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Walk Up Mount Srd – Free Dubrovnik Cable Car Alternative

sunset over dubrovnik from mount srd

When we visited Dubrovnik, we really wanted to get to the top of Mount Srd but were put off by the high costs to ride the cable car. So, we did a bit of research to find a walking track to take you up the 415m high mountain. Here’s what you need to know about walking up Mount Srd, a free alternative to the cable car.

When you visit Dubrovnik you’ll immediately notice the cable car running from the north of the city walls all the way to the peak of Mount Srd. It’s a very popular activity for tourists, as the views from the top are highly rewarding and with the convenience of the cable car who wouldn’t want to give it a go?

mount srd and cable car from dubrovnik old town

While a cable car ride is always fun, it can also be expensive. The Dubrovnik Cable Car cost 170hrk per adult return ride, and 90hrk for a single journey. That’s a lot of money at nearly £20 to ride a 3.5 minute journey!! Plus, there are times when the cable car is not operating such as poor weather.

With Google at our fingertips, we looked into free alternatives to the Dubrovnik cable car. With a bit of effort, we discovered a brilliant hiking trail instead. We set off, picnic in arms, ready to conquer this hike!

How to get to Mount Srd from Dubrovnik Old Town

Hiking Mount Srd

There are two routes to reach the summit of Mount Srd by foot.

Switchbacks

Personally, I think this is the most adventurous way to walk up Mount Srd. You’ll benefit from quiet staircases through residential parts of the city until you reach the dense forest. Being immersed with the natural landscape is both so refreshing and invigorating. you’ll take 14 switchbacks as you zig zag your way to the top along unpaved stone paths. But those views will be worth it!

man walks up mount srd hiking track beneath cable car

We chose to take this route because it avoided walking along the main roads that are without pavements.

  1. Make your way from the city walls to the Dubrovnik Cable Car office on Ul. kralja Petra Krešimira IV
  2. Walk up one of the staircases uphill, ideally up Ul. od Srda
  3. Take a right to stay on Ul. od Srda
  4. Make your way left onto Gornji Kono
  5. Continue along this road/alleyway until you reach the main road, Ul. Pera Bakica, and cross straight over to continue on Gornji Kono
  6. Take a right onto Stolacka Ul. up the steps until you reach Jadranska Cesta (the main highway)
  7. Slightly to the right on the main highway is the start of the track. Cross the street safely to walk up the track under the trees
  8. The Footpath to the walking track will be signposted and is found near a bus stop and car park spaces, nestled into the trees

    start of mount srd walking track

    Start of Mount Srd track

  9. Take the track with 15 switchbacks until you come to the side of the fortress atop the mountain
  10. Walk around the building and voila, you can explore the top of Mount Srd!

This route take just over 1 hour (maybe 1 hour 10 minutes) to reach the top of Mount Srd. 

Things to know about the Mount Srd track:
  • You’ll be sheltered from the sun at the start of the track which is covered with trees. It also becomes very peaceful as you move further from the road.

mount srd walk through trees

 

  • Once you leave the forest section, the dirt path becomes a loose stone track.
  • The switchbacks are hard going because you cover a steep incline of in a short space of time. However, you can rest at each corner and the path is wide enough to allow for others to pass if necessary.
  • An interesting part of this track is that at each hairpin corner you’re met with one of 14 Stations of the Cross depicting Jesus carrying the cross.

cross on mount srd track

  • Make sure you’re careful walking along this track as the stone are all loose and could easily be a trip hazard!
  • There are no barriers on the path so avoid walking too near the edge of the path. It’s a very steep drop!
  • Don’t forget to look back at the amazing view of Dubrovnik and the Adriatic Sea below.

Main roads

An alternative to the scenic route up Mount Srd is to walk along the roads. Starting at the Gate of Ploca (or wherever from the city walls), you’ll head directly north before meeting the main road and turning off up the hillside.

  1. Take the steps up Put od Basanke
  2. At the zebra crossing of the street walk straight ahead/slightly left onto Ul. Matije Gupca (don’t bear right continuing up Put od Basanke)
  3. Follow these steps until you meet the main road: Jadranska Cesta
  4. Turn RIGHT onto Jadranska Cesta – be VERY careful as there is no pedestrian walkway here. Stay to the north side of the road going against oncoming traffic.
  5. Walk along the main road until you reach the Viewpoint of Dubrovnik where there is a lay by car park and steps leading up the hill
  6. Take the steps up the hillside
  7. When you reach a road again, turn left onto Bosanka
  8. Continue on the road onto Srd Ul. for 1.6km until you reach Mount Srd summit.

This walking route should take around 1 hour. 

While it has the benefit of taking several main roads (so you won’t as easily get lost!) and the beautiful viewpoint, it will be more dangerous to walk alongside the road.

sunset over dubrovnik from mount srd

Drive to Mount Srd

If you don’t feel like walking, you could always cut out some sections of the hike or get all the way to to the top by car.

Bus route 17

Catching the bus is the second-cheapest way to get to the top of Mount Srd with minimal effort.

You’ll also get to enjoy stunning views over the coastline from the drive!

From Pile Gate, catch bus 17 heading east up the hill towards Bosanka. You can buy tickets on the bus for 15 hrk per person for a single journey, or 12hrk from the ticket booth. If you plan to catch more buses in your day, get the all day ticket for 30 hrk instead, as it’s the same cost of a return anyway.

The buses run frequently all days of the week, check out the Dubrovnik bus website for more details.

