You should definitely look for several ways to stay cool in the heat if you plan to travel to Spain in summertime.
Visiting Spain during the scorching summer months can be an unforgettable experience, but the blazing sun and high temperatures may catch you off guard. If you’re not accustomed to the heat, fear not! I’ve got you covered with some simple and effective tips to help you stay cool and enjoy your Spanish adventure to the fullest.
Here are 6 smart ways to stay cool in the heat during the long and hot Spanish summers.
1. Limit your time outdoors
If you really want to venture outside, aim to do so when the day is at its coolest.
Adjust your schedule to explore during the cooler parts of the day – early mornings and late afternoons. This way, you can enjoy outdoor attractions without feeling the full force of the sun’s heat.
When the sun is at its fiercest, take a cue from the locals and keep cool by staying inside during the hottest parts of the day.
Avoid peak hours of sunlight when the temperatures and UV rays are at their highest, normally between 13:00 and 18:00. That’s the best time to head inside and let your body cool down. Use this downtime to enjoy a leisurely meal, binge-watch a show, or pick up a new book, so you’re ready to explore when the temperature drops.
It goes without saying that you should always stay at air-conditioned accommodations:
- Ensure you have a comfortable place to retreat during the hottest part of the day. Use this time to rest, recharge your energy, and cool off before resuming your adventures.
- Air-conditioned rooms will help you sleep better and recharge for the next day.
2. Focus on hydrating, even before you go outside
One of the best ways to stay cool in the heat is to focus on hydrating.
Water is vital for keeping the body healthy and relatively cool, and in hot weather you’ll need more of it because you’re sweating. On a regular day, most healthy adult women need about two 2 of water, and men need 3. Your requirements during an extreme heat event will be higher.
Always carry a reusable water bottle and refill it regularly. Make the most out of a reusable water bottle to ensure you stay refreshed and energized throughout your journey:
- Choose the right water bottle: Invest in a high-quality reusable water bottle that suits your needs. Look for one that’s lightweight, durable, and easy to carry. Bottles with built-in insulation can help keep your water cool for longer periods, even in the blazing sun.
- Fill it up before leaving: Put one or several plastic water bottles in the fridge so they cool during the night. Then, fill up your reusable water bottle with cold water from these plastic bottles and you’re ready to go. Don’t forget to fill up these plastic water bottles and put them in the fridge again so they’re ready to drink when you come back.
- Start hydrating early: Stop and drink water even if you’re not feeling thirsty yet. Aim to drink small amounts consistently throughout the day rather than chugging large quantities at once.
- Refill at every opportunity: Take advantage of every chance to refill your water bottle. Many cafés, restaurants, and attractions have water stations or provide free tap water upon request. When you see a water source, seize the opportunity to top up your bottle.
- Pair water with meals: Whenever you sit down to enjoy a meal or a snack, have your water bottle by your side. Drinking water while you eat not only aids digestion but also helps you stay hydrated.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol: Don’t rely on caffeine or alcohol to shore up your fluid levels as they can both be dehydrating over time.
3. Choose your clothing carefully
Dressing smartly is one of my favorite ways to stay cool in the heat.
By incorporating these dressing tips into your travel wardrobe, you’ll be well-prepared to handle the Spanish heat comfortably and stylishly. Remember that comfort is key, so choose clothing that allows you to move freely and enjoy your adventures while staying cool.
- Choose lightweight fabrics: Opt for clothing made from lightweight, breathable fabrics like cotton, linen, and rayon (also called viscose). These materials allow air to circulate and help your body stay cooler. Avoid heavy fabrics like denim or synthetic blends that trap heat.
- Pack loose-fitting clothing: Make sure that the clothes you bring with you don’t cling to your body. Tight clothing can trap heat and make you feel hotter. Flowy dresses, relaxed-fit shirts, and wide-legged shorts or pants are ideal choices.
- Consider light colors: Light-colored clothing reflects sunlight and heat, helping to keep you cooler. Whites, pastels, and light neutrals are great options. Dark colors, on the other hand, absorb more heat and can make you feel uncomfortably warm.
- Go for breathable designs: Look for clothing with breathable designs such as cutouts, mesh panels, or lightweight knits. These features promote better airflow and prevent sweat from accumulating.
- Don’t underestimate long sleeves and pants: It might seem counterintuitive, but long sleeves and pants made from lightweight materials can actually protect your skin from the sun and keep you cooler. They create a barrier between your skin and the direct sunlight.
