Best Photography Locations for your 2 Days in Dubrovnik Itinerary
Our 2 days in Dubrovnik itinerary is aimed at those of you who would like to see the best attractions in Dubrovnik, Croatia and only have 36 to 48 hours to do so. Also, since photography is close to our heart, we explored the best locations for photographing Dubrovnik and getting those beautiful Instagram shots for your feed. We have plenty of tips and tricks to help you plan the perfect itinerary for your weekend in Dubrovnik, plus extra day trip suggestions if you happen to have more time than we did.
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What Is So Special about Dubrovnik?
The charming historic Old Town of Dubrovnik has long been renowned as one of the most beautiful gems of the Adriatic Sea. The rows of orange-colored terracotta rooftops of Dubrovnik’s Old Town squeezed between the city walls serve as the perfect complement to the glistening waves and blue hues of the Adriatic Sea. It is a sight worth seeing at least once in your lifetime.
The history of Dubrovnik dates back to the 7th century when it was founded by a group of refugees from Epidaurus, an ancient Greek colony which was destroyed by foreign invaders (it was located in the area of Cavtat). Throughout the centuries it has endured numerous sieges, wars and earthquakes but many of the Renaissance, Gothic and Baroque monasteries, palaces, churches and other such historical treasures have been preserved. It was included in UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in 1979. In recent years Dubrovnik’s popularity has increased immensely after it was featured in the popular television series Game of Thrones (GOT).
How to Start Planning your Dubrovnik Itinerary?
The most important thing is to realize that currently Dubrovnik, (aka King’s Landing for all of you GOT fans) is probably one of the most popular European destinations. The fact that many cruise ships stop here for a few hours means that this little historic town is jammed packed with tourists, especially from around 9 am till 5 pm. We were there in the beginning of June which is still not the peak of the high season, and yet at noon, we found ourselves looking for hidden corners as far as possible from the tourist sites in the Old Town. The best advice we can give you when you start planning your Dubrovnik trip is to avoid the summer months and have a bucket list of attractions for the extremely busy ours of midday that will take you out of the historic center and give you some breathing room.
2 Days in Dubrovnik Itinerary and Photography Guide
Day 1 on your Dubrovnik Itinerary - Early Morning
Explore Dubrovnik’s Old Town
Start your day early and get those shots of Dubrovnik’s Old Town without the crowds, this is no doubt one of the best things to do in Dubrovnik. We’ve listed for you some of the most famous attractions in the historic center. It is very hard to visit all of the Old Town’s photography locations in a couple of hours so you will probably complete this bucket list on your second morning.
Pile Gate is the main entrance to the historic center, and it is busy most hours of the day. If you want to photograph it without the crowds, this would be your only chance. There are inner and outer gates, and in between, there are usually rows of pigeons that are waiting to be fed.
Best time to take pictures: Early Morning
Large Onofrio's Fountain
The first thing you’ll see after entering Pile Gate is this beautiful circular fountain (there is also a Small Onofrio’s Fountain on the other side of this pedestrian street). The fountain was built during the 15th century as part of a water-supply system. Walk around the fountain to see the carved faces from which the stream of water flows. FYI you can actually drink the water from any of Dubrovnik’s fountains.
Best time to take pictures: Early Morning
Dubrovnik Photography Guide Notes: You’ll have a chance to get a shot of this fountain from above when you climb the walls of Dubrovnik but, in the meantime, try to capture some of the beautiful details of the carved faces and the circular façade.
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Stradun (Placa Street)
Onofrio’s Fountain is located on the main street of Dubrovnik’s Old Town, the Stradun. This little street is busy most hours of the day since it connects Pile Gate with Dubrovnik’s Old Port and Ploče Gate and most of the streets in Dubrovnik’s Old Town lead to it. There are many coffee shops, bakeries, souvenir shops etc. so it’s a great place for people watching. Walk along the limestone pavements and capture some of the most famous attractions in Dubrovnik.
Best time to take pictures: Early Morning, blue hour and nighttime, as long as there aren’t too many people around.
Dubrovnik Photography Guide Tips: You’ll get the perfect bird’s eye shot from the city walls, but in the meantime, it’s also a good place to photograph the bell towers on both sides of the street. If you can, come back at night with a tripod for some long exposure shots.
