Best places to propose around the world

Looking for proposal ideas? With Valentine's Day fast-approaching, why not pop the question on the most romantic day of the year in one of these unique destinations?
People enjoy spring season in Maruyama Park in Kyoto. Photo: Shutterstock
People enjoy spring season in Maruyama Park in Kyoto. Photo: Shutterstock


With Valentine’s Day only a few weeks away, the thoughts of many turn to love. If marriage proposal is on the cards, where to do it is a major consideration. For travel-lovers, the more unusual and romantic the destination the better. Over the years, we’ve heard stories of proposals staged everywhere from a cave filled with candles in Tonga and a snow-covered Canadian mountain on Christmas Day to the rooftop of a boutique hotel in New York City. 

If you’re looking for a romantic way to propose, read on to discover Insight’s recommendations...


1. Venice, Italy

Otherworldly, maze-like Venice casts a spell on visitors. The city epitomises romance. Close your eyes and imagine: the sound of violins drifting over canals, while gondolas glide over the waters carrying canoodling couples. Whether you indulge in a candle-lit dinner in a quiet piazza, a ride under the Rialto Bridge on a gondola, or sipping Prosecco while gazing over the Grand Canal, a romantic setting is never far away. Speak to Insight Guides’ local expert to arrange a trip to Venice today.

2. Taj Mahal, India

Where better to spell out your intentions than at one of the world’s greatest monuments to love? The design of the Taj Mahal was inspired by the tale of the commissioning Emperor Shah Jahan and his favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal (the elect of the palace). The dedication and purity of their love can be seen throughout the building's intricate geometric patterns, as well as in the ivory white marble and the symmetry of the perfectly landscaped gardens. Visit at sunrise when the building appears pink or take a walk after dinner when the moon is high, for soft, romantic light. 

Want to see this wonder for yourself? Romantic journeys to India await: visit the Taj Mahal on a wide range of Insight Guides’ trips to India.

3. Buenos Aires, Argentina

On a continent known for its fieriness, Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, excites couples with hot, humid heat-inducing passion. Find a fine romantic restaurant in an atmospheric old neighbourhood and linger over a steak dinner accompanied by a rich, fruity Malbec. You'll be surrounded by locals speaking the language of love. Move onto a bar where you can dance the tango – one of the most sensuous of dances – into the early hours before feeling the reprieve of the cool night air on the walk back to your hotel. Spend three nights in this seductive city on Insight Guides’ Wild Patagonia trip


Take a romantic boat trip down the River Seine, close to the Notre Dame Cathedral, ParisTake a romantic boat trip down the River Seine, close to the Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris. Photo: Shutterstock


4. Paris, France

You can’t go wrong with the City of Love, where romance seems to flutter along the banks of the Seine. Lovers stroll with their arms wrapped around each other, while artists paint landscapes on the side of the street. Whether you are on the Island of Ile Saint Louis in the middle of the Seine, walking the left bank, standing on the Ponte De L’Archeveche or looking down on the Parisian panorama from the top of the Eiffel Tower, there is quite possibly nowhere on earth as romantic this city. Paris is a classic for a reason: experience the best this city has to offer on Insight Guides’ Luxury Paris trip.

5. The Golden Triangle, Thailand

The meeting of two bodies of water can sometimes create a dramatic effect. Here the Ruak and the Mekong rivers join in a peaceful fusion, entwining as they continue to flow. Three countries can also be seen from the central point of the Golden Triangle: Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. This is a place of great symbolism to connect two people along with the joining of rivers and land. The mist on the lush mountains, the fertile rice fields, the untouched landscape and waterfalls in the national parks create some of the most atmospheric places to propose. Tour around to find your perfect proposal spot on Insight Guides’ Thailand’s Golden Triangle trip.

