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The Quiet Adventures of Banja Luka Come to whl.travel

Tucked away in a quiet northwest corner of Bosnia-Herzegovina lies one of the last untouched natural ecosystems in Europe, the unspoiled countryside of Banja Luka,

 
Sept. 3, 2011 - PRLog -- Tucked away in a quiet northwest corner of Bosnia-Herzegovina lies one of the last untouched natural ecosystems in Europe. While that sounds like something many tour companies say these days about their own homes, you would be hard pressed to find more unspoiled countryside than that around Banja Luka, where lack of easy access and limited infrastructure once halted the usual tourist swell to this region. Nowadays, though, under the careful guidance of Zepter Passport, the new whl.travel local connection in this part of the world, Banja Luka is now opening up a little.

Fortunately deeply dedicated to preserving the natural beauty of Bosnia-Herzegovina (http://www.thetravelword.com/category/countries/bosnia-and-herzegovina-countries/), Zepter Passport has taken careful steps to make sure that human impact is minimal in Banja Luka. In some ways, this has been helped by the company’s relative youth, which means that it doesn’t have many bad habits to work against. It can really help steer Banja Luka on a greener path toward the future.

Travellers to Banja Luka therefore suffer only an embarrassment of riches, deciding between the incredible variety of exciting things to see and do. While Banja Luka city has its share of clubs and bars, old fortresses, presidential palaces, funky cafes, oh-so-hip student eateries and stunning locals (it’s reputed to be home of some of the world’s most beautiful women), visiting the outlying region is perfect for what some might call ‘quiet adventure.’

Banja Luka River Systems

The area surrounding Banja Luka includes lush forests in which there is a smattering of tiny villages and more wildlife than people. Feeding all this verdure, though, is a complex river system that is teeming with fish and other aquatic creatures, and arguably the main draw of this tiny pocket of the world.

+ The Pliva River, known for its spectacular multicoloured waters and large grayling fish, attracts fly-fishers from all over the globe.
+ The Una River was given its name, meaning the ‘only one,’ by Roman explorers. This intricate system of waterfalls, rapids and calm waters shelters unique species of fish and plants.
+ The Unac River brims with rainbow and brown trout. This mountain river is famous for its twilight activity, when the majority of its fish and flowers spring to life.
+ The Ribnik is the wildest river in the Banja Luka region and home to the largest grayling in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Snag one of these cunning fish and claim the ultimate trophy.
+ The Sanica is a tiny tributary of the larger Sana River, but it makes up for its size with the sheer weight of its fish population: 70 percent of the region’s grayling population can be found here, while the rest is brown trout.
+ The Krusnica River’s waters are diamond clear, sourced from a nearby mountain spring that is absolutely pure (don’t be timid about drinking from these waters). Near Banja Luka, the spring reaches a depth of nearly 120 meters, allowing for a wider variance of wildlife and larger fish.
+ The Neretva River has one of the richest instances of soil erosion in the Balkans due to seven nearby mountain peaks and a vast tangle of tributaries. It is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful fly-fishing spots in the world and is said to have the most copious flow of any waterway draining into the Adriatic Sea. A wide variety of fish flourish in the Neretva, from brown and marble trout to grayling, softmouth and lat.

Active Adventures

With such a rich complex of rivers, Banja Luka draws back angling enthusiasts year after year, especially fly-fishers. Fly-fishing entails multiple casts of an artificial insect or ‘fly’ using a nearly weightless fishing line. It’s a practice that requires significant deliberation and skill and has consequently often been dubbed ‘the contemplative man’s recreation.’

Fly-fishing tours (http://www.banja-luka-hotels.com/banja-luka-activities) led by Zepter Passport are strictly catch-and-release only. Barbless hooks are mandatory, making their removal easy after a trophy photo is taken so that the fish can be released back, unharmed, into the water.

For non-anglers and anyone else taking a break from the rivers, the surrounding landscape offers a great mix of activities. Traverse the Kozara mountain system and look out over the entire western half of Bosnia; raft down the Vrbas River, one of Europe’s best and the site of the World Rafting Championship in 2009; or, for a piece of Banja Luka’s cultural history, explore the country’s rich ethnic and religious history by foot and visit the numerous monasteries dotting the countryside.

Banja Luka’s weather draws visitors year round to the city and the region’s main draw – the vast, wild countryside of Bosnia-Herzegovina. In support of this, a wide variety of Banja Luka hotels is available, both in and outside the city, from budget to luxurious.
Though the term ‘getting away from it all’ has been overused, Banja Luka, while hardly remote, is admirable in its ability to live up to its promises. For example, any map of Banja Luka reveals a sense of a city so isolated yet so close to Europe’s hotspots that it is serviced by most European airports. Fortunately, the few local travel companies operating in Banja Luke have made sincere efforts to protect the natural beauty.

http://www.banja-luka-hotels.com is the latest Bosnia-Herzegovina destination to join the whl.travel network, following Medjugorje and Sarajevo.

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The Travel Word is the online mouthpiece of the WHL Group and draws on a vast pool of ideas generated by local tour operators, partners, suppliers and more. Our blog - http://www.thetravelword.com - showcases responsible, sustainable and local travel. We are committed to inspiring mindful and independent travellers headed off the beaten path with local businesses making responsible and sustainable decisions about their destinations. Through anecdotes, articles, profiles, opinion pieces and news, our local voices aim to inform travellers about unique and ethical ways to experience a destination, travel responsibly and help sustain the distinctive qualities of a place.
Contact: media@thetravelword.com

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