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Eloping to the Alps: The Ultimate Guide to Getting Married in Austria (2023)

  • Are you an adventurous couple looking for the perfect place to say 'I do'?

  • Do you love tranquil lakes surrounded by rugged alpine terrain?

  • How about lush green valleys or snow-covered peaks?


If you answered yes to any of that, have you considered eloping in the Austrian Alps? We've got it all! If you are seeking a truly unique, breathtaking wedding experience, Austria offers some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in the world - making it an ideal destination for tying the knot! Sure, I'm biased- I grew up here! But I promise that this relatively unknown alpine destination will not disappoint. Here are some of the top reasons why you should consider saying your vows here.


Read on for the Top Reasons to Elope in Austria

A couple elopes in North Tirol Bavarian Alps

The Austrian alps are a great destination for couples who want to elope due to it's uniquely beautiful landscape, budget-friendliness, and variety of activities for all skill levels and desires- from spas and relaxation to hard-core mountaineering.

 

Table of Contents:

Can I get Married in Austria?
 

5 Reasons to Elope in Austria


1. Austria is a secluded, romantic, and epically beautiful elopement destination

The Austrian Alps make an ideal destination for elopements due to the unique beauty of its landscape. From sweeping mountain peaks and lush rolling hills, to crystal clear glacial lakes and dramatic waterfalls, the entire region is like a picturesque postcard. If you are looking to start your married lives together in a secluded yet romantic setting, there is no better place than the Austrian Alps (with the German Alps coming in as a close second!)


2. There's something for everyone- Austrian Elopement Activities for All Skill Levels No matter what level of skill level you have when it comes to hiking and outdoor exploration, the Alps offer something for everyone. From short hikes through meadows full of wildflowers to more challenging climbs up rocky mountainsides with breathtaking views, you can find just the right outdoor experience. And that's when you aren't walking among the quaint little villages buying bread and cheese from local makers. And for those who want even more privacy and adventure on their big day, you can book private helicopter tours to tour the awe-inspiring landscape or guided via-ferrata tours in the mountains. As a bonus, the region has many mountain huts where you can stop for lunch or even stay overnight, ensuring you get the best that sunrise and sunset have to offer! There is something special for every couple wanting a unique way to say “I do”.


3. Iconic Sites

As if all of this wasn't enough, there are also several iconic sites located throughout the Austrian Alps—from Schloss Neuschwanstein right across the German border (the world-famous castle where Walt Disney drew inspiration from) to Achensee, Tirol's "Fjord of the Alps", to meadows that will make you think of The Sound of Music. No matter what type of elopement scenery and activities you're looking for, you're sure to find it here.


4. Privacy

The Austrian Alps are one of the most picturesque places in the world to elope, and for many couples, there are numerous benefits to choosing this destination for their big day. One of the main advantages is privacy. Unlike the Dolomites or Lake Como in Italy where you are guaranteed to be surrounded by tourists, there are still many areas that are only known to locals. Because I grew up here, I can help you find the perfect hidden gem in the mountains where you can exchange vows without worrying about onlookers. This is ideal for those who want complete privacy on their special day.


5. Affordability

Another benefit of eloping in the Austrian Alps is the affordability. Everything from groceries to dining out to flowers is much cheaper in Austria, making it easier to plan your elopement on a budget, even with travel. My husband and I flew out his immediate family and we still spent less than 12K on our intimate wedding elopement in the Alps. Of course, budgets are all variable, but if you want to elope on a budget in an adventurous location, you should definitely consider the Austrian Alps. I guarantee you that it is cheaper than the PNW and Colorado ;)

A couple elopes in the Olympic Region valley of Tirol in the Austrian Alps Innsbruck Elopement

Tell Me About the Mountains- Why the Austrian Alps Make a Fantastic Elopement Destination


Ok, so you are intrigued! But you've never heard of the Austrian Alps. Let me tell you more about them! The Austrian Alps are a stunning mountain range located in the heart of Europe, stretching through western Austria and parts of Germany, Italy, and Switzerland. With towering peaks and large valleys, they make up one of the most beautiful landscapes on earth. The mountains range in height from 1,700 to 8,000 meters above sea level, providing spectacular views no matter where you’re standing.

