Best Long Weekend Adventure Getaways From The UK

Updated: March 15, 2024
long weekend abroad from the UK

If you live in the UK, you’re in the perfect position to access a world of adventure.

There are endless exciting destinations at your fingertips, perfect for a long weekend of outdoor fun.

From hiking impressive mountain ranges to kayaking lochs and meandering the Mediterranean coast, there’s no shortage of adventure getaways near the UK.

Let’s explore some of the best options for all kinds of travellers.

11 Top Long Weekend Adventure Getaways from the UK

1. Explore the Majestic Alps with a Shorter Tour du Mont Blanc Hike

Embark on an unforgettable adventure in the Alps with a short Tour du Mont Blanc hike. This trek is a must for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.

The journey begins in Chamonix, France, where you'll be surrounded by stunning alpine landscapes.

The Tour du Mont Blanc is a circular route that spans approximately 170 kilometres, taking you through France, Italy, and Switzerland. Along the way, you'll witness breathtaking views of the Mont Blanc massif, charming alpine villages, and pristine mountain lakes. While the full tour takes 10 days to complete, you can book a four day highlights trip for a long weekend adventure. This is also undoubtedly one of the best hikes in France.

I recommend exploring the beautiful region before heading back overland to Paris and then returning home via a scenic train from Paris to London to top off the experience.

2. Conquer the Pyrenees Mountains in Spain


The Pyrenees Mountains provide a perfect blend of natural beauty and outdoor excitement, making it an ideal weekend escape from the UK. If you’re going to hike in Spain, then this mountain range should be your premier destination.

I recommend the 5-day Carros de Foc circuit, a challenging trek that loops through the heart of the Pyrenees. Marvel at the stunning vistas of jagged peaks and serene lakes as you navigate the well-marked trails.

The Pyrenees also offer opportunities for other outdoor activities like rock climbing, canyoning, and mountain biking, ensuring there's something for every adventure enthusiast.

3. Unwind on the Isle of Skye

For a more laid-back yet equally exciting adventure, consider a weekend getaway to the Isle of Skye.

Accessible from mainland Scotland, the Isle of Skye is renowned for its otherworldly landscapes, dramatic cliffs, and iconic rock formations.

Hike through the Quiraing, a surreal landscape of towering cliffs and unique geological features. The Fairy Pools provide another enchanting hiking destination, with crystal-clear pools and waterfalls set against a backdrop of lush greenery.

The Old Man of Storr, a prominent rock formation, offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes and the sea.

The Isle of Skye also provides opportunities for coastal walks, wildlife spotting, and stargazing on clear nights. Enjoy the tranquillity of this remote island while immersing yourself in its natural wonders.

4. Paddle and Hike Through the Scottish Highlands

For a weekend adventure closer to home, head to the Scottish Highlands for a unique combination of canoeing and hiking.

Easily accessible from major cities like Glasgow and Edinburgh, the Highlands offer a diverse landscape of rugged mountains, pristine lochs, and dense forests.

You can take a canoeing excursion on one of the impressive lochs, like Loch Ness or Loch Lomond.

Of course, the Scottish Highlands is also a hikers paradise, with many trails on offer for hikers of all levels. You can explore trails like the West Highland Way or venture into the Cairngorms National Park for a more challenging trek.

Wild camping can be done along the way for added adventure.

5. Discover the Beauty of the Lake District in England

For a domestic long weekend adventure, head to the Lake District in England. Renowned for its stunning lakes, rolling hills, and charming villages, the Lake District offers a variety of outdoor activities for all levels of adventurers.

You could take a hike up Scafell Pike, the highest peak in England. This peak may not be a major mountain, but it still offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. Taking a leisurely stroll around Lake Windermere or Coniston Water is also a great way to immerse yourself in the peaceful lakeside scenery.

The Lake District is also a paradise for water enthusiasts, with opportunities for kayaking, paddle boarding, and boat trips on the still lakes.

6. Cycle Through the Dutch Countryside

Dutch cycling

For a change of pace, consider a cycling adventure through the picturesque Dutch countryside.

Accessible from the UK with a short flight to Amsterdam, the Netherlands offers a flat and cyclist-friendly landscape, making it an ideal destination for biking enthusiasts.

