How to Stay Cool in Europe during a Heat Wave

September 28, 2023  |  By Peg Kern
Filed Under

Bearing the heat during summer in Athens. You’ve probably read the headlines just like we have: record heat across Europe is throwing a wrench in some travelers’ plans. But summer is still the time many of our clients are able to travel.

So how can one survive the heat and stay cool when temperatures are soaring? If you find yourself in Rome or Athens and the temperatures are in the triple digits Fahrenheit, what can you do to stay cool?

Here are five tips for how to beat the heat during summer travel.

How to Beat the Heat

Taking a swim in the waters of Poros. 1) Pick a destination by the water

There is nothing that will cool you down more quickly than a swim. In fact, it’s one of the only times it’s an advantage to have the weather be hot! But a destination by the water isn’t just good for cooling off with water sports, it’s also naturally going to be a little less hot than areas farther from the water. In Chicago we call this “lake effect,” but the same principle holds that large bodies of water can slightly mute the more severe temperatures (both cold or hot). And even if it’s only a couple of degrees difference, you will notice it. Also, a breeze off the water will always feel cooler than a hot gust of dusty air in the interior.

Try a Greek island vacation for summer travel.

Evening walks on a summer night. 2) Siesta, siesta, siesta

People in hot climates have been surviving heat waves for centuries, and until relatively recently in human history, they did it without air conditioning. Perhaps the single most useful rule to follow is to do like the locals and honor the siesta. There is a reason you don’t see anyone but tourists out during the hottest part of the day. The locals know better.
Get up early to some of your sightseeing before it becomes too unbearable, then head back to your accommodations by lunchtime. Take a nap, read a book, watch a movie – whatever you want – and then take a shower and head back out around 5, when things have started to cool down.
This might mean a late dinner – but so what? Take advantage of the cooler temperatures in the evenings, and stay out late. If you’ve napped during your siesta you’ll be ready to go!

Keeping cool on a hot summer day3) Cover up

You might think that wearing less is better on hot days, but keeping the sun off you can actually cool you down. Instead of a tank top and shorts, try pants and long sleeves in the most lightweight material you can find and in a light color. They will keep the sun off you and lessen the feeling of being baked.

Enjoying a lunch in the shade in Athens. 4) Stick to the shade

Another way to keep the sun from exacerbating the heat you feel is of course to stick to the shade! Sometimes this means crossing the street to be on the shady side, even if it means you have to cross and recross it to always find the shade. And if you can’t find a shady side? Make your own by carrying a sun parasol or umbrella.

Drinking water to beat the head during a summer heat wave5) Water is your friend

This might sounds obvious, but ultimately the best way to beat the heat is with plenty of water. Staying hydrated will go a long way toward keeping you healthy even during dangerous heat waves. But the water is not just for drinking: wet a kerchief and put it on the back of your neck, or splash some water on your face or wrists periodically to help cool you down. In some towns you can even find fountains that can help keep you cool!

Splashing in the fountain in BordeauxOf course, if you combine all of these tips together, you can still enjoy your vacation even when the temperatures soar. And remember that the heat can be dangerous and even deadly.

Monitor how. you are feeling, and make sure to take steps to stay healthy despite the heat. Some common signs of heat stroke are a throbbing headache, confusion, a rapid pulse, dizziness, or nausea. If you experience any of these, it is time to seek medical attention.

By Peg Kern

Find out more about our cooking vacations and one day cooking classes.

Find more photos, videos, food facts, and travel stories from The International Kitchen on Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter.

Sign up to receive our newsletter, which includes travel tips, recipes, promotions, and information on our best cooking vacations and food and wine tours.

Print This Page

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *