How to cope in the heat

How to cope with living in a hot climate


Here in Andalucia Spain it regularly gets to be 40 odd degrees centigrade.  Seville and Cadiz areas are some of the hottest in Spain.  There it will be 40+ for large swathes of the year.  Here in Inland Almeria it’s 4-6 weeks of 35 plus.


Those are shade temperatures of course. Any thermometer in the Sun cannot show you an accurate temperature so ignore all the pictures of garden thermometers showing 50 or even 60 degrees.


Is it hotter at the coast?

Actually its the other way around, it’s generally cooler at the coast, often at least a 5 degree difference.  Plus if visiting the beaches you can pop into the sea and cool down.  The humidity is much higher at the coast though.  So you are more likely to sweat profusely and it may feel hotter than it is.


Inland it’s a drier heat so more bearable.  Going higher doesn’t necessarily mean cooler temperatures though.  Baza is much higher than my neck of the woods but will be 4 or 5 degrees hotter.


Can you work in the heat safely?

Yes, with care you can although you may need to adapt your working hours or even the tasks undertaken.  The media weather warnings are really aimed at vulnerable people.  The elderly, young children and those with health conditions.  If you are youngish then you are likely to be fine.

If you need to work outdoors in the heat, get up early, wear a hat and drink plenty of water.  Aim to be indoors or in the shade between 2-6pm.  Working again later or even at night may help.

Gardening or heavy manual work is best avoided during the heat of the day unless you are accustomed to the heat.

If your work is indoors then many offices and shops will have air conditioning.


Keeping cool indoors


To keep cool indoors close your curtains, blinds or shutters during the day.  Open them again in late evening when it’s cooling down. Start doing this once it warms up in Spring, especially if you have a Cortijo style property as you are preventing the walls heating up from the inside too.

I live in a part Cortijo/part cave house which is built into the side of a mountain.  All that contact with rock helps to keep us cool.  The roof isn’t insulated and we don’t have Aircon. In 2023 it was 38 plus for six weeks and the lounge never went above 27 and the bedrooms remained cool with a max temperature of 23. 

Have a fan, moving air feels cooler than still.  

There are neck fans available which look like headphones.  Or neck coolers which are fabric collars like the sort you might wear on a plane journey but filled with stuff that can be refrigerated.  Both get great reviews.

A pull out blind attached to your wall to pull out and create shade can make a real difference too.


How to sleep in the heat

Move your bed to the coolest room if possible.  We need our body temperature to drop in order to get to sleep and have good quality rest.

Go to bed later.  If you are usually getting under your duvet at 10ish, stay up an hour or two.  It will be cooler then.

Have a siesta.  Take a nap between 2 and 4 avoid the worst heat of the day and rejuvenate your batteries.

Use bedding in natural materials.  Ditch the duvet and sleep under a quilt cover only.  If you like the weight of a duvet over you try a 4.5 tog feather one.

Have a shower before going to bed.   Take a cool drink too.



Take it easy, there is a reason that much of Spain closes in the month in August or slows right down.  Moving to Spain is usually done for a slower pace of life so think of the heat as encouragement to slow down that bit more.

4-6 weeks of heat really is worthwhile when you get glorious sunshine and bright Winter days that are longer than in Northern Europe or the US.

Restaurants cater for the weather with lovely shaded areas.  Many businesses reduce their working hours in August too.  August is for vacations and fiestas.


One last thing – don’t cover yourself in anti perspirant, your body needs to sweat to regulate its temperature.  Use a roll on for the potentially stinky bits by all means.  Drinking more water will dilute your sweat and reduce any smell naturally.

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