Though the city walls are probably Dubrovnik’s most popular attraction, climbing on the walls themselves doesn’t always give you the best perspective to photograph their scale and beauty, even with a wide angle lens. Luckily, a ticket to climb the walls also includes access to nearby Fort Lovrijenac, which rests on a small peninsula, just a short walk from the main city gate.
If it looks familiar to you, it might be because you saw it on HBO’s Game of Thrones. It was the filming site for some scenes in King’s Landing. You won’t see any dragons there (at least we didn’t), but you will still feel like you’ve been transported to another world!
From the Old town, just head out he Pile Gate and make your way down the stairs near the tourism office. There once you are down by the pier, the Fort will be visible and you can easily see which stairs you need to climb up to reach the fort. There are plenty of photographic opportunities on the pier itself, as well as on the balcony near the city gates (post on that coming soon. Update: our the post about Dubrovnik’s Pile Gate is live)!
If you have kids, don’t bother bringing a stroller with you because there’s hardly a flat space to put it down. You’ll have much more luck with a chest carrier.
The Stairs: The fist good view of the city walls is on the stairs when you have almost reached the entrance to the fort. There are some trees in the foreground, but for the most part they are an improvement to the composition, not an obstruction. It’s a great place for a landscape, but if you want a photo of your family, it will be hard to compose a shot on the narrow staircase.
Inside the Fort Lovrijenac: The fort itself isn’t very colorful, but it has a stoic beauty that you’d expect from a medieval military fortress. Uneven lighting will be your biggest challenge, so you’ll either have to bring a flash, do an HDR, or get artistic with the light and shadow. Our favorite interior location was along the southern wall where light from the sun over the ocean shined through this row of windows, creating a beautiful repeating pattern. Another great angle is in the main hall, photographed from the roof.
On The Ramparts: Up the stairs from the main hall there are several levels of ramparts with great, open views of the Dubrovnik city walls and the Adriatic Sea. This is the best place for family portraits since there is plenty of space to work with and plenty of light. During the winter, the sun was nice and low in the sky, so we had great light from the south, even in the middle of the day. During the summer you will probably want to come in the morning or late afternoon, but the morning will probably be better to avoid the crowds.
You can get a great family photo with the city walls in two ways, either by standing close to the subjects with a wide angle lens, or by placing them on a lower level and shooting from a higher level with a longer lens (though you will lose some of the wall this way due to the shape of the fort). These shots were easy to get during the off season, but expect it to be crowded during the summer.
Because the fort has so many levels and so many stairways, gaps and windows overlooking one another, there are endless creative angles to work with. If you come to Dubrovnik for photography, Fort Lovrijenac is an essential stop.