Picture perfect proposals: Seven of the most romantic places to get engaged in Europe

Picture perfect proposals: Seven of the most romantic places to get engaged in Europe

After a two-year wedding hiatus, the exchanging of vows are on the increase, but bear in mind — it is a truth universally acknowledged that a bad proposal of marriage (or any commitment) can have serious consequences for affairs of the heart. Take Darcy, the complicated hero of Jane Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice— his initial proposal to Elizabeth Bennet, mixed with stinging insults, almost destroyed their chance of happiness. If, like Darcy, the words don’t come easy, let one of these ridiculously romantic settings do the job for you — like in James Joyce’s Ulysses, when Molly Bloom gave a resounding “yes I will, yes” to Leopold’s proposal as they rested in the sunshine on a bed of rhododendrons on Howth Head.

The Mirador, Algarve has a dedicated champagne bar, ideal for celebrating an ‘I do.’

Continue your life together as you start it at The Mirador, with a crisp bottle of champagne on ice in a sublime setting. It’s located at the Atlantic edge of the Pine Cliffs Resort, on an intimate timber terrace etched into the crimson cliffs that tower over Praia da Falésia beach. When the sun starts to descend over the indigo horizon and white sails coast by, the staff of the resort light bamboo candles along the ridge of the bar and the only sound is the lapping of the sea below. That’s your cue to pop the question — and hopefully, the champagne.

2) Romantic Road, Germany 

Romantic Road is a scenic trail with castles, woodland and unique architecture to view in Germany.

Slip onto the country road that meanders south from the Bavarian baroque town of Würzburg through vineyards and villages with half-timbered buildings draped with vibrant seasonal blooms on the 350km Romantic Road. It offers an abundance of opportunities to declare your intentions in a magical setting. Wait for the evening, after the tour buses leave, to visit the town square in Rothenburg ob der Tauber; a sweet medieval walled town with gothic spires that inspired the setting of Walt Disney’s Pinocchio, or further south to Neuschwanstein Castle, a fairy-tale fortress carved into the mountainside that appears to float over a piercing blue lake.

3) Harry’s Bar, Venice 

The window of the very famous Harry’s Bar, located on the Grand Canal in Venice Italy. This establishment has a long and deep history and is visited by many famous people including Hemingway and Hitchcock.

If a spot of name-dropping helps to open the door to the bigger question of a lifetime commitment to each other, try Venice’s top table locale, Harry’s Bar. It’s not far from Piazza San Marco and over the years it has curated an impressive client list that has included Ernest Hemingway, Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Truman Capote and Orson Welles. Of course, you need the right moment, so wait for a couple of glasses of former owner Giuseppe Cipriani’s original 1948 recipe that mixed white peach puree and prosecco, The Bellini, to arrive.

4) Mystique, Santorini 

One of the Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea, Santorini is well-known for its whitewashed, cubiform houses.

According to Greek legend, Euphemus — the son of the sea God Poseidon, created Santorini as a sanctuary. In reality, it appeared in a hail of fire from a volcano — yet there is something heavenly about the way the whitewashed homes of Oia, swathed like cumulus clouds around rock, glimmering from the turquoise water. Mystique is a hotel burrowed into that setting with cascading private pools, where — at sunset — it’s almost as though the fire returns, reflected in crimson onto the water. It’s the ultimate spot to make or keep a promise — but with rooms starting at €470 a night, it doesn’t come cheaply. 

5) Cinque Terre, Italy 

This seaside village along the Italian Riviera coastline boasts beautiful and brightly-painted houses flanking a harbour full of fishing boats and activity.

One of Earth’s most beautiful settings is the five brightly painted fishing villages burrowed into the eastern perimeter of the Italian Riviera. The villages are car-free and pathways carved into the mountainside connect one community to the next, each offering panoramic views of the coastline. Linger at the harbour at Riomaggiore, beneath the crammed, hilly streetscape for a while to breathe in the view, before discovering the laneway to Manarola – known as the Lover’s Trail. Need we say more? Well, yes, always check ahead for path maintenance.

6) Musée d’Orsay, Paris 

Paris’ Musée d’Orsay exhibits some of the worst best impressionst paintings.

Admittedly, it’s impossible to step sideways in the city of lights without an elegant boulevard, bridge or narrow street sending even the most hardened cynic spiralling into a bumbling, Édith Piaf humming, romantic mess. There are, of course, perfect proposal restaurants; like the moodily lit Caffè Stern or Girafe, with its epic views of the Eiffel Tower. However, for something effortlessly French, head to Musée d’Orsay. If the collection of Impressionist paintings and Beaux-Arts architecture doesn’t inspire you to drop onto a bended knee and blurt out ‘will you?’ — ask more discretely, while peering through the massive train clock on the 5th floor towards the breath-taking views of Montmartre.

7) The Pullman Restaurant, Glenlo Abbey, Galway 

You’ll never know you’re in Galway at The Pullman.

If the thought of cutting through Europe from Istanbul aboard a vintage carriage makes your heart skip a beat, head west to Glenlo Abbey’s Pullman Restaurant. It has a series of dining carriages overlooking Lough Corrib — one was part of the original Orient Express and it featured in Sidney Lumet’s Murder on the Orient Express(1974), st

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