This laughter-filled Lake Garda Elopement features one of the most underrated Places to Elope in Italy. If you’re thinking about eloping to Italy, then keep reading for one of Italy’s best-kept secret destinations.
When Geneva & Lucas first reached out to me, they weren’t entirely sure where they wanted to elope in Italy – all they knew is that they wanted something stress-free someplace epic. Geneva’s exact words were, ‘I’m sure you know all the best places’, and I immediately started brainstorming ideas.
In the years I’ve spent traveling around Italy, scouting out off-the-beaten-track locations for weddings and elopements, I’ve compiled a fairly solid list of places. In the end though, after a few video calls and messages back and forth, we settled on Riva del Garda and Malcesine for their Lake Garda Elopement, with a boat tour thrown in just for good measure. Here, Geneva could enjoy views of mountains and lakes, and Lucas could have his wish of sharing vows at a castle.
PLACES TO ELOPE IN ITALY
Over the years, I’ve done my very best to explore as much of Italy as I can so that I can share it with people like you who are looking to plan a wedding or an elopement that is different from the norm. Of course, I’ll always have a soft spot for crowd favourites, like Lake Como and the Amalfi Coast, but there is so much more to Italy! And I know that there are so many of you out there eager to explore these lesser-known places.
Some of the Places to Elope in Italy that I’d really recommend, and that might not immediately spring to mind for an Italian Elopement or Destination Wedding, include:
- Puglia (the Valle d’Itria is a favourite for elopements or Salento for destination weddings with a guest list over 10)
- Sicily (honestly just anywhere in Sicily, although of course, I have a few specific spots in mind!)
- Cilento (a little like the Amalfi Coast, minus the tourists)
- Any or all of Italy’s lesser-known islands (Ponza, anyone?)
- Grosseto Province in Tuscany (if you haven’t already, check out the Terme di Saturnia!);
And, before I get run away with all the ideas,
- Lake Garda, in Italy’s north, with a special shoutout to Riva del Garda.
Where is Riva del Garda, Italy?
Now, you might be wondering Where is Riva del Garda, Italy? And I wouldn’t blame you if you’ve never even heard of this spot before. Lake Garda is located between Milan and Venice, just a short trip from Verona. It stretches out for 51.9km and is surrounded by 26 beautiful towns, each home to its own mix of tiny laneways, lemon farms and olive groves. Riva del Garda is one of those 26 towns, located at the northern end of the lake in the region of Trentino-Alto-Adige, also known as Südtirol.
Riva del Garda itself is a small town, with less than 20,000 inhabitants, that boasts some seriously epic views over lakes and mountains alike. It’s filled with all the things that make Italy magical – good food, a strong culture, interesting history, and picturesque views – and yet it’s unlikely you’ll find all that many tourists around compared to hotspots like Lake Como, Cinque Terre, and Tuscany’s famous medieval towns. It’s also an amazing place if you like adventure sports, with everything from paragliding to kitesurfing, and rock-climbing to hiking.
Or, if you’re simply looking to plan an easy-going elopement with beautiful views like Geneva & Lucas, it’s got that, too.
LAKE GARDA ELOPEMENT
I’m guessing that if you’re here, it’s because you’re planning your own elopement – or considering planning an elopement in Italy – and you’re hoping to find someplace a little different.
A Lake Garda Elopement is for you if you:
- Love mountains and the sea (okay the lake water is freshwater, but it’s still beautiful to swim in!)
- Prefer somewhere not so crowded
- Would love to incorporate something adventurous, like a hike or a boat tour, into your Italian Elopement
It was also perfect for Geneva & Lucas because Lucas really wanted to have photos in a castle!
Elope at the Malcesine Castle
There’s no shortage of castles around Lake Garda, especially as you work your way further north. The Castello di Malcesine though was our absolute favourite – and not only because the town of Malcesine itself looks like it was the inspiration for every Italian postcard ever with beautiful winding lanes and enchanting pastel-coloured facades. The Castle was beautiful, close to Riva del Garda, and well…
Lake Garda Elopements aren’t exactly trending. It’s not like Lake Como which hosts hundreds of weddings every weekend, or the Amalfi Coast where I once counted three couples in their wedding clothes in the space of 5 minutes. This means that epic locations, like the Malcesine Castle, are far more likely to have time slots open for your wedding. Or, if you simply want to have some photos there, like Geneva & Lucas (who were legally married at home), they won’t charge you a huge fee.
There are venues on Lake Como that charge hundreds of euros for portrait sessions, even more if you want to have photos taken in your wedding clothes. Meanwhile, if you’d like to share your vows privately with your love at the Malcesine Castle, they’ll just charge you the same entry as if you were any other visitor.
Including a Boat Tour in your Italian Elopement
The final step for Geneva & Lucas Lake Garda Elopement was finding a boat tour to see a few more of the sites. We started the day with sunrise photos at Riva del Garda. From there, we headed off to Malcesine in time for a gelato there before the Castle opened at 9.00 am, and then we met our private boat tour. We explored all around the lake, from epic cliff faces scarred by running waterfalls to the famous colourful shoreline of Limone sul Garda. We popped a bottle of prosecco (okay, two), and laughed & laughed, all the while swapping stories and taking photos.
It was the perfect end to their Lake Garda Elopement, and if you choose to elope to Riva del Garda or Sirmione or any other of the lake towns, I’d highly recommend it. And of course, I’d be more than happy to put you in touch with all the best vendors, helping to translate and book, so that you can simply focus on enjoying your day.
Lake Garda Elopement Vendors
Florist: Botanica Atelier
Boat Tour: Private Company
Photography & Planning: Rhianna May Photography
Are you planning your own Italian Elopement, but you’re still looking for the Best Places to Elope in Italy for you? I’d love to help you plan (and photograph!) a day customized to suit the two of you. Just get in touch.
Did you love Geneva & Lucas’ Lake Garda Elopement? Then let them know in the comments below!