Speaking of views and summits, one of the best ways to explore is by taking a cable car ride up to the top for some truly breathtaking vistas. There are numerous incredible hiking trails that wind their way through alpine meadows and along ridgelines between the peaks - and I'm here to help you pick the perfect route!


If you are more of a winter person, you can also go skiing or snowboarding, though I recommend doing this a bit later in the season after the school holidays.


Eloping with family? There are plenty of activities suitable for people of all ages and abilities. This makes it a great choice for couples who want to involve their children or extended family members in their special day while still keeping it peaceful and private.


How to Travel to the Austrian Alps for Your Elopement

Getting to Tirol is easy: For the cheapest option, you may want to consider flying into Munich and driving a rental car 1.5 hours to the Innsbruck area or taking a train. Another option is to fly directly into Innsbruck. You can connect from several major airports in Europe, including the Vienna airport. Personally, I would advise you to avoid flying through Frankfurt- it is truly a disaster in recent years in regards to connection time.


Tips on Traveling Through Austria

If you fly directly into Innsbruck and want to avoid a rental car, you can easily take public transportation within the villages. The train system is solid and busses run regularly.

If you do rent a car, you will need to purchase a Vignette. A vignette is a sticker that you put on your car that signifies that you have paid the road tax. You can buy a 10-day vignette for approximately 10 Euros.



5 Reasons a Destination Elopement Might Be Right for You


1) You love to travel and want to explore somewhere new

2) You are rather introverted and feel more comfortable with a "just us" adventure or a small group of VIPs on your wedding day

3) You want to save money by spending where it counts...and not spending on things that don't matter

4) You are super stressed at the idea of wedding planning and want to avoid wedding day drama

5) You want an experience that is intimate and meaningful.



Benefits of Working with a Local Photographer for Your Austrian Alps Elopement


Hiring a local for your elopement can be hugely beneficial to ensure everything goes off without a hitch. Locally-based photographers are sure to know all the best “hidden gems” locations – those perfect spots that few people know about and offer stunning views for an unforgettable experience. A local will also be well-versed in the terrain, weather patterns, and seasons so you can avoid unpleasant surprises on your big day. Furthermore, they'll have unique considerations such as business opening/closing times and seasonal availability for certain destinations – essential knowledge if you're thinking of eloping during the typical winter break in November, in April during the typical spring break, or during the first half of June. Most importantly, they will be able to provide advice that only locals would know!


Want to work with me, someone who has hiked these mountains since the age of 3? In 2023, I'll be based in Austria early June through the beginning of Fall.



Read on for How To Elope in the Austrian Alps

Planning an elopement in the Austrian Alps is a great way to get away for a romantic and memorable experience. With stunning mountain views and plenty of activities to choose from it’s an ideal elopement destination for couples looking to get married without the stress of a big wedding (or should I say production? I mean, a capital "W" Wedding is really just a big show).



How To Get Legally Married in Austria

Getting legally married in Austria can be a bit tricky, though there isn't a residency requirement, so that is good if you happen to be traveling from elsewhere. In most areas, you will have to have a ceremony at the Standesamt, the civil registrar's office, complete with translator if you do not speak German. These ceremonies are very formal with no flexibility for unique vows or anything deviating from the norm. As a tourist, it can be difficult to get all the proper paperwork in order, so I highly recommend working with a planner if having a legal ceremony is important to you. If you are an ex-pat living in the European Union, it will be much easier to get the paperwork in order.


In order to get married, you will have to register ahead of time to get married. It is possible to have a planner work with the offices in Vienna and Salzburg and help shepherd you through the process of obtaining a certificate to marry or marriage license. Once you have everything in place, you can schedule your legal ceremony!


In certain areas of the Alps, exceptions to the registrar location requirement have been made. Some registrars will now travel to pre-approved ski resorts or mountain locations to conduct ceremonies.


