If you’re anything like me and any mention of the words “Credit Card” sets off (imaginary) alarm bells in your ears, I’m here to tell you why you need a credit card for your travels.

I know, I know, another piece of plastic to wedge between the various loyalty and store cards for places you rarely shop, but a credit card provides you with protection and opportunities not usually available with a traditional debit card.

This post is more focused for UK readers and I talk about UK banks, but in general, no matter where you live, if you love travelling this could be useful to look into.

I feel like here in the UK we’re much more wary of credit than our friends in the US. We’ve all heard stories of perfectly nice people being destroyed by crippling credit card debt; it’s a scary reality we cautiously steer away from. Both Mr H and I live by the “can’t afford it, don’t buy it” rule, meaning we’ve never really felt the need for a credit card…that was until we started running into problems using our debit cards on our travels.

travel credit cards

That time a hotel tried to cancel our booking…

A few weeks prior to our South East Asia trip in ’16, our hotel in Malaysia reached out to let me know there was an “issue” with my payment. I had paid through the (well known) chain’s website, with my Debit Card. After going back and forth numerous times trying to figure out what the problem was; they informed me they could not process debit cards and that they required a credit card to secure the booking or my booking would be cancelled or charged at a higher rate.

After £70+ spent on calls to useless staff at the hotel trying to remedy the problem (them even telling me to borrow someone else’s credit card to make the payment!) we decided to make a (very costly) bank transfer to secure our accommodation. The hotel confirmed receiving the funds less than 48 hours before we got on our 13.5 hour flight – all in all, a very stressful experience made worse by us not having a credit card!

This is a common problem….

This problem isn’t exclusive to South East Asia alone, we’ve noticed this in other regions too; some hotels demanding a full cash payment at check-in in place of a credit card, while others demand credit cards to secure bookings.

This doesn’t just affect accommodation; last year when we were planning our road trip through Croatia, we weren’t able to find a single car hire company that would allow us to hire a car with a debit card. Coming from the UK, where hiring a car with a debit card is commonplace – this was certainly unexpected.

So, a few days before we set off for our road trip, with little time to spare and no other options for car hire, we signed up for our first credit card (we’re officially adults now!) and we haven’t looked back since!

Aside from having the peace of mind of being able to pay for your accommodation or car hire, there are many other benefits to having a credit card for people who love travelling.

credit card, travel credit card

Here are some benefits of the ways a credit card can help you:

Free travel and upgrades to the most luxurious airline cabins!

Aside from more peace of mind in travel bookings, this was one of the most rewarding things about signing up for a credit card and the reason I wish I moved all my spending onto credit cards 10 years ago (still mourning all the miles I could have earned!)

If you’ve ever seen videos of bloggers or avid travellers flying around the world in the most luxurious airline cabins and wondered how on earth they are able to afford such luxury; the answer is usually down to credit cards and effective air mile “hacking”.

Credit card companies offer a whole host of perks to attract customers, many of them offering airmile bonuses for signing up. Travel-specific credit cards allow you to collect air-miles for money spent on the card – which is one of the fastest ways to boost your airmile balance and secure yourself free flights or seats in luxury cabins.

Extra cover and protection

All credit cards are different and offer different types of cover but one thing all credit cards in the UK offer is additional protection in the case of lost, damaged or faulty items.

Thanks to Section 75 of the Credit Act, credit card companies bear the same responsibility as the retailer on all purchases made on the card costing between £100-£30000. This means that if you were to purchase an item which turned out to be faulty – which cannot be fixed, or if the company you purchase from goes bust before you receive your item, or your item never turns up – your credit card company is liable to refund you the amount paid.

If you’re paying an annual fee for your credit card, you may also have access to extended cover by the name of “Purchase Protection” – this cover protects you in the case of theft or loss of items purchased with the card. The credit card company will refund you for the value of the lost or stolen items within a set period of time.

Here’s a useful guide to help you understand CC protection.

Widely accepted all over the world and back up funds

Credit cards are widely accepted all over the world, meaning you’ll always have a back up if you run out of physical money, if you end up spending more than you have budgeted or you have unexpected costs.

A few years ago my return flight from Germany was cancelled and British Airways told me to find (and pay for) my own hotel and fill in a reimbursement form upon my return to the UK – had I not had the funds to pay for a hotel on the spot, a credit card would have meant the difference between me sleeping in an airport for the next 24 hours or a comfy hotel room until I was rebooked onto another flight!

