Congratulations! You’ve found ‘the one’. Now you’re keen to seal the deal with a romantic proposal abroad. But where should you pop the question to your soon-to-be travel buddy for life?
Here are some of the world’s best places to get engaged – all you need to do now is get them to say ‘yes’.
Engaged couples often describe feeling like they’re on Cloud Nine – and you can get even closer to it by proposing on a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia, Turkey. Afraid of heights? Take your pick of fairytale locations: the views from Göreme’s rooftops are dreamy at dawn, with hundreds of balloons silhouetted against pink skies; while the jagged rocks at Red Valley viewpoint come alive at sunset. Check into one of the region’s luxury cave hotels for an unforgettable end to your first day as fiancés.
You’d go to the ends of the earth for your partner – so why don’t you? Whisk them away on a trip to Argentina’s southernmost town Ushuaia, where you can hike through Tierra del Fuego National Park, visit the Martillo Island penguin colony or kayak in the Beagle Channel before getting down on one knee. There are a surprising number of restaurants here and Patagonia has a thriving craft beer scene – ideal for toasting a new engagement. Of course, if you have the budget you could save the proposal for an Antarctic Peninsula cruise, a true once-in-a-lifetime experience.
New York City, USA
From Love Story to West Side Story, New York City is home to some of the world’s most famous romantic locations – so where better to make your engagement dream a reality? For something quintessentially NYC, pop the question in Central Park after a morning stroll (weather permitting), offer a rock on a ring at the Top of the Rock, or conspire with the staff at Tiffany & Co to surprise your other half as you ‘browse’ the diamond rings. Alternatively, a romantic walk along Brooklyn Heights Promenade as the sun sets behind Manhattan’s skyscrapers could provide the perfect moment.
When it comes to proposals, timing is everything. On pretty Llanddwyn Island, a tiny tidal island off the coast of Anglesey in Wales’ wild north, this is especially true – as you’re also depending on the tides to allow for safe passing. This remote spot was the home of St Dwynwen, the patron saint of lovers and the Welsh equivalent of St Valentine. If February 14 seems too cliche, you could surprise your partner with a proposal on St Dwynwen’s day (January 25) – but a late summer proposal is likely to bring better weather.
Why wait until the honeymoon for an idyllic island getaway? The Maldives is the quintessential romantic destination, making proposal planning a breeze. You could ask your other half for their hand in marriage from the deck of your water bungalow; by candlelight over a private dinner on the beach; or on a luxury catamaran cruise at sunset as you watch spinner dolphins leap from the Indian Ocean around you.
Garden Route, South Africa
Ready for a road trip to remember? Drive along South Africa’s Garden Route, which stretches from Mossel Bay to Storms River, taking in some of the world’s most beautiful coastline. Propose during a barefoot walk along Noetzie Beach, or pluck up the courage after a wine or two at the vineyards outside Plettenberg Bay. Alternatively, you could ask your loved one to take the leap – literally and figuratively – in the town of Wilderness, where you can paraglide over sweeping beaches or cliff jump on a canyon tour; marriage is an adventure, so why not start as you mean to go on?
Sure, it’s India’s equivalent of an Eiffel Tower proposal, but sometimes a tried and tested favourite is all you need. And unlike Paris’ icon, the Taj Mahal has a truly romantic backstory. Commissioned by Emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century as a memorial for his late wife, he was laid to rest there with her 35 years later. The beautiful white marble monument is one of the new seven wonders of the world and – unsurprisingly – welcomes millions of visitors each year. Come at sunrise for the best light and cooler temperatures, but prepare for the inevitable onlookers.
Byron Bay, Australia
The build-up to a proposal can be stressful, but laid-back Byron Bay will help you forget your jitters and ease into that unforgettable moment. Nature does the heavy lifting when it comes to charming your other half – all you need to do is pack a picnic, perhaps some champagne and lead them to the beach. Between May and November you might even spot whales breaching from the shore – amble to Cape Byron Lighthouse for a bird’s eye view.
Jökulsárlón, Southeast Iceland
With glistening waterfalls, bubbling geysers, dramatic coastlines and ice caves, Iceland’s otherworldly landscapes spoil proposal planners with beauty spot after beauty spot. Safe in the knowledge that there’s no shortage of epic scenery, you could choose your moment whenever the timing feels right – but if you need a clearer vision, consider Jökulsárlón. This glacial lagoon’s icebergs look particularly magical beneath the northern lights if you’re lucky enough to spot them. Nearby Diamond Beach, so-called due to the iridescent chunks of ice that wash up on its black sands, could be another worthy spot to offer a sparkling ring.
If you both feel as comfortable in a fancy restaurant as you do in hiking boots, Vancouver could be your dream trip. The cosmopolitan city’s food scene is second to none, and you’ll deserve a celebratory meal after a day spent exploring Capilano Suspension Bridge Park or cycling the Stanley Park Seawall Bike Trail. Book a table at Hawksworth for high-end Canadian cuisine or Forage for farm-to-table dining. Want something wilder? Head to Vancouver Island, where you can pop the question post-kayak trip, or at the summit of Mount Douglas.