After some late evening planning with a local tour company the night before, we had secured our main activity for our second day in Banja Luka. We were being picked up at our Airbnb apartment by a driver and guide from Good Host Banja Luka for a tour to Krupa na Vrbasu. After a short morning walk around the block, with the goal to find some coffee for Susann, we were picked up at 11.
We had three destinations for the tour, the hot springs south of Banja Luka, The Ethno Village of Ljubačke Doline as well as the main stop at the falls of Krupa na Vrbasu.
Hot Springs of Srpske Toplice
The popular way of describing the city’s name is to point at the modern words “banja” meaning bath or spa and “luka” translated to port. In other words, when in Banja Luka you’re a the spa port along the river Vrbas. There is, of course, a lot of possibilities in regards to the origin of the name.
Bath or spa was, however, the first thing that came to mind during our first stop in Srpske Toplice, just south of the city. This is where you find some really beautiful hot springs. Small pools along the riverside collect the water from the springs before it flows into the main river. This really is the area spa and if it wouldn’t have been December we assume that there would have been more visitors.
Ethno Village Ljubačke Doline
Approximately 17 kilometers from Banja Luka you find the Ethno Village of Ljubačke Doline. Located in the village of Ljubačevo, the Ethno Village offers an insight into the lives of the past. The Ethno Village contains a historical re-enactment of a historic community. The buildings in the village and the furniture should be as it was in the late 19th century and early 20th century.
After a walk around the village, we enjoyed a stop at the tavern for a small drink. We could choose between coffee and the local rakija – a fruit brandy from the Balkans that should not be confused with the anise-flavored alcoholic drink found further south. According to Susann, the local coffee was pretty tasty, too.
The Waterfalls of Krupa na Vrbasu
After the Ethno Village, we were heading to our main destination, Krupa na Vrbasu. This is a small village south of Banja Luka where the river Krupa meets the larger river Vrbas. It is famous for its waterfalls and monastery. The falls are one of the main attractions around Banja Luka, even though it still doesn’t see as many tourists as other areas.
The waterfalls of Krupa run down the small river along the old historical watermills. The mills are still in use to produce floor, even though it is not in any bigger quantity.
We spent some time enjoying the beautiful falls and trying some traditional fried bread that we cannot remember the name of. We later took a walk upstream along the river. Considering that it was December, we were really lucky to be able to enjoy some sunshine and temperatures above average.
The Krupa na Vrbasu Tour with Good Host Banja Luka
We usually don’t use tour companies when traveling, trying to get around by ourselves. There are occasions when we disregard this rule of ours. It happened a few times in The Gambia with trips to Fathala and Juffureh, in Namibia with a tour to Etosha National Park, In South Africa with a tour around the Cape Point, and in Georgia with tours to Kazbegi and Vardzia.
Banja Luka was another one of those destinations when the tours made life so much simpler and gave us the possibility to explore more during a short visit. We came across Good Host Banja Luka online and they were fast with responding to our questions the night before. Some good advice, keep your expectations based on the country that you are visiting and not where you come from and you will be able to enjoy it. You will most likely not be sitting in a new BMW or Volvo when traveling in Bosnia, but you will do so in relative comfort. The guides were good and helpful, and they also told us quite a bit about life in Bosnia.