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    Summer heat waves are hitting Europe. Here’s how to handle them
    • July 6, 2024

    Scott Hartbeck | (TNS) TravelPulse

    Europe is hot.

    And I’m not just talking about what’s happening on your favorite social media feed. Indeed, the momentum from 2023 — a year when seemingly everybody hopped on a plane across the pond — appears unabated, with early summer crowds currently swarming the continent, resulting in the usual hand-wringing and host of news stories about overtourism.

    I’m talking about temperatures.

    As I write this, A-list destinations like Rome and Florence are flirting with triple digits with an excessive heat warning in place, and the forecast for Athens features highs in the upper 90s and sunny skies for the foreseeable future.

    So here’s a friendly reminder that you should not underestimate the heat in Europe.

    I doesn’t matter how much dry heat or humidity you’re used to dealing with, it has a tendency to hit differently in Europe, and you need to have a game plan to deal with it when you travel there in the summertime.

    Why do high temperatures in Europe differ from those back home?

    For starters, regardless of where you’re from in the U.S., you probably don’t walk around all day in the summer sightseeing. If you are out and about during a heat wave, odds are you are bouncing between air-conditioned spaces.

    There is no way to avoid it: you will be pounding the pavement and exposed to the elements on your European vacation. No matter the season, you haven’t come all this way to sit inside and watch TV, so your days will inevitably be chock-a-block with things to do and see. Activity plus high temperatures can lead to an exhaustion level you’re just not used to.

    Another reason is that air conditioning, while certainly common in southern Europe and larger hotels all over the continent, isn’t usually as powerful as you may want it to be. This is especially true regarding the units located in apartments or older hotels. Even when you have A/C, it’s probably not going to crank out arctic air like it might back home. Furthermore, sometimes there are limits on how low you can run it and/or settings in place that make sure it doesn’t run while you aren’t in the room.

    Lastly, many of us have a tendency to overindulge in Europe, and alcohol, caffeine and heavy meals can all serve to amplify the affects of heat.

    How should you beat the heat in Europe during summer?

    Early to rise, late to bed

    It doesn’t matter where you are on the European map or what sort of heat wave you’re in the throes of, conditions won’t be oppressive between six and nine in the morning, as these are almost always the coolest hours of the day. While nighttime can still be stuffy, once you get past eight, you won’t have to worry about being beaten down by the sun.

    While you can’t stack all of your tourist activities into these hours, it’s the perfect time to take walks to scout things out for later (thus spending less time out and about during the hotter periods of the day) and avoid the crowds at photogenic beauty spots.

    Wherever you can, book tickets to attractions ahead of time to cut back on any time spent standing outside during peak heat hours. And if the attraction is located outside, book later in the day when there will be fewer crowds (day trips tend to overwhelm attractions during midday), and you won’t have to wait outside as long.

    What to wear

    Regarding clothing, wear a hat and loose-fitting, breezy outfits made of light colors. These will keep you cooler than tight-fitting dark-colored gab, regardless of whether it’s “wicking” or not.

    Apply and re-apply sunscreen, hydrate like you’ve never hydrated before and always rest in the shade where you can. And when it comes to the aforementioned alcohol and caffeine, you’ll want to keep things in moderation.

    It’s not all gloom and doom, the summer season in Europe offers long days, fun beach experiences and scores of other travelers to meet and make memories with, but the heat can be a downer if you don’t take precautions.

    So just take the precautions and you’re sure to still have the time of your life this summer!


    ©2024 Northstar Travel Media, LLC. Visit at Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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