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Bosnia and Herzegovina

Banja Luka is the second largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina after the capital Sarajevo and is the largest city of the Republika Srpska entity. Traditionally, it has been the center of the Bosanska Krajina region, located in the northwestern part of the country. It is home of the University of Banja Luka, as well as numerous state and entity institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Info Banja Luka


Banja Luka is the second largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina after the capital Sarajevo and is the largest city of the Republika Srpska entity. Traditionally, it has been the center of the Bosanska Krajina region, located in the northwestern part of the country. It is home of the University of Banja Luka, as well as numerous state and entity institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The city lies on the River Vrbas and is well known in the countries of the former Yugoslavia for being full of tree-lined avenues, boulevards, gardens, and parks. According to the 2013 census the Settlement of Banja Luka has 150,997 inhabitants, while the City of Banja Luka, which represents Banja Luka's wider area (municipality), has 199,191 inhabitants.

POPULATION : 199,991
TIME ZONE :• Time zone CET (UTC+1)
• Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
LANGUAGE : Serbian
RELIGION : Serbian Orthodox Church 89.14%, Islam 4.07%, Roman Catholic Church 2.62%, Others 4,17%
AREA :  1,238.91 km2 (478.35 sq mi)
ELEVATION : 163 m (535 ft)
COORDINATES : 44°46′N 17°11′E
ETHNIC : Serbs 89.57%, Bosniaks 4.15%, Croats 2.76%, Others 3.52%
DIALING CODE : +387 51


The natural beauties of the surrounding area guarantee the city of Banja Luka a good position in tourism. Banja Luka has a number of hotels, one of the best being Hotel Cezar Banja Luka. One of the hotels right on the Vrbas river's bank is the Marriott. The city and surrounding area boast a number of popular tourist attractions. Among the most famous are the pools, thermal springs, and spas in the region.

Due to its parks and over 10 000 trees Banja Luka was once nicknamed the "Green City". The area is popular among nature lovers, while the city centre is attractive to tourists due to its historical structures and many restaurants. Other attractions of Banja Luka are the Banj Hill and a waterfall of the Vrbas river near Krupa. Rafting on the Vrbas river is currently becoming popular among the local tourists. There is fishing, rock climbing and hiking along the canyon of the Vrbas between Banja Luka and Jajce, and there is plenty of accommodation for visitors.


Roman times

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" (Latin: Castra) in the centre of the city. The area of Banja Luka was entirely in the kingdom of Illyria and then a part of the Roman province of Illyricum, which split into provinces of Pannonia and Dalmatia of which Castra became a part. Ancient Illyrian maps call the settlement in Banja Luka's present day location as Ad Ladios,  a settlement located on the river Vrbas.

Middle Ages

Slavs settled in the Balkans in the 6th century. Medieval fortresses in the vicinity of Banja Luka include Vrbas (1224), župa Zemljanik (1287), Kotor Varoš (1323), Zvečaj (1404), and Bočac (1446). The name "Banja Luka" was first mentioned in a document dated 6 February 1494, by Vladislav II.

Ottoman rule

Banja Luka fell to the Ottomans in 1527. It became the seat of the Sanjak of Bosnia some time prior to 1554, until 1580 when the Bosnia Eyalet was established. Bosnian beylerbeys were seated in Banja Luka until 1639.  Ferhad Pasha Sokolović, a relative of Grand Vizier Mehmed-pasha Sokolović, had upon his return to Bosnia in 1574, begun the building of over 200 buildings ranging from artisan and sales shops to wheat warehouses, baths and mosques. Among more important commissions were the Ferhadija and Arnaudija mosques during which construction a plumbing infrastructure was laid that served surrounding residential areas.  This stimulated the economic and urban development of Banja Luka, which soon became one of the leading commercial and political centres in Bosnia. It was also sanjak centre in Bosna Eyalet.

