10 Cool Places to Beat the Heat

When the extreme heat hits, the last place you want to be is in an hour-long queue to the public pool behind half of the city’s population. Here’s our round-up of 10 great places to stay cool on those summer days when the mercury just won’t stop rising. If you can’t make it to one of these locations, fear not! Check out our handy guide to keeping cool, along with effective tips that can be followed at home or while finding cheap airport parking for your next trip!

Eisbach River in Englischer Garten

Eisbach River in Englischer Garten

Head to Munich’s Englischer Garten on any given summer day and you’ll find students, families, nudists, you name it, all soaking up the mellow vibes. When the sun gets a bit much, take a ride in the park’s Eisbach river, which literally translates as ice brook. The water trickles down from the mountains so it can take your breath away when you first take the plunge, but there’s nothing more relaxing than letting the strong current carry you through the park, taking in the jugglers and slackliners as you go, before walking back up to your spot and chilling with a cool beer in your hand.

Ostend Belgium


If you’re still needing your beach break fix, the Belgian coast at Ostend is an ideal spot to lounge by the sea without frying to a crisp. Chilled by the North Sea winds, the summers in the Belgian coastal city of Ostend are significantly cooler than inland Europe. So pack a picnic and head over for some late-afternoon chilling beneath the setting sun, and if you’re brave, take a dip in the icy waters.

Chislehurst Caves

Lying just below the south eastern suburbs of London are a set of massive manmade tunnels. The caves remain a constant cool 10 degrees all year-round so you’re guaranteed a perfect level of coolness even in the peak of summer. And they’ve got quite some stories to tell, used as an ammunition depot in WW1, for mushroom cultivation in the 30s, and as an air raid shelter in the Second World War. Not to mention the fact that they at one point housed an entire underground community of 15,000 inhabitants, complete with electric lighting and a hospital! Oh, and David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd have even performed there. Pretty cool.

Soester Dunes

Just outside Utrecht are the Soester woods and dunes, a reserve of some 500 hectares. While the prospect of miles of sand may not seem overly appealing in peak summer heat, the woods over at Pijnenburg provide the perfect shady escape. Take your time to find the best tree spot with view across the flats and while away the afternoon with a good book and great company.

Picos de Europa

While Spain may conjure up images of sun, sea and sand, with summer temperatures rarely above 22 degrees, its Picos de Europa region is pleasantly cool. It’s one of Spain’s biggest national parks, and is loaded with great opportunities to dive into a river or picnic in a mountain enclose for instant cooling relief.

Marmolada Glacier

Marmolada Glacier

For the ultimate cooldown, a glacier atop the highest mountain in the Dolomites should do the trick. A small hut called the Refuge of Pian dei Fiacconi awaits you at the bottom of the Marmolada Glacier, where you can quench your thirst and feel the fresh mountain breeze on your face. From here you’ll get a glimpse of the imposing City of Ice, a complex set into the ice that’s made up of networks of tunnels and caves. You can get to the network through the mouth of the tunnel and reach its highest point at 3,200 metres in just over 3 hours if you feel like venturing up.


Snow and summer may seem like an oxymoron but the French ski resort Tignes draws in sports enthusiasts all year round. After you’ve spent the morning testing the powder on your skis, head to the pistes’ many downhill bike trails for a rush of brisk mountain air against your skin. If at any point all the activity gets you a bit hot and bothered, at least you’ve got an abundance of the white stuff to cool you down.

Hallstatt Salt Mines

In a mountain overlooking the village of Hallstatt are the world’s oldest salt mines. Take the funicular up the mountain from the valley floor through the tunnel mouth and deep into the rock interior. Naturally, the mines remain a cool 8 degrees, providing perfect fridge-like conditions, even in the summer, so you might even need to pack a jumper. Afterwards you can always take a dip in the clear blue waters of the Hallstätter lake below against the impressive mountain backdrop.

Serra da Estrela

The highest town in Portugal, Guarda is pretty much the coldest place in Portugal; the peaks of the mountains are coated with a layer of snow, even in August. Head further down the valley for an abundance of beautiful waterfalls, lakes and rivers to cool down after a day’s exploration.


Water has long played an important role in Budapest, and as a result, the city is dotted with water fountains which provide the perfect cooling relief. At the south end of Szabadsag ter you’ll find the ultimate interactive fountain. The jets shoot up in front of you creating a wall of water, before dropping to the ground as you have seconds to cross through. It promises hours of fun. For some down time, recline in one of the city’s 15 public baths. The pools range in temperature, with some a cool 20 degrees.

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