The Vrbas flows roughly south to north right through the heart of Banja Luka. It is the hub of endless activity during the summer months for boaters, swimmers, anglers or the vast majority of citizens who delight in taking strolls along its banks. Walking in Banja Luka seems to be one of the main past times and the Vrbas is a favourite spot for this. During the warm summer months the banks of the river will be filled with people walking. Although there are some really good paths along the length of the river it isn't possible to walk along the entire length within the city. The views of the Kastel fortress and the low hanging willow trees dipping into the water are really stunning. My favourite part of the Vrbas however is not in Banja Luka itself but about a half hour (by car) up stream in the village of Krupa na Vrbas. This is an excellent spot for swimming and picnicking. The local Canyon rafting club which you will pass on the way often uses Krupa as the launching point for its excellent White Water Rafting Tours down the Vrbas. I would recommend swimming at this point instead of in the city because I have noticed a number of sewage outfalls pumping horrible looking brown water into the river at more populated points along the river within the city. So best avoided in my opinion and opt for what I think is the cleaner water up stream. Driving to Krupa from Banja Luka you also get a view of the spectacular canyon which the Vrabas has managed to erode over thousands of years. It is particularly beautiful and the river below has been used for the European White Water Rafting championships in recent years and every summer there is some sort of canoeing or rafting event. The river is teeming with wildlife and fishermen young and old trying their luck. The water in the canyon is very cold and very clear - although with a strong healthy green character to it. So I couldn't recommend the Vrbas highly enough. You can spend days and hours exploring its banks and interesting sights, crossing the many bridges along its path in the city or sitting along its banks in one of the many cafes you will find.
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