Bum bum bum, this is our long awaited American’s Guide to Eloping in Europe! This five parter is jam packed with everything you need to know about eloping in your dream European country. This time it’s all about how to elope in Spain! Whether it be how to get to Europe, how to make your elopement legal, the best time of year to travel, what to do when you’re there and, of course, where to take those kick ass pictures that capture THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY OF YOUR LIFE. Yes, we have that little piece covered for you as well. We are going to teach you how you can elope internationally!
American’s Guide to eloping in Europe – Spain
Part one of a five part guide for American’s Guide to Eloping in Europe.
Kicking us off is SPPPAAAIIIINNN. Grab your own Ed Sheeran and dance like they do in the Mediterranean. Pretend we’re dancing in the street in Barcelona! But, please, don’t take the pills in Ibiza. Getting through airport canines will not be covered in this guide. Lo siento.
Second disclaimer: If you are looking for the easiest place to elope, it’s not Spain. You can NOT legally elope in Spain unless you or your partner has been a legal resident in Spain for at least two years. That being said, this is your life. If you want to make it easy peasy, get legally married in your own state in the US and then have a little ceremony in Spain! It’s seriously the best of both worlds!
While getting ready for how to elope in Spain, we have a bit more admin work. First our American friends, switch out your dollars for Euros. As of November 21st, the exchange rate is .97 Euro for 1 US dollar, so very similar.
Next, make sure you have a passport. This can get tricky if you are legally getting married and changing your name in the states. Before you go getting your new social security card and using that to get your passport which can take MONTHS, you should plan ahead. If you are ready to elope in Spain (symbolically) either elope first then go home, get married, do paperwork. OR get married, enjoy Spain, come home and then change your name. Ugh so many rules.
To reward yourself for all your hard work thus far, we now get to plan how to elope in Spain!
The best thing about Spain? No two elopements look the same. There are the mountain regions, the sea areas, and the city life. Great options for all our couples. In fact, one of our recent couples got hitched in Costa Brava, Spain where they explored both the city and the sea! Welcome to Honeybee Weddings, where you have your cake and eat it too.
First things first, when are we going?
The simple answer is spring or fall, which is unsurprising. No one wants to be sweating in the heat or freezing in the cold. Below we have scouted out the best time for 4 of our popular elopement destinations.
Madrid – March – May, September – November
Mallorca – April, May, September, October
Barcelona – April, May, September, October
Costa Brava – May, June, September, October.
No matter your exact Spanish destination, May, September, and October are the best times to travel.
Next things next, how are we getting there?
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s how to elope in Spain!!! Now, for our Americans your options are by air or by sea. Our couples with a whole lot of time and a love for intimate spaces should look into a cruise. A one way cruise from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to Barcelona will take 13 nights. Those who are more interested in being on a stable surface should take a flight there. A non-stop flight from Orlando, Florida to Barcelona, without stops, takes about 9 hours. Also note the 6 hour time difference between Florida and Barcelona. If it’s noon in FL, it’s 6PM in Barcelona. Are we good with all the math yet? All I really know is 1 + 1 = my favorite eloping couple (that’s you!)
Your airport cheat sheet:
Barcelona – Barcelona Airport (BCN). 9 hours from Florida.
Costa Brava – Girona-Costa Brava Airport. 11 hours from Florida with a stop in BCN.
* Majority of the time you fly to Costa Brava, you will make a transfer in Barcelona first. The two cities are roughly 90 miles apart so we reallllllyyyyy recommend a two day elopement to see both. By really recommend, we mean we have already put together a guide on how to elope in Barcelona and Costa Brava, Spain.
Madrid – Madrid–Barajas (MAD). 8.5 hours from Florida.
There are THREE airports in Madrid. However, only one is international. If you make a pit stop elsewhere in Spain you may end up at one of the others. Our focus is on the international Madrid-Barajas Airport.
Mallorca – Palma de Mallorca (PMI). 13 hours from Florida with a stop in MAD.
While you get to Costa Brava through Barcelona, getting to Mallorca through Madrid is not as close. Therefore the two day Spain elopement works much better with Barcelona/Costa Brava. If you’d like to explore both Madrid and Mallorca, budget a couple of extra days in both places.
If you’re reading all this talk about Florida and thinking you should just elope in Florida, check out our 7 luxury resort wedding venues. The Acqualina Resort in Florida is one of our picks!
Now that you have the gist of our Spanish loves, we are going to deep dive about what to do and how to capture the magic. Hold our beers.
Barcelona, Spain is the place your college roommate could not shut up about when she visited for six weeks. She may have been annoying, but she wasn’t wrong. Barcelona is the place to be! For your Spain elopement, Barcelona offers plenty of options to fit your first dance, last dance, and all night long dance! The city also has open-air concerts on the Dragon Roof Terrace of Gaudi’s Casa Batlló if you are looking for something more secluded.
