Is it safe to travel in Europe during the heatwave and how are Irish people affected?

Is It Safe To Travel In Europe During The Heatwave And How Are Irish People Affected?
The Cerberus heatwave has taken hold across many popular family holiday hotspots in the Mediterranean. Photo: PA
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By Ted Hennessey, PA

Sizzling temperatures have swept across southern Europe, but what does this mean for holidaymakers?

Here we explain what is happening and what Irish people travelling to the region should expect.


What is happening?

A heatwave has taken hold across many popular Irish family holiday hotspots in the Mediterranean, such as in Spain, Italy and Greece.

How hot has it been?

Much of southern Europe has been in the high 30s, while some parts of southern Italy and areas in Greece have been in the low-to-mid 40s, which is eight to 12 degrees above the seasonal average for the region.

The hottest temperature recorded was around 45 degrees.

Greece Weather
Temperatures have reached the mid-40s in Greece. Photo: Petros Giannakouris/AP

Why is this an issue?

It has caused health issues, leading to a strain on local medical services during a busy tourist period.

Fifteen cities in Italy, most of them in the country’s centre and south, were under heat advisories due to a high level of risk for older adults, children and other vulnerable people.

Last week, a 44-year-old man, who was painting a zebra crossing in 40 degree heat in the northern town of Lodi, lost consciousness and later died in hospital, local media reported.


More than 2,000 people have been evacuated as a wildfire raged on La Palma in the Canary Islands, while authorities in Greece opened air-conditioned areas in public buildings.

Spain Wildfires
Forest fires have raged on the Canary Island of La Palma. Photo: Europa Press via AP

Will it get hotter?

Forecasters say in the coming days parts of Italy and Greece could push the 48.8 degrees recorded in Syracuse, Sicily in August 2021, the highest temperature ever recorded in Europe.


Why is it happening?

The high temperatures are being driven by a high pressure system that is sat across the region, allowing temperatures to build day by day.

Warm air brought in from Africa is trapped.

When will it end?

The hot weather is set to continue for at least another week, especially in Greece and parts of Turkey.

It will ease slightly in countries across western Europe, such as Spain and Portugal in the next few days.


Why is it called Cerberus?

The heatwave was named by the Italian Meteorological Society after the three-headed dog in ancient Greek mythology who guarded the gates to the underworld.

Is Ireland affected?

A low-pressure system has been directed towards Ireland because of the weather on continental Europe, and has not moved, causing the recent wind and rain.

Temperatures have been slightly below average for the time of year.

Ireland has experienced unsettled weather recently. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Will Ireland see any of the hot weather?

No, the unsettled and cooler-than-average weather is predicted to continue for the “next few weeks”, according to Met Éireann and the UK Met Office.

Is it safe to travel in Europe?

Flights and holiday packages are continuing as normal.

Irish holidaymakers have been advised to stay hydrated, apply sun cream and avoid being in the sun at midday while on holiday.

Forecaster Simon Partridge said: “It’s a massive shock to the system when you’re there, so give yourself a chance to get used to the heat.”

Can I cancel my holiday?

People can change their holiday plans, but normal conditions apply, including cancellation fees.

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