Church of Saint Blaise and Orlando's Column
On the eastern part of the Stradun, you’ll find Luža Square. This is one of Dubrovnik’s busiest squares where you’ll find a few historical monuments, including the Church of Saint Blaise and Orlando’s Column. Orlando’s Column is a stone column that was built in 1418 and it depicts the image of an armored knight. According to the local legend, the column was built in honor of a knight who helped to defeat invaders in the middle ages. Just behind it stands the baroque-style Church of Saint Blaise. It was built in 1715 by Marino Gropelli, a Venetian architect and sculptor.
Best time to take pictures: Early Morning, blue hour and nighttime, as long as there aren’t too many people around.
From Luža Square head towards Ploče Gate on Ul. Svetog Dominika and you’ll stumble upon the unique stairs of the Dominican Monastery. This is another one of Game of Thrones’ filming locations. We loved the unique shape of this staircase and the beautifully decorated entrance to the monastery. Later, you can check out the beautiful cloistered courtyard inside.
Best time to take pictures: Early Morning
Dubrovnik Photography Guide Notes: Best light here would be in the morning when the rays of lights illuminate the stairs from Ploče Gate’s direction. Don’t arrive too early, though, because you want the sun to be high enough for the light to reach the stairs. Another cool shot of this Game of Thrones location can be taken from Dubrovnik’s walls.
Rector’s Palace used to serve as the seat of the Rector of the Republic of Ragusa. We had fun photographing this building whose architecture combines Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque elements. We were lucky enough to encounter a bride and a groom who had a photo shoot of their own that morning.
Best time to take pictures: Early Morning
Historic Stairs (Jesuit Staircase)
The Jesuit Staircase (Historic Stairs according to Google Maps) should be familiar to any GOT fan. This was the location of Cersei’s infamous Walk of Shame. Our apartment was located in one of the nearby streets so we can attest to the popularity of this staircase. You’ll have a hard time getting this staircase just for yourself, but it can be done in the early morning hours.
Best time to take pictures: Early morning though not too early if you want the stairs to be illuminated by the morning rays of light.
Gunduliceva Poljana Market at Gundulic Square
Beneath the Jesuit Staircase, you’ll find Gundulic square. In the morning you can stop by Gunduliceva Poljana Market, a small market which offers both touristy souvenirs, fresh fruits and vegetables. In addition, the only relatively big convenient store within the Old Town is located here.
Best time to take pictures: During the market hours in the morning.
In addition to the photography spots in Dubrovnik’s Old Town we’ve mentioned above, you can also stop by the Dubrovnik Cathedral, Saint Ignatius and Sponza Palace (which has a lovely inner courtyard).
Dubrovnik Itinerary Day 1 – Mid Morning till Afternoon
Get a Different Perspective of the Old Port
To get a different perspective of Dubrovnik’s old harbor and San John’s Fortress, turn left after exiting Ploče Gate and immediately follow the path that leads to the area beneath Ploče Gate. There’s a small docking area for fishing boats. We loved this photography location for some lower angle shots of the harbor.
Best time to take pictures: Mid-morning before the sun is at its highest but you can still get those vivid blue colors of the ocean. This photography location would probably be a good spot to take pictures of the harbor during the blue hour/evening as well, but it doesn’t seem like a place we’d enjoy visiting after sunset.
Ploče Gate from a Higher Angle
To get a shot of Ploče Gate and the little bridge, climb up Ul. Iza Grada and look for a place where you’ll see the little bridge and the harbor behind it.
Best time to take pictures: Morning hours
Take a Picture of Dubrovnik’s Harbor from the Water
From Ploče Gate, continue walking straight on Ul. Frana Supila, and look for viewpoints to get to one of the beaches or rocks below. When we were there the area was under renovations, so we went to Banje Beach (it’s a 10-minute walk from Ploče Gate). Pass the sunbeds and go to the rocks on the right corner of the beach. Be careful because it might be slippery.
Best time to take pictures: Morning hours before the sun is at its highest.
Dubrovnik Photography Tips: Tripod and ND filters for long exposure shots to get the silky water effect.
