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Heatwave plans: Ten things to do in Spain when it’s too hot outside

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Heatwave plans: Ten things to do in Spain when it’s too hot outside
A person walks through a tunnel in the Oceanografic Park in "Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias" in Valencia. Photo: JOSE JORDAN/AFP.

Struggling to think of activities to do when it's insufferably hot in Spain? Whether it's air conditioning you're after or some refreshing H2O to cool down in, here's how to not let a heatwave spoil your enjoyment.



Sitting in a cool, darkened room while watching one of the latest blockbuster releases? That sounds like an ideal way to stay out of the sun and keep cool during the summer.

There are approximately 700 cinemas in Spain, all with air conditioning. Around 200 of them show films in their original language.

But be warned, most cinemas in Spain show dubbed films, so be sure to search for "cine versión original" and the city where you are to find one.

READ ALSO: 17 hilarious Spanish translations of famous English movie titles



Spain has an incredible amount of history and is home to over 1,500 museums and archival collections, many of which offer free entry on certain days and, crucially, many of which are air conditioned.

So not only can you get your fill of history and culture, but you can stay out the sun and cool off for a few hours. Most also have some rather nice cafes and restaurants, so you could even stay for a nice relaxing drink or lunch afterwards.

Some of the best free museums in Spain to pass away the hottest hours of the day include Madrid's Naval Museum, the Contemporary Art Museum (Malaga), Archivo General de Indias (Seville) or the Museo de la Bellas Artes (Valencia).


A man walks around the Contemporary Art Centre "CAC" in Malaga. Photo: Jorge Guerrero/AFP.


Shopping malls

A classic of Spanish teenagers across the country, when the mercury rises: head to the mall, or shopping centre, or centro comercial as it is in Spanish. A quick google search: 'centro comercial cerca de mí' should help you find the nearest one.

In Spain there are 574 shopping centres and retail parks, totalling 16.5 million square metres and 33,480 shops. That's plenty of shops to look around and restaurants to relax in, all while enjoying the aircon, of course.

READ ALSO: 14 new shopping malls that opened in Spain in 2023



Beaches, lakes and rivers

It does count as an outdoor plan admittedly, but when the sun is out many people like to be in the water. That could be the beach, if you live on the coast, or a nearby river or lake.

Spain has 3,552 beaches to choose from, 2,500 lakes and 83 rivers, so you're spoilt for choice.

Finding a nice shaded spot and dipping in and out of the water is a good way to avoid the worst of the heat.




Water parks and pools

For those of you living in inland Spain or in a big city without any natural water nearby, going for a dip in your local municipal pool is always a good way to keep cool.

To find your nearest pool, simply google: 'piscina municipal cerca de mí' and perhaps add your location if you aren't getting any reliable search results.

For those with kids or just wanting a little more adventure, a trip to a water park can be a fun day out and a decent way to keep cool. Some of the best known water parks in Spain include the famous Aqualandia in Benidorm, the first in Spain that has been delighting tourists and Spaniards alike since 1985, the Aquópolis in Madrid, and Waterworld in Lloret de Mar on the Costa Brava in Catalonia.

If you're down in Andalusia, in Huelva there's even a covered water park to let you enjoy the water without having to step foot in the sun.

Siam Park is the biggest aqua park in Europe. Photo: Byrev/Pixabay



Another way to escape the Spanish summer heat is to cool down with the shade and air conditioning of one of Spain's many aquariums.

There are at least eight full scale aquariums in Spain, and several smaller ones includes as part of zoos.

Two of the best include the aquarium in San Sebastián and the world famous L'Oceanogràfic in Valencia's Ciudad de las Artes y Ciencias.


Dining al fresco... indoors

It's well known that Spaniards love eating out at a restaurant or bar terraza, but sometimes during the summer months in Spain it can be too hot to be outside, let alone eating out there.

Better to save that for a drink later in the evening when the sun's gone down.

Instead, try googling 'restaurantes con aire acondicionado cerca de mí' to find the restaurant you're after.

Visit cooler parts of Spain

If you live in a particularly scorching part of Spain, a good bet could be to head to one of the cooler parts of the country for a few weeks during summer. Or, as this is Spain we’re talking about, at least to somewhere where it isn't quite so sweltering.

The Local outlined the best in the article blinked below, but some notable mentions include Islas Cíes in Galicia, Fuentes del Narcea in Asturias, Lago de Carucedo in León, Aigüestortes in Catalonia, and Zumaia in the Basque Country - all places where it generally stays cool.

READ ALSO: Escape the heat: Eight places in Spain where it doesn't get too hot in summer



Spending a day pampering yourself at a spa hotel could be a nice escape from the heat if it’s your cup of tea, and Spain has plenty to offer.

Two of the most famous include Hotel Continental Balneario de Panticosa, located in the Huesca mountains in northern Spain, and the Hotel Balneario Alhama de Aragón in Zaragoza, which was built all the way back in the 11th century and has preserved Roman ruins on site.

Look on websites such as Groupon for spa offers near you.  (Photo by JUAN MABROMATA / AFP)


Do it the Spanish way: stay at home!

Last but not least, if it really is too hot to leave the house, then do as the Spaniards do: adjust your schedule to the temperatures

In the warmest summer months, many locals simply fit their lives around the heat (if possible, of course) and try to get everything important done in the morning and evening, spending the rest of the day (the hottest, middle hours) at home with the shutters closed and the fan or air conditioning on full blast.

Enjoy long lunches and longer siestas if you want to be really Spanish about, and then re-emerge into the world refreshed later that evening when the temperatures have dropped a bit.



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