Banja Luka is the second largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the capital of the Republika Srpska entity. It is located in the northwestern part of the country. The city lies on the Vrbas River. Banja Luka is now a regional center of business, education, arts and culture. The population is estimated to be between 250 and 300 thousand people. The city is mostly know for its urban green areas; avenues, alleys and parks.
Although Banja Luka has suffered from an earthquake in 1969 and mosques being blown up in 1993, the city has some historic sights to visit, such as the Cathedral of Saint Bonaventure, the Governor’s Palace, the Ferhat-Pasha Monastry and the fortress Kastel. The fortress was built by Ancient Romans and is also used by Ottomans.
Banja Luka has a rich nightlife. It also has numerous cultural events. Most visited and popular are Banja Luka Theater Festival, Fashion Week and Summer Festival. In the summer you can enjoy live bands playing in outdoors venues. The region is filled with pools, thermal springs and spas. The Vrbas river is perfect for different water sports, including rafting and kayaking. You can also go fishing, rock climbing and hiking along the canyon of the Vrbas River.
Travelers to Banja Luka need a valid passport and return ticket. American citizens don’t need a visa to visit the city. The warmest time to visit Banja Luka is in July. The city has a continental climate with warm summers and harsh winters.