Always be careful with cash withdrawals from Credit Cards – this often comes with a hefty fee.

Some Credit Cards come with 0% foreign transaction fees which can save you a LOT of money in the long run if you’re booking hotels in other currencies and paying for services on your card.

Building your credit history

Whilst there are plenty of other ways to build up your credit history, having a credit card and making regular payments on time is a great way to boost your credit history. Showing businesses that you’re able to stay on top of payments and borrow responsibly opens the doors to not just higher borrowing limits, but financing options too.

If your laptop suddenly goes bust or you need to replace a camera quickly and you aren’t in a financial position to do so, a solid credit history can make you eligible for financing plans and help you get back on your feet quickly.

travel credit card

All the free perks!

Credit Card companies are extremely competitive and will offer a wide range of perks to encourage you to sign up. Take your time to choose the Credit Card that’s right for you and your needs.

If you’re an avid traveller, getting a travel-focused credit card is a no-brainer. If you’re a BA fan, the British Airways American Express will reward you with 5000 bonus Avios for signing up, 1 Avios per £1 spent on the card, and a 2-1 companion voucher for flights after you’ve hit a £20,000 spend on the card.

The Lloyds Avios Rewards card is another popular travel-focused credit card; you’ll get two cards, an American Express and a Mastercard (very useful where one is accepted and the other isn’t), Lloyds will reward you up to 1.25 Avios per £1 spent on the cards (with a double Avios boost on purchases for the first 6 months on the Amex card), you’ll get a flight upgrade voucher after spending £7000 in a year (hello first class!) and best of all, no foreign transaction fees!

This is such a rarity for a UK credit card, and well worth having for your travels! There is a host of other perks to this card which you can read about here.

If you get a travel-specific credit card you’ll also be able to take advantage of regular cashback offers on airlines, hotels and car hire, as well as bonus miles promotions – saving you £££!

If you’re not in to travel, a supermarket credit card which rewards you with Club Card or Nectar points can save you a lot of money on spending in the long run. Money Saving Expert has a great guide highlighting perks and benefits of various UK credit cards.

Convinced? Great! Final thoughts…

The perks sound great and having purchase protection is so useful – but the reality is, if you’re not careful, spending on a credit card can become a slippery slope that is difficult to recover from.

Be responsible. Pay your credit card off, in full, each month. Set up a direct debit from your main account to clear the balance every month just in case you miss the payment date. Download banking apps to keep track of your balance while you’re on the go and give you peace of mind.

If you pay your balance off in full every month, you will not pay any interest.

Don’t borrow more than you can afford to pay back. Follow this simple rule, stay on top of your payments, and you’ll start reaping the rewards of credit card spending.

Stay tuned for part two where I talk about Charge Cards ( a great alternative to credit cards for those of you still wary of credit cards!)

 

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Happy New Year! I can’t quite believe it’s already 2018 – I always feel like the last couple of months of the year come around so quickly and before we know it, it’s the start of a new year.

2017 was a big year for my travel bucket list. It wasn’t my busiest travel year by any stretch, but it was the year I finally visited a number of countries that have been sitting at the very top of my bucket list for a long, long, time.  Six countries (or 7 if you count a few hours in Istanbul!), two EPIC road trips, 12+ cities and countless incredible experiences – I couldn’t be more grateful!

Here’s a little look back at my 2017 in travel :

We kicked off our travels in 2017 with a trip to Amsterdam in January.

come fly with b, amsterdam, chalkboard

Amsterdam is one of those cities I’ve wanted to see forever and it didn’t disappoint! Despite us visiting at the coldest and bleakest time of the year, we had a lot of fun. Amsterdam is such a cool, laid-back city, full of amazing architecture, food and things to do. Oh, and can we talk about the amazing branding/art everywhere?!

Amsterdam(they look like gingerbread!)

After Amsterdam we were pretty much stuck in the UK all Winter/Spring – with lots of boring real-life things that needed to be taken care of!

In May we ticked off another country firmly sat at the top of my bucket list, Bosnia!


We flew to Sarajevo where we spent a few days learning about the city’s not-so-distant dark history. We toured the underground tunnel used to smuggle supplies into the city during the siege in the early 90’s, walked part of the length of the Olympic Bobsleigh tracks, overdosed on Cevapi and had coffee in a tree house! Sarajevo really surprised us, we didn’t expect it to be the highlight of our trip to Bosnia, but it was.

