A wedding proposal is one of life’s most memorable moments. You can make it even more unforgettable by combining your engagement plans with the holiday of a lifetime (also, engagement-moons are most definitely a thing!).
Whether you’re returning to a place that means a lot to you as a couple or seeking out a fresh adventure, use some lockdown downtime to plot a proposal that’ll knock your partner’s socks off – or at least result in a very enthusiastic ‘yes’. These stunning romantic proposal spots across the world should do the trick…
1. Paris, France (but Before Everything Opens)
We’ll get the big one out of the way first. Unsurprisingly, every survey ever conducted on the subject reveals that Paris is the most popular city on the planet for proposals. For a Parisian proposal with a difference, bypass busy tourist spots such as the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre and seek out hidden corners of the City of Light instead. Get down on one knee in the cobbled streets of Le Marais before the shops open then grab a pastry from Boulangerie Murciano and celebrate by the Seine. You’ll have all day to revel in your newly fiancéd status and can pop some corks at the aptly named Bisou bar later (its name means ‘kiss’ in French).
Where to Stay: Hotel Jules & Jim in Le Marais. Accessible through a secret garden courtyard, this boutique townhouse is a stylish, relaxed haven right in the heart of the hipster-y part of Paris.
2. Barcelona, Spain
Close enough for a weekend trip (30% of us think that a weekender is the perfect occasion to propose, according to American Express), Barcelona isn’t short of amorous appeal either. As far as proposal locations go, you’re spoiled for choice – meander round the dreamlike Gaudí-designed Park Güell, stop for a beer on the beach or get down on knee at a Barça game.
Where to Stay: Hotel Arts Barcelona. It’s the tallest building in the city and the sundowners really are something else.
3. On the Royal Scotsman
It’s the Hogwarts Express, but for grown-ups. Start your journey to married life aboard the Belmond Royal Scotsman, a tartan and mahogany bedecked train considered one of the most luxurious ways to travel in the world. Steam past forests, castles and lochs while enjoying a single malt in the observation car before a candlelit meal in the lacquered dining room. From the Highlands to the west coast and even the islands, there’s an itinerary to please everyone, from thrillseekers to history buffs, and there’s even an on-board Bamford Hayburn spa car for post-ceilidh massages. Basically, a return trip to bliss.
Where to Stay: Various spots across Scotland – you’ll have your own private cabin complete with en-suite.
READ MORE: Creative Ways To Break Your Engagement News
4. Edinburgh, Scotland
If a trip on the Royal Scotsman is slightly out of your price range, Edinburgh will bring the magic without the need to remortgage. A cobbled city built into a mountain with local beaches galore, it’s got fresh air, green space, culture and historic architecture in abundance. Propose on high at the castle or atop Arthur’s Seat, take the ring to the Royal Botanic Gardens or get swept away on the sands of Portobello beach.
Where to Stay: The Balmoral at No1 Princes Street is a classic, elegant railway hotel that’s perfectly suited to a short getaway – it’s the glamorous landmark right next to Edinburgh Waverley station. For a more budget friendly option, The Raeburn in Stockbridge is cosy, welcoming and nestled next to some of Edinburgh’s best independent cafés and brunch spots.
5. Florence, Italy
Less popular than Venice but equally idyllic, Florence is the perfect place to propose to an art lover. The Renaissance city hosts works from Botticelli and Michelangelo to name a few of its awe-inspiring, big-name draws, while the morning food markets and bustling café scene denote that the modern Tuscan capital is still as lively as it ever was. For proposal inspiration head to the top of the Duomo bell tower, climb the 16th century Belvedere Fort or book a boat tour down the river with a bottle of wine. Venice doesn’t have the monopoly on whimsical water proposals after all.
Where to Stay: Soprarno Suites, a boutique B&B in a cool part of town that’s full of funky antiques and unique touches such as freestanding claw-footed bathtubs in each room and a fairy lit courtyard for early evening Aperols.
6. Cova d’en Xoroi, Menorca
Smuggle a ring into the ‘club in the cliffs’ that is Cova d’en Xoroi on the southern coast of this peaceful Balearic island. Legend has it that a shipwrecked man met a soon-to-be married local woman and the two fell in love here, starting a family and living in the caves before the mystery man was tracked down by soldiers. You’re unlikely to be pursued, however, so stick to the ‘love cave’ narrative. It won’t be hard – enjoy a local pomada cocktail made with Menorcan gin and lemon as you watch the sunset over crashing waves from one of the bars built into the rocks.