Visit Lovrijenac Fortress
Head back to the Old Town and walk to Lovrijenac Fortress, aka King’s Landing’s Red Keep (about 10 minutes by foot from Pile Gate). The fortress’ location, almost 40 meters above sea level, makes it the perfect vantage point to take gorgeous pictures of Dubrovnik’s Old Town and its walls. There’s a nice resting area all around the fortress with benches and trees from which you can photograph Dubrovnik’s Old City, Dubrovnik’s West Pier (where a few of Games of Thrones scenes were shot) and Šulić beach. The best views of the Old Town are from the entrance to the fortress. Afterward, get inside the fortress, stroll around its three terraces and look for interesting viewpoints.
Best time to take pictures: Anytime really – see our photography notes.
Dubrovnik Photography Guide Notes: This is the perfect location to get the best shot of the Old Town. In the early morning, before the opening hours, you’ll get the area to yourself, the sun rises from the direction of Dubrovnik’s Old Town, but if you don’t include it in your shot, you can get lovely colors of early morning hours. At noon, there will be lots of people, but the colors of the ocean are very vivid, and the kayaks down below add a little something to the picture (use your Circular Polarizing filter). In the afternoon the sun is going to be behind you, illuminating the Old Town in a golden light, however, if you only have one or two nights in the city, we would choose to walk the walls on the first day and take the cable up Srd. Hill on the second day.
Money-saving tip: The entrance ticket to Dubrovnik Walls (among the top things to do in Dubrovnik) also includes a visit to Fort Lovrijenac. It doesn’t matter which attraction you choose to do first as long as you save the ticket.
Optional Stop – Dubrovnik West Pier/Bay
On the way back from Fort Lovrijenac, continue straight on Ul. od Tabakarije till you see the West Bay to your right. A few GOT scenes were shot here and there’s also this funny-looking door/hobbit house you can take pictures of at the right corner of the bay.
Visit the Beach to Cool Off
Remember the part about avoiding spending time in Dubrovnik’s Old Town at certain hours (not to mention the tiring heat during the summer months)? So grab a swimsuit and go to one of the beaches in the area. The closest beach is Banje Beach where you’ll find a pebble beach with plenty of sunbeds and a bar/restaurant. However, it can get crowded. We’ve heard that the best beaches in Dubrovnik can be found at Lapad Peninsula and everyone also loves Sveti Jakov Beach but we haven’t been there ourselves. The beaches here are pebble beaches or rocky ones, so bring your beach shoes.
Dubrovnik Itinerary Day 1 – Afternoon and Evening
Get Lost in Dubrovnik’s Side Streets
Our favorite part was looking for treasures in Dubrovnik’s side streets. The streets just near the city walls provide more opportunities to escape the hectic city center and get shots of the everyday lives of the numerous residents that still live inside the Old Town. You’ll need to be fit and climb a lot of stairs to get to the upper streets, but they provide beautiful photography opportunities. Roaming these little streets, you’re bound to find some elderly ladies selling hand-made lace or traditional souvenirs. Our favorite discovery was a little shop that sold local natural hand-made delicacies such as natural “energy-bars” made from figs and almonds or delicious orange peels. When you wander along the streets near the seaside walls, look for the famous Buza Bar.
Best time to take pictures: We saved it for the afternoon but some of the streets are beautiful to photograph in the evening as well, check our photography notes.
Dubrovnik Photography Notes: Ulica od Kaštela is the charming street that goes along the seaside wall and this area is much more relaxed than the streets near the center. It is also best to take pictures here in the afternoon since the sun would be behind you. Ulica Peline is the street that goes along the Northern wall and it’s a great photography location during the day and during the night.
Climb Up the Walls of Dubrovnik
This is a must-do attraction for sure! The closing time of the walls of Dubrovnik varies throughout the year, so check the opening hours before you decide when to go. In the summer the walls are open officially till 7:30 PM. Don’t do what we did and panic you won’t have enough time and start your walk at 6 PM (even though the sunset in June was around 9 PM). They actually let you walk around the walls for quite a while after 7:30, you just can’t enter after that time. In retrospect, we should have started walking the walls at around 6:45 pm to get the best light. Walking around the walls, you’ll get plenty of opportunities to take shots of the inner streets of the Old Town, visit Minčeta Tower (the exterior of House of Undying in GOT), take pictures of Lovrijenac Fortress, Lokrum Island and Buza Bar from above, and of course admire the terracotta rooftops of Dubrovnik.
