Hopefully Cameron Hewitt can pass on some insider information on this one. Guidebooks seem to say that city wall top access is more or less an 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM thing. I am an amateur photographer. And I want to create images in soft early morning light and late evening light, NOT the harsh sunlight at these latitudes after sunrise. Is there a resource I can contact to arrange off hour access on ad-hoc basis? Is there anyone specifically offering "photography" access in early morning hours between dawn and sunrise and evening access between sunset and darkness? Also, is it reasonably easy to find position on cliffs above city to capture images of entire city and its water front? Only found one web site that seemed to be authoritative regarding wall access. E-mailed and awaiting reply.
I'm very into photography, too, and spent a few weeks in Dubrovnik in the height of summer. It was fabulous! I don't recall getting onto the walls as difficult in the early morning....and I'm an early riser. I just looked through some photos and in the dawn ones I'm in the old town; when delivery trucks delivering fish, etc. are allowed to drive on the marble walkways and the streets were mostly empty of people/tourists. That might be an interesting alternative if you can't get up there on top of the walls... Do go right at opening time, if you go. Tour groups are often eating breakfast as don't hit the walls until later.
As for a good shot of the entire town: the cable car for sure, i got great shots with the island off the coast floating in the mist and then the heat of the day! Also, that same cable car takes you to the war museum. Unbelievable views. Some of the BEST views were from the Humane Society. It's in the spot the Serbs were based when they bombed the city, so as you can imagine it had pretty good views of the entire town. The shelter has had some rough times - why not take photos from there and then give them a much needed donation!?
One resource I used alot was the marina website. It told us when cruise ships were due in, and how many. We kept OUT of old town when the ships were in port. It was horribly crowded (like Venice when the cruise ships are in!).
Another tip: if you can swim, invest in a waterproof camera or a LifeProof case for your phone. The tropical fish are fantastic - right off the Dubrovnik walls! Great snorkling....
Enjoy! It's such a great place!
ExPat in Waterville, Ireland
Susan, thanks for insightful reply.
When are you going? Do you know wunderground.com gives good info on sunrise etc. - if you;re there in the winter/early spring, sunrise is later. If you're there in July it's like 4:30 a.m.!! I also tried to look up your photos, and found only a portrait photographer. I love seeing good photos, so if you're on Instagram let me know!
On my first visit to Dubrovnik in 2009, I hiked above the town through the neighborhoods to find a spot to shoot photos down on the town. (The cable car wasn't operating then.) I found a good viewpoint and returned at different times of the day, including in the morning just after the sun had come up (no sunrise to see because it is behind you, but the light on the town is nice in the morning). In 2015, I returned for a brief visit and tried to find the same spot again - it was a challenge! I eventually did, realizing that the trees had grown a lot in six years (duh!) and now partly obscured the view.
You can see my Dubrovnik photos on my website (click on my profile then search).
The cable car was running in 2015 but had limited hours in May (and a late sunset), so shooting from up there at sunset wasn't an option unless I wanted to hike down afterward. But that's probably where I would shoot from now if the timing worked out. I had a car in 2015 and drove to Montenegro after leaving Dubrovnik, and I found an easy, flattering viewpoint south of Dubrovnik back on the old town, not very high up but showing the walls and the town, so if you have a car, keep that in mind.
I walked the walls in the morning. I can imagine that a big reason they are closed at night is that the residents don't want people with cameras peering down into their windows at night or noisy tourists being a nuisance. In some spots on the walls, you are not far from people's bedroom windows. Although I'm sure if you are making a Rick Steves video or shooting for National Geographic or something you can arrange to get up there whenever you want, I would be surprised if an amateur photographer could arrange it, at least not without paying a hefty fee or something.
I found that my favorite Dubrovnik photos are at dusk down inside the old town, when the lights are on and kind of reflecting in the smooth spots on the stone streets - it looks just magical.
A good place to view the sunset (just the sunset itself, not much of the town beyond the walls) is from the Buza Bar in the wall. Often they are old ships doing tourist excursions at dusk. On a clear night you can see the sun set right into the Adriatic - breathtaking.