How to beat the heatwave: Head north for Europe's cooler temperatures

Map showing locations in northern Europe with cooler temperatures
Map showing locations in northern Europe with cooler temperatures Copyright Euronews Graphistes
By David Mac Dougall
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Many popular tourist destinations across northern Europe offer mild temperatures throughout the summer, with cloudy skies and every chance of rain.


While much of southern Europe broils in record-breaking high temperatures, it's a different picture in the north of the continent. 

Although temperatures can regularly hit +30°C across parts of Lapland in Norway, Sweden and Finland - bringing reindeer down to the beaches to mingle with sunbathers at the edge of Arctic rivers - it's usually a lot more temperate even throughout the summer months. 

"The summer season in the Arctic is generally cooler than other destinations further south in Europe. The weather and temperatures in Tromsø varies, and this summer has been no exception," explains Rebecca Skoog from Visit Tromsø. 

"This summer we have generally had a lot of sun, nice weather and higher temperatures up to around 27 degrees Celsius. So far this week we have had sun, rain and cloudy days," she tells Euronews.

The weather has indeed been variable in Tromsø, high up in the Norwegian Arctic, with temperatures this week ranging between +12°C and +19°C. 

Although summer begins in May, there are snow days even in June as the landscape gets greener and the days grow longer until there is no sunset, only the endless white nights of Arctic summer. 

Akureyri, Iceland

There's a week of rain in the forecast for Akureyri, Iceland's second city, with temperatures struggling to get into double digits.

"Of course it does get much hotter, I think we had about 26 degrees in late June but you can never depend on the weather," says Ragnar Ragnarson at Visit Akureyri. 

On the north coast of Iceland, Akureyri lies at one end of a fjord which eventually opens out into the bone-chilling waters of the north Atlantic Ocean, and Greenland beyond. 

"It's about 11 degrees Celsius right now, very still and no wind. Beautiful weather really," Ragnarson told Euronews. 

Iceland is already a hugely popular destination for tourists in the summer, where more than 2.5 million visitors outnumber the local population of just 372,000.

Ragnarsson reckons there could still be room for some climate tourists who want to escape the extreme heat of southern Europe, "Iceland's a big island," he says. 

Kirkwall, Scotland

The Orkney and Shetland isles, scattered into the sea off the north coast of Scotland, offer spectacular scenery and lovely cool temperatures during the summer - at least compared with countries sweltering in the Charon and Cerberus heatwaves

"The weather outside the window outside is fairly bright, but still a bit overcast," explains Charlie from Visit Scotland's office in Kirkwall, the capital of Orkney. 

"It's not bright blue, it's a bit grey although we've got no rain at the moment," he tells Euronews. 

The temperatures for Orkney over the next week hover in the low-to-mid teens, with scattered showers and just a glimpse of sunshine. 

"It has been drizzling the last few days, we had some proper downpours for an hour or two a few days ago, but its mostly been quite pleasant," says Charlie. 

It's a similar outlook for Lerwick, the main town in Shetland where there's a steady forecast of rain over the next week and just a chance of sunshine on Sunday. 


Jokkmokk, Sweden

In the heart of Swedish Lapland, Jokkmokk can be hit or miss with high summer temperatures.

"Today is a bit more cool outside but temperatures swing between 15 and 25 degrees," says Ellen from the Jokkmokk Infocentre.

"Usually we have a few weeks in summer where it goes up to 35 and then we drop to 5 degrees again," she tells Euronews. 

With the advantages of the midnight sun, and vast areas of forest surrounding the town, any visitors this week are in for a treat with rain in the forecast solidly for the next ten days, and temperatures ranging from +12°C to a balmy +18°C. 

At the beginning of May there can still be ice and snow covering the lakes of Swedish Lapland but a few weeks later at Midsummer the wildflowers are in full bloom and the mosquitoes are out in force too!

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