Too Busy to Take Time Off? Think Again - You Can Go a Long Way in a Long Weekend

Holiday on Ice

Spectacular Iceland offers the perfect backdrop to any weekend. Stay at designer haven the 101 Hotel, or at art deco Hotel Borg, and hit the bars and nightlife of one of Europe's coolest party cities, Reykjavik. Take a Golden Circle tour to the thunderous Gullfoss waterfall, Geysir's giant hot springs and Thingvellir national park. Or head out to the Blue Lagoon, a steaming, mineral-rich pool surrounded by black lava fields. It's more like visiting another planet than another country. From €590 including flights from London, transfers and three nights at the Borg. Enquiries: Arctic Experience (+44 (0) 1737 214 214; www.arcticexperience.co.uk). 101 enquiries: 0800 169 88 17; www.101hotel.is

Game On

Overnight flights (some with flat beds) mean that three days viewing the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino) in Kenya is more than possible. Fly to Nairobi, and in less than 24 hours you could be 6,000 feet up on the edge of the Great Rift Valley, viewing leopard dangling from baobab trees. Take a sunrise balloon flight over the Masai Mara; go in July and August and you'll see the migration of the wildebeest. From €1,740, including flights from London, transfers, three nights' full board and game viewing. Enquiries: Carrier Africa (+44 (0) 1625 547010; www.carrier.co.uk)

High Time

Forget run-of-the-mill ski resorts. Real weekend adventurers go ski touring - climbing remote mountain peaks on specially adapted skis, then skiing down thrilling virgin slopes on the other side. You're led by an experienced guide and sleep in mountain refuges. You could cover part of the legendary Haute Route between Chamonix (at the foot of Mont Blanc in France) and Zermatt (at the base of the Matterhorn in Switzerland). From €1,115 including flights from London, accommodation, guide and equipment. Enquiries: Ski Weekend (+44 (0) 1367 241 636; www.skiweekend.com)

Rock the Kasbah

The ancient Berber city of Marrakech offers a wonderfully exotic mix of souks, kasbahs, mosques, palaces and ochre-coloured streets. Stay at the sumptuous La Mamounia, or a riad house in the medina, some of which have exquisitely furnished rooms and rooftop pools. Trips and treks into the High Atlas mountains are also possible from here. From €300 for three nights' B&B in a riad, not including flights. Enquiries: Tribes (+44 (0) 1728 685 971; www.tribes.co.uk)

Pasta Masters

Spend a long weekend learning Italian cookery in an idyllic villa near Bologna. Flavours of Italy runs courses in Emilia-Romagna, a region renowned for balsamic vinegar and Parma ham. Students spend mornings cooking local dishes, which are savoured over a long al fresco lunch. Afternoons are for trips to local food producers or medieval Bologna, and evenings for wine tastings and delicious dinners. From €910, including accommodation, food and drink, lessons, transfers and visits but not flights. Enquiries: Flavours of Italy (+44 (0) 1506 854 621; www.flavoursholidays.com)

Going to Barbados

The west coast of glitzy Barbados now boasts a revamped Sandy Lane hotel, as well as glam eateries The Cliff and Daphne's. But it's Concorde that's the real star of this trip: a flight on the edge of space at twice the speed of sound that gets you there (local time) before you took off from Heathrow. From €5,715 including flight out on Concorde from Heathrow, subsonic BA return, transfers and three nights' accommodation. Enquiries: Elegant Resorts (+44 (0) 1244 897 997; www.elegantresorts.co.uk)

By Philip Watson

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