Mladen Tomic’s Insider Guide To Banja Luka (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Mladen’s DJ career began way back in 1999, when he joined forces with Sinisa Tamamovic to promote events in Banja Luka and toured the Western Balkans. Here he shares the places to check out in his homeland.
Our most important and the most recognizable food in Banja Luka is ‘Banjalucki Cevap’. You must try it if you visit Banja Luka and there are many nice places to eat this, but my suggestion is ‘A&D Rostiljnica’ (The Barbecue Restaurant), ‘Obelix’ and ‘Kod Muje’. There is also ‘Leskovacki rostilj’ with a great ‘Pljeskavica’. I brought Svan Vath last Year in ‘A&D’ and he really liked and enjoyed it.
If you want to try Bosnia pies, there is an amazing meat pie called ‘Burek’ and for me the best place is ‘Pite ispod saca’ (pie under the sach) located by the famous mosque Ferhadija. All this food is not expensive with a price range from 3/4 to 5/6 EUR. Great burger, steak or pasta you can find in ‘Kodiak Burger & Steak Bar’, but in case that you prefer more fancy places, there are couple of great restaurants for lunch or dinner with great menus and choice from sea foods to meat like ‘Lovacki bar’, ‘Mala stanica’, ‘Gatsby’ or ‘Monogram’ and in this restaurants you can expect a little bit higher prices.
There are a lot of nice bars to have a coffee or drink in a great atmosphere inside during the winter or nice outdoor gardens during the spring/summer/autumn, like ‘Kadar’, ‘Pause’, ‘Istok’, ‘Eklektik’, ‘MacTire Pub’ and ‘Kafeterija 5’ with the best cappuccino and a great selection of coffees. It’s in our culture to have a break from work or study in the middle of the day and go to the bar for a long coffee.
There is a lack of underground clubs at the moment and the only event place where you can go for a regular techno event until 4am is ‘DKC Incel’ venue, located in the industrial zone out of the city center. During the summer, there are more choices for outdoor events like ‘Fortress Kastel’ or ‘Vrbas Kamp’. The best and the biggest event is ‘Fresh Wave Festival’ where you can hear some of the best electronic music artists from the world. This festival is organizing in the 2nd week in August at ‘Fortress Kastel’ and in 2022 Year celebrated its 10th Year anniversary.
There are a couple of bars where you can listen to quality local DJ’s like ‘Hogwarts’, ‘KSET Pab’, ‘Funky House’, ‘Kadar’ or ‘Ziza’. If you like house music or pop music, you must visit the legendary ‘Boom Boom Room’ club, located in ‘Gospodska’ street in the city center which is always crowded, starting from Wednesday and over the weekend.
River ‘Vrbas’ is our main and beautiful river that flows the entire city and you can find many very nice places by the river for walking or chilling out, especially during the spring/summer time. Also there is a ‘Fortress Kastel’ for walking and chill out during the day or central city area called ‘Parkic’ which is great for walking or having a drink in many bars over there. In just 10-15 minutes drive out from the city you can find some great places to chill out and enjoy nature by the river, like ‘Vrbas Kamp’ or Krupa na Vrbasu. We have an excellent viewpoint over the city called ‘Banj Brdo’, which is about a 30 minutes walk away from the city. You can enjoy an amazing view of the city, fresh air and nature in the middle of the woods.
There are many great places to visit in only one hour drive from the Banja Luka city, where you can enjoy in beautiful Bosnian nature, fresh air or long walks, like mountains ‘Kozara’, ‘Vlasic’, ‘Waterfall in Jajce’, ‘Manjaca’ etc..
Best things to do whilst you’re there
Banja Luka city can offer a great choice of pretty cheap food, drinks, bars, restaurants and a great night life. But also if you like nature and adrenaline sports, I can suggest rafting on the Vrbas river organized and provided by ‘Rafting Klub Kanjon’, which organized ‘Rafting World Championship 2022’. Also ‘Fortress Kastel’ is located in the city center and during the summer there are many different events.