Things to do in Banja Luka
Banja Luka is dominated by the river Vrbas and Kastel fortress that was built on the river bank. The fortress has survived earthquakes and wars and is one of the best preserved in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Banja Luka is the administrative centre of the Serbian Republic and the second largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the largest city in north-western Bosnia.
What to see in Banja Luka
The history of inhabitation of the area of Banja Luka dates back to ancient times. There is a substantial evidence of the Roman presence in the region during the first few centuries A.D., including an old fort Kastel in the centre of the city.
Church of Christ the Saviour
Church of Christ the Saviour is one of the finest and largest architectural works of Orthodox churches in the Balkans. It is certainly one of the main tourist attractions in Banja Luka. Church of Christ the Saviour was built in 1929 and in the Second World War was pulled down and restored again 1993 – 2004.
Cathedral of St Bonaventure
Cathedral of St Bonaventure is cathedral church of the diocese of Banja Luka and one of the four Catholic cathedrals in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The cathedral was completed in 1887 with the help of many donors. The cathedral was badly damaged in an earthquake in 1969, and at the site of the old cathedral was built in 1973 today’s cathedral. The construction of the bell tower was completed in 1990.
Ferhat Pasha, or better known as the Ferhadija mosque was the central building in Banja Luka. The building is by a Commission decision to Preserve National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina was declared a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was built in 1579 in classical Ottoman style and is one of the most successful architectural achievements of the 16th century of Bosnian architecture.
Gospodska ulica (Gentlemen’s Street), officially, never wore this name, many people of Banja Luka for the other names of the most famous promenade do not know.
Main Park of Banja Luka
The main park is called Park of Mladen Stojanovic, has a large pedestrian zone, several tennis courts, a cafe and a restaurant. The park is full of citizens of Banja Luka and is a great place to meet.
Art Gallery of the Republic of Serbian features works of famous Serbian painters. There are frequent exhibitions of modern art. Enter in Gallery is free, and can be negotiated and get a guide who speaks English.
Cultural Centre Banski Dvor
Cultural Centre of the Banski Dvor (Ban’s Palace) is located in a beautiful building with a park that originally served as the governor’s residence. The centre organizes performances, concerts, poetry readings and other events, and schedule of the program you can find out when you get there.
Around Banja Luka
Bocac is the medieval town from the 15th century, situated on the left bank of the Vrbas River halfway between Jajce and Banja Luka. Bocac is on the list of National Monuments of the government of Republic of Serbian.
Monastery Gomionica is one of the most beautiful Orthodox monasteries in northern Bosnia. The monastery dates back to 1536. In the monastery had preserved several frescoes, and a great number of valuable icons and old manuscripts. You can see the interesting collection of old printed books in Cyrillic as well as precious objects for use in the liturgy.
Monastery of St Elijah
Monastery of St Elijah on Krupa on Vrbas, was rebuilt on the foundations of a medieval fortress Greben, which is located in the canyon of the Vrbas. In the 15th century the care of the monastery under the Greben of the city was taken over by feudal families Vojsalic, heirs of Hrvoje Vuksic Hrvatinic. Church of St Elijah in Krupa was rebuilt by Sava Kosmanovic 1889 after the fall of the Ottoman Empire.
Trappists of the Franciscan Monastery of Mary the Stars
Trappist Colony in Banja Luka was established in 1869, and the church in the monastery was built between 1874 and 1875. Apart from ritual objects made in the 19th and 20th centuries of precious metals, the monastery collection includes two very valuable paintings: the Crucifixion and St. Filomena, both are works of Venetian masters from the 16th century. As in most monasteries and here there is a collection of old printed books, in which among other things is a collection of epistles of St. Augustin, printed in 1493 in Basel. The monastery is famous for its delicious white Trappist cheese that priests here products for over a century.
