As Europe nears dangerous 50°C heatwave, is it safe to travel to the continent?

As Europe nears dangerous 50°C heatwave, is it safe to travel to the continent?
As Europe nears dangerous 50°C heatwave, is it safe to travel to the continent?
As Europe nears dangerous 50°C heatwave, is it safe to travel to the continent?
As Europe nears dangerous 50°C heatwave, is it safe to travel to the continent?

People on a beach in Valencia, Spain
Heading on your summer holidays? This is what you need to know about the ongoing heatwave in Europe (Picture: EPA)

The Cerberus heatwave has been scorching its way across Europe with temperatures nearing a life-threatening 50°C.

The worst of the heat is expected to be concentrated on the islands of Italy, though, with forecasts predicting Sardinia may reach up to 47°C later today.

Elsewhere, wildfires in Greece, the Canary Islands, and Switzerland have seen firefighters called in their hundreds and tourists evacuated.

As the summer holidays loom in the UK and many of us are packing our suitcases for trips across the globe, many travellers will be wondering when this heatwave may end and if it is safe to jet to Europe.

Here’s what you need to know.

Is it safe to travel to Europe during its heatwave?

Despite the record-breaking temperatures predicted, so far flights and travel to Europe are going ahead as planned.

Wildfires in Greece amid the Europe heatwave of 2023
Flights to Europe are so far going ahead as planned (Picture: Valerie Gache/AFP via Getty Images)

As with heatwaves in the UK, while travelling tourists are recommended to apply sun cream and ensure they remain hydrated as they tackle high temperatures.

It is also wise to avoid direct sunlight during its midday peak when the sun’s intensity is at its highest.

The main risks of the heatwave are dehydration and heat exhaustion, so it is worth familiarising yourself with the symptoms of each.

According to the NHS website, these are the symptoms of dehydration:

Symptoms of dehydration in adults, children, and babies

In adults and children:

  • Feeling thirsty
  • Dark yellow, strong-smelling pee
  • Peeing less often than usual
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Feeling tired
  • A dry mouth, lips and tongue
  • Sunken eyes

In babies:

  • A sunken soft spot (fontanelle) on top of their head
  • Sunken eyes
  • Few or no tears when they cry
  • Not having many wet nappies
  • Being drowsy or irritable
Tourists standing in a fountain in Rome, Italy amid Europe heatwave
Keeping cool and hydrated as temperatures soar is imperative (Picture: Stefano Montesi/Corbis/Getty Images)

And these are the symptoms of heat exhaustion, according to the health provider:

Symptoms of heat exhaustion in adults, children, and babies

  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Feeling sick or being sick
  • Excessive sweating and skin becoming pale and clammy or getting a heat rash, but a change in skin colour can be harder to see on brown and black skin
  • Cramps in the arms, legs and stomach
  • Fast breathing or heartbeat
  • A high temperature
  • Being very thirsty
  • Weakness

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If you are not comfortable travelling to Europe during this heatwave, you can cancel or amend your holiday plans but be warned, usual terms and conditions apply.

This will mean that there is no legal obligation for your travel company to give you a refund. While some may afford some flexibility, it is likely you will be charged a cancellation or amendment fee.

It is also worth taking into account that the heat could cause other travel issues while abroad, such as with trains and buses, as roads and rails can be affected.

Wildfires can also lead to a shutdown in air travel. Holidaymakers in Greece have already been evacuated from resorts in the area surrounding Athens after wildfires broke out.

When could the heatwave end?

Travellers and residents alike have been warned that the Cerberus heatwave is expected to last throughout the week, particularly in Greece and parts of Turkey.

Max temperature forecast for Tuesday July 18 2023 across southern Europe amid heatwave
Forecasts are nearing the 50s for today (Picture: BBC News)

The Met Office has said that the next few days will see temperatures begin to ease across western Europe, such as in Spain and Portugal.

However, a second blast of heat, Charon, is set to increase temperatures even higher in Italy this week.

So far, southern Europe has experienced temperatures in the high 30s, while parts of southern Italy and Greece have hit the low-to-mid 40s.

The hottest temperature recorded has been around 45°C, with forecasts suggesting Sardinia could today reach 47°C.

Experts from the UN agency suggest the hot weather may last for weeks, saying: ‘A further continuation into August is likely.’

Italian meteorological society president Luca Mercalli told the MailOnline: ‘Even if that record is not broken, we are seeing a heatwave the length of which is unprecedented.’

MORE : Got a European holiday booked during the heatwave? Here’s how to cope

MORE : Will the UK get Europe’s 45°C heatwave? Latest weather forecast for this week

MORE : How will the heatwave in Europe affect Love Island?

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