If you plan on eloping at Cadini di Misurina (a viewpoint in the Tre Cime National Park) there are some really crucial things to consider, especially if sustainability is important to you.
Cadini di Misurina is a popular and relatively easy to get to location for photos. For that reason, it’s freaking packed. You don’t want any ugly surprises on your elopement day due to poor planning or research! So, let’s get into the dirty job of managing expectations…
The impacts of all those visitors means a couple things. Most relevant to you is that if you plan on eloping at Cadini di Misurina or other areas nearby, privacy is minimal. You’ll be sharing the trails with thousands of other hikers and tourists of varying abilities. It’s a big place and there is room to spread out, but prepare yourself for the sheer amount of other people at times.
Remember, those 10k visitors converge on the same steep, winding toll road and in one chaotic parking area. During July and August, you might not even be able to get up the toll road without waiting in a long line of RVs and cars at the booth miles below.
To avoid this, get into the park before dawn, especially in July and August.
The Cadini di Misurina peaks are so famous and iconic, it attracts photographers and tourists from every corner of the globe. Its popularity means you’ll probably be waiting in line at the base of the narrow trail heading out the ridge. I’ve waited up to 1 hour here before with couples!
There are also people flying drones around the viewpoint constantly, so don’t be alarmed if one buzzes over head for the shot while you’re out there.
Mainly, consider this: although the photos look like you’re standing alone at the top of the world, you may be looking back down the trail at a line of tourists tapping their toes as they wait for you to get out of the way. It doesn’t always make for a pleasant experience if you’re someone who prefers not to be gawked at.
There have also been strict limitations on certain access roads in the Dolomites for peak times of day, and if you’re not aware of these before hand, you will be denied access.
The environmental impacts of over tourism in Süd Tirol are a hot topic for locals. It’s important that visitors do their best to keep the long term sustainability of the region in mind.
To manage this, the Dolomites has imposed strict restrictions in the last few years to manage the crowds.
Here are ways to make your trip less harmful to the local economy, culture and infrastructure:
And importantly: DO NOT LEAVE YOUR TOILET PAPER WHERE NATURE CALLS
Urinating in the woods while hiking happens. To keep it from being a problem, try to do your business OFF the trail. Stay away from water sources and take your toilet paper with you. Do not leave your wipes, TP or tissues behind. Tissues do not biodegrade quickly. Toilet paper takes 1-3 YEARS to fully decompose outdoors.
Would you want to travel back for your anniversary a year or three later and see your same pee tissue stuffed by a rock on the trail?
Same goes for cigarette butts – and I can’t believe that even needs to be said, but I see them everywhere.
On the surface, it seems harmless: flying out your favorite American photographer to shoot your elopement is innocent…right?
Unfortunately, it’s pretty harmful, and for a couple nerdy economic reasons.
First, local sales taxes are upwards of 20-23% for the Italian and Austria businesses based in the Dolomites. That means the money you’d normally spend supporting local artists is never used in the local economy in any meaningful way. Bringing in foreign photographers not only harms the local art community, it harms the local economy, period. The roads you travel on and the safety of the areas you’re visiting are heavily subsidized by these consumer sales taxes. Importing vendors takes away from the quality of life for locals.
It’s extremely difficult, bureaucratic and risky to be self employed in Europe. Please opt for supporting the very talented folks with registered businesses paying taxes locally.
It’s impossible for local markets to compete with the influx of foreign photographers “photographing for travel or their portfolio.”
The privilege of Americans with 1). the passport rights and 2). the disposable income to photograph weddings at a loss in exchange for a vacation exposes a double standard in those who care about sustainability.
Sustainability is not just about Leave No Trace while outdoors, it’s about long term sustainable economics and tourism.
The carbon emissions of an additional international flight alone are problematic, let alone the sidestepping of taxes, livable pricing and visa requirements foreign photographers do.
A photographer from Seattle, New York or LA likely has no idea that things close completely for several months of the year and snow levels affect higher mountain passes well into June some years. They have no idea how to find these things out, how often to check and where suitable backup locations might be. They also don’t know how to realistically prepare you for what the weather is REALLY like on a day to day basis, and not just in that one perfect photo they posted on Instagram.
Local artists and guides do. Because we live here.
Sustainability isn’t just about picking up your trash and staying on trail. It’s about the economic impacts of overtourism and supporting local businesses.
More than ever, it’s important people consider the impacts of their travel, and how they can make their trip a net positive for everyone.
If you want to have the most sustainable wedding or elopement in the Dolomites, where you choose to spend your dollars matters most. There are people and programs who clean and maintain trails, but no one who makes sure local artists are protected.
I moved to Europe in 2018. I’m originally from Michigan, and I’ve used travel to search for deeper meaning and a place where I fit in. I found that in the Alps.
I believe travel and exploration helps us grow as human beings, but we have to do so responsibly.
My goal is to help you choose vendors and locations for your wedding that maximize the good in the world. Therefore, I hope you consider the topics in this post as you plan your elopement!
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