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Tips for the Heat – Summer under the Spanish Sun

Tips for the Heat – Summer under the Spanish Sun

Andalusia is a beautiful region of Spain. Although in the summer months the heat can be a little too much for some.

After many years when I spend the entire summer in Andalusia, I thought I would share some of my tips which help me to cope with the heat. This are especially useful in July and August.

Granada temperatures are extreme. The lowest recorded minimum in 1987 was -14 ºC (7ºF )


Then the highest temperature was recorded in 1995. A blisteringly high 43ºC (this is around 110ºF) That was until last Summer. On 7th July 2015 this high was beaten, when the mercury reached 43.1C at Granada airport. Topping the previous record.

In Granada there is an interesting contrast of snow and red hot temperatures. From November to April you can ski in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. In the hot Summer months evening temperatures don´t fall below 25ºC on some balmy nights. Even buying bread becomes a chore on a fierce summer day.

Calahorra Castle north of Granada, Spain

How to survive the Spanish heat

Best clothes for hot weather

  • Natural fibres such as Silk, Linen, Cotton or Ramie. Any combination or mix of these fibres is also good. Very important to steer clear from polyester, acrylic, lycra, elastane and nylon. These fabrics don´t allow the skin to breath and will keep the heat close to your skin.
  • Choose pale coloured clothes to wear. White, beige and pastel colours. They are more comfortable than wearing darker colours which absorb heat.
  • Wear a Hat. It protects you from overheating and can help prevent sunstroke. If you have a wide brimmed hat it will prevent you getting a sunburnt neck too (painful) Your hair will also be more protected and stay in good condition too. Especially if you have coloured hair or highlights, a the hat or headscarf will stop your lovely locks from discoloration and drying out. Your hairdresser will be pleased ; )  Again choose pale colours for your headwear. Dark coloured hats will attract heat and may cause you to overheat.

This handy hat clip accessory clips your hat to your bag so you can be hands free if you take your hat off. (and not lose it).

  • If you want to keep the sun off your skin a long sleeve shirt made from Cotton or Linen in pale colours is the best option. Think about Ibiza fashion looks which are mainly white designs and casual Beach Style looks, they work season after season.  

Essaouira Inside the Kasbah Ait Benhaddou Morocco

  • Parasols are becoming more popular. Colourful paper parasols are eyecatching but practical. You may also have an umbrella in a white or pale shade to protect yourself from the strong sunshine. Some even protect from UV radiation. Some umbrellas have SPF protection now so you can use for rainy or hot days.
  • Sunglasses. In Spain you need them all year round and wear them for most of the day. Make sure they have UV protection. It´s best to choose a style that covers a large area of the face if possible. Remember to avoid looking directly at the sun as this may hurt your eyes without your glasses on. I have a winter pair and summer pair. The winter ones are more opaque, not as dark as the summertime sunglasses for very bright days.
  • Travel Scarf. When I travel I always have a thin scarf with me. In summertime for car journeys it can be handy if the sun is on your legs or arms as a cover up.  See more uses for a travel scarf

Skincare in Summer Heat

  • My favourite tip is to keep a bottle of Aloe Vera gel in the fridge. This works brilliantly on heat rashes, for cooling down sun burn and to calm prickly heat.  Best to get 99% or 100% Aloe Vera as this is more natural and works better on sensitive skins. If you choose Aloe Vera Gel with Musket Rose it has a healing effect. 
  • Water sprays. When I travel or go to the beach I take a water spray with me to spray my face. This has a cooling effect and is also good to hydrate your skin too. There are lots and lots of brands to choose from. You can also create your own with an inexpensive spray bottle from the drugstore or discount shop.


  • To prevent getting sunburn I usually apply suncream at home before I go outside. As I have a mirror I can make sure that I dont miss any bits and get a good coverage of my back. Remember to put sun cream on the tops of your feet and around your hairline. Applying the cream some time before exposure, it makes sure that it is well absorbed. Then you need to take care with topping up every 2 hours. In Spain you must use a high factor SPF 40 – 50 The sun is strong here!  I apply ISDIN sun cream during all months of the year not just August.

Take care to use suncream if you are travelling by car for long periods of time.

  • A fan is a great accessory to have with you. It can make quite a difference when you are travelling in Spain. I find it useful on buses or long queues in the Summertime. As well as creating a gentle breeze you can also use it to block the sunshine if you need too. They are inexpensive and colourful as well as very useful. They even have versions for men too which tend to be slightly smaller and in dark colours.Piccavey Experiences in Andalusia Spain Hiking Sept 2018
  • If you are outdoors working or doing physical activity on hot days, a good tip is to wet a cotton neck scarf and tie it onto your neck. This cools you down quickly. (You can dampen in the sea, river or in a fountain it doesn’t have to be drinking water)  Try to do things first thing in the morning when its cooler if possible, between 8am and noon. After sunset can be as late as 10pm in Southern Spain so your active time is limited on hot days.
  • Enjoy time in the pool. Take care to use water proof sun cream and apply before swimming. Remember to top up throughout the day. Water parks are a fun way to enjoy hot sunny days with children too.

Book a Day at the Best Water Parks in Spain

  • Take cool showers rather than warm ones. If you have trouble getting to sleep taking a cool shower just before going to bed can help cool down.
  • Stay inside Air Conditioned places or in the shade. Especially in the hottest parts of the day. In Spain this is around 1pm to 5pm more or less. You can plan activities first thing in the morning or in the early evening when it is cooler. In Spain locals tend to make the most of 10-12h to run errands and do their shopping. Then again in the early evening from 7pm-9pm. You will notice that there is no one in the street at 3pm. Roads and public transport will be empty!

