Austria has got four seasons – and all of them are gorgeous in their own way. Your first question should be: which season do we want to elope? Summer? Winter? Maybe spring or fall?
This is important as the season will determine accessibility of certain locations and parts of the Alps. The winter season usually starts in early December and lasts until the end of Easter holidays in March or April (this date changes annually) – however, the best time to go skiing is from late December to February. During this time ski resorts are open and cable cars are operating. In December you’ll also find the traditional Christmas markets in many cities and towns all across the country – an absolutely treat to visit!
Autumn vibes in the Austrian Alps in late October with stunning foliage of larch trees
The best time to hike
The best time to visit and go hiking in the Austrian Alps (if you don’t plan on doing a winter elopement), is during summer season from late June to September, sometimes even into "golden" October which breathtaking autumn foliage. For the rest of Austria in lower elevations, usually May-mid October is great time frame to visit.
April/May/Mid June and Mid October/November are considered shoulder season in the Austrian Alps. Some alpine hotels and resorts in the mountains can be closed, cable cars and lifts aren’t running until the busy winter season again. Mountain huts and shelters are usually closed too.
CAN WE LEGALLY GET MARRIED IF WE DON'T LIVE IN AUSTRIA?
YES! Austria is one of those countries where you don’t need to be a resident in order to get legally married. Only civil weddings are legal.What you need:
You don’t need a witness to get married.
Find all the info here.
CAN WE LEGALLY GET MARRIED ON TOP OF A MOUNTAIN IN AUSTRIA?
That depends! Civil weddings are usually conducted in town halls or register offices - however, there are exceptions. Certain certified event locations will allow a legal civil wedding in the mountains, such as the register office at Gamskogelhuette in Carinthia at 1850m sea level, or the highest register office in Austria, “Cafe 3.440”, at dazzling - you guessed it - 3440 meters (11286 feet) above sea level.
In order to avoid stress and paperwork abroad, many couples these days choose to the formal paperwork at home in order to be free in their elopement planning and with choosing the ceremony location.
BEST AIRPORTS TO FLY INTO AUSTRIA
The main airport is located in the capital Vienna (VIE). Closer to the Alps you will find the smaller airports Salzburg W.A. Mozart and Innsbruck Kranebitten. Depending on where you are flying from, you might also get great deals into Munich, Venice, Milan or even Zurich.
Austria has great train connections and the public transport in cities like Vienna, Innsbruck, Graz or Salzburg work fine - however, as soon you want to explore off-beat Austria and its little villages, you’ll find that there is no way around renting a car.
ACCOMMODATION - WHERE TO STAY?
Ohhhh, that’s one of my favorite parts!
Whether you are a lover of wellness spas, alpine chalets, boutique hotels or rustic mountain huts - this is the place!
MY 5 FAVORITE LUXURY MOUNTAIN CHALETS & BOUTIQUE HOTELS:
TYPICAL MOUNTAIN HUTS
Find every hut in the Austrian Alps (more than 500!) on the website of the Austrian Alpine Club.
Mountain huts are basic shelters, often with rooms accommodating 2-20 people, but they are true life savers! If you are planning a multi-day hike or want to experience a sunset or a sunrise in the Alps, staying in one of these huts is a unique experience. Life slows down, the views are amazing and it’s peaceful high up in the Alps - and isn’t that true luxury?
MY 5 FAVORITE RUSTIC MOUNTAIN HUTS WITH INSANE VIEWS IN THE AUSTRIAN ALPS:
MY TOP 5 SKIING RESORTS IN THE AUSTRIAN ALPS FOR A SKIING & SNOWBOARDING ELOPEMENT:
HIKING ELOPEMENT OR EASILY ACCESSIBLE BY CAR
You definitely don’t have to be into hiking to enjoy the mountain views in Austria. There are plenty of mountain pass roads open in summer and early fall that can take you high up in elevation. Don’t feel like driving? Skiing resorts are running their ski lifts and cable cars all summer long which can take you easily higher for panoramic views without breaking a sweat.
Yet, for those who love hiking just like myself, let this water your mouth: with 40.000 kilometers of hiking trails available you should be able to find your absolute dream location. Hiking allows you to find seclusion and privacy and to pick a spot most likely no one has ever said their vows before.
Have I mentioned the third option? Flying with a helicopter will give you the best of both worlds, a secluded spot and amazing views of the Alps without sweating a drop! Take a look at my helicopter elopement guide on how to plan you heli wedding in the Austrian Alps!
SHOULD WE ELOPE AT SUNSET OR SUNRISE?
From a photographer’s perspective, sunset and sunrise are the best times of the day for dramatic and flattering light. WE JUST LOVE IT! Every photographer in the world is going to recommend these two times of the day to you. Especially in the mountains, it can be an advantage to elope in the morning - not only will you find more privacy, also the weather will be more stable - apart from the obvious fact that sunrises are epic, folks!
Hey, what about sunset? That’s pretty epic too, isn’t it? YES!!! If there happens to be a weather forecast for a patch of stable weather, you will be lucky to watch a beautiful sunset with Alpenglow in the mountains.
A typical and in summer very common weather pattern in the Alps are local thunderstorms in the afternoons. While in the mornings the air is cool, the atmosphere starts heating up during the day leading to thunderstorm clouds building up. These thunderstorms are very powerful and violent and usually pass through as quickly as they came. And often, the suns makes a late appearance with a spectacular and colorful sunset in the mix of rain clouds.
It’s not uncommon for a summer weather forecast to look like this for days in Austria —>
But don’t fret! If you face days on end for “a chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon” forecast, you need to plan accordingly when planning to go hiking. Make sure to make a proper risk assessment: how long ist the hike going to be? Are there shelters nearby? What time are the thunderstorms predicted? Therefore, start very early and avoid hiking in the afternoon. Additionally, always make sure you’re not too far away from the next shelter and don’t take difficult/risky hikes or long/difficult via ferratas on a day with a thunderstorm forecast. Make sure to back early and watch the show from the safety of your shelter.
And finally, don’t ever use your smart phone app as a reliable source. Just….don’t. Instead, take a look at the official Austrian weather forecast institute ZAMG or the “Bergfex” weather forecast app, which pulls its data from ZAMG.
THINGS TO DO IN AUSTRIA - on your elopement or honeymoon
- Hiking (40.000 kilometers of hiking trails and over 500 mountain huts await!)
- Skiing or Snowboarding
- Rent an E-Bike (electricity powered bicycle - yep, that’s a thing in Austria!)
- Indulge in Austrian coffee house culture and pastries (hello Apple strudel and Sacher cake!)
- Climbing (rock climbing or via ferrata)
- Ride with a cable car high up into the mountains
- Spend a day relaxing on a crystal clear lake (the state of Carinthia already has more than 2000!)
- Try typical Austrian dishes (like Kaiserschmarren, Germknödel oder Kärntnernudel)
- Cruise on alpine roads and over mountain passes
- Alpine Helicopter Flight
- Wellness Day in a geothermal spa
- Visit ice caves on a glacier
- Listen to a concert at the Vienna or Graz Opera
- Hike with Alpakas or Lamas
- Visit one of the countless fortresses and castles like “Hohensalzburg” or "Hochosterwitz"
- Stay overnight in an Iglu village
SO, WHERE ARE THE BEST PLACES TO ELOPE IN AUSTRIA?
Holy cow - that question isn’t easy to answer, as there are so many and Austria is extremely versatile. Every location should definitely be considered within the season you want to elope for accessability and safety.