In this post, I’ll tell you the most important things you need to know about eloping in this incredible mountain range! I’ll list all of my favorite places as well as the do’s and don’ts for eloping here from an elopement photographer’s perspective!
The Best Time of Year to Elope in The Dolomites
The Dolomites has definite seasons, and each season has its own pros and cons based on what locations will be available. The winter in the Dolomites usually begins at the beginning of December and lasts until about April. The time from April to the middle of June is considered the shoulder season (or low season!) in the dolomites. The Summer last from Mid June to Mid October-ish, and then from that time until December is another shoulder season.
So depending on what you want to do during your elopement, the seasons all have different options for your location. If you want to go up a cable car (like the secada car!) or a ski lift to ride high up into the mountains, you will only be able to do this during a high season as they are usually closed during the low seasons for revision. In the late spring, the most snow is on the ground and many mountain passes may be closed until the summer. There is usually a ton of snow left in the high elevation, and a lot of those locations (like the gorgeous Tre Cime di Lavaredo) will be unaccessible until June or July. Many roads also close during the shoulder season and don’t reopen until summer.
Summer in the Dolomites is usually pretty short and lasts from the middle of June to the end of August. Autumn is usually from then until the middle of October! Usually cable cars and rock climbing routes are open until the end of September, and the mountain roads will be open until mid october. During the fall, the cold weather begins, and it can even begin to snow in the mountains. It usually doesn’t stay though and won’t really last until October. The weather can be must more unpredictable during the last fall though, so there is no certainty as to what the weather will be! Its best to be prepared for every weather situation and to have several backup plans in place!
In the Winter, many locations will not be as accessible as they are in the summer due to the surplus of SNOW. There can be a ton of snow in these mountains, and the pass and roads can close and tire chains will usually be mandatory. With so much snow, hiking and wandering around on the mountains becomes much more difficult, but if you want to elope at a ski resort and spend your honeymoon skiing or snowboarding, this is the perfect time of year for you! Some hikes turn into snowshoeing trails and are still accessible. Wherever you want to elope, do your research to discover what time of year would be the best for that location!
If you were to ask my opinion on what time of year you should elope, I would tell you to pick early September! Most of the cable cars and rock climbing routes are still open at that time and the weather is more stable than the summer and less likely to storm! Sunrise elopements during the summer are UNBEATABLE, and you are must more likely to find some privacy and be able to enjoy the mountain views by yourselves.
Where Do I Stay?
There are tons of different accommodation in the Dolomites. There are Mountain huts that are high up in the mountains (rifugios!) or there are rustic farmstays (where you stay on a farm!). You can get an airbnb (my personal fave!) or you can stay at a luxury wellness hotel! The options are pretty diverse! Airbnb tends to be the place where I have consistently found the best prices!
The mountain huts are such a cool place to stay, and there are about 140 mountains huts scattered through the mountain range! Some can hold up to 50 people and some are pretty small so plan ahead and book your accommodation well in advance! These huts are the best place to stay if you’re considering a mult-day hike through the dolomites and don’t want to carry camping gear!
Here’s a list of all of the mountain huts in the Dolomites!
What Airport Should I Fly Into?
So the Dolomites are in northern Italy, and are pretty close to Austria and Switzerland! I’ve flown into Munich, Zurich and Milano, but I’ve always found the best prices into Munich from the US! Flying into another country ensures that you have an incredible road trip to Northern Italy! The routes are seriously STUNNING and I recommend doing the drive through Austria to Italy even if you aren’t flying out of there! Austria, Germany and Switzerland are all pretty close together so its pretty easy to drive through them to get to Italy!
Should I Hike For My Elopement Or Just Drive?
So hiking in the Dolomites is an AWESOME experience. But Hiking isn’t for everyone! The Dolomites are still for you even if you don’t want to hike! There are plenty of places that you can totally drive up to, take a cable car up to, or take a short walk up to!
Some of the drawbacks of an easily accessible location is that they are often pretty crowded during the day, especially in the summer! If you wanted to go to one of these locations, I’d suggest doing it at sunrise before the crowds come!
The more remote a location is, the more intimate it will be! A hiking elopement is an amazing adventure, and will give you a better chance of finding a private location away from the rest of the crowds.
Another option is to book a helicopter tour and find a spot unreachable by cars and hikers! Specialized helicopter tours can provide you with a bunch of new locations that you haven’t considered before and will be an amazing experience! UNLESS YOU GET MOTION SICKNESS! I did one of these tours and got super sick so just be careful because you don’t want to spend your elopement day feeling nauseous!
Here’s a company that does helicopter tours!
What Should I Plan To Do For My Elopement Day?
So there are SO MANY things that you can do in the Dolomites. Usually the activities are planned around the mountains and the various activities that can happen there! Depending on where you are staying in the Dolomites, there are a few different things that you can do! An all day hike is always a good option and a great way to experience the mountains. Pack a picnic, bring some beers (and water lol) and watch the sun set together after a long day of adventuring! You can also explore the mountains via bicycle! You can ride through the valleys or even up specific mountain trails! Motorcycles are an even easier mode of transport to explore the mountains. Head off to a bunch of various outlooks or viewpoints and enjoy your day zooming around together! Another mountain adventure that you could try is climbing up a ferrata, which is a fixed iron rope climbing route. This could be a fun new adventure for you guys and a great way to experience the mountains with each other. If hiking isn’t your pace, you can visit many of the stunning lakes in the area, plan a picnic, or stop by a local vineyard for some wine tasting!
If its winter when you visit, you can go skiing or snowshoeing or go for a walk together in a winter wonderland!
Do I Need A Permit To Elope In The Dolomites?
No! You do not! Unlike most places in the united states, no permits are required to have a wedding ceremony or bring a photographer to document your elopement!
Where Should I Actually Go To Elope?
So I wrote a blog about my FAVORITE Dolomite locations here, but here are my favorite national parks to explore in!
Parco Naturale Sciliar-Catinaccio
Parco naturale Tre Cime
Alpe di Siusi
Parco naturale di Fanes-Sennes-Braies
Parco naturale Puez Odle
Parco Naturale Paneveggio Pale di San Martino
Parco Nazionale delle Dolomiti Bellunesi
How Do I Legally Get Married In Italy?
So getting married in Italy takes a bit of paperwork, and I USUALLY suggest that couples get married in their home country legally before coming to Italy for their ceremony just to avoid the hassle! You don’t have to be an Italian resident to get married though, but you do need to plan it months ahead. civil ceremonies can be conducted in old castles, town halls, or outdoors, but a local mayor has to approve of the outdoor location. The best advice is to contact the local town hall and find out what requirements that they have for ceremonies. You do need a few documents for your marriage license and you should have your passport, original birth certificates, evidence of the end of a previous marriage if that applies, a certificate of permission to get married in Italy, and a marriage declaration at the town hall in Italy that you intend to get married!
So there you go! There are all my tips for eloping in the Dolomites! Hit me up if you need any more help planning or you would like me to be your photographer!