If you’re planning a trip to Croatia, why not include in your holiday itinerary a day trip to the neighbouring country of Bosnia & Herzegovina? The country as a whole may not be high on your destination list, but it’s stunning scenery, fantastic culture and harrowing history makes it a day trip destination that’s not to be missed!
On my most recent trip to Croatia, we had planned to hire a car for the length of our trip as we wanted to have the freedom to explore the country at our own leisure. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to pop over the Croatian border and tick another site off of my travel bucket list, the beautiful city of Mostar. If like me, you follow various travel accounts on Instagram, I can almost guarantee that a photo of Mostar has popped up on your screen! Its iconic arched bridge has been the backdrop of many a travel photo! There are of course many other worthy destinations in Bosnia, and if you have the time, you may want to spend a few days exploring the country. However, if like me, you already have lots of plans for your Croatian trip, you’ll be pleased to know it’s perfectly possible to enjoy a single day trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina from Croatia.
To help you plan your trip, I’ve put together my 5 top tips, based on my own experience travelling for the day from Tisno in Croatia (it’s about an hour north of Split in case you are wondering) to Mostar and the Kravice Waterfalls in Bosnia & Herzegovina.
Top Tip Number 1- When hiring a car, make sure to tell the rental company that you plan to drive across the border. The hire company will need to provide you with a cross-border card or ‘green card’ and normally this comes with an extra charge. I’m sure the cost varies between companies, however, if I remember correctly we paid around 40 Euros for ours. Make sure you keep all the paperwork in the car so you can show it at the crossing. Also, don’t forget to take your passport with you on the day!
Top Tip Number 2- Set off early. Assuming you are travelling from one of the two main cities on the coast, Split and Dubrovnic, and want to travel to Mostar, you can expect your journey to take around 2 hours and 20 minutes. Setting off early will help you avoid traffic at the border and will give you a better chance of finding a parking spot near the center of the old town (the most scenic part of the city). We arrived around 9.30 in the morning and easily found a parking spot in one of the pay per day parking lots. For us, it was worth paying for a secure parking spot in the center, instead of wasting time having to walk there from a parking spot further outside. By the time we left Mostar in the early afternoon, there were cars queuing for parking, so we were definitely pleased we had arrived early.
Top Tip Number 3- Half a day in Mostar is enough. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Mostar, and could have easily spent more time there, however with one day in Bosnia, I felt I was able to see the main highlights of the town before moving on to explore another great destination is Bosnia… the Kravice waterfalls (more on that in a minute!). Having arrived early we headed straight to the famous bridge. For the best view, walk down to the river. You can expect to see local men jumping in from the bridge, but only once they have received enough donations from the crowd (they definitely string the whole thing out and keep everyone’s attention by pretending to prepare to jump every 2 minutes! It was an effective technique that resulted in a big crowd and lots of donations before the guy finally jumped!). We then walked around the center, stopping for coffee and looking at all the interesting shops. We even had time to walk out of the historic center to look around. It was both interesting and sad to see all the damage from the war, it’s still very visible on the buildings, much more so than anywhere in Croatia. Which leads me to my next tip…
Top Tip Number 4- Do your research. It’s definitely worth reading up on the history of the Bosnian War before you visit. Having occurred in the early 90’s it’s part of the country’s recent history and knowing a few facts about what went on here definitely made visiting Bosnia & Herzegovina even more interesting. On a lighter note, I would also recommend researching where to have lunch in the center, as with any touristy area, there were loads of options making it difficult to know where best to grab a bite. We hadn’t prepared and had to do a quick google search for one with good reviews while we were there. We ended up somewhere nice, but I definitely wished I had found somewhere a little more off the beaten track.
Top Tip Number 5- Visit the Kravice Waterfalls. Just a 50-minute drive from Mostar, towards the Croatian border, makes this a perfect second stop for a day trip to Bosnia. There’s a massive car park at the entrance, so parking is not an issue. You have to pay a small entrance fee to enter the waterfalls but trust me, it’s worth it. Be prepared for a 10-15 minute walk downhill to the waterfalls. Make sure you take everything you need with you (water, towels, snacks, suncream etc.), as you won’t be popping to the car once you’re down there. When you’ve reached the waterfalls you’ll find various spots around the lagoon area to relax. There’s plenty of space to swim, though be warned the water is very cold! You can even get up close to the waterfalls themselves, but as always take care not to damage any plants or wildlife. There is a small restaurant next to the water, we didn’t eat there as we had already had lunch in Mostar, but the food looked nice, although I’m sure it comes with a premium on the price.
So there you have it, my 5 top tips for a day trip to Bosnia & Herzegovina from Croatia. I hope it has helped you plan your own trip. If you have any other questions, feel free to leave them in the comments. Equally, if you’ve already visited Bosnia, I’d love to know your top tips and what you saw (in case I ever find myself back there!).