Italy has been at the top of our hearts since The Lizzie McGuire movie. The vespas, the pizza, the idea that in an alternate universe we could have been a pop star. Italy has the allure that anything is possible and EVERYTHING is beautiful. When digging into all the wonders of Italy, we lose ourselves in the magic of where to elope on Lake Garda.
Tucked away in Northern Italy, Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy. With incredible views, moderate hikes, and colorful architecture, Lake Garda makes the perfect backdrop to any elopement experience. A year round elopement destination, there is never a bad time to say ‘I do’. In the winter, temperatures hover around 50 degrees, in the summer around the 80s.The shoulder seasons are more moderate in temperature with fewer tourists. Their currency is the Euro, current exchange rate on January 12, 2024 is 1.10 US dollar per 1.00 Euro. The spoken language is Italian, but you will be able to find English speakers around as well.
How to Get There
No matter what you decide as far as where to elope on Lake Garda, you will need to fly in. Several airports will get you in the vicinity; the best choice is Verona Airport (VRN). After stepping out of the airport, you can take a bus, taxi, or rental car to reach various towns on the lake. If you’re wondering what is the nicest town on Lake Garda we narrowed it down to our top three- Malcesine, Desenzano del Garda, and Sirmione. Desenzano del Garda is the closest at half an hour from the airport, Sirmione will take 40 minutes, and Malcesine is the furthest at 1.5 hours from the airport.
You can’t go wrong with basing in any of these areas. Samantha Pretto travels to all three for your wedding hair and makeup needs. Samantha and her wedding beauty team take care of you and make your destination wedding in Lake Garda an unforgettable experience in a very friendly and relaxed way.
A lot of our couples struggle with location because it’s the one thing they can pick that’s anywhere in the world! With the help of our location matchmaking and the elopement planning checklist, we find them the perfect destinations!
if you want to elope in italy, check out our american’s guide to eloping in italy!
Where to Elope On Lake Garda – Malcesine
During our last trip to Italy, our couple based in Malcesine. This charming town on the eastern shore has a medieval castle with breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding mountains.
Where to elope on Lake Garda with Activities in Malcesine
Our 2023 couple took off on a vespa ride in town, passing sailboats, paddle boarders, and wind surfers against the backdrop of mountains. Oh, we could have captured them on those vespas forever, but alas, we had to make way for the drone that caught them in action, driving joyfully around the lake.
After their Vespa escapades, they embarked on a hiking adventure to Punta Lairici. Now, the hike proved to be quite the challenge in the sweltering heat, with not much shade to provide respite. But, undeterred, this brave couple found a secluded spot and exchanged their heartfelt vows. And let us tell you, they managed to avoid prying eyes and pulled off the ceremony in true clandestine style!
Read all about our Lake Garda Elopement with Vespas – Whimsical Italian Elopement.
Where to Stay in Malcesine
Stay within the historic Old Town to experience the charm of Malcesine up close. The Castello Lake Front Hotel is located a few steps from the alleys of the historic center. Standing tall between the crystal clear waters of Lake Garda and the ancient battlements of the Scaliger Castle. Relax in the sunbathing area listening to the lapping of the waves on the shore of Lake Garda or enjoy one of the dishes of the Bacio Restaurant on the lakefront terrace. Our menu pick is the Potato Gnocchi with the Cooked Cream for dessert. Cooked Cream is Cappuccino cream with milk foam and cocoa cat’s tongue. Cat Tongues (also known as Katzenzungen) are a classic childhood treat in Europe. This version is milk chocolate stretched out into an oval that resembles a cat’s tongue. When in Lake Garda!
Our Air BnB pick is just a few minutes walk from the center of Malcesine and walking distance to the Monte Baldo cable car station. Casa Titi is a newly built detached villa, with a garden and barbecue. The villa, 645 square ft., has two bedrooms and a living room, kitchen, and panoramic terrace with outdoor Jacuzzi.
Desenzano del Garda – Where to Elope on Lake Garda
Desenzano del Garda provides various lakeside wedding venues for your ceremony, including gardens, terraces, or even private boats. Malvezzi Square, with its fountain and surrounding cafes, and the Old Harbor area offer picturesque spots for intimate ceremonies and photo sessions. The town is well-connected by train, road, and boat, making it easily accessible for you and any guests. The convenience of transportation can be a practical aspect for planning an elopement.
Activities in Desenzano del Garda
Spend time in Piazza Malvezzi, the main square of Desenzano. Enjoy a meal and glass of wine at Hosteria Croce D’Oro and shop around the lively square.
Take a cruise on Beeboatservice. Captain Mirco offers an incredible elopement experience. An elegant boat, a good glass of wine and some delicious snacks, Beeboatservice is all about creating moments and magic. Honeybee tip- book it at sunset. You won’t want to miss the sun setting on Lake Garda. SWOOOOON.
Where to Stay
Enjoy the friendly atmosphere of Hotel Piroscafo, a cozy, family-owned establishment overlooking Lake Garda. The hotel faces the tourist dock in Desenzano. Coming down from your room you are immediately immersed in the energy of the streets, becoming part of life in the city. Walk along the lake stop in one of the locally owned bars and restaurants for an immersive experience.