In 1688, the city was burned down by the Austrian army, but it quickly recovered. Later periodic intrusions by the Austrian army stimulated military developments in Banja Luka, which made it into a strategic military centre. Orthodox churches and monasteries near Banja Luka were built in the 19th century. Also, Sephardic Jews and Trappists migrated to the city in the 19th century and contributed to the early industrialisation of the region by building mills, breweries, brick factories, textile factories and other important structures.

The Trappist monastery built in the 19th century lent its name to the neighbourhood ofTrapisti and has left a large legacy in the area through its famous Trappist cheese and its beer production.

In 1835 and 1836, during the Ottoman administration, numerous people from the Banja Luka Krajina emigrated to Lešnica, Lipnica and Loznica, the villages around Loznica, and to Šabac.

Austro-Hungarian rule

For all its leadership to the region however, Banja Luka as a city was not modernised until Austro-Hungarian occupation in the late 19th century that brought westernisation to Banja Luka. Railroads, schools, factories, and infrastructure appeared, and were developed, which led to a modern city


After World War I, the town became the capital of the Vrbas Banovina, a province of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The provincial capital owed its rapid progress to the first Ban Svetislav Milosavljević. During that time, the Banski dvor and its twin sister, the Administration building, the Serbian Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity, a theatre and a museum were built, the Grammar School was renovated, the Teachers College enlarged, a city bridge was also built and the park renovated. 125 elementary schools were functioning in Banja Luka in 1930. The revolutionary ideas of the time were incubated by the "Pelagić" association and the Students' Club. Banja Luka naturally became the organisational centre of anti-fascist work in the region.

World War II

During World War II, Banja Luka was part of the Independent State of Croatia. Most of Banja Luka's Serbs and Jews were deported to concentration camps such as Jasenovac and Stara Gradiška. On 7 February 1942, Ustaše paramilitaries, led by a Franciscan monk, Miroslav Filipović (aka Tomislav Filipović-Majstorović), killed more than 2,300 Serbs (among them 500 children)  in Drakulić, Motike and Šargovac (a part of the Banja Luka municipality).

The city's Orthodox church of the Holy Trinity was totally demolished by the Ustaše, as was the Church of St. George in Petrićevac. The Bishop of Banja Luka, Platon Jovanović, was arrested by the Ustaše on 5 May 1941, and was tortured and killed. His body was thrown into the Vrbanja river.  The city was liberated by the Yugoslav Partisans on 22 April 1945.

1969 earthquake

On 26 and 27 October 1969, two devastating earthquakes (6.0 and 6.4 on the Richter scale) damaged many buildings in Banja Luka. Fifteen people were killed, and over a thousand injured  A large building called Titanik in the centre of the town was razed to the ground, and the area was later turned into a central public square. With contributions from all over Yugoslavia, Banja Luka was repaired and rebuilt. That was a period when a large Serb population moved to the city from the surrounding villages, and from more distant areas in Herzegovina.

Bosnian War

During the 1990s, the city underwent considerable changes when the Bosnian War broke out. Upon the declaration of Bosnian-Herzegovinian independence and the establishment of the Republika Srpska, Banja Luka became the de facto centre of the entity's politics.

Nearly all of Banja Luka's Croats and Bosniaks were expelled during the war and all of the city's 16 mosques including the Ferhat Pasha Mosque were destroyed. A court ruling resulted in the authorities of Banja Luka having to pay $42 million for the destruction of the mosques.  From August 1991 to December 1995 on territory of Banja Luka was killed 70 Croat citizens. Also, there were noted destroying of Catholic churches and monasteries, threats, dismissals and forcing to work commitments.  Later, an estimated 40,000 Serbs from Croat and Bosniak dominated areas of Bosnia settled in Banja Luka. However, the Banja Luka district court later overturned the ruling stating that the claims had exceeded a three-year statute of limitations. The Bosniak community vowed to appeal against the decision.

On 7 May 2001, several thousand Serb nationalists attacked a group of Bosniaks and members of diplomatic corps attending the ceremony of marking the reconstruction of the historic 16th-century Ferhadija mosque.  There were indications of police collaboration.

