How To Keep Cool in the Spanish Summer

Spain gets hot in the summer, no sh*t Sherlock, and thanks to our worldwide proclivity for burning fossil fuels willy-nilly not only is it geting hotter in the summer but those summers are lasting longer. Last week for example the temperatures hit 36 degrees in Seville and Cordoba whilst Valencia was at a nice and comfortable 24 degrees (It's now around 30 so we know it's coming). So today we are looking at how to keep cool in and around Valencia in the Spanish summer. What you can do in Seville, Cordoba, Murcia and Extremadura? I haven't got a clue but maybe as many as possible of the following at the same time.


Fans

Not "Only Fans", that probably won't keep you cool, but fans in the traditional and more modern sense. Hand held fans as have always been traditional in Spain and roof mounted helix style fans or free standing oscillating fans that keep the air moving. The feeling of the air moving over you will relieve the worst of any excessive heat and is especially useful at night not only for that relief but also to stop any pesky mosquitoes from being able to gorge on you because these little buzzy, biting bastards hate the breeze. They also hate bats and we have plenty of those to eat them. Bats get a bad rap but they are voracious mozzy eaters.


Air Conditioning

AC is a relatively recent innovation in Spain compared with other countries only having become popular in the last twenty years or so. Before that everyone had to pop down to the arctic tundra that is the Corte Inglés in the summer to feel the freezing air. More about that later. AC units come in two forms, individual units mounted on walls which serve a single room and piped air conditioning which is more common in modern properties where you turn the ac on and it does the whole apartment or house. Careful with those electricity bills if you are going down the "sitting under the ac route all summer" or get yourself some solar panels and a battery system so as not to waste that sun's energy.


The Beach and the Beach Bars

So why on Earth would I suggest the beach when that is where people go to soak up the sun rather than escape its heat? Well two reasons. Firstly, as mentioned in our latest podcast, which you can listen to below, the beach bars are great and provide shade! We give you suggestions in the pod for which ones to go to. And secondly Valencia doesn't get as hot as the aforementioned Seville, Cordoba etc... because of the onshore breeze coming from the Mediterranean, especially after around 2pm, and the feeling of relief of moving air while sitting in the shady beach bar with a beer, a cocktail or a smoothie while watching the World go by is something that cannot be beaten from a lifestyle point of view.


Shopping Centres

We mentioned the Corte Inglés before and the air conditioning at the Corte Inglés is legendary in Spain as when you go inside by the doors you often needed arctic explorer clothing to not feel the freeze. However after the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the hike in energy prices, limits were put on the AC temperatures in shopping centres in Spain and 27ºC was considered alright, another reason to hate Putin. Judging by my walking through the Corté Inglés last week this rule has now been relaxed but we are not back to 15ºC yet (Which was mental anyway)

Go to the local Carrefour or other supermarkets, shopping centres such as Arena, el Nuevo Centro and all of the others and you will be sure to find decent cafes with AC and shade to pass the time while watching wannabe influencers buying clothes to try on and and later take back having worn once in a video with a carefully hidden label not taken off (We see you Instagrammers)


Your Local Bar Terrace

In the winter you have a favourite bar but in the summer you have a different one and that's because in the winter you'll be looking for the outside bar in the sun whereas in the summer shade is king. Your local bar owner will welcome you with open arms when you become a regular at their cafe and after a while they'll get to know your favourite drinks and start chatting away to you making you feel like Norm from Cheers. If you are in a built up area then it's likely that an excellent breeze will be channeled down the road you are sitting out next to aswell meaning you have a natural fan and a shady nook to hideaway and get merry at. It's even better if they do food and tapas too so choose wisely and support your local businesses.


Loose clothing and long sleeves

You may want to show off your honed beach body thanks to your wintertime gym sessions but tight T-Shirts don't really cut the mustard in the Spanish heat, they quickly get clammy and sweaty. Think Britpop 90s baggy, but not heavy, or long flowing white cotton and long sleeves taken together with your hat or headscarf, see below, and you might get the idea. That's the ideal "fashion"* for you here.

*Do not listen to me for fashion tips


Hats or Headscarves

The popularity of hats or headscarves cannot be overesrtimated especially for those people with, let's say, thinning hair. Also hats with brims provide a bit of shade for the neck and face meaning that if you are out and about in the sun for too long then you won't do as much damage even if you have forgotten the suncream. But one important thing in the Spanish summer is that you should never forget the sunscreen.


Museums and Art Galleries

If you are a culture vulture then great, you'll already know about the best places to escape from the heat in the summer, or even the rain when it happens. However, museums and art galleries also have to keep the artifacts at constant temperatures so AC and even dehumidifiers are used often and you have to remember that many museums are really cheap or even free to visit. It's even worth getting a yearly pass for some as they only cost the same as a couple of paid visits. Some have really good cafes too so are even better to visit and spend a long time there without having to pretend to be enthralled by the art on display.