Montesinos Laroles Salad

Best Food for a Heatwave

  • When the heat rises you need to drink more than usual. It is better to sip steadily through the day to rather than working up a thirst.  Little and often. This way you will be hydrated all day. I have a flask which keeps water ice cold all day. This is really useful and I take it everywhere with me even though it´s a little heavy, it´s worth it.
  • It´s best to avoid alcoholic drinks and coffee. They have a dehydrating effect. In the evening I choose fruit juice cocktails such as San Francisco or Mojitos made without alcohol. Alot of places in Spain offer Mocktails now. Iced tea is also a great idea (pictured below)
  • Carry water with you whenever you leave home. If possible in a flask to keep it cool.

Salmorejo and Ham

  • Eat loads of Seasonal Fruit Foods with high water content work well. Choose fresh green salads, melon, tomatoes and peaches. Cold soups such as gazpacho are delicious and can be found in most supermarkets and restaurants in Spain if you prefer not to make your own.
  • In Summer avoid eating hot or heavy meals. This will slow your body down and may make you feel uncomfortable. Roasted meats, heavy pasta dishes should be swapped for lighter meals and snacks.

Iced Tea Sabores Al Andalus

Summer Nights – Tips for Sleeping 

  • Keep windows, blinds and curtains closed during the daytime. Making sure the sun or hot air cant get in. Then open windows after sunset to ventilate your home once the temperature cools.
  • Take a shower before bed if you think you will find sleep difficult.
  • You can also put a fan on with an ice pack in front of it. (It´s important to switch off any electrical items before you fall asleep)

L8 Boutique Apartment Bologna Italy Main bedroom

Cooling down the Car

In Spain, usually all the parking spots in the shade get picked first. So if your car is parked in the sun. You can cool it down with this Japanese method.

  • Open the passenger door window completely.
  • Then with the driver door, open it + close it quickly 5 times.Heat Tips Spanish Heatwave


I hope some of these tips are useful to help you to enjoy your Summer

How do you cope with the heat ?

Maybe you have a tip for me…..



Please Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. All thoughts, feelings and opinions shared on this blog and in this post are my own.
  1. John Carter says:

    Great article!!
    I have the best way to cool down although it is a little different and not for everyone.
    I am male so what I do is get the thinner frozen ice pops and stick them right up my bum. This cools down the whole body fast and from the inside. Its a bit tricky at first but you get used to it and even better to use some cooling alovera.
    I guess a female can insert the ice pop in to the other hole if better and you might even be able to use the big ice pops for even more cooling effect.
    It works a treat just don’t eat ice ice pops afterwards they are better thrown away as they may tastle funny. Trust me on this!

  2. Milena says:

    I can relate, I am spending my first summer in Madrid and it is quite hard at times. I had to shift my timetable. If I’m not working I generally go out only in the mornings and then in the evenings after 8, as afternoons are unbearable outside. Now I understand where the habit of taking a siesta and eating dinner so late comes from 🙂

    • Molly says:

      Yes, when you try to do normal life in these temperatures it all makes more sense
      Madrid and Granada actually have similar climates as the nearby mountains create similiar temperatures.

  3. Fred Nelson says:

    Bowl of ice n front of fan if no air con. Open windows opposite each other to ensure air flow through. Keep blinds and curtains shut to keep out sun and flies

    • Molly says:

      All great suggestions,
      at home I open the windows around 10pm throughout the entire house
      and close them around 10am in the morning, shutting blinds and making it shady and cool inside

      Thanks for your tips

  4. Some good tips, here! I never thought about wearing a damp cotton neck scarf.
    As a Spaniard, I can’t stand aircon for long, and we don’t leave it on during the night (even in Extremadura). You can end up with a terrible sore throat and eyes. My parents switch it on in the evening and leave it on until we go to bed, so it’s nice and cool when you go to sleep.
    Always ventilate the room as early in the morning as you can, then keep the windows closed all day (it’s usually hotter outside).
    A classic for me is to prepare a big jar of homemade lemonade and drink it well cold during the siesta time while reading.
    Gazpacho is the best summer starter and fruit salads are the best mid-afternoon snacks.

    • Molly says:

      Ooooh yes Irene, Homemade lemonade is the best.
      I make it will our own lemons from Lecrin Valley and a few sprigs of mint or hierbabuena

      About the windows, yes it´s important to try to keep the house in shade, close curtains if you don´t have window blinds.
      Windows should be closed all day and opened at night (11pm onwards in Southern Spain until 8am)

      Enjoy your Summer!

  5. Jeni says:

    I freeze a half full, small bottle of water and then top it up before going out. That way it stays cold longer!

  6. marilyn hardman says:

    Thanks for the tips. This summer I will keep a water spray bottle in my bag. Will an atomizer from the Chino with mineral water work as well as a shop bought water spray?
    Another tip when you’re feeling very hot which I do is run your wrists under a cold water tap if out or put hands up to past your wrists and feet in cold water for a while.

    • Molly says:

      Great tip about wrists.
      If you want to have a cheap solution for refreshing your face, you could use moisturising facial toner to fill a spray bottle too.

  7. AJ Barnett says:

    Some good tips here. thanks for sharing. We also have ceiling fans in every room, which helps keep us comfortable

    • Jeni says:

      We only had an upright standing fan and we used to put a frozen bottle of water in front of it to cool the air…….

      • Molly says:

        Another trick is to spray a cotton sheet with ice cold water and then put it over you to go to sleep too.. (if no air conditioning)

    • Molly says:

      Yes, I’m looking at getting ceiling fans where I don’t have air con. They work well.

  8. Sandra says:

    Absolutely right!

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