How to Elope in the Italian Dolomites

Last updated: March 13, 2024

This will be the best moment of your life.

If you're considering eloping in the Dolomites, one of the top 5 mountain ranges in Europe, you're in the right place. Prepare yourself for an epic adventure in the stunning UNESCO rock formations of northeastern Italy.

In this guide, you'll learn all you need to know about best times to visit and gain insider knowledge, tips and tricks to plan your dream elopement or wedding in the Dolomites.

  1. The locations are endless! From Tre Cime to Cinque Torri and everything in between... it's so hard to choose because there are just too many beautiful places. Have your photographer or planner help you with choosing the right location.

  2. Book your photographer and accommodation first, because these are booked sometimes more than a year ahead! If you need vendor recommendations, your photographer should be able to help you out with those things. For extra planning help, there are elopement planners out there who make your life super easy. I suggest chatting with/booking your photographer before setting specific dates and booking accommodation, because your photographer can help you with finding the best areas for you to look since they have local knowledge.

  3. The mountains in Italy are no different from mountains anywhere else in terms of weather; you just never know. The perfect adventure elopement dress can be helpful, but besides that; bring layers, rain gear, proper hiking boots/shoes, and have a plan B in case of a storm. That being said, they are sunnier than most other mountain ranges (on average), so if it's sun you're after, great choice! And if you want more sun, just head south for the honeymoon. Easy-peasy. 

  4. Rent a car, and be careful about what you're renting. Most of the cheap cars are manual transmission, and I don't recommend learning how to drive that on steep, curvy roads with crazy Italian drivers trying to pass you. Make sure to filter on automatic if you need that. If you end up with an electric car, there are plenty of chargers along the way. Electric driving just takes a bit of planning, but at least you get free street parking! Also, do a quick google search to see if you require an international driver's license from your country.

  5. If you choose to take public transit, a lot is possible thanks to their great train systems, but the buses are quite slow so you will need some time. They may not go to every place you want to go, so just check to see if you can get to your dream locations first.

  6. Learn some basic Italian and/or German. Get on Duolingo, bring a translator, "Italian for Dummies"; whatever works for you. Some basic phrases may come in handy because you won't always find English speakers, especially outside tourist centers. But if you know German, you should be able to get by!

  7. Have cash, especially if you are hiking from hut to hut. Not everywhere takes card, even places you're SURE will because they are so touristy. Most places do, but it's very likely that you will encounter a few that won't. 

  8. If you're hiking, download an offline map like Organic Maps or Maps.Me. They will help you with pinning trail locations so you can plan your hiking routes, and even can tell you how long they will take, elevation, and water stops. Recently, I've found Maps.Me to be inaccurate for time estimations (way over estimating) so be cautious and compare with what you find online.

  9. There is some real history here from WW1. The Italians were fighting the Austrians (back then, Austria was united with Hungary). I'll leave the whole history to the visitor centers, but I'm mentioning this because you will find a lot of places that have two names and sound German. This is thanks to the Austrian occupation of the South Tyrol (Südtirol/Alto Adige) area. Most places actually have both a German and Italian name, such as Bolzano/Bozen, Alpe di Siusi/Seizer Alm, or Lago di Braies/Pragser Wildsee. So if you're ever confused about which name is where, just remember this interesting fact!

Good things to know when eloping in the Dolomites:

You can elope quite cheap in the Dolomites, or as expensive and luxurious as you want. Check out to find the conversion rates for your currency. And of course, these are totals for 2 people. They are just estimates, you can certainly find things for more expensive, and possibly even cheaper. But generally, you can spend a week in the Dolomites with a half day of eloping for as cheap as €5650, with a more luxury budget starting at €32,350.