Next, we headed to the pretty fairytale city of Mostar which offered breathtaking views like this…

stari most, mostar, mostar bridge, bosnia
Mostar was beautiful (but crowded!) and there wasn’t very much to do. After a day spent exploring, we headed to the neighbouring village of Blagaj for a stop at this beautiful Sufi monastery nestled at the base of a cliff. What a serene place it was!

blagaj tekke, mostar, bosnia

From Mostar, we caught a coach to Croatia – where we began our first ever road trip!

Come Fly With B In Dubrovnik
We explored Dubrovnik, Split, Sibenik and Zadar. We found hidden beaches surrounded by pine trees, explored ancient cities built from marble. We walked on planks of wood set between trees and waterfalls at the KRKA national park, ate amazing pizza and overdosed on Gnocchi, we hiked through the breathtaking Plitvice National park (before a thunderstorm came and soaked us), we trecked the length of the ancient walls surrounding the old town of Dubrovnik, and explored an entire bay of abandoned hotels (another one of my life-long dreams!)

Come Fly With B Plitvice Croatia

Croatia was AMAZING – without a doubt, one of the most incredible countries I have ever visited. Croatia truly has something for everyone.

split, croatia, come fly with b,

After a few months back at work, we booked our tickets to finally live out another one of my dreams; seeing fall in beautiful New England!

Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. After lots of planning and excitement, our ESTA/Visa’s were revoked just hours before our flight and we were no longer authorised to travel to the US – this was a huge blow, considering everything was booked and we’d been planning our visit for months – but more on that another time!

In November we went to Rome!

Rome Come Fly With B

We managed to catch a spot of sun on our first day, we visited most of the important sights, ate a ton of gelato (eventually in the pouring rain!), we found a cat shelter set in Roman ruins in the middle of the city and we walked a lot!

On our last day, we visited the Vatican which was breathtakingly beautiful and definitely the highlight of our visit, check out the amazing map room:

vatican rome map room room of maps rome italy
If I’m honest, Rome was a bit underwhelming, and we agreed is one city we have no interest in revisiting. Even the food was sadly very, very disappointing 🙁

Remember those tickets to America that we had to redirect?

We decided to redirect them to Oman – which turned out to be our favourite country this year!

Oman, Come Fy With B
Oman has been sitting at the top of my bucket list for longer than I can even remember. We’ve been trying to arrange a trip to Oman for years, but budgeting for it has always been difficult (the Omani currency is really strong!).

Oman’s tourism industry isn’t very well established, meaning fewer hotels to choose from, and more planning needed to figure out logistics.

Oman muscat

From the moment we landed, we were in LOVE with this beautiful country.

We flew into Muscat where we spent a couple of days before we picked up our hire car and started our road trip. We drove up the mountains of Jabal Akhdar where we stayed in a beautiful 5* resort nestled on the edge of the cliffs, we visited abandoned cities nestled in the mountains and walked through castles in the ancient city of Nizwa.

Jabal Akhdar, Oman, Anantara Jabal Akhdar, Oman Mountains

We spent a night in the desert and climbed sand dunes in the morning, we hiked in an Oasis and visited a sea-water filled crater (allegedly) caused by a falling star, we hung out on cliffs surrounded by sea and watch the sun-set over the beautiful scenic mountains.

Oman, wadi shab,

Oman was a dream. I still can’t quite find the words to articulate it; except that this beautiful country has become one of my favourite countries in the world. I hope and pray, I will be blessed enough to return and witness its beauty once again.

And that was it for our travels in 2017!

Not the busiest year at just 9 flights, but a very rewarding one. All the places we were lucky enough to see this year (except Rome!) were sitting at the top of my bucket list for years on end, and it’s nice knowing they lived up to (or exceeded) my expectations.

Here’s to many more travels in 2018 (inshallah) *runs off to finalise 2018 bucket list*

Whats on your bucket list for 2018?

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The highlight of our trip to Mostar was without a doubt our visit to the beautiful Sufi Monastery: Blagaj Tekke.

Located a short 20-minute drive away from Mostar in the village of Blagaj, the Blagaj Tekke sits at the base of a cliff on the beautiful Buna river, in the most serene surroundings.