6. Big Sur, USA

Dramatic cliff-tops, crashing Pacific-Ocean waves: the Big Sur runs for 76 miles along the California State Road 1 between Carmel River and San Carpoforo Creek. The Santa Lucia Mountains dominate the landscape while the wild Pacific creates an endless sea view. Rustic-yet-upmarket hotels balance on stilts overhanging the edge of mountains, looking out onto one of the most stunning stretches of Californian coastline. These hotels are made for romantic getaways. It is no wonder the Big Sur was the inspiration for many famous 20th-century artists and writers, making this the perfect choice for culture-lovers.

7. Masai Mara, Kenya

What could be more romantic than a Prince proposing to his future Princess? Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton while on a private trip to the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in the Masai Mara game reserve in Kenya. Get down on one knee while in the remoteness of a safari setting, sleeping under the stars or in a hot air balloon while watching majestic wildlife below. The combination of natural beauty and boldness of the landscape makes this the perfect place to propose for an adventurous couple.

8. Schloss Neuschwanstein, Germany

This impossibly romantic castle set on the hilltops of Bavaria is the perfect setting for a future bride who wants a fairy-tale wedding. This 19th-century edifice was built on the orders of Ludwig II of Bavaria and inspired by the musical works of Richard Wagner. Ludwig created his own fantasy world – far from reality – in this castle where he ruled as King instead of being a constitutional monarch. Walt Disney continued the fantasy by using this castle as the inspiration for Disneyland’s iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle. 


A Japanese couple wearing traditional kimonos in Gion, Kyoto's old town.A Japanese couple wearing traditional kimonos in Gion, Kyoto's old town. Photo: Shutterstock


9. Kyoto, Japan

Let love bloom amongst the former Imperial capital’s famous cherry blossoms. Walk along the two kilometre stone track known as the Philosopher's Path, before bending to one knee. The path runs alongside Lake Biwa and is lined with cherry trees. Buds flower in April creating the perfect pink and white flower canopy to propose beneath. Along the path, you'll find numerous temples, shrines and restaurants, which create an equally romantic setting. The autumn is just as picturesque with Japanese maple leaves turning a variety of yellows, reds and oranges. Explore Kyoto on Insight Guides’ Kyoto Culture trip.

10. Grand Canyon, USA

The sheer scale and grandeur of the Grand Canyon is overwhelming. The contrast of the orange, almost red, rock against the current of deep blue water (the Colorado River) running through the centre of the canyon adds to the dramatic scene helping to create this most memorable backdrop for a proposal. Fly over the canyon and land on the basin or make a trip to the Skywalk so you can propose suspended over the canyon floor. For couples that don't like to hang about, if (hopefully when) they say yes, you can head straight to Las Vegas for the ceremony. 

11. Cartagena, Columbia

On the Caribbean coast of Colombia, you will find this jewel of a city where the buildings are a riot of vivid colours, offset by the rich green of plants hanging from balconies. This colourful, colonial city is the perfect place to propose for Caribbean lovers looking for something a bit more energetic and sensuous. You'll find vivid culture on display throughout the city's streets, plus beaches with cool turquoise waters, a fortress overlooking the city, and imposing coastal walls (perfect for sitting and watching the sunset on the horizon). Visit Cartagena on either of Insight Guides’ trips to Colombia, Discover Colombia or Colombia Express.

12. Galle, Sri Lanka

Known mainly for its ancient fort, Galle, serves up history on every corner. With a grand list of sites to see, such as St Mary’s Cathedral, the world’s most picturesque cricket stadium, the Shiva temple and the maritime museum you will not be short of tours to keep you occupied, and picturesque places to propose. One of the most romantic places is the Rumassala: the hill that overlooks the fort on the other side of the bay. Locals associate the mound with the events of Ramayana, a Hindu poem, in which a prince runs away with his wife and rages war on her kidnapper. Explore Galle Fort on Insight Guides’ Sri Lanka Deluxe trip.


