Looking Down on Dinky Dubrovnik: Views from Srđ Hill

Srđ Hill, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Now, I’m not good with heights.  Or anything that involves sheer drops.  Or anything shooting across a sheer drop via some puny wires.

Every trip into Dubrovnik old town involved, at some stage, a point towards the cable car running up to the top of Srđ Hill.  Every time Sister-Chickpea and I would speculate about the likelihood of our being brave enough to do the journey.  Then, a few days before we were to leave Dubrovnik, we decided to be brave, remember all the successful trips the cable car has done in its lifetime, and to stop being wusses.

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View from town of Srđ Hill, Dubrovnik, Croatia

And actually, having got to know Dubrovnik so well by then, it was really cool to look down on it and understand its layout.

The story of the cable car begins in 1969, when the original was constructed: the first cable car along the Adriatic coast.  It was slow and could carry just 15 people, but it was a cable car: it was awesome.

Then, the war came.  In 1991, the cable car was destroyed.

It was only in 2010 that money was finally invested into bringing back the cable car, but naturally there were improvements.  The cabins can now hold 30 passengers, and the journey to the top is quicker, now taking less than four minutes to complete.

Thank God.

The cable car coming into the station, Dubrovnik, Croatia

The cable car coming into the station, Dubrovnik, Croatia

View towards the Elafiti Islands from Srđ Hill, Dubrovnik, Croatia

View towards the Elafiti Islands from Srđ Hill, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Once you’re at the top of the hill, it’s quite remarkable to see the extent of the views.  This is the area where Croatia meets Bosnia and Montenegro, and the rugged terrain has something of a Wild West air to it, when you wander down a lonely track and expect to see tumbleweed.  It’s even more wonderful to see so much of the coastline, fading away towards the horizon – it doesn’t really feel so high that it would warrant such extensive views.  Of course there are views and there are views – every direction you look in presents a different type of view: mountains, sea, islands…

Take a look at these to see what I mean.

Barren landscape, Srđ Hill, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Barren landscape, Srđ Hill, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Snow on the mountains, Srđ Hill, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Snow on the mountains, Srđ Hill, Dubrovnik, Croatia

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View along the coast going south, towards Cavtat, Srđ Hill, Dubrovnik, Croatia

One discovery I made by making the journey to the top of the hill – and this almost made the whole thing worthwhile for me by itself – and it’s that Lokrum island looks like a rubber-duckie.  Best island shape ever.

View of Dubrovnik and Duckie Lokrum Island, Srđ Hill, Dubrovnik, Croatia

View of Dubrovnik and Duckie Lokrum Island, Srđ Hill, Dubrovnik, Croatia

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Lovely colours of the sea by the harbour in Dubrovnik, Srđ Hill, Dubrovnik, Croatia

View of Dubrovnik old town, Srđ Hill, Dubrovnik, Croatia.  You can see St Blaise Church towards the front of the picture, and the cathedral at the back.

View of Dubrovnik old town, Srđ Hill, Dubrovnik, Croatia.  You can see St Blaise Church towards the front of the picture, and the cathedral at the back.

The view when not zoomed in of Dubrovnik old town, Srđ Hill, Dubrovnik, Croatia

The view when not zoomed in of Dubrovnik old town, Srđ Hill, Dubrovnik, Croatia

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A strangely lunar landscape in Srđ Hill, Dubrovnik, Croatia

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View towards the Elafiti Islands from Srđ Hill, Dubrovnik, Croatia

One of the few sights to see up on the hill is a giant cross, made from the beautiful stone of the island of Brač.  The original was a gift from the Brač Archdeacon in 1935, and it was destroyed in the Homeland War, but it has since been repaired/rebuilt and become quite a striking landmark.

As a side-note, the stone from Brač is a beautiful, softly warm limestone that is extremely tactile.  In Dubrovnik town, you can find a few shops selling decorative objects as well as jewellery from it, and when polished it has a gorgeous sheen.

The Cross from Brač, Srđ Hill, Dubrovnik, Croatia

The Cross from Brač, Srđ Hill, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Apart from looking at the views, you can also go and visit the Museum of the Homeland War.  I couldn’t.  It’s situated in the great big fortress at the top of the hill.  The fortress was built by Napoleon in 1806, but enlarged by the Austrians, who took over Dubrovnik in 1815.  It was disused until the war of 1991, when a group of 31 men managed to hold off the attack of 100 Serbians – a decisive moment in the battle for Dubrovnik.

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View of part of the Fort Imperial, with Dubrovnik and the Elafiti Islands in the background, Srđ Hill, Dubrovnik, Croatia

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The cable car stop at the top of Srđ Hill, Dubrovnik, Croatia

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The journey back down…

So In Summary

Despite putting it off repeatedly, I really enjoyed visiting Srđ Hill.  Sure, there’s not a great deal going on there, but it is a beautiful spot and you really get a good sense of the local geography from up there.  If you haven’t got much time in Dubrovnik, and can’t walk the walls, it’s a good way of getting to see what all the fuss is about – because seeing the old town all swaddled up in its walls is a really beautiful sight.

Further Information

If going up to the top of Srđ Hill just for the view doesn’t appeal, as I mentioned earlier, there is also the Museum of the Homeland War to visit.  If that still doesn’t appeal, apparently you can also go for buggy rides and such, and if you’re interested in that, check out the website: www.dubrovnikcablecar.com

There is a restaurant at the top of the hill – you can just about see the umbrellas and awnings from the town, actually.  It offers splendid views for those who are positioned by the edge, and you can really enjoy looking at the sea, the mountains, the town while having a leisurely meal.

How To Get There

If you want to do the journey by cable-car, you can get to the little station outside the old town walls.  This map is quite helpful to help navigate yourself there: www.godubrovnik.com

However, you can also either take a bus, or, if you’re crazy, walk up.  Actually I’m sure the walk up is magnificent, if you’re fit enough to do it.  The Stations of the Cross greet you at every turn of the road, apparently, which is quite motivational, I guess.

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