To really learn and explore the city, we are big fans of lacing up your shoes and taking a walking tour. There are several options to fit your interests – you can tour the historical sites, go on a food and beer tour, or have a full wine and walking experience. A Barcelona wedding is best celebrated with a full belly in our humble opinion.
best photo spots:
-To sea in a sailboat. We are talking Ben/Jen round one and two vibes. Technically they were on a yacht in the French Riviera, but Barecelona can provide a similar atmosphere.
-On the steps of Plaça del Rei, gorgeous arches and phenomenal architecture.
-By Park Güell, the mosaic tiles are filled with patterns and splashes of colors.
In our 2022 trip to Costa Brava we enjoyed the port of Sant Feliu de Guixols with their fresh markets every Saturday. A perfect space to take time to soak up the culture and enjoy the Spanish staples of fish, meat, fruits, vegetables and ready-to-eat meals.
We also enjoyed the Punta d’en Ramis hike which is a must for our couples regardless of hiking skill. The 5.5 mile loop is a great way to see both the town and the gorgeous Mediterranean Sea.
To rest and reset between busy days, we stayed at Hotel Aigua Blava. While we usually go the Air BnB route, this place was exceptional!! The views from the hotel and the quick beach access cannot be beat.
best photo spots:
-The small cove of Cala d’ Aigua Xelida.
-Nearby beach front outside of Hotel Aigua Blava.
– A fine sandy stretch of Platija de l’Antasasia.
BIG FACT – Our current must have photo checklist includes a night time beach photo with a bit of lantern lights.
Okay, we know we know, we kind of just snuck this one on the list. It’s right between Costa Brava and Barcelona. Visit in Spring/Fall. Fly into Barcelona. Now you’re caught up. Girona is a little historical Spain town and was seen in season 6 of Game of Thrones. Just a little factoid for those of House Lannister (hopefully not you).
In Girona, we recommend seeing the city by bike. BOOK AHEAD with Bike Rent Girona!! These sell out faster than we thought. Another adventure tip is to explore in the early morning before the hustle and bustle. While we stayed on land, we made a note to check out Flashpacker’s guide on kayaking in the Mediterranean next time! For the ultimate relaxation experience, Baños Árabes de Granada with stretching, massages, oils, and aromas scream honeymoon bliss!
best photo spots:
-River Onyar has multi-colored, bright, beautiful buildings across from it which make a great backdrop.
-Through the town on bikes, think of a Sarah Dessen novel.
-In one of the endless cute cafes on a comfy couch. Spanish hot chocolate is mandatory.
Mallorca (Majorca) is one of Spain’s Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean. The island way is how to elope in Spain in our opinion. As ABC Mallorca shares, “There are many intimate spots along the route to lay down your picnic rug, open a bottle of Mallorcan wine, and bask in the beautiful sunshine.” Perfect for our laid back couples that are most excited about soaking up their time together.
The main city of Palma is busy with narrow streets and architecture that is comparable to Florence, Italy. While the town is rich in history, the food is new and trendy. Palma is becoming a culinary destination with a variety of upscale restaurants to sample. After you’re done eating and exploring, choose one of the many hikes on Mallorca that will take you to the sea!
best photo spots:
-Taking the train to Soller. The vintage wooden carriages have brass ceiling lamps, burnished wood paneling and wood benches are perfect for a trip back in time.
-Es Pontas is a rock formation that resembles an arch due wind and the sea over time.
-Drach Caves. You can take a boat ride through the caves or take photos near the stalactites. Pssttt elope and say your vows in the cave!!
When couples ask us how to elope in Spain, many of them are inquiring about the capital of Madrid. Referred to as one of the best places in the world for a romantic honeymoon. Like New York, Madrid is a sprawling city. It is composed of thousands of interconnecting streets that will allow you explore every hidden corner and every unique and original space. The architecture is composed of rustic style, bright colors, and permanent floral additions that create a superb romantic atmosphere.
Eloping in the capital makes a few aspects easier- convenience, accessibility, and the views! You will find many people in Madrid who speak English making it convenient to get around and solicit recommendations. It is also simpler to fly in and out of, you may even get a direct flight! How is that for accessibility! If you and your partner have an appreciation for big cities, the views in Madrid are topnotch. You have to check out Mirador Madrid, an observation deck at Cibeles Palace with panoramic views of the city. A close second is the 360 Terraza y Sky Bar, enjoy a big Spanish glass of wine and watch the world.
best photo spots:
-La Latina Neighborhood, vibrant and fun this area is great for photos and tapas.
-Puente de la Culebra AKA Snake Bridge, known for its twisting path. From the bridge you can say hello to ducks, tortoises, and birds below!
-Sabatini Garden, in the garden is a pond, fountains, trees, and white marble sculptures. The view during the day is beautiful, but at dusk it is even more spectacular.
For some other top places to go while eloping in Spain, check out our pals at A Broken Backpack, they’ve rounded up a few other good picks. Los amo amigos. We hope to see you in Spain with some red wine showing our EU neighbors how us Americans do! Looking for somewhere else to stamp your passport? Stay tuned for parts 2-5! Or drop us a line and we can give you a sneak peak.