More than 30 individuals were injured during the attack. On 26 May, Murat Badić, who had been in a coma after attack, died from head injuries.  Fourteen Bosnian Serb nationalists were jailed for starting the riots.


Banja Luka has a continental climate, with harsh winters and warm summers. The warmest month of the year is July, with an average temperature of 21.3°C (70°F). The coldest month of the year is January, when temperatures average near freezing at 0.8°C (33°F). Annual precipitation for Banja Luka is about 988mm. Banja Luka has an average of 143 rainy days a year. Due to the city's high latitude, it snows in Banja Luka almost every year as well. Strong winds come from the north and north-east.

Climate data for Banja Luka

Record high °C (°F)20.0
Average high °C (°F)3.7
Average low °C (°F)−4.6
Record low °C (°F)−22.8
Source #1: World Meteorological Organisation (UN)
Source #2: Deutscher Wetterdienst 


Banja Luka covers some 96.2 km2 (37.1 sq mi) of land in Bosnia and Herzegovina, on the Vrbas River. The city is located at 44.78°N 17.19°E. Banja Luka's downtown is at 163 m (534.78 ft) above sea level, surrounded by hills.

The source of the Vrbas River is about 90 km (56 mi) to the south. The tributary rivers Suturlija,Crkvena, and Vrbanja flow into the Vrbas at Banja Luka. Banja Luka has also a number of springsclose by.

The area around Banja Luka is mostly woodland, although there are mountains a little further from the city. The city itself is built in the Banja Luka valley, which is located at the transition between high and low mountain areas. The most notable of these mountains are Manjača (1,214 meters), Čemernica (1,338 meters), and Tisovac. These are all part of the Dinaric Alps mountain range.


Although the city itself was not directly affected by the Bosnian war in the early 1990s, its economy was. For four years, Banja Luka fell behind the world in key areas such as technology, resulting in a rather stagnant economy. However, in recent years, the financial services sector has gained in importance in the city. In 2002, the trading began on the newly established Banja Luka Stock Exchange. The number of companies listed, the trading volume and the number of investors have increased significantly. A number of big companies such as Telekom Srpske, Rafinerija ulja Modriča, Banjalučka Pivara and Vitaminka are all listed on the exchange and are traded regularly. Investors, apart from those from Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia, now include a number of investment funds from the EU, and from Norway, USA, Japan and China.

A number of financial services regulators, such as the Republika Srpska Securities Commission and the RS Banking Agency are headquartered in Banja Luka. This, along with the fact that some of the major banks in Bosnia, the Deposit Insurance Agency and the Value-added tax (VAT) Authority are all based in the city, has helped Banja Luka establish itself as a major financial centre of the country.  In 1981 Banja Luka's GDP per capita was 97% of the Yugoslav average.


The city of Banja Luka counts the following settlements:

Agino Selo, Banja Luka, Barlovci, Bastasi, Bistrica, Bočac, Borkovići, Bronzani Majdan,Cerici, Čokori, Debeljaci, Dobrnja, Dragočaj, Drakulić, Dujakovci, Goleši, Jagare, Kmećani,Kola, Kola Donja, Krmine, Krupa na Vrbasu, Kuljani, Lokvari, Lusići, Ljubačevo, Melina,Motike, Obrovac, Pavići, Pavlovac, Pervan Donji, Pervan Gornji, Piskavica, Ponir,Potkozarje, Prijakovci, Priječani, Prnjavor Mali, Radmanići, Radosavska, Ramići, Rekavice,Slavićka, Stratinska, Stričići, Subotica, Šargovac, Šimići, Šljivno, Verići, Vilusi, Zalužani,Zelenci.