Blagaj Tekke Bosnia

river buna, mostar, blagaj tekke, bosnia

It is not actually known when the Blagaj Tekke was first built, but the first public record of its existence dates back to 1164, when Ottoman explorer Evlija Celebija made reference to the already well-established Tekke in his travelogues.

The Tekke was an important place for Muslim worshipers, who would visit the Tekke to spend time in solitude to perform Dhikr (remembrance of God). To this day, the Tekke continues to host Dhikr sessions and you can even sit in on them!

blagaj tekke, mostar, bosnia

The Tekke has been renovated numerous times over the years as the location (below the cliff) meant the structure was prone to damage from falling rocks. The last renovation took place as recent as 2013 and the tekke has grown in popularity over the years.

Blagaj Tekke, Sufi Monastery, Bosniablagaj tekke, mostar, bosnia
Whilst the inside of the Tekke is small and simple, it’s not hard to imagine why this place was favoured by worshipers for so long. The location and setting of the Tekke transports you elsewhere, the beauty of the surrounding nature and the simplicity of the structure results in a clear, untainted vision; the perfect setting for reflection and solitude.

The waters of the Buna river are so inviting here that people often kneel down to take a sip from the clear flowing water!

Bosnia, mostar, blagaj tekke, river bunablaggage tekke, mostar, bosnia

Getting There

There is a bus you can take from Mostar (number 11) that will take you there, but we opted to take a taxi instead. Our taxi driver offered to wait for us for an hour to ensure we had a return journey back (we didn’t see any cabs there and it’s a little cut-off from the city to be stranded in). It cost 40marks for our return journey and an hour was plenty of time for us to enjoy the area.

Mostar, Bosnia, Blagaj Tekke
What To Do

There are a number of restaurants and cafes on the riverbank along the Buna river all offering views of the Tekke. Tourists are permitted to enter the Blagaj Tekke and surrounding courtyard for just 4 marks each. You will be required to remove your shoes if you wish to enter the monastery itself. I highly recommend entering to get a feel for the amazing solitude you feel in this place (and to see the views from the windows!)

river buna, mostar, bosnia, blagaj tekke

The Best Views

The most famous picture of the Tekke on Google is actually taken from the riverbank on the opposite side of the river (facing the tekke directly). We found it a little difficult to find the exact location (as it was hidden behind a restaurant!) – just remember that it’s on the opposite side of the Tekke near the carpark, you may need to climb some tiny hollowed-out steps carved from the rocks to get there. If you can’t find your way don’t be afraid to ask the restaurant staff for help!

The Blagaj Tekke is beautiful and well worth a stop if you’re in Bosnia.

Visting Sarajevo too? I’ve put together a Sarajevo guide you may find interesting!

Enjoy this post? Pin it on Pinterest to save it for later :)!

Blagaj Tekke, Mostar, Bosnia,

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If you’re shopping this Black Friday, take advantage of this simple trick to turn your black Friday spending into free flights and upgrades.

If you’re a seasoned flight hacker or Avios churner you’ll probably already know this trick, but there are so, so, many people who are missing out on this easy and straightforward way of earning Avios (leading to free flights!) which is why I thought I’d highlight it here.

Ladies and gents, I present to you, the Avios eStore.


How it works

The Avios e-store is an online shopping portal that allows you to earn points every time you click through the site, to a listed retailer and make a purchase. It’s a free, super-simple way to earn Avios points, which can, in turn, be redeemed for a host of goodies.

All you need to do to take advantage is sign up for a free Avios account here, select your retailer of choice, shop as normal through the retailer’s website (through the window Avios redirects you to) – and that’s all! It’s as simple as that.

Within 24 hrs of completing your order, you should receive an email informing you of the pending Avios in your account. Once your order is processed, Avios will credit the Avios into your Avios account.

British Airways also has it’s own version of the Avios eStore which is connected to your BA executive club account. It is not necessary to use one over the other if you’re an Executive Club member.

Spending your Avios.

Where are the free flights in using the portal you may ask?

Avios points are a very useful “currency” to have in your stash. You can spend them on a whole host of things ranging from car hire to hotels, days out and most important of all; free flights.

British Airways is one of the official airline partners of the Avios scheme meaning all flights you take on British Airways (or airlines on the BA partner scheme OneWorld) will earn you Avios (if you’re registered with the BA executive club). In turn, you can also spend your Avios points to book flights on BA and OneWorld partner airlines (which include Qatar Airways!)

