Few cities can lay claim to as central a regional spot as Banja Luka. This is the heart of the Balkans, a vital city easily accessible from Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia alike. The city has good regional bus and rail links, but improvements will need to be made to the stations as the number of tourists increase. The international airport is well ahead on this front, slowly improving along with the extra visitors coming through the gate. There is some way to go, but Banja Luka’s transport facilities are in place to make the necessary refinements.
Getting There & Around
Arriving by air
The Banja Luka International Airport, also know as Mahovljani Airport, after the village of the same name, is located 23km from the city of Banja Luka. The airport has flights connecting Banja Luka with Belgrade served by JAT Airlines, Sarajevo and Zurich served by B&H Airlines and Salzburg, Stuttgart and Tivat served by the cheap airline AustroJet. At the airport, a tourist information centre is available where you can pick up city maps, a currency exchange office and an ATM along with several shops to buy SIM cards. A taxi to Banja Luka will cost about 20KM, taking about 30 minutes, buses to town run frequently and take about 45 minutes. Purchase your ticket on the bus.
Arriving by bus
All national and international buses arrive at the central bus station, which lies directly in front of the main train station. Getting to town is the same as described by train.
Arriving by train
Most national towns in Bosnia and Herzegovina are connected by train with Banja Luka along with a train service to Zagreb, Croatia and an overnight train runs to Belgrade (22.50KM, nine hours, 9:15pm). Unfortunately, an ATM cash machine does not seem to be in the vicinity so make sure you arrive prepared. There are regular bus services to and from the train station as well as a taxi rank. A Tourist Information Centre is available in the station as well as a service for left luggage.