Church in Romanovich
Romanovich is a small wooden church which is located near Gradiska, north-west of Banja Luka. The villagers of Romanovich are dedicated to St Nicholas. It was built in the first half of the 18th century and is among the last remaining wooden orthodox structures in the country.
What to do in Banja Luka
Recently, around the city is becoming increasingly popular and adventure tourism, such as rafting, kayaking, climbing, caving, paragliding and similar activities, while the Vrbas River and its canyon represent an ideal location.
Vrbas is one of the few rivers in the world that meet the requirements for all disciplines of the sport. All this is more than enough reason to enjoy the emerald and crystal clear water. Rafting on the Vrbas travel is possible throughout the year, but the best time is spring and summer.
Banja Luka Kayak Canoe Club “Vrbas” is organizer of the World Cup in the downhill, which will be held in 2016 in the canyon Tijesno on the river Vrbas. Is this reason enough to include kayaking in the “Things to do in Banja Luka”?
In Banja Luka are numerous climbing sites. The canyon Tijesno is the most interesting part of the Zvecajska gorge and the entire climbing site is 7 km long. Opportunities for climbing long routes and magnificent view of the Vrbas and the valley from the cliffs make it an indispensable part of the climbing experience.
The stone bridge is an unusual natural phenomenon.
The climbing site Suturlija is easy to reach and is a popular vacation land and promenade.
The south-western part of the city of Banja Luka is the ideal destination for paragliding. Experienced pilots are returning here again and again.
Tandem flying is an ideal opportunity for people with no flying experience, or those who want to try this flying discipline without special preparation. Paragliders can be operated by people between 16 and 75 years of age. It takes only desire – and experienced FAI licensed pilots will take you to an extraordinary experience and a camera will record everything.
Vrbas is one of the most beautiful rivers in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the main Banja Luka watercourse passing through its centre. Vrbas boat is called “dayak”, a specific boat for the Vrbas River and the city of Banja Luka, as well as the gondola to Venice. The assumption is that the Vrbas boat appeared when the city of Banja Luka. Over the centuries, this unusual vessel has become a symbol of the city, leaving a trace in the culture of Banjaluka’s inhabitants.
Take advantage of a unique opportunity to introduce the city by the river Vrbas, with experienced Dayak operators (dajakasi).
Canyoning is an adventure that consists of walking on a mountain riverbed. Canyoning involves descending on the various waterfalls, but also overcome the natural barrier of rocks to less accessible rock. Briefly, it is the combination of walking through water and rapids, climbing, diving, swimming and rock climbing. There are canyons of rivers Cvrcka, Svrakava and Ugar.
Trekking and Mountain Biking
The area is perfect for trekking and mountain biking covers the south-western part of the city of Banja Luka, i.e. northern part of the Dinaric system, which covers an urban area of the city of Banja Luka descending to the plains of Lijevče fields, or the Pannonian Plain to the north, and the Kozara mountain northwest. Slight grounds, preserved nature and cultural and natural tourist attractions provide excellent conditions for the easy and medium difficult hiking and exploring the natural and cultural features of the area.
In Banja Luka have two riders club in which you can go and ride or learn to ride. In any case, you can relax because the club is dedicated to the promotion and advancement of equestrian sport, humane treatment of animals, harmony with nature and the environment.
Explore Nightlife of Banja Luka
Banja Luka all night clubs provide entertainment in all musical rhythms – from folk, home-grown pop, rock and roll and techno rhythms. Choosing the right place for entertainment is relatively easy: check out the sounds and atmosphere, see who goes in and out and decide whether it is the place for you. Clubs are very different in the interior, atmosphere, prices and rules for entry.
It is challenging to introduce visitors to the secrets of Banja Luka’s local cuisine. Although the dishes are made from the same ingredients that you might find in any European country, you will not be able to find them in a dictionary or in other nation’s cuisine. That is reason enough to dedicate your time to exploring Banja Lukas culinary arts. Banja Luka’s location at the crossroads of civilization has allowed its cuisine to evolve from the mixture of historical influences.