If You Can’t Take the Heat

By Jamie Pearson

When my kids were little, I talked a big game about pulling them out of school for travel. Not for me a life that revolved around school calendar. There was more to education than the classroom. And so on.

Fast forward a few years.

I don’t know about you, but my kids get two weeks off at Christmas, a week in February, ten days for spring break, and eleven weeks of summer vacation. Let’s just say I would rather have acupuncture of the eyeballs than pull them out of school for even one day more.

This means that we do our traveling in the summer. When it’s hot.

We just got back from Spain, where it was a balmy 105°. Being a native Northern Californian, I hadn’t realized it was possible to feel that hot without actually being on fire.

Here are a few ways to cool off should you find yourself in Europe with your kids during the summer:

Head for the coast. Most European beaches are nothing special, but they’ve got waves, breezes, and beachfront cafés. So pull up a €6 chaise longue and make yourself comfortable.

Head for the hills. The higher the elevation, the lower the temperature. We re-discovered this geographic truism on the winding road up to El Torcal National Park. Temperature in Granada? 104°. Temperature at 4,000 feet? Twenty-five degrees cooler.

Head underground. Prehistoric cave paintings are thick on the ground in Europe, and it’s always a comfortable 59° inside caves. On this trip we toured the Cueva de la Pileta. We’ve also seen the Font-de-Gaume and Geoffre de Padirac caves in France.

Head inside. Even with kids, museums are more or less unavoidable in Europe. Sightsee around town during the cooler morning hours, and save the dreaded museum visits for after lunch.

Head for bed. The midday Spanish siesta makes perfect sense when you consider the alternative. Your kids are jetlagged anyway, so what’s the difference? You might as well sleep all day and have dinner at 10 o’clock at night.

Find more family travel advice at, where it’s always cool. Thanks for reading!

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