How to Have a Symbolic Wedding in the Austrian Alps

If all the rigamarole of having a legal ceremony in Austria sounds like a headache, you aren't alone! This is where a symbolic ceremony can be quite lovely...and it isn't any less of your wedding day. Personally, my husband and I got married at City Hall in the States, as that was easiest for us given that he was not an EU-resident. We then had a symbolic ceremony with our families in the Alps.


When you have a symbolic ceremony, you are free to elope in whatever type of setting feels right for you. After all, it's your vows that make you married! Whether you get legally married ahead of time, afterwards, or not at all, it doesn't affect how special your elopement wedding day is.


You can incorporate as many wedding traditions as you want in your symbolic ceremony, including:

  • ring exchange

  • handfasting

  • vow exchange

  • walking down the "aisle" together or separately

  • candle lighting

  • first kiss

  • ring warming

  • wine ceremony/ kiddush cup

  • log cutting

  • or anything else that you can dream of!

LGBT Friendly Environment and Marriage Equality

Austria has adopted an increasingly LGBT-friendly environment in recent years, with a strong focus on marriage equality. In addition to marriage equality, Austria has also enacted legal protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. These laws provide protection throughout all areas of life from employment to healthcare access, education and more. Furthermore, trans individuals are legally allowed to change their gender marker on official documents with relative ease. All of these legal advances have significantly improved the lives of LGBT people in Austria by creating an inclusive culture that supports their rights and dignity.



When to Elope in the Alps

When eloping in the Alps, there isn't really a wrong time to elope, but there are easier times to elope due to mountain pass access, mountain summit accessibility, and hotels/restaurants being open for the season.


When to elope in the alps will mostly be determined by the type of experience you want to have and what elopement activities you want to incorporate. For a hiking elopement in the Alps, I really love mid-late June or the beginning of September into October. For a multi-day trekking elopement, July is great as most of the snow should have melted from the high peaks and cable cars will be open. For a skiing elopement, end of February through March is best.


What is the Best Season to Elope in the Alps?

Friends used to ask me "what season is the best time to visit Tirol?" And there isn't one! The best time to visit the Austrian Alps depends on what you’re looking for. If your goal is skiing or snowboarding, then winter is the obvious choice. Spring and summertime offer wild flowers, mild temperatures, and plenty of outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and swimming in alpine lakes. Fall brings with it stunning foliage colors and crisp air, with a chance of snow.


That said, there are pros and cons to visiting during different times of year. During springtime, wildflowers begin blooming in incredible colors. But skies may be grey with rain (but moody gray skies also have their own magic!) and you might get some late season snow. Summer brings long days with plenty of sunshine for outdoor activities like biking, rock climbing, and hiking. But it also brings the crowds. While summer still sees less tourism than other Alpine regions such as the Dolomites and Switzerland, it will still be much busier making it harder to have privacy. My favorite season is late summer/early fall. In autumn, the color palette shifts as trees turn into shades of yellow and tourism has quieted. You can explore many of the most beautiful areas in peace all while not getting too sweaty. And winter brings all kinds of fun activities like skiing and snowshoeing and cute holiday markets.


If you are excited about a winter elopement, you will want to look at December through end of March. If you want a snowy elopement where you aren't freezing, I recommend eloping in March when temperatures warm up but snow is still on the ground.


For a summer elopement, I recommend late June through end of August. That said, Germans and Austrians will be on holiday break during August, so locations may be quite crowded. Additionally, June and July can bring summer storms, so having a few buffer days on either end is very helpful!


For a fall elopement, I recommend September through the beginning of October when the leaves begin to turn a lovely golden color.


Regardless of what season you choose to elope in, you will be best served by eloping mid-week in order to better your chances of having privacy on the day of your elopement.



Where to Elope in the Alps

When choosing where to elope in the Austrian Alps, you will want to focus on the Tirol area. I grew up here, and I know the North Tirol Limestone Alps the best. I keep specific locations a secret for my couples, but here are some of the top general locations to elope in Austria:


Karwendel

The Karwendel is the largest mountain range in Tirol. And it's what I call home! It stretches all the way from lower Bavaria in Germany to Innsbruck, Austria. Within the Karwendel are beautiful mountain towns, valleys, rivers, and waterfalls. It truly cannot be beat (in my very biased opinion).


