Andalusia is a beautiful region of Spain…and it´s HOT. I call it Scorchio. The weatherman must get bored giving us the same information for three months of Spanish Summer.
The Spanish sun and the heat is one of the challenges of living in Southern Spain. After many years in Andalusia here are some of my tips to dealing with the heat during Summer.
In Granada temperatures are extreme , the lowest recorded Minimum was back in 1987. A freezing -14 º C (that is 7º F ) The highest maximum so far in Granada was 1995. A blisteringly high 43ºC (this is around 110ºF) In Granada we have the interesting contrast of winter skiing in the nearby Sierra Nevada resort. Then also the red hot Summer months where you really think about popping out to buy bread!
Here are some of the things I do when the mercury rises to try to combat the heat:
- Only wear natural fibres: Silk, Linen, Cotton or Ramie. A mix of these fibres is also good. Very important to steer clear from polyester, acrylic Lycra or nylon. These fabrics don´t allow the skin to breath and will keep the heat in.
- Best to choose pale coloured clothes to wear. White, beige tones or pastel colours. They reflect heat and will be far more comfortable than wearing darker colours which absorb heat.
- Wear a Hat. It protects you from overheating and can help prevent sunstroke. It also helps you to keep your hair in good condition too. If you have coloured hair or highlights, the hat (or headscarf) will protect your tresses from discoloration and drying out. Your hairdresser will be pleased ; ) Always choose pale shades for your headwear. If you wear a dark coloured hat this will attract heat and may cause you to sweat or overheat.
- In Asia Parasols are often seen but I have seen an increase in Spain recently and it seems that the trend is catching on here too. These paper parasols in summery colours are quite eyecatching. If you want you can find an umbrella to protect you from the Spanish sun. Make sure it´s white or pale shade (not black)
- Sunglasses are a must. Make sure that they will protect from UV radiation. it´s best to avoid looking directly at the sun as this may hurt your eyes.
- 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.
- 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.
- SunCream. 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. As I apply the sun cream quite a while before exposure this is absorbed well and I just have to make sure to top up. In Spain you must use a high factor SPF 30 – 50 The sun is strong here! I apply sun cream during many months of the year not just August.
- Take a Spanish fan with you everywhere. This can make quite a difference. I find it useful on buses or long queues in the Summertime.
- 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.
- Take cool showers rather than warm ones. If you have trouble getting to sleep take a cool shower just before going to bed.
- Keep in Air Conditioned buildings or in the shade. Especially in the hottest parts of the day. In Spain this is around noon until 6pm 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. If you notice no one is about at 3pm. The roads and streets are empty!
Food & Drink
- When the mercury rises you need to drink more water than usual. It is better to sip steadily through the day to rather than working up a thirst. This way you will be hydrated all day. I have a thermo that keeps water ice cold all day. This is really useful and I take it everywhere with me (silver flask in 2nd photo, above)
- 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 do Mocktails now.
- Eat loads of Fruit. Foods with high water content work well. Things like salad, melon and tomatoes. Cold soups such as gazpacho or vichysoisse are delicious and can be found in most supermarkets and restaurants in Spain.
- In Summer in Spain it is best to avoid eating hot or heavy meals. This will slow you down and may make you feel uncomfortable
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…..