Squeeze a large-scale adventure into a long weekend, from husky sledding in Finland to meeting the greatest of apes in Rwanda.
Get active in Finland
Before the log cabin became a staple of the American frontier, it was the architectural solution of choice for the rigours of a Scandinavian winter. At the Luosto Tunturi Log Cabins, part of the small Finnish forest settlement of Luosto, guests can stomp their way through thick snow to their own rustic porch, and shake the white stuff off their boots before heading inside to defrost by the fire (or, for an even deeper thaw, in their private sauna).
A three-night stay is not so long as to risk inducing cabin fever, but enough time to allow you the chance to make the most of the activities on offer, from husky-sledding and snowmobile trips to ice-fishing. The cabins are above the Arctic Circle, where the sun stays below the horizon for part of the winter, and there’s always the chance that the northern lights could put in an appearance.
Catch a train trough Spain
Al Andalus was an illustrious chapter in the history of southern Spain, when sultans built elaborate palaces, and turbaned philosophers pondered the pressing issues of the medieval era. It is also presently the name of a train service kitted out in damask and wood, which moves at a stately pace between the great Andalucian cities of Granada, Cordoba and Seville.
Even the briefest of the itineraries includes trips to the palace of the Alhambra in Granada, a flamenco show, the Mezquita of Cordoba with its hypnotic pattern of striped arches, and the Unesco-protected neighbouring towns of Ubeda and Baeza.
Arrive: BA, easyjet and Ryanair fly to Seville from Gatwick and Stansted.
Hit the beach in Zanzibar
The ‘zan’ in Tanzania, Zanzibar was a byword for far-off riches in the centuries when it dominated the Indian Ocean spice trade. The island is often combined in traveller itineraries with the traditional safari sights of the African mainland, but it also functions as a self-contained short break, with little in the way of jet lag for British visitors. Snorkelling off Zanzibar’s powdery white beaches acts as a powerful disincentive to do anything more cultural with your limited time.
That would be to miss out on the ramshackle charms of Stone Town, with its Unesco-listed Arab-Swahili architecture built under the sultans who ruled until 1964, and visits to clove-scented spice plantations in the island’s interior. Intrepid Travel’s Zanzibar Beach Break trip includes three nights at an east-coast beach resort.
Arrive: The shortest flights to Zanzibar from the UK are from Heathrow via Muscat on Oman Air or via Nairobi on Kenya Airways.