Stay in the Audrey House, a prestigious apartment located in the centre and overlooking Lake Garda. Close to the beaches and the central promenade, full of clubs, make this apartment the perfect accommodation. This apartment is LUXURY. The bathroom is equipped with a shower and LED lighting for chromotherapy. Party on, Wayne.
Sirmione – Where to elope on Lake Garda
Sirmione is located on a narrow peninsula extending into Lake Garda. Known for its historic castle and natural hot springs, Sirmione is weaved with narrow streets and lakefront views. Exchange your vows within the castle walls or on its terrace, offering panoramic views of Lake Garda. Stroll hand in hand through the charming streets and along the shores of the lake. Stop in for an authentic Italian coffee and get to know the local baristas. Trust us, they are the keepers of lake spots you won’t want to miss.
In the afternoon, slip into the Terme di Sirmione thermal spa and plan to spend a few hours! This oasis of wellness is in a large park. It is designed to enjoy moments of relaxation all year round, alternating the sensorial experiences of the thermal water, the steam and the heat, the pampering of personalized treatments. Amidst the thermal water and the breathtaking views of Lake Garda that suffuse Aquaria with the enchantment of the sunset, guests find beauty, equilibrium and harmony. Our spa pick is the Lugana Wine Experience with a massage, mud bath, AND wine. Yes, chef.
After deciding where to elope on Lake Garda, here’s our pick on Where to Stay in Sirmione
This Air BnB penthouse with lake view is completely renovated. Settle in the living room with a lake view. Enjoy creating a new dish in the full kitchen. Most importantly – the residence, directly on the lake, has a private beach. Let’s get sandy.
Perfect for couples, Grand Hotel Terme is on the lake and a few steps from the historical center of Sirmione. It features wellness facilities, pools with thermal waters, and elegant rooms with free mini-bar. CHEERS! Parking and Wi-Fi are free. The Grand Hotel’s private spa features a Sala Relax, which is a living room with fireplace, lounge chairs, herbal-tea corner and direct access to the outdoor thermal pool. There is also a lake-view relaxation area and a gym. Overlooking the garden and the lake, the hotel’s L’Orangerie restaurant serves international and classic Italian cuisine, for lunch and dinner. Breakfast is a full English buffet. Break out the grilled tomatoes to start your day.
When planning where to elope on Lake Garda, some couples ask about Lake Como.
A popular question we get is, is Lake Como or Lake Garda better? While Lake Como is often associated with luxury and tranquility, we find that our adventure couples prefer Lake Garda as it has a more varied landscape and a wider range of activities- better hiking, more boating options, easier to travel around. Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy and bigger is better in terms of accommodations, restaurants, and things to do.
How do you elope legally in Italy?
Here’s a general outline of the process:
- Documentation: You’ll typically need to provide several documents, including your birth certificates, valid passports, and a “Certificate of No Impediment” or “Nulla Osta” issued by your home country’s consulate or embassy in Italy.
- Residency: Italy may require you to be a resident in the area where you plan to marry for a specified period, which can vary depending on the region. In some cases, this can be as short as a few days, while in others, it may be longer.
- Civil Ceremony: Most legal marriages in Italy are performed through a civil ceremony at the local town hall (Comune). You’ll need to contact the town hall where you plan to marry to schedule a date and time.
- Translators: If your documents are not in Italian, you will need to have them translated into Italian by an official translator.
- Witnesses: You’ll typically need two witnesses who are not family members to be present at the ceremony.
- Marriage License: After the ceremony, you’ll be issued a marriage certificate, which will be in Italian. You may need to have this translated and authenticated for use in your home country.
- Legalization: Depending on your home country, you might need to have your Italian marriage certificate legalized or apostilled to make it legally recognized in your country.
When in doubt, check the Italian consulate
It’s important to consult the Italian consulate or embassy in your home country for specific requirements and instructions for getting married on Lake Garda. Additionally, you may want to consider working with a local wedding planner who can help navigate the legal requirements and plan your wedding in Lake Garda. The process can be complex and varies based on your nationality, so it’s advisable to start planning well in advance.
Two-Day Elopement Timeline: From “I Will” to “I Do”
Day 1: The Adventure Prelude
- Morning: Arrive in style and check into your romantic haven.
- Afternoon: Explore your chosen town, visit the local church or sights, or simply relax.
- Evening: Dine at a lakefront restaurant with breathtaking sunset views.
Day 2: The Main Event
- Morning: Pamper together with a couple’s spa experience.
- Afternoon: Set sail on a boat cruise. Feel the wind in your hair, the sun on your face, and the love in your hearts.
- Evening: The climax – your elopement ceremony at a picturesque location. A symbolic ceremony can be performed by a friend or family member. No matter where to elope on Lake Garda, you will have plenty of great locations to exchange your vows and rings, pop some champagne, and let Lake Garda echo your love.
If you’re ready to book your own Laka Grada elopement experience, contact us! Not only are we the experts on where to elope on Lake Garda and your Italy elopement photographer, we are also excellent travel companions. Can’t wait to HYPE. YOU. UP!