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Since 2011 Innsbruck has been my adopted home. Sitting in the heart of the Alps, it is a such a unique location. You can be in the heart of a beautiful European city surrounded by historic architecture one moment, and within minutes you can be standing on the top of a mountain enjoying panoramic views across the Alps. There really is nowhere like it. And while I might be blinded by my bias, I’ve created this Innsbruck elopement guide because I truly believe this is one of the best places you can elope in the Alps. So let’s get stuck in…
Legal Marriage Ceremonies In Innsbruck
You don’t need to be Austrian to get married in Innsbruck and Austria recognises marriage equality, so LGBTQ+ couples can elope here and have a legal ceremony. If you want to elope in Innsbruck and have a legally binding marriage ceremony, your wedding ceremony will need to be conducted by the Innsbruck registry office, known as the Standesamt. These ceremonies take place in the registry office which is in a historic room under the famous Golden Roof in Innsbruck’s historic city centre.
Some important things to note about having a civil ceremony in Innsbruck:
- Ceremonies last 20 minutes and follow a set format with no room for personalisation
- They happen in German. If you don’t speak German, you must pay for the translator
- Ceremonies cannot be booked earlier than 6 months in advance
- Paperwork must be submitted in advance and non-German paperwork must be translated by an Austrian translator & may require an Apostile
- You do not need witnesses to get married in Austria
- You may require an Apositle on your marriage certificate to have your marriage recognised in your home country
For assistance with the marriage paperwork in Innsbruck, I recommend working with the lovely Stephanie from Dreamotions
To save on added stress and unnecessary paperwork, many of my couples are choosing to do the legal ceremony in their home country before travelling to Innsbruck and making their elopement about their commitment to one another. Their elopement ceremony in Innsbruck focuses on their personal vows to one another rather than the legal side of their marriage, and their wedding day becomes about having the best adventure they can imagine completely free from constraints.
Impressions from the registry office in Innsbruck:
Elopement Locations Around Innsbruck
There are so many incredible locations for an elopement around Innsbruck. Whether you are looking to have a relaxed city elopement, an adventurous ski or hiking elopement, or a multi-day adventure elopement that combines all of the above, Innsbruck and the surrounding holiday villages can offer you all of this.
I don’t share the exact locations of most of my elopements publicly. Instead, I work with each couple individually to help them find the perfect location and plan the perfect itinerary for their elopement. Around Innsbruck and the nearby villages you could have the following kinds of scenery for your elopement:
A City-Meets-Mountains Elopement
A Waterfall Elopement
A Hiking Elopement
A Lake Elopement
A Skiing Elopement
Getting To Innsbruck
Innsbruck is located at the narrowest part of Austria, only 30 minutes from the Italian and German borders, making it super accessible from so many directions and countries.
Innsbruck has its own airport, although it’s rather small, with only airlines from within Europe flying here. If you are flying from outside of Europe, the next closest airport is Munich, which is a 2.5 hour drive/train ride away. Alternatively, you could also fly into Vienna or Frankfurt and take a smaller domestic flight to Innsbruck as there are a few flights per day between these major international airports and Innsbruck.
The transport network in Austria and in the surrounding countries is pretty darn great. So travelling by train is actually a viable option for an elopement in Innsbruck, unlike somewhere like the Dolomites. Innsbruck Hauptbahnhof is the main train station, and it has direct international rail connections with many major European cities, including Zürich, Munich, Salzburg, Vienna and Verona. And, with as little as one change you can be in cities such as Venice, Prague, Budapest or Amsterdam.
For planning train travel within Austria, use the Austrian rail website OEBB for train times and tickets.
If you are planning your elopement in Innsbruck and then honeymooning around Europe, you might want to consider a Eurail pass. These are multi-country passes that you can buy for the train networks based on your individual itinerary. So if you’re planning a tour of the Alps by rail, this might be the perfect ticket (sorry, I couldn’t resist that pun).
If you want total freedom, then hiring a car will certainly give you that. You definitely don’t need a car to get to Innsbruck. And if you are flying into Vienna or Frankfurt, but do want the flexibility of a car, you might want to consider getting a train or internal flight to Innsbruck and hiring a car once you arrive here rather than driving the 5+ hours of motorway to get here when a flight is quicker and the train is more environmentally friendly.
In Innsbruck most car rental companies are based at the airport, but there are also a couple that have offices on the other end of the city just a short bus ride away. The major car rental companies Avis, Europcar, Sixt and Hertz all have offices in Innsbruck as well as a couple of local companies such as Buchbinder too. However, you can often find the best car rental deals via broker sites such Holiday Autos and Auto Europe rather than booking directly with them.