Rent a bike and explore the iconic tulip fields, charming windmills, and quaint villages that characterize the Dutch countryside. The extensive network of cycling paths gives you a lot of different options for places to explore.

Stop at local cafes and markets along the way to sample delicious Dutch treats and experience the warm hospitality of the locals.

7. Conquer Snowdon in Wales

For a weekend adventure in Wales, set your sights on Snowdon, the highest peak in Wales and England. Easily accessible from cities like Liverpool and Manchester, Snowdonia National Park offers a diverse range of outdoor activities amid the stunning mountain landscapes.

Choose from several hiking trails leading to the summit of Snowdon, each offering unique perspectives of the surrounding valleys and lakes. This is one of the mountains to climb in the classic Three Peaks Challenge.

Beyond hiking, Snowdonia also offers opportunities for rock climbing, mountain biking, and zip-lining. It’s the ideal outdoor playground for a UK adventure getaway.

8. Hike the Amalfi Coast in Italy

Amalfi Coast

For a weekend adventure that combines hiking with stunning coastal views, head to the Amalfi Coast in Italy. Accessible by a short flight from the UK to Naples, the Amalfi Coast is renowned for its iconic cliffside villages, crystal-clear waters, and scenic trails.

Embark on the Path of the Gods hike, offering panoramic views of the coastline and the Tyrrhenian Sea. Along the way, you’ll get to explore charming villages like Positano and Ravello, where colourful buildings cling to the cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean.

Of course, the Amalfi Coast is also the perfect place for boat trips, swimming in secluded coves, and savouring authentic Italian cuisine. If you’re after Mediterranean sun and sea, then this is an ideal long weekend getaway.

See our guide to the Cinque Terre hike.

9. Venture into the Swiss Alps

When it comes to hiking adventures in Europe, you can't beat the Swiss Alps.

Hop on a short flight from the UK to cities like Zurich or Geneva. Once you land, Switzerland offers a wealth of hiking and adventure opportunities.

A great long weekend option is to hit the Eiger Trail for a beautiful hike beneath the legendary North Face of the Eiger. The breathtaking views of glaciers, alpine meadows, and rugged peaks make this a truly memorable hiking experience. Consider taking a scenic train ride to Jungfraujoch, the "Top of Europe," for panoramic views and the chance to explore the Ice Palace.

Switzerland's well-maintained network of hiking trails caters to all levels, from easy walks around lakes to challenging ascents to high-altitude viewpoints.

You may also like: Via ferrata opportunities in Switzerland.

10. Coastal Adventure in the Basque Country, Spain

Basque Country, Spain

Exploring the coastal beauty of the Basque Country in Spain is another ideal way to spend a long weekend.

You can hike along the dramatic cliffs of the Basque coastline. The Camino del Norte, a scenic coastal trail, offers stunning sea views, fishing villages, and lush green hills. Explore the charming town of San Sebastián, known for its beautiful beaches and renowned culinary scene.

While you’re here, you could also surf the beaches of Zarautz or go paddleboarding in the protected waters of Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve.

Another option, if you have a few more days and want to visit the two main cities of Spain as well, is to fly into Madrid for a day, then take a scenic train from Madrid to Barcelona, where you can soak in the joys of this colourful city before continuing your journey to the northern coast. From the basque you can fly directly back to the UK from Bilbao. 

11. Cycle Through the Vineyards of Bordeaux, France

Love outdoor activities and wine? Then head to Bordeaux, France, where you can spend a weekend cycling through the area’s vineyards.

Rent a bike and explore the famous wine estates of the Bordeaux wine region. Pedal through idyllic French landscapes of vine-covered hills, historic châteaux, and charming villages. Stop for wine tastings at renowned wineries like Château Margaux and Château Lafite Rothschild after building up a thirst.

You can take breaks in traditional French cafés and bistros along the way to sample local delicacies and recharge for the next stretch of your cycling adventure. 

About the author 

Alison Macallister

With a degree in Nature Conservation and experience working with wildlife including the Big 5, Alison used to work as a guide for a 5-star safari reserve in South Africa. Today she is a full time traveller and editor for Mountain IQ. She has travelled and hiked extensively in South America, including many solo hikes in Patagonia, the Cusco region of Peru, Ecuador and Chile.

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