Prices in Banja Luka



Milk1 liter€0.75
Tomatoes1 kg€0.94
Cheese0.5 kg€4.05
Apples1 kg€0.75
Oranges1 kg€0.94
Beer (domestic)0.5 l€0.50
Bottle of Wine1 bottle€4.10
Coca-Cola2 liters€1.28
Bread1 piece€0.54
Water1.5 l€0.54



Dinner (Low-range)for 2€13.00
Dinner (Mid-range)for 2€27.00
Dinner (High-range)for 2
Mac Meal or similar1 meal€3.50
Water0.33 l€0.54
Cappuccino1 cup€0.87
Beer (Imported)0.33 l€1.28
Beer (domestic)0.5 l€1.02
Coca-Cola0.33 l€1.09
Coctail drink1 drink€3.00



Cinema2 tickets€5.00
Gym1 month€20.00
Men’s Haircut1 haircut€2.85
Theatar2 tickets€10.00
Mobile (prepaid)1 min.€0.11
Pack of Marlboro1 pack€2.33



Antibiotics1 pack€3.50
Tampons32 pieces€3.56
Deodorant50 ml.€3.30
Shampoo400 ml.€2.70
Toilet paper4 rolls€0.85
Toothpaste1 tube€1.60



Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)1€62.00
Dress summer (Zara, H&M)1€32.00
Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)1€68.00
Leather shoes1€75.00



Gasoline1 liter€0.97
Taxi1 km€0.62
Local Transport1 ticket€0.82

Tourist (Backpacker)  

33 € per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • meals in cheap restaurant
  • public transport
  • cheap hotel

Tourist (business/regular)  

110 € per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • mid-range meals and drinks
  • transportation
  • hotel

Transportation - Get In

Transportation - Get In

By plane

Smiljić bus company arranges a minibus/taxi to and from the airport to the old busstation (stara autbuska stanica) in the center of town. Its recommended to make a reservation by email ([email protected]). The charge is 10km (€5) for a one way ticket. So if your with three or more, its probably just as cheap to go by cab.

Transportation - Get In

By Train

The train (and bus) station is located about 2 km southeast of the center. Connections to:Doboj and Sarajevo (5h), Zagreb (5h) and Ploče (Croatia) and to Belgrade (Serbia). There are only a few trains passing the station each day, but tickets are a bit cheaper than the bus, and the train is generally more comfortable.

Transportation - Get In

By Bus

The bus station is located approximately 2 km to the North of the center. There are taxis right at the exit of the bus which for ~10KM can drive you to the center. The city bus leaves from next to the train station, 200m away, and a fare to the center is less than 2KM. 

  • Agencija NeobasJevrejska,   +387 51 223 090, e-mail:. Besides all the way at the bus station, you can also buy your bus ticket at the Neobas tourist agency in the center of town, Jevrejska bb (novi zanatski centar). Prices are the same.

There are direct bus connections from the main bus station to

  • Bosnia: Sarajevo, Šipovo, Prijedor, Bosansko Gradiška, Bosansko Grahovo, Trebinje,Prijedor, Teslić, Banja Vrućica, Novi Grad, Gornji Graci, Višegrad, Bihać, ...


Several international buses from Western Europe to Bosnia follow the route Zagreb -Bosanski Brod - Derventa - Doboj - Sarajevo, providing you with a wide detour around Banja Luka.

Normally you would get out of those buses at Derventa but if the weather is al right and its not in the middle of the night, you could ask the bus driver to let you already out at the Novska gas station (3 km after the Novska exit) on the Zagreb-Bosanski Brod highway, approx 3 hours before Derventa. From the Novska gas station its another 15 km hitchhike to Okučani, the highway exit to Banja Luka (the bus won't let you off there, it is off the highway, but its easy for cars to drop you off there). From Okučani its 3 km (hitch)hike to the Bosnian border. You can then cross the border on foot (or hitching) and continue the last lap of your travel by taking a bus to BL in Bosanska Gradiska (approx 8 marks). This will almost always save you several hours, and totally widens the spectrum of buses available to travel to Banja Luka.

Transportation - Get In


Ride-sharing too and from Banja Luka is often done through the Trazim- nudim prevoz (Searching- offering transport) Facebook group.

