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Romantic Dream Trips

Marrakesh, Morocco: Exploring the Desert City

Forty years ago, visitors to Marrakesh consisted mostly of hippies in search of cheap crash pads and good hash. Then travelers such as Jackie Onassis and Talitha Getty replaced the hippies, and eventually the medina’s ramshackle riads were turned into chic hotels. But the most tantalizing elements of the city remain the same: the snake charmers on the Djemaa el-Fna; the orange-tree-edged Avenue Mohammed V; the sweet-smelling rose gardens; and those views of the Atlas Mountains. —Richard Alleman

Aix-en-Provence, France: Dining in the Heart of the French Countryside

You can shop morning, noon, and night in Provence—for croissants and tomatoes, milk and cheese, pork and lamb, honey and wine. You develop a routine, a kind of easygoing daily schedule loosely correlated to hunger and appetite. The main event is the farmers’ market in downtown Aix, held in the Place Richelme under the shade of a canopy of tall plane trees. The best way to experience this gustatory bounty: rent a house, and eat all your meals outside. —Luke Barr

The Nile, Egypt: Floating Down the Iconic River

The Sudan steamship, whose engine is more than 100 years old, is where Agatha Christie wrote parts of Death on the Nile, and it’s one of a host of boats that cruise the legendary river. There’s no better way to admire the scenery between Aswan and Luxor. Over the course of a trip, you’ll see the Nile River Valley’s major sights: the temples of Kom Ombo and Edfu; the Red Chapel of Queen Hatshepsut at Karnak. In Luxor, the Hotel Al Moudira and its oasis of fragrant gardens await. Yet as extraordinary as the attractions on land may be, it’s the time on the water one remembers the most—daydreaming, doing much of nothing, observing the rhythms of river life, where turbanned men ride rickety bicycles, and children guide cattle along the banks. —Gini Alhadeff

Prague, Czech Republic: Europe’s Bohemian Revival

After watching their city become a global destination, a handful of creative residents have begun mining Prague’s own traditions—of food, art, design, architecture—and subtly but tangibly changing the look and feel of the place. One of the earliest was Janek Jaros, who champions Czech Cubism at his gallery Modernista. Jaros also collaborated with the Rocco Forte Collection on the Augustine hotel by helping source products for its interiors. A Prague dining experience that draws from the past: La Degustation Bohême Bourgeoise, which adds a contemporary twist to the haute cuisine of well-to-do Bohemia. For the ultimate tribute to tradition, head to the Museum of Czech Cubism’s Grand Café Orient; after decades of neglect, it has been restored to its angled splendor, a near-perfect time capsule of a place that existed here, and only here, almost a century ago. —Maria Shollenbarger

Maldives: A Pristine Aquatic Playground

In the Maldives, 300 miles away from any major land mass, private-island resorts are strewn across the Indian Ocean, each one more luxurious than the next. The Anantara Veli Maldives defines simplicity, with thatched-roof overwater bungalows standing on stilts at the end of a long wooden walkway. The Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa has a small spa set on its own island, a two-minute sail away by dhoni. At One&Only Reethi Rah, yachts whisk guests straight to the property from the airport. Or you can arrive by floatplane and glimpse the atolls from overhead: they rise up out of the ocean, all indigo and aquamarine. —Chris Kucway

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