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For many people, asking the question at the right time and choosing the right place to do it at is almost as important as the wedding itself. If you’re planning a proposal and want to be sure that it’s everything she (or he) dreamed of, here are some of the world’s most amazing places to do so.
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While it may be a little cheesy, Juliet’s balcony, where she called “O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?” has to be the perfect proposal spot as the site of the greatest love story ever told. Juliet’s house, known as Casa di Giulietta, is one of Verona’s main attractions, housing the most famous balcony that probably ever existed. Couples of all ages swear eternal fidelity here in memory of Shakespeare’s play. Admittedly, the two main characters never existed, and Shakespeare never even set foot in Verona, but when the city bought the house of Juliet from the Dal Capello family more than a century ago, as the name was so similar, they declared the house to be the family residence of the Capuleti family and it’s stuck ever since. That little detail shouldn’t prevent you from what’s been called the “essential love pilgrimage.”
Santorini is famous as one of the most romantic islands in the world, and arguably the most enchanting of all the Greek Isles. The quintessential Greek white and blue-domed churches, beautiful cliff towns and legendary sunsets over the turquoise Aegean Sea make it especially popular with couples and anyone else who appreciates magnificent beauty.
The ultimate romantic destination, the Emerald Isle is filled with lush green rolling hills, charming seaside villages, beautiful beaches and dramatic cliffs like the Cliffs of Moher. An ideal place to propose, the soaring cliffs stretch for miles, and in the late spring and summer months, are dotted with colorful wildflowers. Arrive early in the morning to enjoy the spectacular vista all to yourselves. Making it even more romantic, you can listen to the sounds of the beautiful Celtic harp played at the edge of the cliff and be serenaded by ballads from guitarists along with the songs of the birds.
If you’re looking for the ultimate tropical location, St. Lucia sets the perfect scene. Book one of the luxury resorts in St. Lucia located atop the volcanic cliffs, where you can enjoy perks like private plunge pools with jaw-dropping views of the Caribbean and the Piton Mountains that rise nearly 3,000 feet from the water. The glorious fiery sunsets, secluded stretches of idyllic sands and turquoise waters complete the dream setting as well as offering the opportunity for private horseback rides, catamaran cruises and delectable candlelit dinners –all of which are ideal for popping the question.
While it may not be unique, it’s still hard to beat a Paris engagement. You might be thinking of heading to the Eiffel Tower, but the City of Light’s ancient bridge, Pont Neuf, which means “New Bridge,” may be even better. Despite its name, this is the oldest standing bridge on the Seine River, and it’s been a popular spot for lovers since it opened more than four centuries ago. If you ask your lover to marry you at dusk, the setting becomes even more spectacular with the fading light casting riverside buildings in beautiful golden hues.
Ashford Castle is world-renowned as one of the top venues for a wedding, and not surprisingly, the castle also offers one of the most romantic places in the world to pop the question. If you can afford to stay, you’ll be able to indulge those medieval castle fantasies by going for horseback rides on the sprawling property as well as enjoying cruises on the lake. Inside the turn-of-the-century estate, rooms are the epitome of romance, with staterooms, located in the oldest part of the castle that dates back to the 13th century, featuring original fireplaces and claw-foot bathtubs. Conde Nast Travel once ranked Ashford as the best place to propose for “Downtown Abbey fanatics.”
Venice is well-known as one of the world’s best cities for love – after all, actor chose George Clooney chose to wed his bride here and countless others have as well. Even those who hate clichés can’t deny the incredible amount of romance that oozes from each and every nook and cranny of this captivating place with hidden bridges, cobblestoned alleys and beautiful gondola-filled canals. At Piazza San Marco, or Doge’s Palace, where internationally renowned heartthrob Giacomo Casanova was locked up, you can enjoy panoramic vistas of the legendary lagoon, a perfect setting for love.
Havasu Falls, hidden away in a remote southwest corner of the Grand Canyon, is one of the most picturesque waterfalls in the world. If you and your significant other like to hike, imagine a trek where at trail’s end you’ll discover vibrant red rocks that surround a magnificent waterfall that empties into a pool of legendary blue and green waters while a beach of soft golden sands sits among towering cottonwood trees. This natural haven that’s considered sacred by the Havasupai Indian tribe seems as if it was created just for a magical moment like a proposal.
Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula offers numerous noteworthy, beautiful sites for getting engaged, but it’s hard to beat Tulum’s Mayan archeological site when it comes to dramatic beauty. Grab your sweetheart and step onto the soft sands just below the iconic cliff-side temple and fortress city – complete with a magnificent sea view. If you time it right by arriving early in the morning, the beach might just be empty, offering a strikingly stunning, tranquil spot to propose. Afterward, you can head to the water’s edge and take your first dip together as an engaged couple.
New York offers a number of unforgettable sites for a proposal, including a number that is considered some of the world’s most clichéd spots, like the 86th floor of the Empire State Building, home to many a proposal on its observation deck over the years. Still, there is a reason it’s become a cliché, and if you want to do it, by heading up late at night, ideally around midnight as the last elevator goes up at 1:15 am, you can do it without the crowds while the dazzling lights of the city offer an incredible backdrop. Other great spots around the Big Apple include Central Park and the “Top of the Rock,” Rockefeller Center’s observation deck.
Sitka, Alaska was the setting for the 2009 movie “The Proposal.” For those who want to get way off the grid and enjoy breathtaking wilderness scenery, this could be your perfect proposal spot. You’ll have a myriad of amazing places and ways to do it here, like going up in a floatplane and viewing the rugged landscape of soaring mountains, glaciers and glistening lakes from above, paddling the wildlife-filled waters in a kayak or going on one of an endless number of scenic hikes. Afterward, stay in an especially romantic B&B like the Alaska Ocean View Bed & Breakfast Inn that offers rooms with fireplaces as well as a hot tub and a delicious morning meal served overlooking the water.
Another ideal destination for hikers and outdoor lovers of all types, Rocky Mountain National Park is home to numerous magnificent peaks that soar over 12,000 feet as well as lush valleys where gentle streams wind through and all types of wildlife, from elk and moose to marmots and bighorn sheep wander by. Thrill-seeking couples may want to head to “The Diamond,” the sheer and prominent east face of Longs Peak that was named for the shape of the cliff – you don’t have to climb all the way to the summit, just walk up the Longs Peak trailhead and when you get to a place with a good view of “The Diamond,” you can get down on own knee and present your own gem. The famous Stanley Hotel is another option, not only is this historic venue a great place to stay, it offers lots of romantic spots for popping the question, including its elegant restaurant and Rose Garden.
Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens is located near the seaside Victorian village of Mendocino, about four hours north of San Francisco. Famous around the world as an ideal spot for romance, the little town sits atop the rugged cliffs overlooking the Pacific and is lined with magnificent 1850s New England-style Victorian homes. The botanical gardens, just a few miles north of town, may be the ultimate spot in this area to propose. Set across 47 oceanfront acres it includes canyons, wetlands, coastal bluffs, a pine forest and of course, a wide variety of plant and floral collections. Walk through the brilliant, colorful flowers, down the winding path until you reach the dramatic cliff where a park bench overlooking the waves awaits. It doesn’t get much better than this!
There are opportunities for romance throughout the Eternal City, famous for glorious sunsets that turn its walls, domes and church towers to a lustrous gold. The key is to find a spot that isn’t packed with hundreds of other tourists. While Trevi Fountain may be ideal, the only way you won’t be bumping elbows with others is by heading here during the wee hours of the morning, perhaps as early as 4 am. A better option may be going to the Colosseum just before sunset. Walk up the Via Sacra towards the Arch of Titus, just before the Arch is Via di San Bonaventure. Follow this street, which takes a couple of turns. Just after the left turn, you’ll make a right, and about halfway up before the next left, stop and stand next to the wall. As she (or he) stands uphill looking down at you, behind you will be the Temple of Venus and Rome, with the Colosseum all lit up in the background. There may be no better place on Earth to present your ring!
