Bride and groom standing in a field of purple wildflowers kiss. Behind them is the famous Seceda mountain in the Dolomites.

Seceda Elopement Guide

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Seceda is one of the most requested elopement locations in the Dolomites, and it’s not hard to understand why. The iconic ridgeline, with its sharky peaks, grassy meadows on one side, and dramatic cliffs on the other, is a pretty spectacular location. But planning an elopement with the backdrop of Seceda comes with its own set of challenges and considerations.

In this Seceda Elopement Guide, I’ll dive into the practical aspects and bust some common myths for planning an intimate celebration in this popular destination. We’ll look at the best times to visit and how to avoid the crowds. I also want to give you a transparent and realistic view of what an elopement here can be like so that you can make an informed decision on whether Seceda is really the right location for you. I’ll provide you with invaluable local insights to ensure your elopement is not only surrounded by breathtaking views but also free from the common pitfalls that can accompany such a sought-after location.

Where is Seceda Located?

Seceda sits on the north side of the Val Gardena (German: Gröden; Ladin: Gherdëina) Valley in the South Tyrol area of the Dolomites in Italy. The mountain is part of the Geisler group, in the Puez-Odle Natural Park. On the opposite side of the valley, you have another of the Dolomites’ “must-see” hotspots, the Alpe di Siusi (Seiser Alm).

By car, Val Gardena is 1-hour drive from Bolzano (the capital city of the South Tyrol region), 1 hour 45m from Innsbruck, and 3.5 hours from Venice. But if you don’t want to hire a car (either for budget or environmental reasons), it’s easy to spend time in the area around Seceda using public transport. From Bozen/Bolzano, you can take a bus into the Dolomites. Once you arrive, most hotels in Val Gardena offer a free public transport pass for the local buses as part of your stay, so traveling around is pretty straightforward.

Place Names: This area of South Tyrol is tri-lingual. This means that not only are 3 languages spoken here (German, Italian and Ladin), but places often have 3 names. This can cause problems when you’re trying to find locations or navigate using Google Maps (or similar). When I refer to towns below, I’ll include all 3 names so you know what to search.

Logistics and Accessibility: Ensuring a Smooth Celebration

Once you’re in the Dolomites, getting to Seceda is incredibly easy. The easiest way (and the one that involves minimal physical effort) is to take the cable car from Ortisei (German: St. Ulrich; Ladin: Urtijëi). The cable car is in two sections. The first section is a smaller gondola, and the second section is a larger cable car. Once you reach the top station, you can see Seceda as soon as you exit the building. You have the option to hike up to the top of the ridgeline or stay lower and hike across the mountain pastures slightly below it.

Accessibility: Seceda is not classed as a barrier-free location, meaning that it’s not suitable for wheelchairs and may be challenging for those with restricted mobility, due to the narrow footpaths and steep hillsides.

Another option you have, if you’d like to see a bit more of the landscape and do some hiking, is to take the Col Raiser cable car and hike up to Seceda. The hike takes around 1.5 hours, and is fairly steep uphill in places. But if you are someone who loves to earn the views, then it’s certainly an option. Then you can also spend some time exploring more of the area beneath Seceda too (which is stunning).

Seceda Elopements With Guests

In the past, it was possible to celebrate an elopement or micro-wedding up at Seceda with a small group of your closest family and friends without too much difficulty. However, since summer 2023, much of the mountain has been fenced off to stop people from walking in the meadows and keep people on the footpaths. That means that elopements from 2024 onwards will find it much more challenging to find a suitable spot for a ceremony where it is comfortable for everyone to stand.

A small family elopement on the hillside of Seceda
Photo from a 2020 elopement on Seceda. Locations such as this one are no longer accessible due to new footpaths and fences.

Best Accommodation Options Visiting Seceda

If you are planning on having your elopement at Seceda, then I would recommend staying nearby, so that you don’t have far to travel. Some popular nearby hotels from previous couples include:

A little behind the scenes on Seceda

What to expect when visiting Seceda

This is where we start to get into the “Instagram vs Reality” territory. Older photos, clever camera angles, and Photoshop can help paint the picture of Seceda being a quiet mountain peak. However, the reality of visiting there can be rather different.


There have always been fences at Seceda. But during the summer of 2023, many of the fences were renewed and extended. Many of the popular photo locations along the ridgeline and in the grassy meadows beneath it were fenced off to prevent access. The main reason for this was to stop ground erosion, as too many people were going off the official hiking trails, causing damage to the ground.

A photo showing a bride and groom walking downhill on a fenced footpath on the Seceda mountain in the Dolomites
The newly constructed footpaths on Seceda from summer 2023 – taken at sunrise before the lift opened.

Timing is Everything: Dodging Crowds

Peak tourism in the Dolomites has two main seasons. You have the winter ski season and you have the summer vacations. These are the times when the Dolomites (not just Seceda) can be busy. At its peak, this can mean traffic jams on mountain roads, crowded locations, and high hotel prices.

Seceda in Summer

Summer is the time most people want to visit Seceda, when the lush green alpine meadows and wildflowers make this mountainside vibrant and colorful.

The Seceda cable car reopens after the winter break at the end of May and runs daily until the start of November. July and August are PEAK season for the European summer vacations, so expect things to be busy. From June to August, the afternoons can also bring in summer storms, which can mean heavy rain, thunder, and lightning. While these often pass quickly, you don’t want to be caught outside in one, so keep an eye on the weather forecast.

My favorite months to visit Seceda are June, September, and October.

Seceda in Winter

During the winter ski season, the busiest weeks are generally Christmas, New Years, Carnival (February) and Easter. The quietest time to visit in winter is in January. It’s also typically the coldest. March can also be a great month to come, as it’s usually warmer than January but still with snow.