Wetterstein

The Wetterstein Alps are STUNNING. While this mountain range is smaller in distance than the Karwendel, it also crosses from Bavaria into Austria. What it lacks in width, it makes up for in height, with significant elevation. Because areas can be hard to get to, there are several regions that are yet to be explored by mountaineers. If you are a climber, this area has several via-ferratas to explore!


Lechtal

The Lechtal region is surround by the Lechtal Alps and the Allgau Alps. This is a well known ski region, though the summer and fall are equally beautiful in the valley! Known for skiing and hiking, it's a great year-round destination


Pitztal

And that brings us to the glacier! The Pitztal Glacier is southwest of Innsbruck and is a stunning destination either for a day trip from Innsbruck or for your entire elopement stay. The Pitztal Glacier is the highest glacier in Austria. The Pitztal Glacier ski resort is open from November through April.


Adventure Elopements in Austria - multi-day hut hikes, exploring nature, skiing, helicopter tours


Adventures come in all shapes and sizes, so no matter what you're looking for, there's something for you. On my website, I reinforce my definition of Adventure: "An exciting or remarkable experience." So, you can sweat...or you don't have to!


For those who like a good physical adventure, multi-day hut hikes are a great way to explore nature and experience the Alps first-hand. With these types of hikes, you can plan long routes over several days, stopping at huts along the way for food and overnight stays. The scenery will take your breath away as you traverse ridges and peaks. Plus, you get both sunrise and sunset on summits, meaning you get the best light twice during your elopement. Tirol is also a haven for downhill and cross country skiing. For those who prefer something more extreme, yet easy on the body, helicopter tours offer breathtaking perspectives of incredible landscapes that can't be seen any other way. All these activities provide unique experiences that will stay with you long after your adventurous wedding or elopement.



Tips on planning an elopement in the Austrian Alps - best time to visit, how to get around and where to stay


When planning an elopement in the Tirol region, you have the option to stay in cozy chalets tucked away among the trees, rustic mountain huts on the trails, and luxurious hotels with spas overlooking the valleys and mountains.


If you plan to explore multiple regions, or access some more remote destinations (which means privacy!), I recommend getting a rental car. And don't forget to purchase a vignette!


Lastly, if you've heard that eloping in the off season is the best way to go, know that there are drawbacks to eloping in the off season in Austria and Germany. People take their free time seriously, and many restaurants and hotels close for a month or more in November and April/May. If you dream of a mountain hut elopement, opening is typically in late June/early July after the snow melts. That said, there are still weeks that aren't quite "high season" and will give you a fantastic experience without onlookers while also ensuring that you will be able to book the perfect hotel room for your stay and eat dinner out at restaurants.


Booking your Austrian Alps Elopement Wedding


I hope this post has inspired you to check out the beauty and endless possibility of eloping in the Austrian Alps. There's truly something for everyone - from those looking for privacy and seclusion, to adventurers looking to discover new trails, to families looking to enjoy a special moment together. And with marriage equality being fully embraced in Austria, it can be an excellent place to express your love without any worries. When planning your elopement, make sure to consider factors like the time of year that you're visiting, how best to get around during your stay, and what type of accommodations will suit you best. Above all else - have fun! An elopement is a chance to start new traditions and explore the world while celebrating together. So plan it right and start planning now – getting started is easy when you inquire about your Austrian Alps elopement!


Austrian Alps Elopement Packages

Meet Your Austrian Alps Photographer


You've chosen to embark on an amazing elopement adventure in the Alps. And your experience won't be complete without finding the right photographer for you!


I'm Molly and I'm your local expert with years of experience photographing elopements and helping couples plan amazing wedding day experiences. I'm located in the Olympic Region of Tirol and am here to help you have an unforgettable elopement.


My Austrian elopement packages start at $6,100 for 8 hours of coverage. All packages include planning assistance, including helping you find the perfect location to exchange vows.


Get in touch today to book your Austrian Alps Elopement!



Want to learn more about what it's like to elope in the Austrian Alps? Fill out the contact form below to start planning your elopement!




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