You can use the Avios you earn through the Avios eStore (or the BA equivalent portal) to exchange your Avios points for free flights. Unfortunately, the flights are still subject to taxes & fees, which BA has set at £35 for return flights from London to Europe.

If you don’t wish to use all of your Avios points at once, you may also opt to part-pay with Avios (getting you cheaper flights).

You can book return flights in Europe for as little as 8000 avios (& £35 tax, surcharges and fees)

British Airways Avios redemption flights are divided into “bands” based on the distance flown. Naturally, destinations closest to London are the cheapest; you can fly to Amsterdam, Paris, Dublin or Milan from London Heathrow, off-peak return, for as little as 8000 Avios + £35, this is the lowest Avios redemption band. At peak times this will cost you more Avios.

Looking to go further? Off peak return flights to New York start from 26000 Avios (+ tax & fees). London-Singapore flights start at around 45,000 Avios (+tax & fees) for return flights in Economy

Find out how much a flight costs in Avios & fees here.

Ever fancied flying business or first class?

The Avios rewards scheme isn’t just for bagging free or reduced-price flights, it’s also an excellent way to upgrade your flight class without having to splurge.

You can upgrade some flights to Premium Economy, Business or First Class by simply paying with your Avios points. Upgrades are only available to the next cabin class (so you won’t be able to upgrade from Economy to First with Avios alone, it would be economy to premium economy and so on). If you don’t have the Avios balance required to upgrade you can opt to “part pay” in cash to make up the remaining balance.

One thing to note is that you cannot upgrade the flight class on rewards flights (flights booked with Avios).

Building your avios balance this Black Friday

Now that we’ve covered the basics of the Avios programme and the e-store, it’s time to talk about how this translates into real life, and more specifically how Black Friday spending can be utilized to get you on your way to more travels.

Here are some examples of what your Black Friday shopping could get you for free in the Avios eStore.


Apple is currently offering 8 Avios per £1 spent through the Avios eStore.
If you were to purchase the base model 13-inch Macbook pro at £1249 – you would earn upwards of 8600 Avios, which is enough for you to book a return flight to Amsterdam (or any of the European destinations in the first redemption band)


Canon is offering 6 Avios per £1 spent through the Avios eStore
If you were to purchase the EF 24-70mm lens at £1737, you would earn an estimated 10,427 Avios
If you were to purchase the Canon Powershot G7X at £547.99 you would earn upwards of 3200 Avios

Buying clothes, make-up, gifts or homeware this Black Friday?

This Black Friday it’s not just about gadgets and tech, plenty of other retailers are offering Black Friday discounts too. Channel your spending through the Avios eStore to get the best rewards on your spending.

House Of Fraser is offering 4 Avios per £1 spent (spend £100, earn up to 400 Avios)
ASOS : 8 Avios per £1 spent (spend £100, earn up to 800 Avios)
Net-A-Porter : 12 Avios per £1 spent (spend £100, earn up to 1200 Avios)
Lookfantastic : 14 Avios per £1 spent (spend £50, earn up to 700 Avios)
Not On The High Street : 8 Avios per £1 spent (spend £50, earn up to 400 Avios)

As you can see, spending through the portal can build your Avios balance quickly, and best of all, it’s at no extra cost to you!

You Don’t Need To Be A Member Of The BA Executive Club Or Have An Avios Credit Card

One thing I’ve heard a lot of friends say when we discuss the eStore is that they don’t have an Avios Credit Card or they aren’t members of the British Airways executive club, this seems to be a common misconception about the Avios scheme. You don’t actually need either of them.

You can sign up to the Avios scheme directly through the Avios website and it does not need to be linked to a credit card or British Airways executive account.

You can take out a credit card that rewards you with Avios per £1 spent on the card to further boost your balance, but this is not essential to benefit from the Avios scheme. The same goes with joining the BA executive club, it’s not essential to join the BA.

There are plenty of ways to build your Avios balance

There are plenty of ways to build your Avios balance through everyday spending in the UK. There are numerous retailers and schemes, as well as credit cards, that will reward you with Avios points for shopping with them. All you need to do, is connect the retailer accounts to your Avios account to pool all the rewards together.

The Avios eStore is open all year round and is not restricted to Black Friday. Individual retailer offers vary throughout the year, sometimes rewards are doubled per £1 spent, sometimes they’re halved. The main thing to bear in mind if you’re serious about collecting Avios, is to really commit to it. Bookmark the eStore in your browser, and channel all your spending through there – I guarantee you’ll be racking up Avios faster than you can keep track of them!

