Changing Vacation Trends in Response to Summer Heat Waves in Europe

As summer heat waves become increasingly common in southern Europe, travelers are taking proactive measures to escape the scorching temperatures. This shift in travel interests has resulted in a decline in interest in Mediterranean destinations and a rise in interest for Scandinavian countries. This article explores the changing vacation trends in response to summer heat waves in Europe and the emergence of a “Scandi summer” phenomenon.

Travel operator Black Tomato has observed a significant increase in interest from travelers seeking relief from the summer heat in Scandinavian destinations such as Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland. Data published by the European Travel Commission indicates a 10% decrease in interest in the Mediterranean from June to November. In contrast, summer bookings to Scandinavia have risen by 37% compared to the previous year. The trend of a “Scandi summer” has also been observed amongst vacation home renters, with German travelers shifting their searches towards southern Norway. Expedia Group data shows a 35% increase in interest in this region compared to the previous month.

In addition to Scandinavia, travelers are seeking alternative European destinations to avoid the intense heat. Vacation home searches have increased notably in Edinburgh, Scotland, as well as in Riga, Latvia, and Tallinn, Estonia. Expedia Group reports that home rental interest in the southern Swedish province of Smaland rivals that of popular Spanish island Tenerife and exceeds that of the Italian beach town of Rimini. This indicates a general shift in travel interests away from traditional Mediterranean hotspots.

Spain continues to be the most popular travel destination in Europe; however, travel interest within the country is also undergoing changes. Expedia Group data reveals that vacation home searches to popular spots such as Costa Blanca, Costa Brava, and Mallorca remained stable from June to July. However, there has been a notable increase in home rental interest along Spain’s northern coast, specifically in Costa Verde, Costa de Cantabria, and the Basque Country. This suggests that travelers are exploring less mainstream locations to avoid summer heat waves.

With a desire to escape rising summer temperatures, travelers are turning their attention to higher elevations and mountainous terrains. The Dolomites, Lucerne, and Solden in the Swiss and Austrian Alps have experienced renewed interest. Even destinations that are commonly associated with high temperatures, such as Morocco, have cool spots at higher altitudes. The Atlas Mountains provide a respite from the heat, with cooler temperatures especially in the evenings. Additionally, the summer season in Morocco is considered low season, offering travelers a quieter and potentially better value experience.

To avoid the extreme temperatures of summer, more people are opting for shoulder season travel. This period between peak seasons typically offers lower hotel rates, higher availability, and more comfortable temperatures. In Italy, destinations such as Puglia and Sicily are performing well during the shoulder season in the fall, providing a warm and sunny experience with fewer crowds.

Despite the challenges posed by summer heat waves, many travelers are still proceeding with their vacation plans. Cynthia Nerangis, founder of LemonLime Travel, confirms that her clients remain committed to their trips to Greece, including Athens, the Cyclades, and Crete. Another travel company, Omio, reports an increase in bookings this year with a low rate of cancellations, despite the extreme heat and wildfires. This suggests that travelers are adapting and finding ways to enjoy their vacations despite the changing climate conditions.

The increasing frequency of summer heat waves in Europe has prompted a shift in travel interests. Travelers are actively seeking cooler destinations and exploring alternative regions to avoid the intense heat. The emergence of a “Scandi summer” trend highlights the growing popularity of Scandinavia as a vacation destination. Additionally, travelers are choosing shoulder season travel and venturing to higher elevations to escape the rising temperatures. While summer heat waves present challenges, many individuals are still determined to enjoy their vacations and are adapting to the changing climate conditions.


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