Important Tips – It’s recommended to book your ticket in advance during the summer months, especially if you have a specific date in mind. Make sure to bring with you the vouchers. If you happen to forget them, there’s a tourist office just near Large Onofrio’s Fountain that can help you with that. Also, choose the entrance that is closest to Ploče Gate since this one is less busy than the one near Pile Gate.
Best time to take pictures: We recommend arriving as late as possible while taking into consideration it will take you about 1-1.5 hours to walk the walls (including stops for pictures). Note that the sun sets at sea, which means it might be harder to photograph at that time. If you prefer the morning when the sun is behind you, arrive as early as possible. However, since the sunrise is very early, no chance of getting some of that magical light you can get before sunset.
Dubrovnik Photography Notes: you can bring a tripod, ND Filters or a Circular Polarizing filter.
Have Dinner and Take Some Night Shots
At night Dubrovnik’s Old Town looks completely different. If you still have energy, go for a stroll around the Old Town and take some shots of the illuminated streets and monuments.
Dubrovnik Itinerary Day 2 – Early Morning
Revisit Some of the Bucket List Photography Locations
We chose to go back to Lovrijenac Fortress to have it all to ourselves and in better light conditions. Though the sun rose straight in front of us, we managed to get some fabulous shots of Dubrovnik’s walls and Old Town that look very different from the ones we’d taken the day before in midday. We also had to check off our list some of the photography locations in the Old Town that we hadn’t manage to do the day before. If you’ve already finished everything, feel free to sleep in.
Dubrovnik Itinerary Day 2 – Mid Morning to Afternoon
Take a Kayak Tour or Visit Lokrum Island
Again, you don’t want to be in the Old Town in these hours so here are a few options to help you enjoy your second day on our 2-Day Dubrovnik Itinerary.
Option 1 – Kayak Tour
These tours take about 3 hours and they provide a refreshing break from the hectic city center. You will get to explore the coastline, kayak to Lokrum Island and stop at secluded beaches or “hidden” caves. There are morning, noon or afternoon and sunset tours to choose from. If you only have two nights in Dubrovnik, we’d rather save the golden hours of the second day for the viewpoint from Srd. Hill.
Option 2 – Visit Lokrum Island
Take the ferry from Dubrovnik Port to get to Lokrum Island. Since there are no cars on Lokrum, you’ll need to walk around the island so bring some walking shoes. On Lokrum you can explore the island’s beaches, visit the botanical garden or climb up to Fort Royal. Check out Lokrum Island’s website for all the things to do on the island.
Dubrovnik Old Port
Depending on your schedule, make sure to walk around Dubrovnik’s Old Port and see the old walls from outside. Go around fort St. John and Porporela (the old pier), buy some ice cream and do some people watching.
Best time to take pictures: Any time. The vibe here is different during the morning and the afternoon. It wasn’t our favorite photography location but we loved taking a break and just watch the world goes by.
Dubrovnik Itinerary Day 2 – Sunset and Evening
See the Views from Mount Srd
To get the best viewpoint of Dubrovnik, you’d need to get to the top of Mount Srd. The easiest way would be to take the cable car. However, you’ll need to take into consideration the long line of people waiting to take the cable car in time to view the sunset. You can also hike to the top if you wish or take a cab/Uber.
Best time to take pictures: Some people prefer the morning hours, but we recommend getting here just before sunset. After sunset stick around for the early evening and blue hour. Pay attention to the cable car closing time; you’ll probably need to take a cab/Uber back to town to enjoy a well deserved dinner.
Where to Stay in Dubrovnik
If you only have 2 days in Dubrovnik, staying in the Old City or just near it is your best choice. In the historic town itself, there are only a couple of hotels, and though they are very good, they are also extremely expensive. Your best bet would be to look for an apartment and there are plenty of those in the Old Town. If you prefer hotels, look for hotels that are within walking distance of the Old Town. Another thing to take into consideration is the fact no cars are allowed in the Old Town so you’d probably have to carry your luggage from one of the gates. Therefore, look for an apartment that is closer to the gates and pack lightly. Within a relatively short walking of the Old Town you can find a few hotels and apartments in the area near Ploce Gate and Banje Beach and also just near Lovrijenac Fortress. If you have more time and for families with kids, you’ll find great accommodation choices at the Lapad Peninsula.
