When some people dream of their wedding day, they imagine a formal affair that usually involves a church and a reception venue. For others, the idea of getting married in a breezy and relaxed atmosphere at the beach is the way to go for their big day. If you’re in the latter category, take a look at this list of the best beach wedding destinations in Europe.
1. Amalfi Coast, Italy
The Amalfi Coast is one of Italy’s most popular destinations, with year-round sunshine, amazing views and some of the best food you will ever have – fresh seafood, traditional pizzas and pastas and the famous limoncello liquor. Not only will your guests be enchanted by the location, odds are you’ll get zero complaints about the menu.
There is a variety of venues from which to choose and each of them is packed with history and amazing sea views. The town of Amalfi is an idyllic setting, dominated by a cathedral with imposing stairs and panoramic views. Ravello sits high in the hills above the Tyrrhenian Sea, offering splendid views of the coast from its iconic hillside gardens. Sorrento is a busy town straddling the cliffs overlooking the water to Naples and Mt Vesuvius. The famous island of Capri is a favorite resort for visitors since ancient times and is now becoming more and more popular for weddings. The fishing village of Atrani is only a few kilometers away from Amalfi and Ravello, having an impeccably preserved Medieval center with narrow streets, arches, courtyards and small squares.
Positano is arguably the most inspiring place to get married in Amalfi. Described by John Steinbeck as a “dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone”, this unique town is positioned on a steep terraced hillside with the beach and the Mediterranean Sea far below. Fashionable boutiques selling the famous Positano lace dresses line the narrow alleys and there is a very festive feel thanks to the colors and the people’s warm hospitality.
We recommend Porto di Amalfi, also known as Marina di Amalfi and Coppola Marina Dock.
2. Bournemouth, United Kingdom
The seaside resort of Bournemouth is renowned for its pleasure pier, Victorian architecture and the 11.2 km of beaches. The bay is nestled beneath a spectacular cliff line and has some of the warmest sea temperatures in the UK and amazing views of the Isle of Wight and the Purbecks. Every section of Bournemouth’s beach offers a different experience, from water sports to family friendly activities.
The Land Train runs along the promenade, offering spectacular views of the bay. You can travel from Bournemouth Pier to Boscombe Pier; via Boscombe Precinct and Gardens; from Bournemouth Pier to Alum Chine and along the new route from Boscombe Pier to Bournemouth Pier via the East Overcliff.
Bournemouth is a fantastic wedding location, the only place in England and Wales where people can have the legal ceremony right on the sand. The Wedding Hut is located on the award winning West Cliff Beach. The Old Harry Rocks chalk formations and the clear water provide a perfect backdrop for wedding photos. The venue provides beautiful marquees for the guests and a driftwood arch, where the bride and groom stand during the ceremony. Catering is also provided, from a casual drinks reception or traditional afternoon tea to an exquisite buffet.
Our recommendation is the Salterns Marina in Poole, where you’ll find Britain’s best beaches: 5 km of golden sands, clear waters and contemporary waterside bars and restaurants.
3. Gozo Island, Malta
This scenic island has always been associated with Homer’s Odyssey, being the home of the nymph Calypso, who kept Ulysses captive for seven years. From a non-mythological perspective, Gozo and the other Maltese islands were instrumental in the cultural evolution of mankind, with 13 megalithic temples erected between 3600 BCE and 700 BCE.
Gozo is one of the top diving destinations in the Mediterranean and has many churches for such a small island. Id-Dwejra bay is home to the famous “Azure Window”, a limestone natural arch featured in all the tourist guides. In Victoria (called Rabat by the Maltese people), the largest town in Gozo, the medieval citadel houses a Baroque cathedral beautifully decorated with a trompe-l’œil painting on the dome (this optical illusion makes the scenes and figures depicted seem three dimensional). Xagħra is the island’s second largest town and possibly the earliest inhabited part of Gozo being home to the Ġgantija temples, the Xagħra Stone Circle and the underground caves Xerri’s Grotto and Ninu’s Cave.
If you’re planning to get married in Gozo, you should know that the procedure is simple and civil ceremonies are performed anywhere you choose. We recommend mooring your boat at the Manoel Island Yacht Marina, located on the small Manoel Island in Marsamxett Harbor.
4. Cannes, France
Cannes’ natural beauty, its bay and harbor, the old town and the 7.5 km of sandy white beaches make it an ideal wedding location. One thing to consider before planning your big day in Cannes is that civil ceremonies are performed only if you’ve been a resident for at least 40 days, but there’s no such requirement for religious ceremonies. Most couples usually have the civil ceremony in their home countries and the religious one in France.
The hotels and venues for wedding receptions are the best of the best, from the majestic Carlton Hotel to the Guerite restaurant and lounge on Marguerite Island and the Baoli beach club with 100 m2 of private beaches. Since the French Riviera is known for its spectacular views most couples choose to have an outdoor wedding in order to take advantage of the backdrop. The best weather is usually from the end of June to mid-September, but the mild climate makes the French Riviera an ideal year-round destination.
5. Portorož, Slovenia
The Slovenian city of Portorož, whose name means “Port of Roses”, is an ancient settlement full of history. Its modern development began in the 19th century, with the advent of health resorts. Along with Grado and Opatija, Portorož was categorized as one of the most important resorts and spas on the Austrian Riviera. Today one of Slovenia’s major tourist draws, Portorož houses the only luxury hotel in the country – Palace Hotel, built during the Austro-Hungarian times and currently part of the Kempinski chain.
As a wedding location, Slovenia is an ideal location. This is the only country in the world with the word “love” in its name, which is surely a good omen; the process is simple and straightforward, requiring just a few documents. And last, but certainly not least, your wedding album will be simply stunning. Portorož has beautiful beaches and spectacular views from its hills. When the weather is clear, you can see the outline of the Venetian lagoon in the west and in the north, above the Gulf of Trieste, you can see the Alps.
We recommend Marina Portorož, located in the northeastern part of the Bay of Piran in the immediate vicinity of Portorož.