Transportation - Get Around

You can have your bike fixed á la minute at the Bike Servis Shop , in the Ul. Gundulićeva 104 - next to the football stadion. Tel. 051/301-470. Another bike shop is 5 doors down in the row of buildings.

The tourist office owns fifteen rental bicycles, which are maintained by the above bike shop. Rental: 1 KM/hour, or 15 KM/day.

Car rental

  • Rentacar Omega: Ul. 1 Krajiškog Korpusa 58, tel. 065/610-040 or 065/777-888, 60KM per day, 55KM if longer than 3 days, etc.






The local currency is the Convertible Mark (KM), which is tied to the Euro at a rate of approx. 2KM to 1€. Convertible Mark coins come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50 pfenings and 1, 2, 5 Marks while banknotes come in 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 Marks. Many establishments (especially hotels) accept Euros (notes only). ATMs are all over the place with MasterCard, Visa and other offshoots being accepted. Credit Cards such as Visa, MasterCard and Diners Club are readily accepted by larger establishments all over the country. When changing money, it is best to ask for small bills as shops often are hard-pressed for change. Traveler cheques can be readily changed at Raiffeisen and Zagrebačka Banks.


It is not compulsory to tip in Banja Luka, though a reward of about 10% for good service in restaurant or bar is always appreciated.


You can get local, handicraft souvenirs for example at the shop of association "Duga". All items there are made of natural materials by traditional technologies, and are decorated with ornaments from original traditional clothing from the area of Dinara. Their collection contains: ethno souvenirs, decorative products and clothing. Address: Etnoradionica "Duga", Kralja Petra I Karađorđevića 88 (the same street as the city hall) [www] All of the handicrafts are produced in an ethical manner and by purchasing them you will help Duga to continue providing aid to all of its beneficiaries and support to other local humanitarian projects.

Next to Kastel is also a souvenir shop, look for the big "Suvenir"-sign.


Traditional Food

If you like meat, you'll love Banja Luka. Meat is a standard for any meal. However, there is still lots of interesting meals you can make do if you are a vegetarian.

Here is a list of the most popular traditional dishes:

  • Ćevapi - small meat sausages of pork, lamb and beef mix. They are usually served with fresh onions and pita bread (lepinja) on the side. Ćevapi usually come in pointer finger size sausages and are offered by five or ten pieces, although the variety commonly found in Banja Luka (banjalučki ćevap) usually consists of quadrangular pieces of meat.
  • Pita - traditional pies, e.g., burek (with meat, which is different than in Serbia!),krompirusa (potato), sirnica (cheese) zeljanica (spinach), tikve (courgette) or withgljive (mushrooms). Normally, krompirusa and tikve are vegan (no animal products). You'd eat your pita with yoghurt (not vegan)
  • Bamija - a dish of meat cooked with Okra, a traditional vegetable.
  • Sarma - meat and rice rolled in cabbage or grape leaves.
  • Prasetina - pork grilled over an open fire.
  • Teletina - is veal, usually served in cutlets. Veal in B&H is not produced by locking calves in a cage to ensure softer meat.
  • Janjetina - lamb grilled over an open fire.
  • Musaka - a meat pie made of minced beef, very similar to shepherds pie.
  • Filovane paprike - fried peppers stuffed with minced meat and spices.
  • Pršut - air dried ham, similar to Italian proscuitto.
  • Suho Meso - dried meat, either beef or pork.
  • "Ispod Sača" - similar to Dutch oven. A metal dish is placed on hot coals, the food is placed in the dish and covered by a lid which is then completely covered in hot coals and left to bake.
  • Vlašićki Sir - similar to Travnički cheese. It is a highland cheese from the mountain villages on Vlašić Mountain in central Bosnia.
  • Mladi Sir - Cottage cheese. It has a soft texture and is unsalted. Oftentimes it is served with a cream sauce on top. It is very healthy.
  • Kajmak - is analogous to clotted cream in the UK. The top layer of fat skimmed from milk, it is creamy and extremely tasty. Kajmak and Uštipak (doughnut type roll) is a wonderful appetizer.
  • Iz mjeha - sheep milk poured into a specially sewn sheep skin 'bag'. After a time the dry cheese is taken out of the skin container and the result is a strong, dry cheese that resembles real Parmesan.