Want to Know more about the Avios scheme and how to build your balance? Comment below if you’re interested in a Part 2!

I’d also love to know your big wins with the Avios eStore, let me know what you’ve redeemed your points on, or what your Black Friday win was.

If you’re jetting off somewhere with your new found miles (or in first class), be sure to read my guide on how to get things for free when you travel.
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Mostar offers the kind of scenery that makes you do a double-take in disbelief the first time you lay eyes on it… The stunning imagery of the Stari Most bridge suspended over the brilliant jade-green Neretva river is something straight out of a fairytale. No matter how modern the surrounding restaurants and ice cream stalls look in photos; it is easy to think Mostar is otherworldly.

Mostar Stari Most Bridge

Indeed, a photo I posted of Mostar’s beautiful Neretva river is my most liked photo on Instagram and it resulted in a ton of inbox questions about how people could go and see it for themselves.

There’s no denying it, Mostar has an other-worldly charm. It was a city I’ve longed to see ever since I first set eyes on the bridge many many years ago, naturally, I knew it had to be a stop during our Bosnia-Croatia road trip.

We arrived in Mostar after a hot and sweaty 3-hour bus journey from Sarajevo. The train connecting the two cities (often credited as being one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world) was out of service meaning the coach was our next best option. Though slightly uncomfortable in the early summer heat, it still offered breath-taking views like these (that’s the train track by the way!):

After dumping our bags at the hotel, we ventured into the old town to catch the sunset. Crowds of tourists in the city for a day trip were slowly making their way back to their coaches. We climbed the slippery pebble stones and made our way to the centre of the bridge to take in the view. The sun was sinking slowly in the distance, back-lighting the minaret of the mosque and bouncing off the jade-green waters below.

It was breathtaking, and without a doubt, one of the most beautiful and serene sights I’ve ever seen.

As the sun slipped away we headed for dinner at a local restaurant, then made our way up and down the two main touristy streets of the city. The later it got in the evening, the quieter it became. With all the day trip tours departed, locals descended on the old town, filling restaurants and brandishing ice creams for a late night treat. The street cats emerged for a spot of petting and the old town was quiet.

We only spent two nights in Mostar, and looking back, I think we could have even done it in a single night. There simply isn’t very much to do in Mostar. The old town is tiny, just two small main roads to wander through surrounded by residential homes. There aren’t many Museums or attractions to see either. The newer parts of the town (which we ventured to for dinner one evening) are just as you imagine any other Balkan city to be.

Mostar Bosnia Old Town

Whilst Mostar did suffer considerable damage during the war, it wasn’t as visible as it seemed to be in Sarajevo. You’ll find the odd bullet-ridden wall here and there, damaged empty buildings line the backstreets of the old town, but Mostar has been largely restored a lot better than Sarajevo has. It has an entirely different vibe about it.

Mostar Bosnia © Come Fly With B [www.comeflywithb.com] | Mostar Old Town

If you’re visiting Mostar I highly recommend watching this BBC documentary for some context on what this city lived through just 20 something years ago. The Stari Most was entirely destroyed by Croat military forces in 93, and what we see today is a restoration completed as recent as 2004.

For the remainder of our trip, we wandered around the old town mostly, but there was very little to do, we ventured into the newer parts of Mostar for curiosities sake. On our second day in Mostar we made a quick trip to Blagaj Tekke, a Sufi Monastery a 20-minute drive away from Mostar – a very welcome escape from the crowds in the city!

Would I visit Mostar again?

Maybe. It was the city I was most excited to see during our road trip; but it was just a lot smaller and busier than I imagined it to be, with a lot less to do. Mostar is a very popular destination for tourists visiting Croatia and Montenegro – given the short drive, it makes a perfect day trip for these travellers – many of whom are travelling aboard cruise ships. This means the city gets extremely busy during the afternoon hours and can feel a bit unbearable at times, particularly considering the terrain of the old town is largely very slippery pebbles (meaning it takes everyone longer to get around!) and the majority of tourists seemed to be elderly.

Mostar Bosnia

© Come Fly With B [www.comeflywithb.com] | Mostar Old Town

 

We visited in May before the start of the high-season for cruise ships in Croatia and by 11 am the old town was packed with tour groups. The evenings are definitely a lot quieter and more bearable. This can easily be remedied by exploring Blagaj Tekke during the morning or afternoon and heading back to Mostar later in the day.