- Breathable footwear is ideal: Choose open-toed sandals or lightweight sneakers that allow your feet to breathe. Avoid heavy, closed shoes as they can lead to sweaty and uncomfortable feet.
- Think of layering for temperature changes: While the days are hot, you may enter closed spaces with strong air-conditioning. Pack a light scarf, a thin cardigan, or a lightweight jacket to layer when the temperature drops. This way, you’re prepared for changing ambient conditions.
4. Protect yourself from UV rays
Sunlight consists of two types of harmful rays that reach the earth – UVA rays and UVB rays. Overexposure to either can lead to skin cancer. In addition to causing skin cancer, here’s what each of these rays do:
- UVA rays (or aging rays) can prematurely age your skin, causing wrinkles and age spots, and can pass through window glass.
- UVB rays (or burning rays) are the primary cause of sunburn and are blocked by window glass.
When you’re outside, a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30 will help keep your skin safe.
- Wide-brimmed hat: It not only adds a stylish touch to your outfit but also offers excellent sun protection for your face, neck, and shoulders. Look for hats with UV protection to shield your skin from harmful rays.
- Sunglasses: Invest in a good pair of sunglasses with UV protection to shield your eyes from the sun’s glare. Not only will this make you more comfortable, but it also helps prevent eye strain and potential damage.
- Broad-spectrum sunscreen: The best type of sunscreen is the one you will use again and again. Just make sure it offers broad-spectrum (UVA and UVB) protection, has an SPF of 30 or higher and is water-resistant. An SPF of at least 30 blocks 97 percent of the sun’s UVB rays.
5. Take care of your diet
Looking for easy ways to stay cool in the heat? Then take care of your diet while traveling around Spain.
When it’s hot, you are far better off sticking to light, well-balanced, regular meals. Eat light, cool, easy-to-digest foods, such as are salads, fruits and vegetables, which are also great sources of nutrition.
- Consider a salad over other dishes: There’s a reason we reach for salads in the summer. They’re easier to digest than, say, a fatty hamburger, which leaves you feeling sluggish in the high heat. Instead, go for fruits and vegetables, which are watery and help keep you hydrated (and cooler).
- Enjoy fresh fruits: Spain is known for its abundance of fresh and juicy fruits. Seek out local markets to indulge in watermelon, melon, peaches, plums, cherries, and other seasonal treats. The high water content of fruits not only helps keep you hydrated but also provides a healthy and tasty way to stay cool.
- Seek out ice cream shops: Ice cream shops abound in Spain, offering a vast array of flavors to satisfy your sweet tooth and keep you cool. Whether you’re a fan of classic flavors or more adventurous options, indulging in a scoop or two is a delicious way to beat the heat.
- Try to avoid anything other than water: Soft drinks and processed juices, instead of providing greater freshness, activate the loss of body fluid and, in some cases, increase heat.
6. Seek shade and air-conditioning
By strategically incorporating air-conditioned locations into your itinerary, you’ll be applying one of the most efficient ways to stay cool in the heat.
You’ll not only stay cool and comfortable but also have the chance to explore Spain’s indoor attractions and culture. This approach allows you to make the most of your time while balancing outdoor experiences with moments of refreshing indoor respite.
Plan your activities around places with shade or air-conditioning. Museums, art galleries, churches, and indoor markets not only offer respite from the heat but also allow you to explore Spain’s rich cultural heritage:
- Research and plan ahead: Before setting out for the day, plan your itinerary to include air-conditioned stops. Identify museums, churches, monuments, cafes, and other indoor attractions that offer a cool respite from the heat.
- Visit cultural sites: Explore Spain’s rich cultural heritage by visiting indoor attractions like museums, churches, and historic sites. Not only will you escape the heat, but you’ll also have the opportunity to learn about the country’s history and art.
- Dine in air-conditioned restaurants: Choose restaurants and cafes with air-conditioning for your meals. This not only keeps you cool while you eat but also allows you to savor the always delicious Spanish cuisine.
- Discover indoor markets: Explore indoor markets that offer a variety of local products, from fresh produce to artisanal crafts. These markets often have covered areas with fans or air-conditioning, providing a comfortable space to explore and shop.
- Cool down in public transportation: Buses, trams, and metro stations usually have air-conditioning. Use public transportation to your advantage by hopping on and enjoying a breezy ride while you move between attractions.