Budgets for eloping in the Dolomites in 2024:

The luxury route for one week (by which you can go above and beyond):

  • Photographer for 2 days (different outfits, different locations, overnight hike if that's your thing) €8000+
  • Videographer for 2 days €8000+
  • Elopement planner €3000
  • Helicopter flight on one of those days €2-3000
  • Staying in a mix of nice/luxury hotels & glamping for 1 week €5000+
  • Flights from North America (economy plus) €2000
  • Car rental (automatic, sedan) with insurance €1200
  • Parking and tolls from Venice €50
  • Food and drinks at a mix of average and expensive restaurants €400+
  • Bouquet and boutonniere €200
  • Spa/sauna therapy €400
  • Hair and makeup €700 (single day price)
  • Elopement activities €400+

Total: €32,350+

The cheapest way to go for one week:

  • Photographer for half a day €3000
  • Camping for 1 week €420
  • Flight from North America (x2 economy tickets) €1600
  • Car rental (automatic, economy, rented in Treviso) with insurance €350
  • Going off-season
  • Parking and tolls from Venice €50
  • Food and drinks (breakfast and lunch from supermarkets, dinner at a restaurant, mostly water for drinks, no tips since they are not expected) €200
  • Elopement activities €30

Total: €5650+

How to get to the Dolomites

Depending on where you're coming from, I recommend flying into the international airport of Venice Marco Polo (VCE) or Treviso (TFS). Being right by Venice, they are also the closest to the Dolomites.

That being said, depending on where you fly from, Milano Malpensa (MXP) or Linate (LIN) could be better options for you.

If you are coming by train, you could be coming from a few directions. I won't list them all, but if you are coming from Austria or Germany, you will mostly likely be passing through Innsbruck, Brenner, then to Bolzano (Bozen). If you are coming from the south of Italy, you should pass through Milan, Verona, then Bolzano. Bolzano is a great place to start your journey, and from there you can rent a car and start your road trip!

In the summer, renting is easy, nothing to worry about (aside from making sure to get automatic if you need it). Renting a car during winter, though, can be daunting. It is very difficult to find a car with winter tires if you are in Venice, or another place that doesn't get so much snow. They will give you chains upon request (free with some companies), but if you don't know how to put them on, you may have to watch a Youtube video as they won't know how either. Also, in case you didn't know, you can only drive 30km/hr with chains, so they can be very inconvenient. 

Because of this, it's possible that renting in the Dolomites is better as they have more winter tire availability. The more north you go, the more likely they can help you out. You can rent cars in any of the main cities, such as Bolzano, Trento, Cortina d'Ampezzo, and Merano. Bolzano and Trento have the most rental options, and due to the extreme temperatures in Bolzano, it is the most likely place that you will find winter tires.

The prices will be more expensive in the mountains, as are most things, so it's also good to keep that in mind. Renting a car in Treviso, for example, can be as cheap as €10/day for a manual transmission. So you just have to weigh your options with the time of year you are going, and see what's best. Don't forget to get insurance, driving in Italy is probably not like driving back home!

How to get around in the Dolomites in 2024:

Hot tip: download Waze for driving directions. There are a lot of speed cameras in Italy, and if you turn the volume on, Waze will tell you when they are coming up! If you need data, you can get an e-sim from companies like RedteaGo. It will be a lot cheaper than roaming!

The Dolomites are always a great place to be, this is why I chose to live here. I recommend September and October, they are my personal favourite months here.

Best Time to Visit the Dolomites in 2024:

September you start getting less crowds. Most huts are still open, roads have no risk of being closed, kids are in school. The weather is still warm enough that you don't need to wear a jacket during the day (though perhaps at night, and no matter what, always bring a jacket in the mountains). You can get some thunderstorms in the evenings, they aren't uncommon.

October gives you those stunning autumn leaves. They contrast so beautifully with the blue lakes and green trees, it's really something special. The crowds will be even less, and slowly things are starting to close. If you time it right, you can get the last bookings of huts (aka rifugi or hütte), and you are still quite likely to get sunny days. You do need to be a bit more cautious about weather, it's true, but to me the beauty that autumn brings is worth it.

Late June is also not such a bad time to be there. The huts are starting to open, the weather is certainly warm enough, and the crowds haven't hit quite yet. Keep in mind; this is Europe, people are everywhere, it's not like going in the backcountry of Canada/America or the outback in Australia. It's hard to truly get away from everyone. 

July and August have great weather generally. Though it can become too warm sometimes, and heatwaves with afternoon thunderstorms are becoming more common. Things are very crowded, it's harder to find accommodation and tickets for activities. It's not that I don't recommend this time of year, I do, but you do need to book things ahead of time and be prepared for crowds. Sunrise and sunset can often avoid the people.

