Here's the bottom line: we work hard, we're busy, and we want to spend our free time doing something meaningful. Long and leisurely holidays exploring a destination are all well and good, but there's a lot to be said about a bite-sized trip that's chock full of experiences from start to finish and makes the most of every single minute away. The solution? Microadventures (aka 'Big Short Breaks'). All about packing maximum experience into minimum time, they're perfect for those of us looking for big adventures but who have precious little time. Let us take you through the pros of these trips that AA Gill once called 'espresso breaks' - short, sharp hits of travel.
72 Hours in Malta and Gozo
With short, direct flights from the UK, the sister Mediterranean islands of Malta and Gozo - home to UNESCO sites, sun, sea and sand galore - make for the perfect microadventure. Spend your first 24 hours exploring the golden sunlight-bathed streets and 16th century elegance of Malta's capital, Valetta. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the city has been described as 'one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world' - helpful for a trip where time is short. Wander the cobbled streets with an expert guide who can point out the legacy of many different sea-faring civilisations, each who has left a different mark on Malta. Make a beeline for St John's Co-Cathedral to gaze at Caravaggio's masterpiece, as well as seeing the Palace of the Grand Master and the Library. Next, travel north from Malta to Gozo to discover the ancient city of Victoria. This fascinating walled city stands in the centre of the island and is crowned by the citadel, Castello, rising from the rocky outcrop on which it is perched. Explore the city's numerous museums, winding side streets and charming nooks and crannies. Also with visiting is the island of Comino which is best enjoyed from the water - so moor up in a quiet bay to swim, sunbathe and snorkel until the sun dips below the horizon.
48 Hours in Singapore
As a 48-hour destination in its own right, or if passing through en route to further flung places, Singapore makes for a perfect microadventure. Home to hawkers peddling fashionable fusion food, edgy design collectives, contemporary galleries and underground nightclubs, we know the places that put the Sin in Singapore. Take a trip to the UNESCO-listed Botanical Gardens where the National Orchid Garden can be found. Wander through the 160-year-old oasis of green, marvelling at the blooms before travelling to Dempsey Hill. Once a British Army barracks set in lush jungle, Dempsey Hill has been transformed into a collection of restaurants, bars, art galleries and spas. Your dinner, booked by our local Concierge, will be served in the Singapore Flyer, a 540ft tall structure that is Singapore's answer to the London Eye. After that, the city's nightlife is your oyster, whether you're a pub-hopper, rooftop bar cocktail-sipper or moody speakeasy clubber. To get a sense of the city's remarkable cultural fusion, embark on an expert-lead walking tour to explore Buddhist temples in the shadow of skyscrapers where lion-headed fish-statue-fountains spout water and rickshaws weave in and out of the traffic. Experience the bustling streets and tiered pagodas of Chinatown, stopping off for a taste of the noodle dish kawy teow mee from a street food stall, before taking to the water on a 40-minute boat ride from Clarke Quay along the Singapore River….
96 Hours in Rwanda
Rwanda might not spring instantly to mind as a microadventure destination, but that's why we love it. Venture deep into the rainforest in search of magnificent mountain gorillas and golden monkeys, and learn more about the country's tragic past during a tour of the capital Kigali. Spend your first three days trekking through dense foliage in Volcanos National Park with an expert guide looking for habituated gorilla families, endemic golden monkeys and visiting conservationist and primatologist Dian Fossey's grave to hear more about her incredible research. Sit and observe our close cousins go about their lives, marvelling at our similarities while these chubby cheeked creatures dance above you. Transfer back to Kigali, for a day of cultural exploration. The pages of Rwandan history are peppered with great tragedies, so to better understand the turbulent past of this fascinating and resilient country, a guide will accompany you on a tour of the capital. Visit the sobering Genocide Memorial to learn more about the Rwandan genocide of 1994 before visiting the Kandt House Museum of Natural History which chronicles all aspects of the Belgian colonial era. For a true flavour of the capital, wander around some lively local markets and visit the Inema Arts Centre before dinner and your last night in Rwanda.
90 Hours in Cape Town
Overnight flights and minimal time difference make Cape Town a very plausible (if surprising) microadventure from the UK. Given the city's stunning setting, amazing activities and world-renowned food and wine, 90 hours is just enough time to enjoy all that this incredible area has to offer. Head out on a guided hike up Table Mountain before visiting the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens with an expert guide who will talk you through the unique flora and fauna. It is well worth taking an afternoon to explore the colourful Bo-Kaap area of Cape Town and delve into its shops and coffee joints, before dinner and a farm-to-fork style menu in one of the city's hottest restaurants. We can also arrange for a guide to pick you up in a vehicle packed with everything you'll need for a day of adventure around the Cape Peninsula, from stand up paddleboards (SUPs) to gourmet packed lunches. Jump on your SUP and paddle among penguins, go snorkelling with seals and spot ostriches in the national park before stopping for a coffee in a secret spot known only to locals. Make sure to hit the markets before you head home- Biscuit Mill or Oranjezicht City Farm (a local food market) are particularly good. Our local Concierge can let you in on the best places to enjoy the food, gin and wine that Cape Town is known for.
Want to know more about microadventures? Get in touch and we'll be happy to help!