Where to Eat in Dubrovnik
There are many restaurants all over the Old Town and most of them are always busy. For a simple dinner and reasonable prices check out Lucin Kantun Dubrovnik or Konoba MOSKAR (don’t sit inside because you’ll smell just like the food you are going to order). Konoba Jezuite also serves good food but in a nicer and less crowded setting. If you are staying closer to Lapad, check out Pantarul. We haven’t been there, but the place gets great reviews, it was just too far for us to fit in our 2-day itinerary. We had our favorite breakfast at Congo on the main street. They have a nice breakfast menu and it’s fun to sit there before the area gets too crowded.
Tips for your Dubrovnik Itinerary:
- Tap water – drinking tap water is totally OK. In fact, you can refill your reusable bottle at any of Dubrovnik’s fountains.
- Money Exchange – There are a few money exchange booths at Dubrovnik’s Stradun. Check around because they might have a different exchange rate. Some of them stay open till midnight (at least during the summer months)
- Dubrovnik card – If you are only planning to walk the walls of Dubrovnik and maybe visit Lovrijenac Fortress then buying a ticket to walk the walls will include both attractions. However, with only a few more bucks you could buy the Dubrovnik Card that also includes free public transportation, entrance to several attractions and discounts as well.
- Dubrovnik Summer Festival – If you’re a fan of music and dance Dubrovnik Summer Festival takes place throughout July. It features theatre, opera, music and dance performances at various open-air locations in the city.
Dubrovnik Photography Guide Tips and Helpful Notes:
- Sunrise/sunset time – Depending on the time of your visit, you’ll need to take into consideration the sunrise/sunset times. In June the Sunrise was before 5 am and the sunset was at around 9 pm. Check the sunset/sunrise times for the month of your visit.
- Inspiration – Before arriving to any new location it’s always a good idea to search the web for some inspiration. Though always try to bring your own point of view as well.
- Avoiding people in your shots – Start your day early and end it late at night. Long exposures with a tripod can also help since it blurs any moving people in your pictures. However, usually tourists have a tendency to just stand in front of you and take dozens of pictures 😉 Of course, showing some people in your shot can be great for street photography.
- Look for a different angle – If there are too many people, look for close ups of details or shoot the beautiful decorations of the buildings.
Recommended Photography Equipment
So what do you need to bring with you to make the most out of the best photography locations in Dubrovnik?
- A tripod – A tripod of course, is a must, preferably a light one because you’ll drag it with you all over Dubrovnik.
- A circular polarizing filter – This is a great filter to have while photographing seascapes. You can turn it around till it reduces or removes reflections from the water and deepens the blueish hues of the ocean.
- ND Filter – Another filter to consider is an ND filter. With an ND filter you can take these long exposure shots to get the silky-smooth effect of the water. For daylight, you’ll need a 6-10 stops filter. We like the variable ND filters though these filters are considered less professional since they might affect the quality of the pictures. Nevertheless, we prefer the variable circular ones since they are much more friendly in terms of weight and convenience for travel photographers. As long as you invest in a good quality variable ND filter, the quality of the pictures should still be OK.
Additional Things to Do for your 2 Days in Dubrovnik Itinerary
Well, if you happen to have more time, take a cruise to the Elaphite Islands. These three islands are located just off the coast of Dubrovnik and it’s a fun way to escape the crowd and enjoy a peaceful day at sea. You can choose to go there independently with a ferry or take a cruise.
We hope we haven’t overwhelmed you guys with our super-busy itinerary but when you visit such a stunning place like Dubrovnik, the Pearl of the Adriatic Sea, you really have no time to rest if you only have 48 hours to see and photograph as much as you can.
If you’re looking for a Game of Thrones tour or perhaps a kayaking tour, here are some great options!
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4 thoughts on “2 Days in Dubrovnik – Top Attractions and Photography Spots for Your Itinerary”
This is great – I’m starting to plan a trip to Croatia for next year.
Glad we can help you. Enjoy your trip!
Absolutely beautiful photography! Thank for the useful tips and for reminding me to try to get views from above a desired location! We are usually visiting as tourists first, photographers second, so don’t think about angles until we get home and realize what we missed…
Thanks so much Amy! Yes, we totally understand. Visiting a place as “regular” tourists vs. as photographers is totally different. so glad you’ve found our photography guide helpful!