1. Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
Sunrises are inherently romantic, but those in Bagan are truly surreal. The capital of the Kingdom of Pagan between the 9th and 13th centuries, Bagan was once blessed with 10,000 Buddhist monasteries, temples and pagodas. Today, the plain around Bagan is still dotted with more than 2000 of them. Climb to the top of one together (Lawkaoushaung is a great choice) and watch the rising sun turn the dark landscape into a vivid golden canvas eloquently brushed with silhouettes. It’s an incredible sight to witness, and it’s a perfect time to pop the question.
The best time to visit Bagan, located 118 miles south of Mandalay, is between November and February.
2. Trolltunga, Skjeggedal, Norway
If she loves the great outdoors, isn’t scared of heights and is willing to walk to the edge of the world with you, she’ll certainly overlook the fact you dropped to one knee on something called ‘The Troll’s Tongue’. The most epic of natural settings, Trolltunga is a dramatic sliver of rock that extends precipitously over a 700m abyss and overlooks the lake of Ringedalsvatnet far below. Come well prepared as this is a remote mountain environment: the return hike from the trail-head takes eight to 10 hours.
Trolltunga is typically accessible from mid-June (after the snow melts) to mid-September. Bergen is the nearest major city.
3. New York City, USA
Full of romantic locations, New York City is a justifiable favourite for proposals. Some sites even help you to go the extra mile: the Rockefeller Center’s outdoor skating rink offers you exclusive ice time and will play a CD of your choice, and the Empire State Building’s famous 86th-floor observation deck has a saxophonist who takes requests. Another lofty location with iconic city views, but none of the hype, is the footpath on the Brooklyn Bridge. In summer, Central Park’s Loeb Boathouse is an inspired choice – rent a paddle boat for two, hire a gondola or propose while dining on the lakeside terrace.
Empire State Building tickets cost US$29, while exclusive access to Rockefeller Rink is US$350. Details about Loeb Boathouse are found at thecentralparkboathouse.com.
4. NamibRand Nature Reserve, Namibia
In the Namib Desert you don’t need moonlight to strike the mood, the stars are bright enough on their own. The NamibRand Nature Reserve is one of only three gold-rated International Dark Sky Reserves in the world. After spending a wonderful day enjoying the area’s dunes, mountains and abundant wildlife, you’ll be tempted to propose at sunset (it is breathtakingly beautiful), but hold off until the celestial fireworks are in full flow.
5. Amalfi Coast, Italy
Yes, Venice, Rome and Florence are all great choices, but the Amalfi Coast south of Naples is meant for couples in love. There are some rather remarkable spots to ask the all-important question, such as the lofty Terrace of Infinity at Villa Cimbrone in Ravello or the Sentieri degli Dei (Path of Gods) high above Positano. But the Amalfi Coast is the kind of place where you’ll likely find the perfect spot of your very own.
6. Udaipur, Rajasthan, India
The Rajasthani city of Udaipur was dubbed ‘the most romantic spot on the continent of India’ in 1829 by Lieutenant-Colonel James Tod, the first political agent in the region for the East India Company. Its ornate palaces, temples and havelis straddle the shore of Lake Pichola and the white-marble Lake Palace seemingly floats on the lake’s gentle waters. Now a luxury hotel, it is a storybook setting for an engagement.
Rooms at the Taj Lake Palace start from US$377 per night; for more details visit tajhotels.com.
7. Arches National Park, Utah, USA
Displaying the power, fragility and beauty of both nature and time, the red rock formations of this national park are an inspirational engagement setting for couples who love exploring the outdoors together. Delicate Arch, with the La Sal Mountains as a backdrop, is one of the most captivating outcrops. Double O Arch and the Double Arch are rather intimate spots too. If you are both into rock climbing or mountain biking, this area of eastern Utah will give you even more to celebrate.
8. Paris, France
Paris, the City of Light, is mesmerisingly beautiful and remains one of the world’s most romantic cities. The Pont des Arts pedestrian bridge that spans the Seine near the Louvre is an atmospheric option for a marriage proposal (in spite of recent moves to curb the avalanche of 'lovelocks' affixed to the railings). A more understated, but incredibly charming idea is to propose on one of the picturesque iron footbridges over the tree-lined Canal Saint-Martin in the 10th arrondissement.
Spring and summer are gorgeous, but more expensive and crowded. Autumn and winter in Paris have their bright spots too, with lovely decorations and far fewer visitors.
9. Príncipe Island, São Tomé and Príncipe
Where? Exactly. Finding a paradisiacal island in a country that few people have ever heard of will score you points for creativity, and Príncipe’s deserted beaches and gorgeous tropical backdrop make for a truly intimate and special engagement. Located off the west coast of Africa in the Gulf of Guinea, this petite nation has a very casual and peaceful vibe, something you’ll quickly (and happily) sink into.
The best time to visit is June to September. Bom Bom Island Resort is the ideal place to stay; for more information visit bombomprincipe.com.
A destination of majestic proportions, Antarctica has the power to overwhelm. During the long voyage across the vast empty Southern Ocean, you’ll truly understand that Antarctica is not just a remote part of the world, but the end of it. In the days that follow, you’ll also discover that this cold and hostile environment is hauntingly beautiful. Add a little warmth with your love (and a diamond doesn’t hurt!) and you have makings for an almighty ‘YES!’
The best time to visit is November to March; at the height of summer, there is up to 20 hours of sunlight a day.