Banja Luka in my heart, Vrbas in my veins - local saying.
In Banja Luka architecture is alluring, but the real value of this place is its abundant & awe-inspiring nature, accompanied by its high-thrilling adventures. No other city in the region can be compared to Banja Luka in terms of waters and greenery. Known as a “paradise valley” and the greenest city in Bosnia & Herzegovina, this place will invite you to stroll through its natural loveliness. On the top of this comes the mesmerizing Vrbas River, famous for its 50 shades of green, making it one of the most beautiful watercourses in the country.
This mountainous river, whose name comes from the word ‘willow’, due to numerous willow trees along the river banks, meanders through the heart of Banja Luka splitting the city gently in two. But not that far from the city and its rather calm appearance, the scenery is pretty much different. On its way from Jajce to Banja Luka, Vrbas has created a marvellous canyon with plentiful of waterfalls, cascades and rapids. Known as an adrenalin paradise, it offers limitless opportunities for rafting, kayaking, canoeing, or just simply hiking & climbing. Not to forget fishing lovers, as the river is rich with rare and endemic sorts of fishes.
If you want to go for a totally new experience, very typical for Vrbas River only, you should take a ride on the boat called Dayak. It is a local unique boat, that will bring you on an amazing upstream tour of Vrbas River.
Since ever, Vrbas River has been the main vein of Banja Luka’s life, its real raison d’être. No wonder that locals always strive to be close to the river. In summer, the banks are full of sunbathers and swimmers looking for the refreshment. A local particularity is free jumps from one of the main bridges in the city. In spring and in autumn, you will meet a lot of couples or mothers with children, walking along the banks. In winter, there is a local tradition that men (mainly younger) jump into the water in January.
However, the most popular activity among the locals is actually dining or just coffee drinking in one of countless restaurants and cafés situated on the river banks. Escaping the hustle & bustle of the city, searching for a natural surrounding, is always a good excuse to enjoy the Vrbas River and its 50 shades of green.
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