Bosnia-Herzegovina & Croatia, part 3: Mostar and Ston, on the road to Split

For 20 Euros professional divers will jump off the Stari Most Bridge in Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina

For 20 Euros professional divers will jump off the Stari Most Bridge in Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina

This is the third installment in a six-part series following JohnnyJet.com writer Cynthia Cunniff through her experience of touring Bosnia-Herzegovina & Croatia with Insight Vacations. Head back to the series home page for the full experience or jump straight to part 1part 2part 4, part 5, or part 6.

The city of Mostar in Bosnia-Herzegovina is set up for tourists. There’s specified public parking a short walk from the ancient stone streets of its center and the bustle of shops selling scarves, handcrafted jams, honey, gelato, and trinkets.

The old part of Mostar: shops, sweets and trinkets

The old part of Mostar: shops, sweets and trinkets

Mostar’s main attraction is the Stari Most Bridge that bisects the old town. It’s comprised of stones worn slick from the wear and tear of visitors making their way up the hill to cafes and lookouts over the cliffs of the Neretva river.

Mostar sits on either side of the river Neretva. This is the view from the famous Stari Most Bridge.

Mostar sits on either side of the river Neretva. This is the view from the famous Stari Most Bridge.

Stari Most means “old bridge,” but unlike most of the town, the bridge is new—as its 427-year-old predecessor was blown to bits by the Croatian army during the last war. It was rebuilt in the early 2000s using stonework recovered from the riverbed. Once the bridge was completed, the tradition of locals diving off of it for money—dating back to 1664, when someone first took note of divers using the bridge in this manner—continued being an attraction.

A doorway in Mostar

A doorway in Mostar

The beauty of Mostar is in the architectural details of cross-cultural living, its cobbled streets and the tiny alleyways that lead to lush views over the river and forests.

A delicious stop in Ston, Croatia
The city of Ston, Croatia, was a lunch stop with Insight that included getting in a boat set in glowing turquoise seas and being taken to the heart of an oyster farm. At the oyster farm, the farmer pulled in his haul in front of us and deftly shucked fresh oysters for the group to try.

Farmer taking oysters off the line in Ston, Croatia

Farmer taking oysters off the line in Ston, Croatia

I love oysters, but I have never had one of the caliber we experienced that day. The richness of the Dalmatian coast and Adriatic resonated through that one beautiful oyster. It’s said that Napolean fell in love with them—and if you can please a French palate, you’re doing ok.

Fresh oysters straight from the ocean

It doesn’t get any fresher than these beauties pulled fresh from a sparkling sea and hand-shucked directly to your plate

The oyster was a highlight, but was a teaser to the array of seafood on offer at Bota Šare restaurant, where we dined al fresco and enjoyed each other’s company with the ocean as a backdrop.

Restorani Bota Šare in Ston, Croatia

Preparing for a seafood feast at Restorani Bota Šare in Ston, Croatia

Ston is also known for its massive 4.3-mile wall that acted as fortification and can be seen arching over the hill as you enter the town. Built in the 14th century to protect the highly valued salt mines from invaders, they can be hiked, but they’ll probably test your cardio endurance.

Oyster beds in Ston, Croatia

Oyster beds in Ston, Croatia

Not your ordinary rest stops
One of the things I enjoy while traveling with Insight Vacations is the stops that inevitably await on the way to the next stay. Sometimes, it’s a farm stand overlooking a vast valley with grown figs, citrus and countless other produce, and others it’s a beautifully appointed gas station rest stop that’s not only clean, but also full of local treats and even full-on fresh food cafes. On this tour, once again, even the gas station stops were a far cry from what we’re used to in the US—where you can only pray you don’t get dysentery from using the restroom.

Fruit stand on the road with Insight Vacations

Fruit stand on the road with Insight Vacations

The ride on an Insight tour is full of eye candy. It was hard to believe the beautiful views from the simple farm stand stop, which was also the perfect place for foodies to pick up some farm-to-table jams, oils, honeys, spices, and compotes to take home.

Ivan of the fruit stand, waiting for a tangerine to be tossed his way

Ivan of the fruit stand, waiting for a tangerine to be tossed his way

A fluffy, doe-eyed dog named Ivan (owned by the stand proprietors) fetched tangerines his master threw, waiting patiently for each toss. The entertainment was highlighted by the beautifully prepared dried fruits and nuts grown in the valley below, arranged by Insight as a gift for us.

Ivan the great tangerine herder

Ivan the great tangerine herder

Cynthia Cunniff

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Bosnia-Herzegovina & Croatia, part 3: Mostar and Ston, on the road to Split
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About the Author

Cynthia Cunniff

Cynthia Cunniff’s writing background spans magazine editorial, travel blogging, marketing and PR. She’s a graduate of the creative writing program at CSU Long Beach and went on to UCLA to further her writing skills. Growing up as a military dependent, she lived in several foreign countries and areas of the US. Post college she returned to international living and resided in London for close to a decade, where she took advantage of proximity to the rest of Europe and traveled extensively. She currently lives in the beautiful South Bay of Los Angeles, and can be found on Twitter and Instagram @localpathworld.

4 Comments on "Bosnia-Herzegovina & Croatia, part 3: Mostar and Ston, on the road to Split"

  1. Cyd — Another great dispatch with plenty of good-looking photos to bring home narrative. I like the way you keep your eyes and ears open along the way, and find time to scribble and shoot, too. Talk about a multi-tasker! Kudos to you.

  2. Bravo Cyd, beautiful photos and great commentary! I fell in love with Ivan!

  3. The acid driving test is the language they make use of: it is always a little antique, but inspiring.

  4. Hey there! I’ve been reading your site for some time now and finally got the
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