To Mostar by train
We arrived in Mostar by train from Sarajevo and left Mostar by train to Ploce in Croatia.
There are two daily trains on this route; one in the early morning and one in the early evening.
Tickets can be bought at the train station, but the ticket office might only open from about 1 h before the train departure.
Ticket prices were as follows in September 2008:
- Sarajevo - Mostar: 9,90 KM
- Mostar - Ploce: 8,60 KM
The trains consisted of only one 2nd class and two 1st class carriages, which were donations of Sweden. There is only one type of ticket, so we could even sit in the first class and enjoy this very scenic rail trip.
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Explore Mostar by bus
Mostar's local transport system consists of yellow buses of the company Mostar Bus d.o.o. They also run services to some of the surrounding towns.
We once took the local bus to Blagaj, which is served by bus #10 and #11.
Tickets can be bought directly from the driver. The price depends on the zone you are traveling to. In September 2008 we payed 1,80 KM for a ticket to Zone II.
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The road from Dubrovnik
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.
Makarska to Mostar
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.
Mostar to Split
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.
- Road Trip
Train To Sarajevo
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)
The bus I took from Dubrovnik cost 70 Kunas (about 9 Euros, or 11 USD) to make the 2 hour journey to Mostar. It was a comfortable bus with plenty of room and seats that recline, though only slightly. The journey took me through some interesting valleys and along the Croatian coast and I met a Japanese guy named Takashi who was traveling on to Sarajevo. We had a good conversation about our travels.
Explore Mostar on foot
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.
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Bus or Train?
A year ago there was not a train service between Mostar and Sarajevo. But at least by March of this year there was. We figured that out when one of the guys we met while traveling bought what he thought was a bus ticket and turned out to be a train ticket. As far as we could tell, the train leaves late in the day and takes considerable more time than the bus. As of yet, there is no train service between Mostar and Dubrovnik. The travel time between those cities by bus is about 2.5 hours and is a very interesting ride.
When traveling between Dubrovnik and Mostar there are three checkpoints. Two are when you go through the Neum Corridor which is a short stretch of Adriatic coast that actually belongs to Bosnia Hercegovina. So, coming from Dubrovnik, you'll be stopped entering into the corridor as well as when you exit. Then again, when you cross the inland border into Bosnia Hercegovina (pictured here). The bus driver will collect everyone's passport and then a border guard will enter the bus and pass them back out to each person. As the only non-Slavic speaking person on the bus, my presence held us up an extra five minutes or so. After handing all of the passports and documents back to the others, the officer motioned to me that he would need an extra few minutes with mine. He exited the bus and came back about five minutes later, handed me my passport and we were on our way.
Mostar Bus Station
When you arrive in Mostar, this is the main bus station. Head toward the mountain with the cross on top and you'll be heading toward the Old Town and the Muslim Quarter (the most interesting part of town). Or you can head straight ahead toward the Neretva River and cross the closest bridge which will bring you to some of the city's newer and nicer hotels (although don't expect incredibly high standards). There are some coffee shops and magazine stands at the bus terminal, but the so-called information stand was useless to me (closed).
Bus to Mostar from Dubrovnik
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.
Crossing the Borders again and again!!!
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.
Buses to and from the Croatian coast
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.
Train from Mostar to Sarajevo
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.
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