Standing on the road at the top of the hill, the view appears all of a sudden: the deep blue sea and next to it Dubrovnik, wrapped up like a parcel in its white walls.
This red-roofed city is bursting with wonders and views that leave you speechless… which is why it’s so often used as a film set! It’s certainly one of the most beautiful cities that I’ve ever visited, and it perfectly lives up to its moniker of the “pearl of the Adriatic”. Each year it draws in millions of tourists who flood its streets day and night, packing out the open-air bars, enjoying the Mediterranean vibes, and visiting buildings that flaunt their Venetian influence.
It’s a paradise for photography fans! I’m going to show you the city’s best angles that you absolutely shouldn’t miss. Here are the top 10 things to photograph in Dubrovnik and share on social media.
Top 10 things to photograph in Dubrovnik
The name of this street reveals the influence Venice had on Dubrovnik: it’s a former canal that was filled in to become the city’s main street, leading from the Pile Gate to the port. It divides the city in two, and is teeming all day long with tourists walking along it or sitting at one of the many picturesque bars for a bite of something to eat or drink. The white stone, the colourful window shutters on the houses and the two bell towers (on the Franciscan Monastery and the Clock Tower) make the perfect backdrop for photos, particularly when the lights are low. That dusky hour after sunset, with the swallows swooping overhead, sparkles with magic! Fans of street photography will be in their element.
2.The Walls of the Old Town
Without a doubt, the Walls are Dubrovnik’s main attraction. Although it’s expensive (over €20), it’s absolutely worth it because from up there you can enjoy the best views of the city! The walk is 2 km long, but it’s not difficult. Once you’ve climbed up one of the three entrances (the Pile Gate, Ploče Gate or Maritime Museum) you’ll be left speechless. Dubrovnik is at your feet, with its glistening red rooftops and its walls towering above the sea. If you want to visit when it’s a bit cooler and there aren’t so many tourists, I recommend going in later in the day at around 7:30pm so that you can have it all to yourself (or almost) until closing time at 8:30pm. That way, you won’t have tourists getting in the way of your photos. And at sunset, the view is stunning!
I’m not sure how many tourists visit this site, even though it’s included in the ticket for the walls. Fort Lovrijenac is actually just outside the Old Town, on a rocky outcrop overlooking the sea and a bay. It’s a strenuous climb up some stairs to get there, but thankfully the thick walls keep things nice and cool! The fort doesn’t contain much in particular, but from up here you’re rewarded with fantastic views over the sea, stretching as far as the eye can see, and of course over Dubrovnik. From the top of its walls, where you’ll find some old cannon, the city looks so small it’s as if you’re photographing it from a drone!
4.Dubrovnik by kayak
There are all sorts of excursions you can do in Dubrovnik, but kayaking is one of the best. You start in “Blackwater Bay” (as it was renamed in Game of Thrones) and head out into the open sea to circumnavigate the island of Lokrum, dotted with caves and boasting crystal-clear waters, before turning to face the city and paddling alongside its walls, which look even more imposing from down below! I recommend doing this at sunset so you can admire Dubrovnik’s silhouette as the sun goes down. Fab photos guaranteed! And remember to take something to clean your lens and keep it dry!
Now that drones are readily available, overhead photos are really in vogue. But not everybody has one. No problem! You can ride the cable car up to the mountain behind the city for a photo worth shouting about! Dubrovnik will look like a LEGO town, with its perfectly spaced walls and towers, the beautiful red rooftops and the blue sea surrounding the city. The €20 return ticket is a great investment. You can even take a photo of a model sitting down with this amazing panorama behind them. The Panorama Restaurant & Bar is the perfect place to relax while enjoying the breathtaking view, both day and night.
The heart of Dubrovnik! Luža Square is where all of the city’s most important and beautiful palaces are. They’re like delicate lace made of white stone. There’s the Renaissance Sponza Palace, the Clock Tower and, on the other side, the Venetian-style Baroque Church of St Blaise. In the middle of the square is the Orlando Column, the symbol of Dubrovnik. Sculpted by Antonio Ragusino in 1418, this is where the city’s major events were celebrated. The name Luža, comes from the loggia of the bell tower, which governed the lives of inhabitants and warned of danger. Needless to say, these buildings are perfect for some stunning photos, perhaps even immortalising a few tourists perched at a table in the square.
7.Ploče Gate and the view of the Old Port
The Ploče Gate is Dubrovnik’s newest gate, built after the expansion of the Benedictine monastery. As you pass through, the incredibly high stone walls frame a marvellous view that opens out above the Old Port, where boats bob on the emerald waters. The backdrop is the imposing St John’s Fortress, once an impenetrable bastion. While it’s a beautiful place to photograph in the daytime, at nightfall it becomes spectacular. The colours change every minute as the lights that run along the edge become brighter. Simply stunning! Quick tip: the holes on the bridge just outside the gate make the perfect frame for your photos!
8.The high point of the Old Town
The Old Town isn’t completely flat. The land slopes up from the sea, offering fantastic views thanks to the many steps. While the shoreline isn’t very steep, on the opposite side there are many, many stairs leading up to the Buža Gate and the walls. But don’t worry: it’s well worth the effort when you reach the top! Turn around and you can gaze out over the city through the bougainvillea and the clothes hanging on washing lines as the steep staircase at your feet snakes its way back down the slope. It’s heaven if you’re a fan of details: the signs, the strings of streetlights, the cats stretching out on the rooftops, the vegetation spurting up between the houses. It has to be seen to be believed!
9.The Cloister of the Franciscan Monastery
Dubrovnik has two monasteries within the Old Town, both of which are truly splendid. The Benedictine one near the Ploče Gate is being restored at the moment (you can still visit), but next to the Pile Gate the Franciscan Monastery still retains its centuries-old charm. The church – one of the few buildings to survive the devastating earthquake of 1667 – has a fantastic Gothic doorway and a beautiful cloister. Rays of sunlight fall through the cloister columns, creating dazzling patterns that are just asking to be snapped!
10.The large Onofrio’s Fountain
Life-giving and beautiful. What can you say about the large Onofrio’s Fountain? It takes its name from Onofrio de la Cava, the Neapolitan who built it in the 15th century, and it has been carrying drinking water to the city for centuries. Located in the square next to the Pile Gate, it used to be two stories high, but the one that remains is still wonderful, its carved masks gushing with fresh water. Watching the world coming and going around the fountain is fascinating. There are thirsty tourists, weary people resting on its steps, visitors gathering for city tours (which leave from here), the hustle and bustle of the Stradun, street artists, and so on. It’s an all-day show! So you always have to have your camera at the ready!
I hope my tips will prove useful. Now that you know the top 10 places to photograph in Dubrovnik, all that remains is to put it to the test. Book a flight to Dubrovnik, then share your snaps on social media and be the envy of all your friends 😉