In Madrid there is a saying that goes: "Nueve meses de invierno y tres de infierno."
Translate it like this: Nine months of winter and three months of hell.
Madrid is extremely hot in the summer and can get quite cold in the winter, so cold that you can even do winter sports without any problems. Accordingly, I find that this saying hits the nail on the head. Also, there is no real spring or fall in Madrid. It's either cold or hot. The change between cold and heat is always like someone flipping a switch, someone deciding to turn on the heat all at once. Overnight, without warning, just like that.
Hot summer days in Madrid
A few weeks ago, it was. Someone has flipped the switch and now it's hot in Spain's capital city. For the last few days we have been going through one heat wave after another in Madrid with temperatures around 40°C.
The unpleasant thing is that summer nights are so short that our earth doesn't have enough time to cool down again and so temperatures almost never drop below 22°C at night. At midnight the thermometer still shows a proud 30°C. The refreshing 22°C is experienced around ca. 7:00 a.m. From then on, the mercury climbs steadily until it reaches its highest point of the day between 17:00 and 19:00, in many cases 40°C or more.
African wind in Spain's capital
At the moment it is said that a wind from nearby Africa is causing these hot days in Madrid. Yes, I can feel the breeze, I can see the leaves of the trees moving in the light African wind and the curtains in front of my windows gently blowing back and forth.
But this wind is not really refreshing, because it is hot. It becomes especially impressive when you approach the Gran VIa in the center of Madrid and finally cross it at its highest point. There is always a wind blowing through this street, often refreshing, in winter sometimes cutting cold. Sometimes you step onto Gran VIa and you suddenly feel like you're by the sea as the fresh breeze blows through your hair.
These days, you set foot on the Gran VIa and a hot wind blows in your face, almost taking your breath away. It feels like a giant hair dryer is being held in front of your nose. Combined with the mercilessly burning sun, when you cross the wide street you have the impression that your ears are being toasted and fear that they might be crispy crunchy or even charred by the time you reach the other side of the street.
The effects of the heat in Madrid
This extreme heat in Madrid has of course some effects. In the summer months of July and August, the city is empty because the people of Madrid are on vacation at the beach. In Spain it is common to take a whole month off in the summer, in July or August.
In these two months the metro is empty as well as the streets. The hustle and bustle of the city subsides a bit. However, some stores and restaurants are closed for vacations and banks etc. are closed. have a shortened opening time. In summer in Madrid, the clock seems to stand still or at least tick a little slower. But honestly, what else is there to do in this heat?
Tips and info for summer vacationers in Madrid
- Take advantage of the cooler temperatures in the morning to e.g. Sightseeing or other activities where you are outside a lot.
- Plan your day so that you are not outside during the hottest time between 5pm and 7pm. Use this time to visit a museum, the palace or a shopping mall where there is air conditioning.
You can find suggestions and tickets for such activities here.
- Always take a bottle of water with you so that you can stay hydrated throughout the day. In Madrid, the tap water is drinkable and in many public places and parks there are taps or water pumps where you can fill up your water bottle.
- Be sure to use sunscreen.
- Protect yourself from the sun with a head covering. Alternatively, you can also use an umbrella as a parasol. Strangely enough, you don't see this so often in Madrid, but it is very effective against the sun.
A little tip on the side: I think the best time to visit Madrid is in May or September.
This post is part of the blogparade "Summer in the City" at Reisenomadin.de. There you will find more exciting tips for city trips in summer.