Here’s where you can find an epic view of King’s Landing, without breaking the bank.
One of Dubrovnik’s Best Free Activities
Dubrovnik is likely one of the most expensive cities you’ll visit in your Balkan travels. Because my hostel costed more than average here, I cut back on spending for activities and restaurants. One of the touristic highlights of Dubrovnik is a cable car that takes you up to the top of Mt. Srd and gives you a bird’s eye view of the historic walled city. Luckily, you can get there without the cable car though! If you also enjoy getting some exercise during your travels, then this alternative route is for you.
There is a hiking trail that can get you to the exact same place all the tourists go, but you’ll have gotten there for free (and maybe be a little sweatier than everyone else). While you will have the opportunity to get the same few as the paying cable car riders, you will have also taken in the view from a variety of other spots during the hike for free. All the pictures on this page were taken from this trail! Read more below for details on locating the trailhead and what you can expect.
What to Expect
A series of switchbacks up the mountain, I found the trail to be of moderate difficulty. There is an elevation gain of about 900 feet and is 3 miles roundtrip. It took me 45-60 minutes to go up and about 40 minutes to come down.
It is very shady in the beginning, where you can expect an amphitheater of cicadas to welcome you to the trail. However, the second half of the trail is rocky and completely exposed to the sun.
Be sure to bring water and wear proper shoes. Because I was there in the middle of summer, I left for the trail early in the morning to beat the heat (which was still ultimately impossible). On my way up I saw few people on the trail, but later on the way down there was more traffic.
If this is your first time to Dubrovnik, you should also be aware that much of the city is built on an incline. As you go further east, you can expect to be climbing LOTS of stairs. Just getting to the trailhead is a bit of a workout. Most hotels and hostels are close enough to the trail to walk there, but you also have another option.
If you want to avoid climbing all the stairs and navigating the narrow roads and walkways, you could use the popular ride share app Bolt to call up a car for the about the same prices as you pay on Lyft or Uber. This will be cheaper than a taxi.
I mention Bolt because when I was in Croatia in 2019, neither Uber nor Lyft operated there. Someone at a hostel showed me Bolt and it turned out to be a very helpful app to know about for all of Croatia. Pro tip! If you plan to use ride shares in Croatia, download this before you go.
Related: 15 Unique Things to Do in Dubrovnik
I can be a bit nervous going off on a hike alone in a foreign country, especially if I don’t speak the primary local language or have a working data plan on my phone. Both were the case in Croatia. Nonetheless, let me reassure you that this trail felt safe. As a solo twenty-something woman, safety is usually something I at least have to consider before embarking on a trip or excursion (but I stress that this should not stop you from traveling!).
I found this trail to be semi-trafficked, which was more reassuring to me. It’s also still in view of the city so you never feel that alone, and certainly not lost. There is only one way to go: up. Getting lost would actually be a hard thing to do.
So, where do you start? The trail is off of a somewhat busy road. If you didn’t know what you were looking for, you probably wouldn’t know it is there. I’ve marked the trailhead on Google Maps and attached a picture of what it looks like at the start below. There is no parking at the trailhead. I walked there from my hostel.
When you get to the top, you can exit the trail at a few places. At some point you may feel like you’re walking through the back lot of a restaurant… or wonder if you’re walking through some old ruins. Both are quite possible.
There is a restaurant call Panorama. I can’t speak to the food or the prices because I didn’t eat there, but it sure did look nice. Remember, Dubrovnik was one of the most expensive cities I visited in a 2 month journey through 13 countries in eastern and southern Europe.
Packing a snack and finding a good rock to sit on was more within my budget. This leads me to my next point: Don’t be in a rush to head back down. I explored around the peak for quite awhile. There are a few other trails that continue east if you want to keep walking. Alternatively, taking in the view with the breeze would be a perfectly excellent way to spend your time.