Bus 17 Timetable

Departing Pile Gate: 9:15, 10:30, 11:40, 12:35, 13:35*, 14:45, 16:30, 18:30*, 19:30, 20:30, 21:30

Departing Bosanka: 7:15, 9:45, 11:05, 12:05, 13:05, 14:05*, 15:20, 17:10, 19:00*, 20:00, 21:00, 22:00

*Except on Saturday, Sunday and Holidays.

Taxi from the Old Town

There are taxi ranks at Pile Gate and Ploce Gate where you can ask to be taken right up to the top of Mount Srd. You might be able to negotiate a decent price, but expect to pay around 300 hrk for a return trip.

You’ll also want to make sure the driver will wait for you while you explore and enjoy Mount Srd. Alternatively, you could reduce costs by catching a taxi to the top and walking back down.

Car Hire

If you’ve hired a car for your trip to Croatia, this would be a great chance to use it. You’ll benefit from the amazing views driving up the hillside, and can pause at the various lay by car parks to capture the magic.

sunset over dubrovnik from mount srd

What to do at the top of Mount Srd

Once you’re at the top of Dubrovnik’s mountain you can celebrate by being a bit smug about your efforts – well done you! Instead of being squashed in a box you’ve conquered the mountain with your physical prowess!

sunset over dubrovnik from mount srd

At the top of Mount Srd there are a few attractions for visitors to enjoy.

  1. Panorama Restaurant – reward your hard work with a well-earned meal! Those views as you tuck into your dinner will make it all worthwhile.
  2. Fort Imperial – also known as the Emperor’s Fort, was built under Napoleon’s rule in the early 1800s. It’s also been expanded and used as a defence for Dubrovnik as late as the 1990s during the Homeland War.
  3. Homeland War Museum – Inside the fort is a small museum with artefacts and details about the recent war and its impact on Dubrovnik.
  4. White Stone Cross – A cross made of Brac stone was placed here in 1935 but was since destroyed during the war. There is now a replacement cross in its place.

view of dubrovnik old town and lokrum island

Of course it goes without saying that while you’re at the top of Mount Srd you should enjoy the views!!

Walk over to the western side past the fort and you’ll notice there’s a small path to a flatter area of land. It’s here that you’ll find more space and bit of privacy to enjoy a panoramic view across Dubrovnik, Lokrum Island and the other nearby islands.

Watch the sunset with a picnic

By far one of our favourite moments of our hike up Mount Srd was the descent. Our plan was to watch the sunset from Mount Srd, but when we chose to hike the track we knew we’d have to head down the hill sooner than sundown.

As the light of golden hour turned deeper and more intense, we began our walk down the gravel track. It’s actually trickier going down as there’s a higher risk of tripping, so we took our time.

woman looks over dubrovnik and islands from mount srd

Conscious of the sun getting lower, we chose to pause at the 10th switchback and sit on the wall to watch the sunset. 

We had packed with us leftover pizza from the night before as well as a couple of cans of cider and chocolate. We sat in complete solitude watching the most epic sunset ever, amongst the most dramatic landscape imaginable. It was a truly pinch me experience. The kind of sunset that changes to every hue imaginable, and each moment better than the last.

With only a couple of passers by we made the best decision to spend our evening this way. We had uninterrupted views, it was completely free, and it was a lot of fun!

woman smiles in front of view over dubrovnik from mount srd

Before the light really began to fade, we continued walking downhill. It was only when we reached the forest section at the last few turns did the light become very limited in a purple haze. Luckily, we had our torches on hand to guide us and avoid falls.

I can’t recommend walking up Mount Srd enough. It’s the best alternative to the cable car, and you’ll get so much satisfaction from the hike. For us, it really intensified what was already set out to be a great experience by watching the sunset too!

sunset over dubrovnik from mount srd

What should I bring on my walk up Mount Srd

  • Map/GPS – It’s a good idea to keep a map or phone with GPS to hand to find your way to and from the walking track. While you can’t stray off the track itself, finding may be a challenge.
  • Sturdy shoes – As mentioned, the path is very rocky. We saw a couple of visitors in flip flops and dread to think how sore their feet must have been! Be sensible with your footwear and avoid further risk.
  • Water – Drink plenty of water during your walk up Mount Srd. You’ll be exerting a lot of energy and need to stay hydrated.
  • Camera – You’ve got to capture these incredible moments right?!

man smiles on top of mount srd

  • Jumper – It’s never a bad idea to bring a layer or two when going on a hike. Whether it’s the peak of summer or the off season, the top of a mountain can be windy! And, once the sun sets you’ll be grateful for a jumper to take the chill off.
  • Torch – When it gets dark it will do so quickly. You won’t want to be caught out walking along the loose stones without a torch to hand. The torch on your phone should be sufficient, so make sure it’s fully charged!

man walks down mount srd track at sunset


Have I convinced you to walk up Mount Srd as a free alternative to the Dubrovnik cable car? If so, I really hope you enjoy! Don’t forget to pack your picnic and enjoy visiting this beautiful place in Croatia.

See what else we got up to during our 10 day trip in Croatia!

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    josypheen
    03/03/2020 at 10:48 pm

    What a perfect way to spend an evening! I LOVE the sunset photos and I totally agree that the best way is often to hike up slowly, rather than cheat via a cable car.

    • Reply
      suzystories
      03/04/2020 at 12:03 am

      Pretty magical view isn’t it! Yes totally, it’s so rewarding to hike sometimes 🙂

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