The best places to elope in Europe

Whether you’re dreaming of an adventurous mountain elopement or a creative city elopement for your wedding day, I believe that Europe has something for everyone!

Here’s a run-down of the best places to elope in Europe. 

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From mystical mountains to sparkling seas, Europe truly has many great places for elopements. Not only this – it’s packed full with vibrant cities and rich history, too. This beautiful combination of nature and culture makes Europe a dream destination for an intimate wedding to remember. 

Whether you’re super adventurous or prefer a more chilled trip to a modern metropolis, there’s something for everyone. The best places to elope are different for each couple – so I thought I’d put together a handy run-down of my personal favourite places to elope in Europe.

Italy

When it comes to breathtaking scenery, historic cities and incredible food, Italy is the whole package.

Italy is the ideal elopement destination for both die-hard adventurous couples, and for those of you who don’t necessarily fancy trekking up a hill in their wedding attire.

The Dolomites and the Italian Alps are infamous for gorgeous panoramic views, sprinkled with pretty little villages. The Apennine Mountains are much less touristy – but equally stunning. The highest part of this mountain range is known as ‘Little Tibet’ and is well worth considering for somewhere a little different.

Don’t fancy mountainous adventure? Partake in dolce far niente instead – indulge in all the pasta, wine and sleepy romance that Italy is famous for. Tuscany, Umbria and Marche are brimming with fairytale beauty. Rome is rich in history, architecture, museums and ancient Roman ruins. If you feel more at home when surrounded by water, Venice’s picturesque canals and gondolas might be just the thing for you – or the magnificent Italian Lakes glistening in the late afternoon sunshine. 

If you’re planning on eloping in Italy, spring, late summer, and early fall are your best options. When you head out there in the stifling mid-summer, you risk spending your special day sweating through your suit or dress.

Scotland

The land of folklore, fairytales and mythological creatures. one of the best places to elope in Europe (but one of the most underrated!)

Spend your days exploring dramatic lochs, misty mountains, crumbling castles and rugged coastlines – and then cosy up in the evening in front of a roaring fireplace. What’s not to love?!

Although it’s ridiculously pretty, the Isle of Skye has become quite overrun by tourists in high season. There are plenty of other wonderful options, though –  including the islands Jura, Orkney, Arran and Mull.

Scotland is a personal favourite of mine – it’s where we spent our month-long honeymoon a few years ago. During our time there, we visited Loch Lomond, the Trossachs, Glen Coe, Skye and the Cairngorms. 

One thing to bear in mind are those pesky midges. The last thing you want on your wedding day is to be scratching at irritating little bites. The midges come out to play between May and September, so it’s best to avoid becoming their meal. We went in February, which was beautifully crisp and cold with some sprinkles of snow.

Canary Islands

The Canary Islands are a dream for off-season elopements. 
temperatures rest comfortably above 20°C (68°F) even in winter. Mmm, bliss.

Lanzarote has a distinctive volcanic landscape and black sand beaches, similar to Icelandic scenery (but with the addition of warm weather, sparkling blue seas and lots of wine-tasting opportunities). Skip tourism in Playa Blanca and Puerto del Carmen and instead pop into Teguise, the old capital, for something a little off the beaten track.

La Graciosa can be reached by ferry from Lanzarote. With it’s dusty roads, rugged coastline and only one little village with 700 inhabitants, it’s a beautiful place to escape. Craving the solitude of misty, evergreen forests? La Gomera – the island that time forgot – is the place for you. Explore untouched, mysterious scenery in this timeless haven, without having to stray too far from your comfy sunbed.

When considering eloping to the Canary Islands, don’t forget about La Palma – the greenest of the islands, packed with plenty of delightful walks for both beginner and well-seasoned hikers.

Greece

If you want to elope in Europe, Greece is the absolute DREAM. The crisp white mountainside villages, fairy dust sunsets and deep blue waters of Santorini are without a doubt the most famous European elopement destination of all. 

For whimsical windmills and an old town with tiny winding streets, head to Mykonos. The island of Corfu offers rugged mountains and dramatic cliffs, while Corfu city, with it’s white cobblestone streets and pastel-coloured Venetian architecture, beams all the romantic old-world charm you could ever wish for.

