Where do I even start with visiting Mostar and Kravice Waterfall in Bosnia and Herzegovina? It’s a beautiful, quite sobering and worthy day trip from Dubrovnik. Even on a cold, wet, grey day, they were special – I can only imagine how glorious they will be when the sun is shining.
I honestly never thought that it would be possible to safely visit the Balkan Peninsula. In 1991, Bosnia and Herzegovina joined several republics of the former Yugoslavia and declared independence, which triggered a civil war that lasted four years. The Bosnian War – a long, complex, and ugly conflict that followed the fall of communism in Europe – began & finished in living memory and it never crossed my mind that it would be possible to visit the previously war-torn countryside.
There will be effects for generations.
More than twenty years later, it’s much safer and as tourists hopping over on a day trip from Dubrovnik, our eyes were as wide as they could go.
mini-van chariot for the day, we rolled through miles of coastline, did 3 border checks each way (all in a day’s work for our guides – there’s a bit of coastline that Croatia gifted to the Moorish conquers/Dalmatians, figuring it was a sound strategic move – according to our guide) and made a quick stop in a local petrol station/restaurant/supermarket where we tactically bought an umbrella.
Throughout the whole journey through Bosnia and Herzegovina to Mostar and Kravice Waterfall we listened to our cheery Croatian guide (a former school teacher who decided to round up tourists instead of kids) as she gave us a whistle-stop history lesson – complete with Q&A sections that revealed even more than history books ever could. (I managed to not only have an empty camera battery but not charge my phone – I cannot tell you how mad I was at myself. But then again, it means that I looked with my eyes instead of a screen.)
Our first stop on the day trip is the GLORIOUS Kravice Waterfall (apparently it’s actually called the Kravica Waterfall, but I shan’t argue with the itinerary spelling.) We trundled down the winding staircase to a magical scene that locals are lucky enough to have as their local pools.
Known as the Niagara Falls of Herzegovina, Kravica Waterfall is an extraordinary tufa cascade on the Trebižat River. It’s meltwater which swells the streams and plunges furiously over the 25m cliffs that surround this swimming hole/lake which no doubts hold many a secret (and would be beautiful to explore in summer months.)
We stopped, admired, soaked in the surrounds, and then hightailed it back to our minivan, just in time for the heavens to open. I mean literally – by a stroke of pure luck we made it inside with 20 seconds to spare. The joys of visiting out of summer – but there again, summer gets super busy with locals from the sounds of things.
Mostar is a city in southern Bosnia and Herzegovina, straddling the Neretva River.
It’s known for the iconic Stari Most (Old Bridge), a reconstructed medieval arched bridge. What a magical bridge it is. It’s probably most famous now for the kids that jump off the apex into the river below for money from tourists, but I was there for the pure beauty.
The nearby alleys are full of shops and market stalls, and the Old Bridge Museum explores the bridge’s long history. A narrow staircase leads up to the Koski Mehmed-Pasha Mosque’s minaret for panoramic city views.
We stopped in one of the restaurants for lunch & some piping hot coffee (our tour guide dared me to try proper Bosnian coffee thinking I was some
soft tea-drinking English person, rather than a caffeine-addicted Kiwi.) I’d had a tip-off from a friend who had explored Bosnia and Herzegovina, to try the Ćevapi (or ćevapčići) – the national dish of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Serbia. It was perfect on such a cold, wet day.
We even made friends with a very popular local. (A group of German tourists in the restaurant with us fell even further in love with her little whiskered face.)
The last look we had at Mostar was this bullet-ridden building, on the edge of the coach parking, a stark reminder of recent history.
Because we went on a guided tour from our base in Dubrovnik – we didn’t even stay overnight – I can’t cast any kind of pretence as an expert giving tips – but I can wholeheartedly recommend visiting Mostar and the Kravice Waterfall as a day trip from Dubrovnik. (Nb: be very careful of pickpockets in Mostar, we’re talking Barcelona+ levels of cheek – our guide around the city was a local who was hyper-vigilant for us.)
Have you ever visited somewhere you never thought possible?
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