Seattle’s most iconic landmark, the Space Needle, offers a great place to propose, day or night. Pop the question after dark with a glittering view of the city, or during the day with an amazing panorama of mountains and water in every direction, including Mount Rainier if the weather cooperates. If it’s too chilly outside, consider proposing in the needle’s rotating restaurant, SkyCity, where you’ll enjoy 360-degree views and a delicious meal for brunch, lunch or dinner. Another great option is the city’s new Ferris wheel, the Great Wheel located along the waterfront at Pier 57, with an overall height of 175 feet, the views are unforgettable here as well.
The Isle of Skye offers a fantasy-like landscape that appears as if it must have been painted right into the sky. Filled with some of the most dramatic mountain and coastal scenery you’ll ever set your eyes on, the enchanting Fairy Pools, a series of flowing pools that cascade down the River Brittle with crystalline, azure waters, may be one of the best spots. Enjoy a picnic around its banks just before popping the question – and if you’re daring, jump into the cool water to seal the deal. Other idyllic places on the isle include majestic Quiraing and the Old Man of Storr, Dunvegan Castle and Eilean Donan Castle, located just on the other side of the bridge from the Isle of Skye on the mainland.
Renowned for its lush greenery, endless waterfalls, idyllic beaches and colorful gardens with tropical flowers, Kauai is a favorite for romance and seclusion. When you really want to get away from it all with the one you love, the Na Pali Coast is the place to go. One of the most beautiful places on the planet, the area offers an awe-inspiring coastline with idyllic beaches you can enjoy all to yourselves as there are no roads here. You can hike two miles of the 11-mile Kalalau Trail to get to the beach, or if you aren’t up for the hike, private boat tours are available too. Pop the question next to one of the many waterfalls that dot the valley, or wait until you’re right at the edge of the Pacific.
The City by the Bay is one of the world’s most romantic cities, and its iconic Golden Gate Bridge makes a perfect spot to pop the question. Take a stroll across, hand-in-hand, gazing at the expanse of the Pacific, Alcatraz Island and the magnificent city skyline. Or, you could get that picture-perfect shot of the bridge behind you, by crossing to the Marin side to Battery Spencer, a former military installation that protected the bridge and the bay from foreign invaders during the Second World War. Walk through the historic army artifacts and crumbling structures to the land’s end and the breathtaking background of the entire city will be behind you.
Intoxicating Bora Bora is the island of romance. In fact, it was named the number one island for romance by Travel + Leisure readers because of its dramatic scenery, privacy and amenities. One of the most desirable locations for couples in love, you can stay in overwater bungalows that sit just above the turquoise lagoons, and if you want to go all out when it’s time for that proposal, you can opt for a special sailing tour just for two around Mount Otemanu, on one of the most beautiful lagoons on the planet. Sip champagne as you watch the sun slowly sink below the horizon just before countless stars shine across the night’s sky.
If you’re thinking about a hot-air balloon proposal, one of the world’s best places for a flight is over the otherworldly landscape of Cappadocia, Turkey that looks like it was plucked from a whimsical fairytale and set down upon the stark Anatolian plains. You’ll get a bird’s eye view of the region’s famous fairy chimneys, honeycombed hills and massive boulders. Afterward, you can celebrate with a champagne toast on landing and then head to one of the city’s unique “cave hotels” for an unforgettable experience in a modern cavern dwelling.
If you want to feel like you’re part of a modern-day fairytale and perhaps make your partner feel as if she’s a real-life Cinderella, proposing at Neuschwanstein Castle, the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty castle and Disney World’s Cinderella Castle, is ideal. Just trade the glass slipper for a diamond.
For exotic wildlife lovers, the Amazon River, the world’s second-longest, may be the ideal place to get engaged. It cuts a path across South America, making its way through Brazil, Colombia and Peru. More than a third of the planet’s animal species live in this river basin’s rainforest. By taking a cruise along this mighty waterway, you’ll have a chance to glimpse the playful Amazon River dolphin, manatees, tamarin monkeys, three-toed sloths, caimans, jaguars, brilliant blue hyacinth macaws and much more. Share the magical feeling of floating down the river with your loved one, with the sounds of the jungle creating some of the most unforgettable music of one of the happiest moments of your lives together.