Rising to the North of Dubrovnik, Croatia is the hill of Srd. It creates a striking vista when you view Dubrovnik from the sea (as it’s many cruise visitors do) You can scale the hill on foot, and many people do, or you can take the easy route and jump on the cable car.
The Cable Car Station
The Dubrovnik cable car was built in 1969, rebuilt after the war, and is the only cable car in the Adriatic. It’s quite a small station at it’s lower terminus. You enter and purchase a ticket on the way into the queue. We visited in June and the queue was only twenty deep, but I can imagine that it would be heaving mid-August.
It’s worth deciding whether you are going one way or want a return as you’ll save about a third if you book your whole return now.
The Cable Car Ascent
Squeeze in! The car isn’t very large and they like to fill it. They ask that you don’t move around too much once inside the car so make sure you get a good spot by the window. We squeezed up to the West facing window so we could see out across the city whilst also seeing up and down the hill.
This quite a speedy cable car. You will climb in just under four minutes. We were busy filming the ascent and before we knew it, we had arrived. Whoops, no photos!
The original plan was to take a seat in the Panorama restaurant for a drink or two. This spot has a killer view combined with high(ish) end dining. The prices are as high as the hill. It turned out that it was full however, and so we scrapped that idea and just took in the view from the station building.
You get almost 360° views up there from the terrace. It’s a lovely look down over the terracotta roofs of the old town, suddenly so tiny below you. You can see the boats lined up in the harbour and the huge cruise ships floating like bath toys. Sometimes these views are so far off that things become abstract but it is still close enough to pick things out.
From here you also get a good view of the rest of town, the bit Dubrovnikans(!?) actually live in. Due to the noise, overcrowding and lack of decent services in the old town, the permanent population has decreased by 80% in the last 25 years. This means that nearly the whole place is full of Sobe rooms (rooms to rent).
Looking East you have a view of more sweeping hills, it wouldn’t have been the most exciting vista but the having the clouds spread across the sky like cotton wool made it especially beautiful.
Exit the station, down the stairs, and you emerge onto the hill itself. Now it’s time to explore.
In 1991-95 Dubrovnik was involved in the battle for Croatia’s independence. The city was besieged for over a year and Srd was stripped of its pine forest. It was in this war that the original hill top station was destroyed.
Heading West you will pass the huge communication tower and the Imperial Fort. The fort was built in 1812 by the French, upgraded by the Austrians and remained in use until 1882. In the 1980’s it was used as a night club, what a view to dance to!
During the war in the early 1990’s the fort was once again put to its proper use when it was utilised to protect Dubrovnik from Serbian and Montenegrin forces. Croatia had declared independence from Yugoslavia but it’s Serbian inhabitants and the Yugoslav government didn’t want them to go. There was a huge siege of Dubrovnik. Here on Srd, a small number of men fought and maintained their position, despite being vastly outnumbered. The fort became a symbol of the city’s fortitude.
The fort now houses the Museum of Croatian War of Independence. We had already seen quite a lot about it in other exhibitions and so we decided not to go in. I have heard that it’s very good and worth a look though.
We had decided to save some money and walk back down the path. It runs in a series of switchbacks back down towards the city. I can imagine that climbing up would be pretty hard going, especially in the sun. If you do want to try it, bring lots of water and some seriously sturdy shoes. The path is covered in pointy rocks that aren’t kind to footwear. I kept stopping to grab extra photos of the suns last gasps of glory. It was such a dramatic sky and it was kind of addictive.
The lights of Dubrovnik came on and began to light up the houses in the distance. There was no lighting on the path however, so I’m glad we didn’t hang around any longer at the top. We had to get our phone torches out when we reached the wooded section at the bottom of the hill. There is about five minutes of this before you join up with the roads and steps of the town.
I thought the cable car was great fun, and combined with the surrounding hill offered more than the average. Usually you wander around and have a nice view, but Srd offers a cable car, interesting history and a KILLER sunset to boot. I would highly recommend it to anyone.