December-February is perfect if you want a winter-wonderland wedding. Snow is almost guaranteed (you never know about anywhere these days) and you can rent ski-in-ski-out chalets. The winter huts are super cute and cozy for canoodling with your partner, and you just want to grab your tea, sit by the kindling fire, and gaze at the pristine landscapes from your window. And, if you've rented a private hut, you might have a sauna built in! Not to mention, the winter activities are endless. Snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing or snowboarding, ski touring (very big here), snowball fights, gondola rides to insane peaks, ice skating, etc...

March-early May + November I don't recommend. May is not too bad, and you can get some nice wildflowers (careful if you have bad allergies), but the other months are really not ideal for weather, things to do, and open huts. That being said, they are the cheapest months to go in case you are on a budget. Either way, even during this less favorable time of year, I can help you plan the most unforgettable time in the Dolomites regardless.

There are possibilities to use the lifts here if you're not into hiking, and you get some spectacular, jagged ridges as views.


Best Elopement Locations in the Dolomites for 2024:

Tre Cime
We could hike and sleep in the hut here to easily do sunrise and sunset photos. Must be booked well in advance!

Cadini di Misurina
This is an easy hike to a very popular spot, but its beauty is just breathtaking at sunrise and sunset. For sunrise, let's stay in the Rifugio the night before!

Alpe di Siusi
Beautiful every time of year, Alpe di Siusi is one of the most gorgeous valleys with an amazing mountain view.

Santa Magdalena
You know the photo of the cute church with the peaks in the background? That's here. You have to pay to get close to the church and be able to take photos really with it, but the fee is inexpensive so it's not an issue. You are not able to get photos frolicking in the grass in front of it, though, because it's blocked off to protect the area.

Lago di Braies 
I get the most inquiries for Lago di Braies (check out my favourite elopement here), and it's so obvious why. What a gem; sunrise here is so magical, quiet, and serene.

And there are so many others! Your photographer and/or planner should be able to help you find the best place for you and whatever it is that you want/require. You just need to tell them what your goal is, whether it's hiking, taking a gondola, driving with photo stops, staying in huts, quiet places... everyone has different things in mind and "non-negotiables".

This is a huge part of the reason you hire experts; not just for beautiful photos, but to help you with the most seamless experience possible, tips and tricks you can't find on your own, and overall profesionalism. 

Cinque Torri
Another one where you can take the chair lift up (highly recommended in this case), sleep in the mountains huts if you wish, and get some epic sunrise and sunset photos

There are so many options. Many are what you would normally book, a hotel or Airbnb, but you can book some really unique places here.

You've got some choices of mountain huts (rifugi in Italian or hütten in German, plural forms), mountain chalets, spa hotels, and camping/glamping. Some examples: Rifugio Antermoia, Alpina Dolomites spa hotel, and Camping Olympia Cortina (find glamping pods if you scroll down).

If you're up for adventure, I recommend trying out a mountain hut or two that you need to hike to. You can stay in them as you're hiking from location to location, or some are located at the beginning/ends of hikes, which is easier for those who are not into hiking. They can also be in the middle of a mountain/ski run and you need to take a gondola (or hike) to get to them. They can be anywhere, really!

The mountain huts vary between being private (more AirBnb style) and open to host from 10-30 people sometimes. In those, you can usually book a dorm room or choose to stay in a private room. They are super cozy, and you usually get the most incredible views from them. They will offer you full board or half board, which just means they will supply you with dinner, breakfast, and a packed lunch, or just dinner and breakfast. If you have meal requests, like being vegan or gluten-free, they will often accommodate your requests. But you do need to tell them well in advance! Some places will have these as staple menu items, though.

If you're keen on it (or on a budget), you can also bring your tent and camp in designated areas. There are many off-limit areas, so don't camp anywhere that isn't an official campsite, otherwise you could end up in some trouble. Plus, it's just not good for the local flora and fauna.

Glamping is also a big thing here. There are some really cool mini A-frame cabins (just with beds, nothing else), yurts, and canvas tents that you can stay in. You can sometimes choose to get certain meals included here too, cook yourself, or eat out.

