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Rent an island fortress in Rajasthan
Clark Mitchell and Clara Sedlak, Travel + Leisure

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January 30, 2008

Andalusia, Kalahari, Sicily: Sometimes, just hearing a name can inspire us to explore. Indeed, destinations like these loom so large in the canon of travel that their very mention stirs wanderlust in even the most experienced traveler.

It doesn't have to be a destination, of course. "Private island" or "hidden beach" can bring about the same reaction. So can an activity like "African safari," or "desert hiking." But what all these things have in common is their ability to inspire and to motivate. They help us remember what the thrill of travel is all about -- and that no matter how many globetrotting dreams we have already fulfilled, there will always be more.

Still, it's one thing to throw out a name. It's quite another to research the best ways to experience these dreamy locations. Not to worry -- we did the work for you.

Slideshow: Rent an Island Fortress in Rajasthan

So what's your dream? Lounging on a hidden beach in Thailand? Yes, they do still exist, no matter how many movies Hollywood might make about this country's fabled sands. Ditch crowded Phuket and head to a gorgeous, quiet stretch known as Rai Lay, which you can get to by boat from Krabi. Make the dream luxurious by staying in one of the two-level bungalows at Rayavadee, a resort surrounded by sand. Or, because this location is just as dreamy no matter where you stay, put up in one of the airy bungalows of the affordable Sand Sea Resort.

Is experiencing Italian cuisine more your dream? Then take yourself to Sicily, where you can steal away to the olive grove-filled farm of Mandranova. Stay in one of the 11 rooms here and dine with owners Silvia and Guiseppe di Vincenzo, or make your way to the charming nearby port town of Licata for a meal of pine-smoked cod.

And you don't have to head overseas to make a dream come true. Head to one of our favorite private islands off the coast of Maine, Spectacle Island, close to Bar Harbor. Here you'll find that traditional New England [Images] hasn't disappeared: stay in a cottage with a wraparound porch and fireplace, dine on meals of fresh-caught lobster, and experience all the activity you can handle in Acadia National Park.

So close your eyes. Are you conjuring up beaches? Mountains? Forest? Does your dream play out in slow-motion? Fast-forward? Is it filled with Indian temples? White clapboard homes? Or maybe you're searching for your next dream. Whatever the case, we have you covered. Come explore.

Slideshow: Rent an Island Fortress in Rajasthan

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