Yesterday my girlfriend and I booked a trip away in June. She wanted to do some travelling in the Balkan nation of Croatia, but I wanted to hit more than one country.
The compromise? We fly out to Dubrovnik, fly back from Zadar, which is about an hour away from Split, and somewhere in between hit Mostar.
“Where’s Mostar?” I hear you ask.
Mostar is a city in the southern reaches of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and yet another strange destination on my travels.
It can go along with Vilnius, Eindhoven, Malmo and Bratislava on the list of relatively little-known places I’ll have visited by the end of the year.
But as they say – good things come in small packages, and Mostar looks like it could just be that.
Whilst there may not be an abundance of things to do, there are a couple of must-sees. One is the Stari Most, a bridge originally built by the Ottomans in the 16th century, which is one of Bosnia’s most recognisable landmarks.
Then there are Kravice Falls, located a few kilometres outside of the city, which according to WornLuggage.com are “the ace up Bosnia’s sleeve; a truly spectacular natural attraction and, until now, one of the least-heard of wonders in Europe.”
But outside of those two things, Mostar may give us a more authentic slice of Bosnia and Herzegovina outside ofSarajevo – its capital.
And that’s true for a lot of these places. Eindhoven will have given me a completely different view of the Netherlands to what Amsterdam surely would’ve done. I’m sure that Malmo will probably be a lot different and less touristic than Stockholm and so on and so forth.
But there are two main reasons why I go to these types of places – cheap flights and opportunity.
Take Eindhoven, as an example. I would never, under normal circumstances, have considered going to the Netherlands’ fifth most populous city. But I did so after securing return flights for £19.98. It may only be £40 dearer, but for that extra £40 I got two nights at a place I found on Airbnb.
Whereas somewhere like Malmo in Sweden is a destination based more on opportunity. After finding cheap flights to Copenhagen, I decided to prolong my trip a couple of days and visit nearby Malmo – which is only 45 minutes away across the Øresund Bridge.
Mostar is more like the second. It’s taking the opportunity to visit another country and creep closer to my goal of visiting every single one on Earth. Yet it’s more than just a tick on a piece of paper. It’s a chance to explore new lands, learn about the history and culture of a different place and see the sights and attractions that it has to offer.
It’s not only taking advantage of my surroundings, but it also helps to expand my own horizons, too.
So when you come to book your own trip, look at the places around you, too. Don’t be determined to just stick to one thing when there are a whole host of others out there as well.