The Mountains

Generally the higher you go the cooler it gets and this is especially true in the evenings but you have to remember that if you are going to walk to get high then you are going to be sweating in the sun and also the higher you go the less tree cover there is. So take your car or bike up the winding mountain roads until you get high and keep below the treeline and then take a picnic into the woods and you'll love it. Areas such as el Garbi near Segart starting a walk in Estivella for example are good or you could park near El Chaparral bar coming up from Serra and walk through the woods towards "Pride Rock" as El Garbí is known locally (Lion King Reference)


Shaded River Walks

There are many rivers in Spain and lots of them are treelined and provide shade and a cooling place to either dip your feet or even get into full swimming mode. The best swimming or dipping points are along the River Turia near to Valencia, Ribarroja is a good option for example but go a bit further inland and three excellent places spring to mind, Montanejos, Chulilla and Chelva. Montanejos has a stony river beach and thermal waters which you can swim in even in the winter, and truth be told it will be less crowded in the winter too. Chulilla has La Ruta de Los Puentes set in a gorge with plenty of shade and a couple of areas where you can cool yourself off in the waters of the river and the Ruta del Agua in Chelva is awesome with huge trees giving shade and even the Playeta but again, in high summer at weekends expect a lot of people there.


Open Air Swimming Pools Around the City

If you are city bound and popping off down to the beach isn't your thing then the local outdoor swimming pools are a great option for all of the family. They are usually paid places where for a small amount you have a huge leisure pool, lifeguards, shaded areas and a cafe to refresh yourself at. Most of them are situated in the larger parks in the city but there are also some private clubs where you can become a member and enjoy them too for those hot days when the public ones reach their limit. A lot of the towns around the city also have these types of areas and they generally open from the 15th of June to the 15th of September.


Head North for a Break

If you really want to escape the heat for a longer time period then how about heading north. Some of the best and most beautiful areas of Spain don't get really hot in the summer. The Basque Country, Santander, Asturias and Galicia, those places by the sea and fringed by mountains are excellent options for a break to get away from the heat and also to try some of the excellent gastronomy you can find there, think seafood, stews and cider. You will get hot days but you won't get scorching temperatures all summer.


Of course there are other things you can do; if you have a hammock you can hang it in the shade of a couple of trees in a breezy park, you can jump in the sea and wet your clothes, you can use those refreshing towels that feel cold and wet (Good luck finding one that works), you can have a drinks hat, you can carry your flask around or have ice packs available all the time and I'm sure you have your own favourite remedies but remember excessive heat over a prolonged period of time is bad for you and it tires you out so the traditional Spanish siesta in a shady and breezy place with a fan over you is the bee's knees. It's not laziness, it's simply the ultimate lifestyle tip in Spanish summers.


What About Heat When Choosing a Property?

Of course the heat is an important consideration when you are buying a house or apartment. As we have mentioned before, sometimes Spain doesn't have the best insualtion in houses especially the old ones. If you buy the wrong place you might well be boiling in the summer and freezing or damp in the winter even if it's not really cold outside. Therefore, there are a few things that the Spanish look for when they are buying property and you should bear them in mind. And in next week's post we are going to talk about these things, they include, cross breezes, heat pumps, thick walls, orientation, passive houses and a whole lot more.

To finish off today though let's look at a our property of the week and then give you more reading material to read in the shade.


Property of the Week

*Repeated as property of the week as the owner has told me that they are willing to listen to offers. The pictures really don't do this place justice. Make a visit.

Valencia Property presents a beautiful house, a fantastic pool house overlooking an excellent pool and gardens, a separate build for guests and storage, a huge plot on a gated estate in the Valencian countryside but just 25 minutes from the city, 20 from the airport and 15 to plenty of choice in your international schools... What more could you ask for?

Well, more photos would be good and there's a reason for not having a full report with 360º photos and walk through video and that is that the house is full of... stuff. The owners run a business from here where they do house clearances and collect antiques before selling them on Instagram and other social media platforms to clients all over the world.

Let's just say that people abroad have very specific tastes. This is one of those houses that is better viewed as you get more of an idea of the size and the potential as well as the lovely gardens.

The basics though are excellent, the large main house has four bedrooms, two bathrooms a huge L shaped living room, an excellent covered Naya which essentially acts as a second sitting room (When not full of antiques) and a good sized kitchen.

The pool house can be open to the elements as it is in the summer or closed off like it is in the winter months to allow usage during the, let's say, cooler time of the year.

The extra building has a bedroom, bathroom and kitchenette with two other rooms currently used for storage but there are plans in place for a modernisation with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and kitchen.

The plot is huge, much larger than typical plots on urban land like this and has a manicured fruit garden to the front along with covered parking, and a patio whereas to the rear it is much more of a Mediterranean feel with pine trees and play areas for the kids.

The property can be found on the hugely popular Torres de Portacoeli gated estate between Betera and Olocau. With it's shops, cafes, restaurants and fantastic sports centre Torres de Portacoeli is always popular with families.

Why the sale? Well the business was hit hard by the Ukraine war as one of the owners is Ukrainian and that's where the majority of sales were made and the owners need to buy a separate storage facility for the antiques and a smaller house. This one has been used well over the last two years with plenty of refugees making it their initial home before being found somewhere semi permanent to stay long term.


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