Blagaj Tekke Bosnia

Don’t let my feelings put you off. Mostar is one of the places you need to see, and I’m glad I did. Ask me about Sarajevo though, and I’d go back in a heartbeat.

How To Get There

From Sarajevo: You can get to Mostar by train, coach or by driving.If you had to choose between the coach or train, don’t pass up the train journey. With tracks running above water, the views on the train journey are breathtaking. Find out the train schedules here.

To get there by coach, you can either purchase your tickets online at Get By Bus or buy them in person at the Sarajevo Coach Terminal. We found some of the times advertised as “Sold Out” online were, in fact, available for purchase at the bus terminal. We paid 41 marks for two coach tickets (and a euro per piece of luggage stored), the journey takes an average of 2.5 hours. The views on the journey are beautiful so keep your camera at hand. Sit on the left-hand side of the coach for the best views!

© Come Fly With B [www.comeflywithb.com] | Mostar-Sarajevo coach

You can also hire a private driver to drive you to Mostar for the day. Rates vary but you can find plenty of recommendations on the TripAdvisor travel forums.

If you’re visiting Mostar from Croatia you can get there by coach from Dubrovnik in 3 hours, don’t forget to bring your passport for cross-border entry!

Where To Stay

There are plenty of small B&B’s and hotels dotted about in the centre of the old town. We stayed at the Shangri-La Mansion hotel, a basic but clean hotel a 5-minute walk away from the Stari Most. It was close enough to wander in and out of town and quiet for a restful sleep. Just bear in mind this hotel is at the top of a very steep hill so not at all ideal if you have mobility problems or if you are travelling with young children/a pushchair.

 Where To Eat

Mostar’s old town is tiny compared to the one in Sarajevo so food options are limited. We didn’t find any bakeries in the old town, most of the restaurants seemed to be rather overpriced & focused on day-trip tourists (odd opening times).

Cevapi In Mostar, Bosnia
On our first night we ate at Cevabdzinica Tima, the food was average but the host was wonderful and super friendly. Cevapi is served differently in Mostar with a side of yummy red pepper dip, Ajvar. For brunches, we opted for omelettes at Urban Grill – and we ended up returning for burgers when we got sick of Cevapi.

On our final night in Mostar, we decided to venture out of the old town towards newer parts of the city. We walked to a mall in about half an hour and I’m glad we did, it was great to see Mostar’s city side outside of the fairytale bubble of the old town. In the mall, we found all the shops you’d expect to find in Europe, and McDonald’s (halal too!)

Bosnia has some of the best ice-cream I’ve ever eaten so don’t visit without sampling it!

Local supermarkets can be found a 15-20 min walk outside the old town.

The Best Views

The most famous location for the iconic views of the Stari Most nestled above the Neretva river come from the minaret of the tiny little Koski Mehmed Pasha mosque opposite. Tourists are welcome to visit the mosque and climb the minaret to take photos from the balcony, you may need to pay a small fee to do this. The minaret is super tight (it’s almost impossible for two people to pass each other on it!) so it might be best to make a little noise to warn people you’re coming up!

stari most mostar bridge
Another great place to take pictures of the bridge is actually from one of the restaurants nestled along the riverfront. The Urban Grill restaurant looks a little casual and run down, but it’s home to a beautiful outdoor dining area offering breathtaking views of the river and bridge. We ended up eating here twice during our visit and couldn’t get enough of the view.

This place gets completely packed in the mornings and throughout the day when all the tour groups are in town (you may find yourself turned away due to a lack of space), but it quietens down towards the evenings. We enjoyed visiting for tea and pancakes and watching the sunset in the distance (bonus points for being empty!)

One last thing…

This is important if you want to make the most of your time in Mostar – Wear comfortable shoes with a good grip!

Leave those pretty sandals at home unless you want aching feet ruining your day! The pebble-stones that line the streets of the old-town are very uncomfortable under-foot so you’ll appreciate all the cushioning you can get. The Stari Most itself is incredibly slippery when dry and even worse in the rain – trainers will be your best friend!


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Guide To Mostar, Bosnia - A Hidden Gem In Eastern Europe Offering Fairytale Views At Every Corner © Come Fly With B [www.comeflywithb.com]

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