In the city centre, you definitely don’t need a car. And parking can be a bit of a hassle. However, if your plan is to do lots of exploring outside of the city limits, into the smaller valleys and more remote areas around Innsbruck then a car, while not essential, can definitely come in very useful.
Getting Around in Innsbruck
Once you arrive in Innsbruck, you’ll find public transport in the city centre frequent and covering most of the day (the night buses are less frequent but they do still run).
Outside of the main city centre, when you start to get into the suburbs and outer valleys, transport is mostly by regional bus (Post bus) or in some cases, suburban trains. While connections are still pretty good, with many areas having hourly and sometimes twice-hourly services, these do get less frequent in the evenings, on Sundays and on national holidays.
Riding the bus – Important info: When you board a bus, you can board at any door and your ticket isn’t checked by a driver. It’s expected that everyone riding the bus has a valid ticket. You can buy them from a driver but many people buy them in advance or use the app. If you buy a ticket from a ticket machine, you must stamp it when you enter the bus in order to validate it. If you don’t stamp it, it isn’t valid and if it’s checked, you can be fined.
For information about public transport in Innsbruck and the suburbs, check the website VVT.at.
Best Places To Stay in Innsbruck & Surroundings
If you are hoping to elope in or around Innsbruck, you have a few options in terms of places to stay, and what you choose depends on how you are planning to spend your time while you are here. Below I’ll cover some of my top recommendations, but I definitely recommend reading this full guide before making any final plans, as you might change you mind once you find out about some of the places that are just a short trip outside of Innsbruck.
Hotels In Innsbruck
If you decide to stay in Innsbruck city, you’ve got a selection of wonderful hotels to choose from, as well as a few holiday apartments, depending on your style and budget.
Staying in the centre of Innsbruck means you’ve got access to the city on your doorstep. Public transport is cheap and frequent, and there are plenty of restaurants and bars for options to eat out in an evening. If you love combing city & culture with having easy access to nature as well, then you will love staying in Innsbruck. Here are some of the best hotels in Innsbruck:
Best Places To Stay Outside Innsbruck
If you want to be close to Innsbruck but not stay in the city, there are a few options that I recommend, with varying degrees of remoteness the further away you get from the city. These options let you stay closer to nature but still access the convenience of the city with relative ease.
Innsbruck’s Holiday Villages
Igls is my top recommendation for the best place to stay just outside Innsbruck that gives you the feeling on being close to nature but also has the convenience of the city. Igls sits on a plateau at 900m above sea level, at the foot of the Patscherkofel mountain. It’s a suburb of Innsbruck, so it benefits from being part of the city’s central public transport system with buses to the city centre every 10 minutes during the week and every 15 minutes at weekends. There is even a pretty good night bus service after 11pm. It’s a pretty village surrounded by green meadows and views of mountains all around, with easy walking trails along the plateau.
For accommodation in Igls, you have the following options:
One village along from Igls, you also have the village of Lans and Gasthof Walzl. Lans is also on the same bus line as Igls, however Lans it does not have a night bus service (it stops in Igls) or as many facilities as Igls. But it is a pretty village and a definitely a good option to consider if you are travelling with a car.
Views from hiking around Igls & Lans:
Mutters & Natters
Mutters is another typical Austrian village on the south side of Innsbruck, with access to great hiking and biking trails. Mutters is connected to Innsbruck with the STB tram line. It might not be the fastest method of transport, but this slow and meandering tram ride down to Innsbruck is a lovely way to enjoy a slow day out to the city.
The neighbouring village of Natters is the perfect location if you fancy glamping, with the glamping site right by the Natterersee lake.
For accommodation in Mutters & Natters, you have the following options:
Axams is home to the Dolomites of Tirol, the stunning Kalkkogel mountain range. In winter you can ski at the Olympic slopes of Axamer-Lizum or hike the wildflower-filled meadows in the summer months.
Places to stay in Axams:
Places To Stay Slightly Further Afield
If you’ve already been talking with me about locations for your elopement in Innsbruck and the surrounding areas, we might have already looked at possible locations for your epic elopement ceremony and photos, and maybe even some post-elopement hiking or skiing.