A couple of Nazca boobies preen each other at Galápagos National ParkA couple of Nazca boobies preen each other at Galápagos National Park. Photo: Shutterstock


13. Isabela, Galápagos Islands

If it’s romantic enough for the South Americans to take their honeymoons it must be one of the most romantic places to propose too. Take a hike through the island's national park and along its saltwater trails. Watch the waves crash onto white-sand beaches and go for a swim alongside the local wildlife. Sip on local (Ecuadorian) beer at a beach bar while watching the sunset. The remoteness of this destination ensures that wherever and whenever you choose to propose, you can guarantee you'll be alone. Be one of the few people to visit Isabela on Insight Guides’ Sailing the Galapagos (Western Islands on M/S Cachalote) trip.

14. Palm Beach, Australia

Wake your other half up early, walk along the beach into the bush and up the sandy, rocky path to the beach's lighthouse. Although the route looks steep it only takes 15 minutes to walk and it is well worth it. Looking out to one side you can see Central Coast and the endless horizon of the Pacific Ocean, over which the sun rises. The other side overlooks Palm Beach, a small, narrow strip of land, which lies between the open ocean and an inlet of the sea. Propose on top of the world at sunrise by speaking to Insight Guides’ local expert and planning a trip to Palm Beach.

15. New York City, USA

The classic scene of An Affair to Remember has led the observation deck at the top of the Empire State Building to be repeatedly used as a site for proposals. Whether you choose this location, the LOVE sculpture on the corner of 6th Avenue and 55th Street, or the Staten Island Ferry, for city lovers nothing could be more romantic than a proposal amid the hustle and bustle of everyday life – which New York City certainly offers. 

16. London, UK

For a more traditional dinner-for-two and down-on-one-knee-for-dessert proposal, London is the destination. It offers some of the best restaurants worldwide, serving up every type of cuisine. If this doesn’t take fancy, try a fairy tale proposal on Disney Bridge (Tower Bridge) looking down the Thames with the city lights reflecting off the water, or maybe during a picnic in Hyde Park on a warm summer's day with the smell of freshly-cut grass and laughter in the background. Whatever you choose, you won’t be short of an idyllic setting in London. 

17. Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman

Feel the soft, white sand of Seven Mile Beach between your toes for one of the world's most beautiful proposal settings. The sound of lapping waves in the background and a sunrise or sunset adds to the perfect romantic atmosphere. The crystal clear water glistens in the sunlight while tropical cocktails flow from the beach and hotel bars to relax bathers. The laidback attitude of the Caribbean makes Seven Mile Beach a great choice for relaxed couples.


Sandy desert Wahiba in OmanSandy desert Wahiba in Oman. Photo: Shutterstock


18. The Arabian Desert, Oman

The majestic land of Arabia conjures images of Persian Princes and Princesses with the endless love they share in all the tales of Scheherazade. The deep orange sunsets, the luxurious settings, the endless deserts and the sweet scent of spices come together to create an exotic romance for every sense. For lovers of mystery, untold tales and lands of legends, choose a secluded setting in the vast Arabian Desert; watch as the cloudless sky turns into a starry night following sunset. Visit the Arabian Desert on Insight Guides' Essential Oman trip

19. Reykjavik, Iceland

This rustic landscape of jagged rocks, wild winds and chaotic seas creates a dramatic place for a proposal. Boasting some of the most unusual natural phenomena such as hot water springs, geysers and glaciers, you will have an abundance of scenes to pick from. Choose winter when the land is covered in pure white snow, blanketed by northern lights and still stars, or summer underneath the midnight sun. Iceland will make for one of the most interesting and unforgettable proposal destinations. 

20. Island hopping, Fiji

On Fiji, couples will uncover a Pacific Ocean paradise that offers over 300 islands to hop between and world-renowned sunsets. From deep pink to red, fiery orange to cool yellows, and even shades of purple to blue, theses sunsets don’t miss a colour from the spectrum. Although, be warned, storm clouds often add to the variety of colour in the sky as the light fades. Bula (happy) hour coincides with sunset, which is perfect for a celebratory cocktail after the big proposal.


What are you waiting for? Plan your romantic getaway with the help of Insight Guides' experts today

Browse all suggested itineraries online or speak to a local expert to create your adventure from scratch