Banja Luka Flights:
Flights to Banja Luka
Banja Luka is Bosnia and Herzegovina’s second largest city and it’s a pretty place filled with interesting architecture, parks and tree-lined streets.
Though there is an airport in Banja Luka, the Banja Luka International Airport (airport code: BNX), the service is quite limited and you won’t be able to get a flight to Banja Luka from South Africa. Airlines offering more local flights to Banja Luka seem to keep changing as well so you’re next best airport is in Croatia, at the Zagreb Airport (code: ZAG), a 2-hour drive from Banja Luka. Turkish Airlines has a flight to Zagreb that stops in Istanbul, and Lufthansa makes their connection in Frankfurt. Alternatively, Virgin Atlantic will stop twice, in London and Munich.
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The Tourist Attractions of Banja Luka:
Banja Luka has a lot going for it as a tourist destination. There are historical attractions and landmarks to visit, parks and culture to experience, and a great many things to see and do in the region surrounding the city too, so you could use Banja Luka as a base for exploring the rest of this part of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In Banja Luka itself, here are some of the major landmarks that are most popular with tourists…
Banja Luka was first mentioned in 1494 though there’s evidence of the city having been inhabited during Roman times which includes the city’s old Kastel Fortress. Not all of the structure you see here today dates from Roman times but excavations have shown Roman evidence. The fortress is in a central location and overlooks the Vrbas River.
Svetog Proroka Ilije Monastery
Though not as old as the original fortress, another of Banja Luka’s oldest structures is the Serbian Orthodox Monastery of Svetog Proroka Ilije (St. Elijah). This monastery was built in 1316. Another later monastery is a popular attraction – the Monastery of Gomionica near Banja Luka. This dates from the 16th century and features a collection of antique artefacts.
Cathedral of St Bonaventure
The original Cathedral of St Bonaventure dates from 1887 but was unfortunately destroyed by an earthquake in 1969. The cathedral was quickly rebuilt and was completed again in 1974. The bell tower of the cathedral is very space-age!
Ferhat Pasha Mosque
The Ferhat Pasha Mosque (also known as Ferhadija Mosque) was a central landmark within the city of Banja Luka. It featured classical Ottoman architecture and was built in 1579 then listed as a cultural heritage site in 1950, then protected by UNESCO until 1993 when, during the Bosnian War it was destroyed along with many other religious sites in the country for the purpose of ethnic cleansing. Now the ruins of the mosque is listed as a national monument.
Eating and Drinking in Banja Luka
Banja Luka is known for its lively nightlife and offers several popular clubs as well as bars and cafés that are also lively. Eating out is great if you like meat as many of the local dishes use meat, though there are still plenty of non-meat dishes if you’re a vegetarian!
When Should You Visit?:
Banja Luka is best visited for sightseeing during the summer as the city has a continental climate that means winters are quite cold. July is the warmest month of the year when the average temperature is 21.3C.