Here are some other areas that are less than 1-hour from Innsbruck where you can stay in the mountains closer to the hiking trails or ski pistes:
The Stubai valley is a skiers and hikers dream destination, so pretty much year-round it has something to offer. The main village, Neustift im Stubaital, is just 30-minutes drive or a 1-hour bus ride from Innsbruck.
If you are planning to explore the Stubai Valley and want to stay in the area, I’d recommend staying in Neustift. Please be aware when searching yourself to always search for ‘Neustift im Stubaital’ as there are many towns called Neustift in Austria. Here are some ideas of hotels in and around Neustift im Stubaital:
Impressions around the Stubaital
At 2020m above sea level, Kühtai is the highest village on this list. In winter it’s one of the only places in the Innsbruck area where you’ve got ski-in, ski-out from December until April. It has a long winter season with some of the best snow conditions in Tirol. Because of the high altitude, the summer season is shorter, but it’s a wonderful destination for hiking. You can also have a day trip to Innsbruck or pop over to the Ötztal valley and explore that area too.
Some accommodation in Kühtai:
The Wipptal is the valley that runs south from Innsbruck, where the A13 Brenner Pass motorway takes you over the Italian border in the town of Brenner in just 30 minutes. From the main Wipptal valley there are so many stunning side valleys to explore, and many of them are home to some of my favourite elopement locations, hikes and climbs.
If you are planning to explore the Wipptal and want to stay in the area, here are some ideas for accommodation:
Impressions around the Wipptal
What is the best time of year to visit Innsbruck?
Innsbruck’s atmosphere changes throughout the year, very much with the changing of the seasons. Unlike a lot of the smaller holiday villages and ski resorts that come alive during ski season and some again in the summer for hiking tourism, Innsbruck is a city so it’s “open” all year-round. Even so, if you are coming for the skiing or the hiking there are certain times of year that are best to come.
Ski Season in Innsbruck
If you are planning a winter elopement in Innsbruck, then you’ll want to come during ski season in Innsbruck. While ski season usually starts just before Christmas, it’s always snow-dependant, and in the last few years the snow has been coming later in December. Christmas & New Years are also high season for tourism around Innsbruck, as lots of skiers and non-skiers head to the mountains during the school holidays to celebrate and also visit the famous Christmas markets, which run until Christmas eve in Innsbruck.
After Christmas & New Years, February is usually the next busiest month for ski resorts, as that is when most European schools have their holidays for ‘Fasching’.
If you are looking for wintery landscapes and cold temperatures, come in January. If you’re looking for warmer spring temperatures but still snow on the mountains, consider March. The valleys may be starting to green up but most of the resorts will still have a good covering of snow.
Summer Season in Innsbruck
Many resorts will close after Easter and not open up again until May or June depending on their elevation. It’s usually around mid-May that summer tourism starts to pick up and hikers, climbers and bikers start to head back to the Alps. Higher areas and areas that don’t get much sun exposure may still see snow on trails until into June, so many mountain huts won’t open their doors until then.
July and August are usually busy in and around Innsbruck, as school holidays mean people from around Europe come to Innsbruck to experience all that the mountains have to offer. But during these months the temperatures in the mountains can get hot, and sometimes too hot for hiking, so if you can, give these months a miss.
Innsbruck is lucky to have a lovely long hiking season that stretches into fall, through October and sometimes even November if the weather is good (although don’t rely on it as it’s unpredictable). Most mountain huts and lifts will run into mid-October and after that you’ll need to rely on your own human power to get you up into the mountains (although you can drive quite far in some valleys too). But there can be some great hiking to be had in these fall months from September until early November. Just don’t rule out snowfall in October and warm sunny days in November because it can and does happen. But that’s the benefit of working with a local photographer – I know where to take you for the best adventures no matter what the weather is doing!
> Read more about how to plan a hiking elopement
Working With Me As Your Innsbruck Elopement Photographer
If you’re thinking “HECK YES I WANT TO ELOPE IN INNSBRUCK”, well yeah you do! That’s because it’s amazing here!
Let me help you make it happen. I’m Europe’s leading adventure elopement photographer and Innsbruck is my backyard! That means I know this area better than any other. I spend my free time out exploring and scouting for the most incredible locations so that I can give you the best suggestions of where to have your elopement ceremony or post-ceremony adventures. I’m basically an encyclopaedia of knowledge, and when you work with me, you get access to all of it.
My elopement packages start at €4000 for a half-day and go up to multi-day coverage for couples planning a multi-day adventure and want it all documenting.
Contact me today for my full pricing and to arrange a free consultation call to talk more about how epic your elopement is going to be!
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