Where to Stay: Torralbenc, a hideaway farmhouse nearby that’s about as away from it all as it gets. The pool looks out on the sea, the aesthetic is calming neutrals and the terraces back onto vineyards.
READ MORE: The 10 Most Popular Landmarks For Proposals
7. Grainau, Germany
Head to the top of Germany’s highest mountain, the Zugspitze, in the cutting-edge cable car and propose at the Panorama 2962 bar (so called due to its altitude) overlooking alpine peaks stretching into Italy, Austria, Switzerland and Germany. If you can pop the question in multiple languages, kudos to you too.
Where to Stay: Gästehaus Richter is a chalet that fell straight from a storybook – it’s nestled among lakes and green meadows and offers a warm Bavarian welcome. Expect hearty home-cooked fayre and modern décor. Book a suite for even more space and privacy.
8. Marrakech, Morocco
Poppy Delevingne and Idris Elba both chose this vibrant Moroccan city as a wedding destination and the whole atmosphere screams adventure and romance. Propose in the desert, by a waterfall in the Atlas mountains or perhaps on the rooftop of a riad.
Where to Stay: El Fenn, a luxury boutique hotel in the Medina. Make friends with the resident tortoises as you enjoy complimentary Moroccan afternoon tea every day. There’s colour, artwork aplenty and a refreshing pool to dip into at every corner.
9. Central Park, New York
It might be a predictable option if it wasn’t so enormous – you’re bound to find some peace and quiet here. The Bow bridge has featured in many a movie proposal scene, but the Gapstow bridge is equally scenic. If alone time is your number one priority, the evergreens in the north of the park offer all-year round tree coverage.
Where to Stay: Made Hotel in Manhattan. The terrace looks out on Empire State Building, design blends urban concrete with greenery and many rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows so that you can soak up NYC in all of its glory while you enjoy breakfast in bed.
10. Cappadocia, Turkey
Speaking of views, they don’t come more surreal than within the otherworldly land of rock spires of Cappadocia in central Turkey. Churches and homes are carved into caves with mountains towering in the distance and a regular lineup of hot air balloons on the horizon at dawn and dusk.
Where to Stay: Argos. Not the high street homeware store but a luxurious hilltop retreat built into an ancient fort. Rooms are palaces crafted from volcanic rock and the wine cellar hosts regular tastings of local vintages.
11. Èze, France
Sitting pretty above the Mediterranean, Walt Disney fell in love with this village on the Riviera; its ‘film set ready’ cobbled streets and opulent botanic gardens will soon make you see why. Choose the jewel in Èze’s crown, La Chèvre D’Or, for a seriously ritzy proposal. Built into flower filled terraces with a golden goat statue at its centre, the castle hotel played host to Disney himself, not to mention countless other stars since its grand opening in 1953.
Where to Stay: La Chèvre D’Or, if you can afford it (even a morning coffee will set you back here). For a more affordable boutique Côte d’Azur bolthole, La Maison du Frêne in Vence will do nicely – you won’t meet friendlier hosts.
READ MORE: 60 Unique Proposal Ideas
12. Los Angeles, USA
Go to Disneyland for real (you won’t be surprised to learn that it’s one of the world’s most beloved proposal locations) or head for the Hollywood Hills, La La Land style. Yellow dress and choreographed dance routine optional.
Where to Stay: The Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills. It’s what LA dreams are made of – there’s an hourglass shaped pool with adjacent cocktail bar and decadent brunches can be served right to your cabana.
13. Ibiza, Spain
Party people? There’s possibly no better place on earth to propose. The White Isle fuses hedonistic pursuits with chilled out wellbeing offerings. Think dancing in the club until dawn followed by sunrise yoga. Pick a side or go with both. An early morning walk along the beach with a romantic proposal will leave you on a natural high.
Where to Stay: The aptly named Amàre Hotel in front of Bou Cove. If a rooftop infinity pool isn’t enough to tempt you to this adults-only getaway, the cuisine created by a Michelin starred chef just might be.
14. The Causeway Coastal Route, Northern Ireland
From windswept beaches to the imposing and beautiful Giant’s Causeway, with many a Game of Thrones filming location and whiskey distillery along the way, the Causeway Coastal Route is replete with proposal opportunities. Steady your nerves before a romantic road trip with a full Ulster fry.