  • Pite pod Sača 'Sač'Patrijarha Makarija Sokolovica 4 (next to Ferhadija, behind mediamarket), +387 65 706-145. 08:00-20:00. Where the Albanian cooks prepare pita in the traditional way, under the Sač, a steel lid covered with burning cinders... best in town! ~4KM/kg.
  • Kod Muje, grill near Kozara cinema, is by many, the place with best ćevapčići in city.
  • Restoran Obala,  +387 51219 652. Jesenjinova 26 on the River Vrbas, good local food, very nice location.
  • Restoran Sirano
  • Restoran Ognjištefax: +387 51 436 333. Josifa Pančića br.2, tel/. Ethna Food, Serbian National Food, Ethno Shop.
  • Restoran Borac,  +387 51 328 530. Vidovdanska 53 at Football stadium.


  • Kazamat (Kазамат). In one of the cellars of the old Tvrdjava Kastel, with English menu's, decent wine, several vegetarian alternatives (only part of the Tropic Club-chain!) tel.: 051/224-466, 051/224-460. approx. 50 Km for three course meal with drinks. Open daily 11-23h.
  • Integra Restaurant. On the 14th floor of the RTRS building (RTV dom, РТВ дом), build by the Integra company for the Integra company, right next to the building of the Vlada (the governemnt) of the RS. You might be sitting next to President Dodik signing oil deals with the Russians. tel. 051/337 430, Trg Republike Srpske 8.
  • Citadela, in Gospodska street, the main shopping street. On the ground floor a cake and coffee shop, in the basement a traditional restaurant, and on the first floor another. Good quality.
  • Mala Stanica,  +387 51 326-730. the old train station, now right at the foot of the Vlada (government building). European style, amazing souffles. Kralja Petra I

Coffe & Drink


Rakia or Rakija is considered to be a national drink. Its alcohol content is normally 40%, but home-produced rakia can be a tongue burner, typically 50 to 60%! Frequently used as a common drink at all celebrations, birthdays, holy holidays, slava (Orthodox Christian custom of honoring a patron saint) and even funerals. Common flavors are slivovitz, traditionally made from plums and lozova, which is made from grapes. But, you can also distill from pears, peaches, apricots, apples, figs and cherries. Plum and grape rakia are sometimes mixed with other ingredients, such as herbs, honey, sour cherries and walnuts after distillation.

Nektar pivo is the local beer, brewed in Banja Luka.

Sights & Landmarks

There are many historic things to see in the city of Banja Luka.

  • Kastel fortress on the bank of the Vrbas river with history up to Roman ages.
  • Ferhat-Pasha Mosque (Ferhat-pašina džamija), (also called Ferhadija mosque) This example of Islamic 16th century architecture was built during the time of the Ottoman rule. Built in 1579 it has a central fountain called Shaderwan, stone and iron fence. It is built in the classical Ottoman style. Ferhadija was listed as a cultural heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1950. Later it was protected byUNESCO until destroyed in 1993. The site and the remains of the mosque today are a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the mosque is under reconstruction.
  • Cathedral of Saint Bonaventure Built in 1887, the 1969 earthquake leveled the church. The current cathedral was built in 1974.
  • Banski Dvor (Governor’s Palace) in center of the city. Built in 1930's. A concert hall and gallery. This is the main cultural center [www].
  • Monastery of Gomionica from 16th century near Banja Luka. Monastery has the collection of ancient icons from 18th century.
  • The Trapist monastery, close to Pivara Banjaluka. The monastery is the only trapist monastery in the Western Balkans and it was reopened in 2008. It is known for its home-made wines and cheese.
    Address: Slatinska 1 (on the road to Slatina) [www]