I've never been much of a hotel person myself, but if you are staying in a hotel, I highly recommend Paradiso.Pure and La Vimea. Not only are they beautiful and cozy, but the food is just jaw-droppingly amazing! They are vegan/vegetarian hotels, so you can also say you got to minimize your footprint and booked ethical accommodations during your trip. They host intimate weddings as well, in case you were unsure if you wanted to elope or invite some guests along. Learn how to organize your vegan dream wedding here, and read more on how to make your wedding more environmentally friendly.


Accommodation in the Dolomites in 2024:

You've got a lot of choices on things to do here. Whether you do it during your elopement/wedding, or before or after, that's up to you. But keep in mind, some of these things can certainly be combined with saying your vows and/or your photo session!

So, you can:

  • Hike (from hut to hut, multi-day)
  • Book a Helicopter Tour in The Dolomites
  • Go snow shoeing
  • Skiing/snowboarding/ski touring
  • Eating! Because you're in Eat-aly after all
  • Book a private chef for an amazing meal in a field with a view
  • Do some hot and cold therapy (saunas and cold water dips)
  • Rock climbing
  • Via ferrata
  • Boat rides (such as sunrise on Lago di Braies)
  • Gondola rides to the most breathtaking views
  • Mountain biking
  • ... and many more!


Activities in the Dolomites for Your Elopement:

  1. Research and Choose a Location: I've given you a few pointers above, the rest is up to you. If you need any help, reach out to photographers and/or planners in the area, hiring locals is always the best choice!

  2. Hire a Photographer and Planner before any other Vendors: They are the first ones to get booked up, along with venues, so they should be the first ones you contact so they can help you pick your exact date. Photographers should help you with itinerary creation for the day, locations, packing lists, vendor recommendations, and those sorts of things. Planners can help you book logistical things, hotels/huts, venues, and gift further vendor recommendations + booking all of those things for you. They ensure a smooth and stress-free experience. If you're not sure which vendors your need, check out this useful resource.

  3. Choose a Season and a Date: I've already told you what you need to know, so choose a season, or month, and chat with your photographer or planner about a specific date. If you are planning a multi-day elopement, here are 7 reasons why you won't regret it.

  4. Book Transportation: If you're renting a car. Public transport can be booked closer to the date, but I still recommend booking any trains/buses from out of the country (or from far Italian cities) at least a month in advance.

  5. Hire Other Professional Services: Whatever you haven't hired yet, don't leave it too last minute! You can book a videographer, florist, hair and makeup, decorators if you have a venue, stationary designer + printer, private chef, tour guides, and whatever else you need. If you hire a planner, she or he will book all of this for you.

  6. Check Legal Requirements: Familiarize yourself with the legal requirements for getting married in Italy, if you want to do that. Contact the local municipality or consulate to understand the necessary documents, timelines, and any specific regulations, since they're a bit different everywhere. Hot tip: get married at home, and have a symbolic ceremony in Italy. It will save you a lot of grey hairs!

  7. Plan the Ceremony and Vows: Decide on the details of your ceremony, any rituals, or any unique elements you want to include. Consider the surroundings and the natural beauty of the Dolomites to inspire your ceremony "design". With the epic backdrop, you probably won't need much, or anything at all! But it is important to include things that are dear to your heart, whether it's something physical or it's the words that come from deep within your heart.

  8. Optional: Invite Family and Friends (for a video call): If you've really been dreaming of eloping, but still want your family and friends to be present (read blog post on this topic here), feel free to invite a few people along, or make sure everyone has a link to a video call. Get an e-sim and make sure you get a plan with enough data for the call to last! Or make sure you've got a videographer present.

  9. Enjoy the Experience: Make sure you've read the 2024 Elopement Checklist, so that on your actual elopement day, you can fully take the time to soak in the beauty of the Dolomites. Allow yourself to be present in the moment and celebrate your love in this breathtaking setting. Get emotional, get crazy, and marry that partner of yours! 

Pro tip: Check out this free Ultimate 2024 Elopement Guide and remember to consult with local professionals who can provide specific guidance based on your chosen location in the Dolomites.

They will be able to assist you with the intricate details and ensure a seamless elopement experience amidst the majestic mountains. It's the best way to make your elopement stress-free!

To-do list before Eloping in the Dolomites

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