my bus journey from Split to Mostar in May 2007:
- Our modern air-conditioned coach was operated by Pan Globaltour Med, a company which operated around half a dozen daily buses between Split and Mostar in May 2007. We opted against the earlier buses departing from Split at 7:00am and 9:30am and caught the 10:55am bus. Further buses departed during the afternoon and evening. If you want an early start, I noticed that there was also a 6:00am bus operated by another company;
- Our one way tickets cost 84 Kunas (approx 8 GBP) per person.
- The journey time from Split to Mostar is approximately 4.5 hours. This involves a 2.5 hour journey southwards along the beautiful Croatian coastline, a 10 minute refreshment stop at Makarska and a 5 minute pick up stop at Ploce;
- At Ploce, the bus turns inland and soon reaches the Croatian-Bosnian border. The bus driver collects all passports and disappears for 5 or 10 minutes while all passengers remain on the coach. He returns and dishes out the unstamped passports to their rightful owners. We were worried that an unstamped passport might cause us problems when we left Bosnia for Serbia a few days later, but such worries were unfounded;
- Shortly after entering Bosnia, the bus pulled in at a bus station in a small town. Passengers with Mostar as their final destination were transferred to another bus which departed 15 minutes later. We had enough time to get a quick drink at a local cafe;
- Upon arrival in Mostar, the bus station is located right next to the train station and just a 10 minute walk from Mostar's old town. We were met at the bus station by the owner of the accommodation than we had booked, but there are taxis available if you don't make such arrangements.