And contemporary things:

  • Gospodska street Actually Veselin Masleša street, is the main street of city with shops, offices and cafes (on bottom) alongside. Recommended time to visit, because of its liveliness, is during day on Saturdays whole day, and between 12h and 14h on workdays. During evenings visit on Fridays and Sundays or each day in the case of nice weather.
  • Dom Omladine [www], Đure Danićića 1. The "youth centre" run by the local youth council, with regular concerts, performances, expo's, workshops, etc. (currently cloded due to local politics)
  • Christ the Saviour Churchlocated in the downtown.. This church is in the city's center, and it is one of the most expensive and most beautiful churches in the region.

Things to do

Banja Luka is a city with the rich night life. The best place for night occasion is Kruna club [www] at the top of merchant building in Gospodska street. Others are Opium in basement of hotel Bosna , cafe Focus in bottom of Gospodska street.

  • Boom Boom RoomVeselina Maslese 15-17(Gospodska ulica)+387 66 610 000. In a town where folk music is a general trend,Boom Boom Room is the first club in Banja Luka offering unique,world-like atmosphere,playing exclusively DJ electronic music. Located in the very heart of the city,open W-Sa
  • Demofest klub (DFK), Patre 5 (entrance across the street from Kastel). offers a colourfull programme with diverse music, live gigs from various bands, all genres of music except folk, decent afterparties and average drink prices.
  • MarketKnjasa Milosa (Right next to the busstation). 8-14h. The market, close to the bus- and train station is worth your while. Seems to be coming straight from the countryside, each day of the week in the morning you can buy everything you need there, from vegetables to hardware to second hand freezers. On Sunday cars are on sale - and an occasional French-plated Mercedes, on Tuesdays livestock.
  • Take a Dajak tour over the Vrbas from ("Zeleni most" - Prvi mlin - Kastel - "Zeleni most"), 20 KM/one person; 25 KM/two persons, 30 KM/three persons, (maximum: three persons for one boat) Contact numbers: 065/517-261 or 065/566-139. 
  • Multipleks Palas (Cinema), Trg Krajina (underneath Boska),  +387 51 217 409. Cinema Palas with your fair amount of blockbusters and some local movies.
  • Restoran Slap (Swim), Novoselija (Go to the east shore of the Vrbas, and continue the road all the way south until you come to Novoselija  ).Restaurant Slap (Waterfall) lies next to a small barrage in the Vrbas and it is excellent swimming there on hot summer days when the water is not too high.
  • Charitable organization DugaKralja Petra I Karađorđevića 88 (between the Government building and the Tobacco Factory, sharing the yard with a kindergarten),  +387 51 307 - 866. If you are interested in the traditional arts and crafts of the region, Duga can offer fantastic learning opportunities to you. Contact Duga and arrange a visit where you can watch and learn from local craftspeople as they conduct live demonstrations of a wide range of handicrafts including weaving, crocheting, embroidery and knitting. You will be able to have a “hands on” experience and a chance to learn new skills in the process.

Festivals and events

  • Demofest. Festival of alternative music, usually lasting three days, consisting of two different parts: each evening there is a contest of demo bands, with two semifinal nights and the finals, which are held on the third day of the festival, and concerts of bands with more reputation following each part of the contest.
  • Banjalukanima. Animaton films, October
  • Kratkofil. Festival of short films in summer
  • Neofest. Pop music, organised from Dom Omladine

Things to know


In Banja Luka most locals call their language Serbian, although there are plenty of people who refer to the language as Bosnian, BHS, or simply as 'Naš' (our [language]). Anyway, those languages are virtually the same. Sometimes you'll find (road)signs written in Cyrillic.

Safety in Banja Luka


Very High / 9.8

Safety (Walking alone - day)

Very High / 9,0

Safety (Walking alone - night)

Bosnia and Herzegovina - Travel guide