Greece isn’t short of splendid beaches – and Rhodes has plenty of them. Watch the sun rise on one side of the island and then see it fall on the other, spend some time in the magical woods, and wander aimlessly round the striking white town of Lindos.

Belgium and The Netherlands

Want to head somewhere a little different? Two of the best places for a city elopement in Europe are Belgium and The Netherlands. I admit that I might be a little biased, as these are the places I grew up. Don’t just take my word for it, though. These two tiny countries might not have the epic landscapes and roaring seas of Italy and Greece, but what they lack in scenery they more than make up for in incredible cities. 

Take a step away from the characteristic canals of Amsterdam and you’ll find the interesting, picturesque and incredibly cool cities of Antwerp, Ghent and Bruges instead. Bruges is charmingly small, cosy and historic – and Ghent was nominated as one of the top 10 cities to visit by Lonely Planet. Antwerp is chic, cool and modern, with a vibrant fashion and art scene and plenty of quirky bars, shops and pop-ups. 

Croatia 

Croatia has seen a sudden increase in popularity over the past few years, as people have discovered the beauty and diversity it offers. From romantic beach strolls to exploring ancient walled towns, and hiking your way through the mountains, there’s plenty for everyone to enjoy.

The gorgeous Plitvice Lakes and Kornati archipelago are ideal for water-lovers, and Split, Dubrovnik and Hvar are brimming with culture, food, history, shopping and architecture. What more could you want when eloping in Europe?

If you want to steer clear of tourist hotspots, find your way into the mountains or head to the Istria peninsula. Paklenica is one of Croatia’s wildest national parks, featuring spectacular peaks and pine forests. Istria, with gems like Rovinj, Motovun and Grožnjan – all personal favourites of mine – offers the best of both worlds: forested rolling hills scattered with cute artist towns and colourful fisherman’s villages.

Sweden

What list of the best places to elope in Europe would be complete without Sweden? It’s packed with natural gems and iconic views, from the ancient standing stones and vast woods to the awe-inspiring Scandinavian mountains in the north-east.

It’s truly a country with endless opportunities for adventure. Colourful coastlines, sandy and rocky beaches, deep forests and the infamous snowy Swedish Lapland. Not only this, it’s a dream destination for city birds too, with the unique cities of Stockholm, Malmö and Gothenburg. Also, did you know Sweden has some stunningly beautiful castles as well? Have a look at this Swedish wedding!

Morocco

Okay, okay, I’ll hold my hands up – this isn’t technically Europe. But bear with me for a second. Morocco is a relatively short flight, and it’s perfectly handy for winter elopements. 

Marrakech is one of the most vibrant and bustling cities there is. Packed with detailed riads, street stalls selling artwork, bags of fresh spices and hand-painted tagine pots, against the backdrop of the hazy Atlas Mountains. The city is rife with unique experiences – and the food is some of the best there is. Rich tagines, couscous, pastillas and msemen – a flatbread served with local honey and Morocco’s famous sweet mint tea for breakfast. 

Once you’ve had your fill of urban adventure, the Atlas Mountains are easily accessible. After a short drive, you’re surrounded by towering peaks, majestic ravines, and authentic Berber villages. The surrounding desert is also perfect for camel and horseback rides, and overnight stays in traditional Berber tents.

I hope this post has helped you zone in on your best place to elope!

Remember, EVERYTHING YOU CAN IMAGINE IS REAL, and in planning your elopement the sky really is the limit.

Hi there, I’m Isis!

I’m here to capture your love, your adventure, your story, just the way it feels.

I shoot intimate weddings and adventurous elopements, and I’ll be there to walk you through every step of the process. From helping you find the perfect location for your vows, to getting you in touch with the best vendors for your day.

Isis Sturtewagen Photography

info@isissturtewagen.nl
+31 (0)639671627

Based in The Netherlands, Belgium and Italy

KVK 67001157

Netherlands wedding photographer | Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Leiden, The Hague
Belgium wedding photographer | Gent, Bruges, Antwerp, Mechelen
Italy wedding photographer | Tuscany, Florence, Siena, Lazio, Rome, Umbria, Orvieto, Abruzzo
Europe wedding photographer
| Scotland, Sweden, Faroe Islands, Spain, Greece, Croatia, Germany, Ireland, Slovenia, Morocco