After a whirlwind two weeks with Chad’s folks, it was time to make our way toward our new four-week home in Sarajevo. We built in a couple of stops along the way so we could get a taste of Croatia and see a little more of the region.
We flew in from Prague and got an Uber from the airport to our apartment. Dubrovnik airport is pretty far from town, but it is a stunning drive along the coast. We had a little trouble finding our apartment near the harbor (booked via Booking.com rather than Airbnb) but were ultimately greeted by very friendly hosts. The place was very comfortable – a little pricier than we typically pay, but that is typical of Croatia, especially such a touristy place as Dubrovnik.
The first couple of days we focused on work and settling and a couple of nice harbor walks, but on the second night, we finally took the bus into the old walled city. Here is what I wrote about the experience on Facebook: “Honestly, I came to Dubrovnik a bit skeptical that another UNESCO-designated walled city would be able to impress us, but tonight we took the bus into the Old Town and were completely blown away. Dubrovnik is stunning. It is reassuring that we can still feel that overwhelming sense of awe at a spectacular place.”
It was truly gorgeous and we had a great time walking around, and then easily caught a bus back to our neighborhood (note: you can buy tickets on the bus, but we bought ours at a slight savings from a kiosk near the harbor).
On our last full day, we went into the city in the afternoon with the hope of walking the old city walls, which are closed in the evening. However, when we saw the price of 20 euros each, we decided to skip it – we’ve walked plenty of city walls, usually for free! Instead, we wandered all the streets of the old town and then went out for drinks overlooking the harbor. We found a lovely traditional Croatian restaurant for dinner that we really enjoyed.
On our last day, our bus for Mostar was not scheduled to leave until 5 p.m. so we worked through the morning and then took a picnic to Belleview Beach, which was very nice. We actually preferred this beach to the beaches we’d walked to on the other side of the peninsula, which included Copacabana Beach. However, the walk to those was much nicer. Even though the air was a bit chilly in October, there were people in the water at all the beaches. I imagine it is quite crowded in the summer months.
All in all, we enjoyed Dubrovnik but found it to be a little too expensive for us. I’m glad we saw it, but also glad we didn’t try to spend more than four days there.
Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
The bus ride from Dubrovnik to Mostar was really beautiful. We arrived at the bus station way too early and then were a bit concerned because people were still waiting for the bus to Mostar that was supposed to have left an hour earlier (these were the only two busses each from Dubrovnik to Mostar, leaving back-to-back in the late afternoon, though other times I’ve heard there is a morning bus). It finally arrived about 15 minutes before ours was due and all the people crowded on. We were worried that our bus would be equally delayed, but happily, it arrived nearly on time and was also nearly empty. The drive to Mostar was beautiful along the coast with a gorgeous red sunset. We did have to cross the border three times even though the countries are neighbors, but even that was easy to handle. The 3.5-hour trip went by quite quickly.
Since it was late when we arrived, we decided to just stay in our first night in Mostar. Our studio apartment was among the worst we’ve stayed in, but overall comfortable and we were tired. The next morning we went out to breakfast and got our first taste of how delicious and inexpensive Bosnian food is. We walked back to our studio through the old city, crossing the famous Mostar bridge for the first of what would be many, many times in our two-night stay.
After spending a chunk of the day working, we went out in the late afternoon and got our first taste of how delicious and inexpensive Herzegovinian wine is, and also how beautiful the old city of Mostar is. We also enjoyed a great dinner out of traditional Bosnian grilled meats and vegetables. It was also really nice to be back in a country that had enough mosques to do the prayer calls justice. The sunset call was particularly beautiful.
There isn’t a lot to do in Mostar besides enjoy your beautiful surroundings, but we did plenty of that. We ended with a picnic near the bridge the next day and then spent a little time working in a McDonald’s at the mall while we waited for our late afternoon train (there are only two trains to Sarajevo per day: one early morning and one late afternoon).
We really loved our brief time in Mostar – it was a perfect introduction to Bosnia and Herzegovina ahead of stay in Sarajevo.
Dubrovnik – Apartment Batala Garden: Great place for a short stay in Dubrovnik. Very comfortable place for a short stay. We liked being near the harbor and it was easy to take the bus to and from the Old City. Nice walks to the beaches 10-20 minutes away. The two hosts who checked us in were friendly and helpful and the apartment was very clean. The kitchen materials were adequate to cook in and the wifi worked well. Note that Google maps puts it in the wrong place, so make sure you use the coordinates from Booking.com.
Mostar – Studio Nena: Convenient and good for a short stay. My husband and I were very comfortable in the apartment and slept well, despite the road noise. It is a good size for two people. The location is so convenient to the bus station and the train station (we came in by bus and left by train). The host’s mother was very kind to store our luggage when we checked out since our train wasn’t until 17:00. The host’s father met us promptly to give us the keys and take payment. It all worked out really well. It was very easy to walk to the main tourist area by the old bridge. It all worked out really well. It was thoughtful of the host to provide a blanket to put over one window to help block out the bright street lights, but doing so required climbing up on a chair. It seems like it would be worth investing in some curtains. However, the light didn’t really bother us too much and for the price we felt this place was an excellent value.