Sure, you could go to a fancy restaurant, slip a ring in her Champagne and hope she says yes. But go the extra distance and ask the most important question of your lives in one of these exotic locales and you’ll have a story truly fit to start a fairy tale romance.
Asking someone to spend the rest of their life with you is not a question to ask lightly. The “how” of it is another big question in itself, and one that friends and family will no doubt want exhaustive details of. As much as a singing flashmob proposal makes for a good YouTube video, there is something undeniably seductive about sweeping someone off their feet – taking them away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life to bring them to a place where it’s just the two of you in your own corner of the world. So for those with an untameable wanderlust, here are our picks of the exotic, the quixotic and most of all, the romantic destinations for a truly once in a lifetime proposal.
Under a Canopy of Pink
Spring is all about new beginnings and in Japan, nothing captures the beauty of this quite like the blooming of sakura trees. “Hanami” literally means flower viewing, but due to the popularity of cherry blossoms, the word has come to specifically mean cherry blossom viewing. The trees don’t tend to flower for very long, so hanami is often seen as the appreciation and celebration of beauty in an ephemeral life.
For those planning on popping the question amidst the wonderful flurry of pink and white, there are many spots all over Japan to see the flowers and each may reach full bloom at different times, so be sure to check online before you go. Hirosaki Castle in the Tohoku region features over 2,500 cherry trees, plenty of hidden picnic spots and moats filled with the fallen sakura petals. Hire a boat and take your beloved for an otherworldly experience rowing in a river of petals. For a very Japanese, postcard perfect scenery, head to Chureito Pagoda. The five storey pagoda is located up on the mountainside, surrounded by hundreds of cherry trees and an unbeatable view of the famed Mount Fuji. Wherever you choose to go, be sure to grab a picnic rug, pack a lunch and don’t forget a bottle of sake for some (delicious) liquid courage.
UP IN THE AIR
There are plenty of places where you can go up in a hot air balloon to enjoy aerial views of the land down below, but a worldwide favourite is definitely Cappadocia, a beautiful amalgamation of nature’s powerful forces and the rich cultural heritage of the Turkish. Cappadocia, located in central Turkey, is best known for its unique, unearthly landscapes of sweeping valleys, soft hills and magnificent gorges. Thousands of years of erosion and volcanic activity have blessed the region with curiously shaped rock formations called fairy chimneys. Regal churches, humbling monasteries and homely dwellings can be found carved into the soft rocks of the volcanic deposits near the town of Göreme, as well as underground cities where whole villages used to thrive.
For the best flying conditions, take a balloon up between April and October. Book a private flight at dawn and ascend in your hot air balloon as the sun begins to rise. You’ll see Cappadocia come alive as the morning light graces the earth below with a rosy tint. Up in the air, swallowed by the infinite expanse of the brilliant sky and surrounded by a cheerful, colourful myriad of other balloons, your fleet will glide slowly over the world. There is a sort of peace to be found up here – an utter calm in the world, removed from all the unnecessary stress of everyday life – and it is here where you’ll be able to capture that moment in time and propose. Upon arrival, a ground crew will greet you with Champagne, where you can toast to the end of your flight’s journey and to the beginning of a different one.
IN POSTCARD PURPLE PROVENCE (Provence, France)
Purple as far as the eye can see – this is the breathtaking view that puts Provence on many bucket lists around the world. The delightful French countryside owes its beautiful, vibrant colour to the miles and miles of lavender farms on gently sloping hills, up mountains and off meandering roads. It’s a much welcome assault on the senses — the heady scent, the eye-popping, stunning views and the hypnotising background buzz of busy bees among the flower fields.
Provence is a large area, brimming with lavender, the occasional burst of yellow from sunflowers and a scattering of quaint little villages. Stop by Gordes for some seriously charming village vibes – imagine a picturesque edifice of stone set atop a hill, with markets in the village square and hidden alleyways just begging to be explored. Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque (Our Lady of Sénanque Abbey) is a medieval Cistercian abbey located in a valley just outside of Gordes and provides the most recognisable view of Provence’s lavender fields. The Abbey was built in 1148 and true to Cistercian ideals of modesty and simplicity, it unpretentiously provides a beautifully austere backdrop for the surrounding vibrancy of lavender. The village of Banon is built on the slope of a hill and on the reputation of its cheese, while Digne-les-Bains is aptly named for its natural hot springs. Feel free to rent a bicycle, a motorbike, a car, or even just wander around on foot to enjoy the spectacular views Provence has to offer. Forget roses; nothing quite woos like getting lost among a sea of lavender.
UP IN THE CLOUDS
(Mount Pilatus, Switzerland)
Overlooking the picture perfect city of Lucerne and reaching for the skies is Mount Pilatus, the majestic northernmost branch of the Alps. The Alps have some of the world’s most beautiful summits, and Mount Pilatus both fulfils and exceeds expectations. From the city, cross the glittering cobalt of Lake Lucerne by boat and ascend the mountain either via the aerial gondola or the cogwheel railway. The gondola provides panoramic views from high above while the cogwheel railway is the world’s steepest at a gradient of 48%, winding through lush Alpine meadows and mountain streams. Both options come with plenty of opportunity for handholding in the name of romance and/or altophobia. A further five minute ride in an aerial cablecar takes you to the summit – a dizzying 2,132 metres above sea level. On clear days, you’ll be treated to the ethereal mountainscape vista and an unbeatable view of Lucerne in all its glory. On cloudier days, you’ll feel like you’re floating in a sea of cotton candy white, mountain peaks peeking up through the misty clouds to say a shy hello. With views to literally make them feel like they’re on top of the world, how can your partner say no?