A look at Europe: heat waves affect travel in Europe

As we approach mid-August and the peak of the summer travel season here in Europe, Hot Euro Summer 2022 shows no signs of slowing down.

As I write this my home in York, England is baking in the sun and at 90 degrees Again, with even hotter temperatures roasting London and large parts of the arid south of England. Across the Channel, record wildfires are raging in many countries as the continent experiences another round of ridiculously hot and dry conditions.

This summer has seen back-to-back heat waves harass the continent, with each round setting records (England recorded its all-time hottest temperature in July) and sparking a series of stunning reports on droughts, infrastructure distorted by heat or the recent report on how Swiss army helicopters were assigned to airlift water to thirsty cows in the high Alps.

So why should you worry about extreme heat hitting you or your client on the next summer trip across the pond?

Besides the potential, albeit small, risk that your travel logistics will be affected by the heat, to put it simply: being hot, sweating and getting sunburnt is no way to cross Europe.

PHOTO: The Eiffel Tower in Paris, France (Photo via Europhotos / Dreamstime)

Remember, no matter the season, you don’t come all the way to sitting indoors all day. Therefore, any trip to Europe will inherently feature a healthy dose of urban exploration, and triple-digit temperatures can seriously sap your energy. and the enthusiasm to get from point A to point B.

That’s to say nothing of the buzzkill a heat wave can cause visiting an outdoor attraction like the Colosseum or queuing in front of an Eiffel Tower landmark.

Sunscreen, hydration, air conditioning (not as ubiquitous as ours, but common in much of southern Europe) and pre-booking attraction tickets can help. Traveling in the “shoulder season” (April-May and September-October) is always a good idea too, but I can’t help but wonder if, in the future, cooler climate European destinations will see an increase reservations—especially in the height of summer.

I also wonder if savvy travel advisors, especially those based in the Sun Belt, might start offering customers the option of a “refreshing” cool-weather summer getaway to places like Scandinavia, the Baltics and the northern British Isles where the heat-induced tragedies described above are – for now – virtually unheard of.

If so, here are a quartet of destinations to consider.

Where to visit in Europe for cooler temperatures

Bergen, Norway

Spend your summer days finding your favorite fjord or chasing high waterfalls along the coast of this naturally beautiful nation. Bergen makes an excellent base for sampling Norway’s natural wonders, and average daily high temperatures in July and August average 65° and 66° respectively.

Highlights of Norway
Waterfront scene in Bergen, Norway. (Photo by Collette)

Denmark

One of the most quintessentially European cities on the continent, the capital Copenhagen is a stylish, green, gourmet and cool destination at the same time. Feast on its world-famous neo-Nordic restaurants and sit on the quayside of Nyhavn’s old harbor with a drink in hand while enjoying average daily high temperatures of 71° in July and August. Next, head to a dreamy Danish island like Aero or Bornholm where windswept beaches and button-cute cottages will have you wondering why you never thought of going to Denmark before.

Scotland

Edinburgh, Scotland, City, UK, UK
View over the city of Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo via Getty Images)

Even when the mercury rises in England and Wales, Scotland generally escapes extreme heat, with 65° being the average daily high in Edinburgh in July and August. Soak up views of the city’s dramatic skyline from Calton Hill and visit Edinburgh Castle before heading to the Scottish Highlands and Islands where the views are more fantastic and the temperatures even cooler. Don’t worry, if you’re a little cold, there’s always whiskey to warm you up.

Tallinn, Estonia

Home to a fairytale old town full of cobbled streets and a skyline full of church spiers, Tallinn is the most romantic city in the Baltic region. It is also a hub of trendy cafes and boutiques and excellent modern restaurants. Oh, and the average daily high temperatures in July and August are 72° and 69° respectively.


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