Unless you’re skiing or snowboarding, the only way to reach Seceda in winter is by using the Seceda cable car from Oritsei. Then you’ve got a short uphill hike along the side of a ski slope to get to the top.

During the winter, while there are still lots of people around, the crowds up at the top tend to be fewer (since most other people are skiers). While this is of course, a big plus, it’s also worth noting that you only have this area at the top for taking photos, as the summer hiking trails are not accessible during winter because of the ski slopes.

Two brides in front of Seceda mountain in winter with snow on the ground
See the whole gallery from this winter elopement on Seceda

The Best time of day to visit Seceda

Sunrise is undoubtedly the best time of day to elope at Seceda. The sun rises from behind the peaks, giving everything that gorgeous golden glow.

However, getting to Seceda for sunrise is another challenge completely. Since the lifts don’t open until 8:30 am, you can’t simply rock up when you want to. You have two options:

1 – The Sustainable Option

The most sustainable way to enjoy a sunrise elopement at Seceda is to stay overnight in one of the nearby mountain huts, and then hike up for sunrise. Depending on which hut you stay in, the hike takes approximately 1.5-2 hours.

➡️ Check out this real sunrise hiking elopement on Seceda

2 – The Extravangant Option

The more extravagant option, which eliminates the need for a long hike, is to fly here by helicopter and land just before sunrise. The helicopter lands just below the ridge, above the Sofie hut. From here it’s a short 15-minute hike up to the higher viewpoint.

➡️ Check out this real sunrise helicopter elopement on Seceda

What About Sunset?

If you don’t fancy the early start, you can also land here with a helicopter in the evening, after the lift has closed. This also allows you the opportunity to experience Seceda without the crowds. There are only two drawbacks to visiting in the evening. Firstly, the light isn’t as nice as in the morning, as the direction of the sunset is looking away from Seceda. The other risk is that you won’t be able to fly due to summer storms. This happened to one of my couples during their elopement in July, and we had to leave only a few minutes after landing because a storm was coming in and the helicopter couldn’t fly anymore.

Bride and groom walk up to a blue helicopter that is parked on the hillside of the Seceda mountain in the Dolomites

How to elope at Seceda responsibly

Let’s assume you’ve read all of the above, and you’re ok with hiking up pre-sunrise or sharing your elopement with a bunch of strangers in return for the ease of access of vising during lift opening times. Here are some key things to do (and not do) to make sure you’re being a responsible and respectful tourist:


  • Dress in appropriate mountain clothing
    Seceda might not be remote, but it’s still in the mountains. That means trails can be wet, muddy or icy. It can be really cold and at the same time, the sun can be super strong. Don’t underestimate mountain weather.
  • Check the weather report
    Don’t get caught out by thunderstorms or high winds. Check the local weather report before heading up to Seceda. Long-range forecasts aren’t very reliable, so check around 24-48 hours in advance of your visit (and again on the day).
  • Be respectful of others
    It might be your wedding day, but everyone else who has made the trip here also has the right to enjoy the area and take their photos. Avoid blocking the trails or spending too much time at the popular photo spots so that you’re not hogging it all for yourselves (which may also lead to other people giving you agro).
  • Follow Leave No Trace
    While this area is far from wild and untouched by tourism, it’s still a natural area, which means it’s important to follow leave no trace guidelines.


  • Climb/jump fences
    Yes, it sucks that you can’t just go where you like. But the fences were put up because the locals were p*ssed at tourists ruining the area. Respect the people who live here, the fences, and the location.
  • Pick wildflowers
    There are lots of beautiful wildflowers growing in the meadows here. Not only do they help support the rich biodiversity of the area, but many are protected species. Some are also highly toxic, even just to touch…
  • Approach grazing animals
    You’ll likely come across grazing animals up here, as it’s a way of life that’s been going on for hundreds of years. Keep your distance, don’t pet, and certainly don’t feed them.
  • Throw confetti or leave any trash
    It might look pretty when you throw it, but confetti is just another type of trash, which leaves the area worse than how you found it. Don’t leave any trash behind.

Alternative Dolomites Elopement Locations

Perhaps reading this guide has made you reconsider your plans to have your elopement at Seceda, and you’re now wondering what your other options are. Well, that’s where I can help you. Having lived close to the Dolomites for over 10 years, and helping many couples elope in this area, I’m pretty confident I can help you find an incredible location that’s perfect for YOU.

There is no single location that I would recommend as an alternative, because every couple I work with has different wishes, abilities, and priorities for what they want their elopement adventure to be.

For relatively easy-to-reach locations in this area, there are so many wonderful places close by, such as on the Gardena Pass and the Sella Pass. And if you decide that you’d rather hike further, or take a helicopter, than opens up even more options for you.

Linked below are just a few examples of other elopements where the couples opted for an alternative location:

Seceda Elopement FAQs

What times does the Seceda cable car run?

The cable car runs from early December until early April in winter, and from late May until early November in the summertime. In winter the opening times are from 8:30 am until 5 pm. In summer it opens at 8:30 am and closes at 4:30 pm. You can find up-to-date times and dates on the Dolomiti Superski website. A return ticket costs €41 and can be purchased online.

Do you need a permit to elope at Seceda?

Seceda is a location that is open and accessible to the public. While there are no entry fees, you do need to pay for the cable cars if you are using them.

Can You Have A Legal Ceremony On Seceda?

At this time, it is not possible to have a civil wedding ceremony on Seceda.

No matter what time of year you are visiting, a great way to check the conditions on Seceda is to look at the live webcam:

Behind The Scenes Photos On Seceda

Some real Seceda Elopement Stories

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