How to survive the next heatwave in Spain

by Deborah Cater
How to survive a heatwave in Spain

Summers in Spain can be unbearably hot. So hot that you don’t see a Spaniard sitting in the sun during the day. It is only tourists who venture into the streets between 3 and 8pm. How do you get through the summer, particularly a heatwave in Spain, and enjoy your time in this beautiful country?

Any tips are welcome. Especially in view of the upcoming heatwave that will bring the mercury well above 40 degrees Celsius in large parts of Spain from Thursday to Tuesday. After three fairly hot summers, we also know how to deal with heat better in the far north. People in the North of Europe also slow down their pace, suddenly need an afternoon nap or children only show themselves on the street well after 8pm when the temperature has dropped a bit.

If you’re lounging by your pool or don’t do much more than a regular dip in the sea, the heat mist rising from the softening asphalt or hot concrete probably isn’t much of a problem. However, if you want to go out, or if you have to work full-time and live in Spain, the high temperatures in the summer can probably be a major obstacle. To better withstand the imminent heatwave in Spain, we give you some tips.

Drink lots of water

Summer in Spain means drinking lots of water. Staying hydrated is key. Never leave home without a refillable water bottle and also try to avoid too much alcohol during the day, as this will only further dehydrate you. Don’t drink your water too cold. This causes your temperature to skyrocket.

Slow down your pace

Do not rush, under any circumstances! During a heat wave in Spain, give yourself enough time to get from A to B. When you’re out all day, there’s no refreshing shower to hand and a sprint to the subway at 42ºC isn’t fun for anyone.

Jump in the shower

Speaking of showering, there’s no better way to feel refreshed than a quick shower at regular intervals. Do not take a shower that is too cold, because that will make you warm again immediately afterwards. Water at body temperature is best. If you can’t shower, use a plant sprayer to spray you regularly to cool down or put your wrists under cold running water.

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Use sunscreen

Lubricate, lubricate and lubricate again is the motto. With a high sun protection factor – the higher the better. Even SPF50 lets in some sun. Sunburn hurts and is harmful. And if you don’t mind wearing a hat or cap, it’s advisable to keep the scorching rays off your relatively sensitive facial skin.

Fans are essential

Not everyone has air conditioning. It’s also not the greenest option for keeping your house cool. Fans work wonders, especially in the bedroom. A nice gentle breeze against your body will help you sleep at night.

Use a Spanish fan

Since time immemorial, Spanish women have used their individual hand fan, the abánico. It’s a great – and elegant – way to cool yourself down. There are also battery powered hand fans for a modern approach.

Wear loose clothes

Skinny jeans during a heatwave in Spain are a no-go. Wear loose fitting clothes made of natural fabrics such as thin cotton, linen or silk.

Eat little, lightly and often

This may sound like a diet, but it’s best to avoid heavy foods in the heat. Cold soups like gazpacho, salmorejo or ajo blanco, with a salad, are perfect on hot summer days. Don’t forget fresh fruits, such as watermelons, peaches, and nectarines.

No housekeeping in the middle of the day

Avoid housework in the middle of the day. Put the laundry in the machine at night (or rather after midnight if the off-peak electricity rate is in effect), hang it out and it’s dry in the morning. It is best to cook later in the day. When you feel like you’re in a furnace, the last thing you want to do is actually turn one on.

Choose the right shade

Trees and greenery provide the best shade. Nothing is more refreshing in the hot summer than seeking out the shade of real greenery. The shade that Parasols or shade cloths provide does not match that of real nature. It is not for nothing that villagers always sit under trees on a square in the summer.

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