Where to Stay: Ned’s Loft, an olde worlde self-catering cottage with an elegant roll-top bath and enormous bed just ten minutes from the famous Dark Hedges. Arrive to see the sunrise (and, crucially, before the bus loads of tourists park up and ruin the moment).
15. Swedish Lapland
Specifically, floating on a lake beneath the Northern Lights (with any luck). The newly-opened Arctic Bath hotel is a timber structure on the Lule river that offers up restorative spa treatments and a rather bracing ice bath at its core. If you can conquer proposal nerves, you can definitely take on an icy dip afterwards.
Where to Stay: The gigantic duplex cabin suite, which is connected to the main hotel by floating walkways and surrounded by icy forest. It’s straight out of a scene from Frozen.
Some like it hot, and Bali does warm weather and tropical romance like almost nowhere else. Ubud is listed in the top five places in the world in which to propose – arriving in its lush green surroundings will soon make you see why. Head down to a private dinner in a rock cave at Samabe Bali Suites & Villas or for something a little more adventurous and far flung, hike up Mount Batur in the northeast of the island to see the sunrise.
Where to Stay: Back in Ubud, set your suitcases down at Bisma Eight, right next to the Sacred Monkey Forest. There are free daily yoga classes each morning, jungle views from the infinity pool and food is largely sourced from the hotel’s organic garden.
17. Zeeland, The Netherlands
Bear with us if this one seems slightly obscure, but if your partner is a friend of the earth, an eco-cabin made of recycled cardboard set next to the North Sea will make for a far more romantic break than you might think. The cosy cabins at De Klepperstee in Ouddorp are designed to sleep four but they’re very affordable so you should be able to splash out and treat yourself to a little more knee-bending space. Carbon neutral and powered by solar energy, each cabin is as chic as it is eco-friendly – think moody pendant lighting, natural materials and architectural touches alongside the resident espresso machine. Head into the forest, to the nearby beach or propose over a candlelit meal on your private terrace.
Where to Stay: The cabins are your end point here but if you want to add a luxury stop-off drive down the coast to Bruges in Belgium. The journey takes less than two hours and you can celebrate with a full (very grand) afternoon tea at the Hotel de Orangerie on arrival.
READ MORE: What To Do if Your Partner Doesn’t Like Their Ring
18. On the Moon
Well…in the Moon Valley in the Chilean Atacama desert, which is as close as it’s possible to get on earth (NASA even tested the Mars rover here). The stargazing is known to be the best in the world here and the Valle de la Luna earned its name thanks to its lunar-like landscape – the white valleys, dry salt lakes and distinctive rock formations create a truly galactic proposal setting. Just don’t forget your lip balm; it’s the driest desert there is.
Where to Stay: If you’re feeling flush, book in at Awasi Atacama in San Pedro de Atacama. You’ll be assigned your own private guide on arrival who can arrange everything from high-altitude walks on the altiplano to flamingo spotting and salt pool swimming in the shadow of a volcano.
19. Table Mountain, Cape Town
Stretching your legs doesn’t come more iconic (we’ll leave Everest to the pros). Hike to the top of Table Mountain or take the cable car and get down on one knee in front of the city with the sea on the horizon.
Where to Stay: Kensington Place at the foot of the mountain. A solar-heated pool, in-room fireplaces and breakfast on sea-facing balconies are just a few of the perks here.
20. Madrid, Spain
Spain’s capital doesn’t just serve up incredible tapas – the sights are pretty enticing too. Take the ring to Retiro Park and either pop the question on a rowboat in the pond, in the Palacio Cristal (aka the fanciest greenhouse you’ve ever seen) or in the more secluded rose gardens. Afterwards graze your way through the streets of La Latina and watch a flamenco show with a glass or two of cava.
Where to Stay: The Gran Hotel Inglés. The city’s first ever formal hotel opened its doors in 1886 but don’t assume that that means it’s fusty – it’s all art deco, free standing bathtubs and craft beers in the minibar.
21. New Zealand
If you’re prepared to go to the ends of the earth to propose, New Zealand is pretty much it. You won’t be short of breathtaking landscapes or solitude – the ‘more sheep than people’ population statistic is indeed true. As for exact locations, Waitomo Glowworm Caves in the North Island is the dazzling alternative to popping the question under a canopy of stars (although beware that the caves are very echoey) while a cruise on Milford Sound in the South Island is postcard pretty.
Where to Stay: Hotel DeBrett in Auckland in the North Island has a throwback 1920s vibe and when visiting the South Island book into The Spire Hotel in Queenstown for laidback luxe and alpine views.
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