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It is possible to have a relaxing honeymoon and learn a thing or two. By delving deep into horizon-expanding destinations rich with art, culture, and history, you'll come home refreshed and ready to conquer the world together—not to mention toting some killer souvenirs to feather your newlywed nest.
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Live a Bollywood Love Story
The Taj Mahal may be the greatest homage to romance in the world. The story goes that the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan built it to honor his beloved late wife. A room at The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra offers unobstructed views of her white marble mausoleum after all the tourists have gone. For more imperial grandeur, the concierge can help plan a side trip to the city of Fatehpur Sikri, 28 miles away, which was once the capital of the Mughal empire and is full of gorgeous palaces, monuments, and mosques (from $978).
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Explore New York's Creative Scene
The relocated Whitney Museum of American Art, which opened this year in a shiplike Renzo Piano structure near the Hudson River, is bolder and better than ever (whitney.org). And it just scratches the surface of the exhibits the Chelsea neighborhood has to offer—from iconic galleries (Barbara Gladstone, Gagosian, Matthew Marks) to younger upstarts (Chamber, a design shop–gallerycombo).
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Page Dr. Zhivago
With the dollar strong against the ruble, you can live like a czar (or at least a minor aristocrat) in St. Petersburg, soaking in the scene at the State Hermitage Museum, which includes Catherine the Great's Winter Palace and now houses a world-class collection of decorative arts. Exeter International will draw up an itinerary that also features tickets to the Mariinsky Ballet and a boat ride on the city's Venice-like waterways (from $400).
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Discover an Ancient City
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Bargain in Byzantium
Attention, shoppers! One of the oldest covered markets in the world, Istanbul's Grand Bazaar is a treasure trove of jewelry, leather, and antiques. Decorate your home with a rug from Dhoku, where old kilims are retooled into contemporary (and affordable) designs. The Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet, an ultra-luxe retreat set in a former jail, makes a divine home base (from $360).
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Walk an Art-Filled Island
Imagine a place with museums and site-specific masterpieces at every turn. That's the Benesse Art Site Naoshima, set in Japan's Seto Inland Sea. Among the highlights: a massive pumpkin sculpture by Yayoi Kusama and the Chichu Art Museum, built almost entirely underground. Stay at the Tadao Ando–designed Benesse House Museum, which is filled with works by the likes of Jasper Johns and Cy Twombly (from $270).
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Take Your Show on the Road
Cruise north along Highway 1 from Los Angeles (don't miss The Broad, a new museum downtown) to San Francisco. Along the way, stop to hike and take in the stunning cliffs-meet-ocean views of the haute-hippie town of Big Sur and the world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium before landing at San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge.
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Soak It Up
Georgian architecture, the site of a 1,200-year-old abbey, a literary heritage as the setting of novels by Jane Austen and Charles Dickens— what's not to love about Bath, England? Even the ancient Romans were smitten: They built the public baths that still stand at the mineral-rich natural hot springs. The new Gainsborough Bath Spa uses the famed healing water, which is said to soothe dry skin and even jet lag, in its pools and therapies (from $447).
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Sleep in Splendor
Live out your fairy-tale fantasy at the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, a castlelike hotel that stands sentry over the fortified walled city of Old Québec, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The property's new self-guided tour app shares its storied history (spoiler alert: Queen Elizabeth and Princess Grace both slept here). Request a room on a high floor with views of the Saint Lawrence River (from $189).
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Travel the (Art) World in One City
It's in Berlin—not in Egypt, Italy, or Greece—that you'll find the bust of Nefertiti, Donatello's Pazzi Madonna, and the Pergamon frieze. The German capital is home to a number of impressive cultural centers devoted to the arts of antiquity, and five of them are located in a cluster called Museumsinsel Berlin, in the central neighborhood of Mitte.