The best way to stay cool in the heat: 6 Madrid hot weather hacks

tips to keep cool in madrid

The best way to stay cool in the heat is by incorporating these hot weather hacks into your Madrid adventure – you’ll be better prepared to enjoy the city while keeping comfortable and refreshed, even when the temperatures rise.

The Madrid weather is mild all year round. However, in the summer when the temperatures rise the heat can be almost unbearable and you can suffer from sunstroke.

Please, make sure you that you follow these tips to keep cool in Madrid, especially if you’re travelling with children.

Here are 6 hot weather hacks to help you stay cool and comfortable while exploring Madrid:

1. Avoid the hottest part of the day

Madrid’s summer heat can be intense, and spending too much time outdoors under the sun can lead to exhaustion, dehydration, and discomfort.

The hottest part of the day in Madrid is typically between 13:00 and 18:00 when the sun’s rays are most intense. During these hours, temperatures can soar, making outdoor activities uncomfortable and potentially unsafe.

By planning your activities and adjusting your schedule to minimize exposure to the peak heat, you can make the most of your time while staying safe.

  • Go for an early morning exploration: Start your day early and head out for sightseeing and activities in the cooler morning hours. The temperature is more pleasant, and popular attractions are often less crowded.
  • Enjoy a midday siesta: Embrace the local custom of siesta, which involves taking a midday break to rest and recharge indoors. This is an ideal time to relax, take a nap, or enjoy a leisurely meal in air-conditioned comfort.
  • Plan indoor activities during the hottest hours: You can explore Madrid’s rich cultural offerings, such as visiting museums, galleries, and other attractions while staying cool.
  • Lunchtime Delights: Enjoy a leisurely lunch at a local restaurant, café, or tapas bar during the peak heat hours. This not only allows you to savor delicious Spanish cuisine but also provides a chance to rest in a shaded, air-conditioned setting.
  • Go on a late afternoon adventure: The best way to stay cool in the heat is to venture out in the late afternoon and early evening when the city comes alive with a vibrant atmosphere. The temperature becomes more comfortable, and you can take advantage of the extended daylight. As the sun begins to set, enjoy outdoor dining, strolls, and cultural events under the starry skies.
  • Take regular hydration breaks: Regardless of the time of day, take regular breaks to stay hydrated. Find a shaded spot to sip water and rest, especially during high temperatures.
  • Take care of your sun protection: If you’re determined to be outdoors during the hottest part of the day, seek shade under trees, umbrellas, or awnings. Wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and lightweight, sun-protective clothing.

2. Staying well-hydrated is fundamental

With temperatures often soaring, it’s crucial to keep your body hydrated to ensure you can fully enjoy your time exploring the city.

High temperatures cause you to sweat and lose water from your body and it’s also normal to feel thirsty. If you don’t drink enough fluids and are exposed to very hot weather, you can easily become dehydrated. So I recommend you get into the habit of drinking 2 to 3 liters of water a day, or more if you’re particularly active.

The best way to stay cool in the heat is to pack a refillable water bottle in your suitcase. Ideally, it should be between 500ml (18oz) and 750ml (26oz) to help you stay hydrated throughout the day.

Investing in a reusable water bottle is a smart move because:

  • You can fill it up before you head out for the day, and make a point to drink from it regularly.
  • Make sure it has double-wall vacuum insulation so it keeps you water cold.
  • Whether you’re in a hotel room or in an apartment, make good use of the fridge: put one or several plastic water bottles in the fridge so they cool during the night. Then, fill up your refillable water bottle with cold water from these plastic bottles. The vacuum insulation will guarantee you can sip cold water regularly.
  • Once you finish it, refill your water bottle as soon as possible. Madrid is full of places where you can buy cold water.

3. Embrace breathable and lightweight clothing

Among the easiest and most useful heat recommendations to follow is the use of light clothing in cool fabrics, in which the skin can be kept ventilated.

Can you imagine going out in the street in the middle of summer with a leather jacket or a woven sweater? The very idea is suffocating!

  • Clothes such as pants, flannels or dresses made of cotton or similar fabrics, are the most recommended for summer days.
  • Opt for loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in light colors like white, pastels, or neutrals. These colors reflect sunlight and help keep you cooler.
  • While it might seem counterintuitive, long sleeves and pants can actually provide better sun protection. Choose lightweight, breathable fabrics that cover your arms and legs.
  • Carry a handheld fan to create your own breeze when you’re out and about. You’ll appreciate the little burst of air on your face.
  • Layering lightweight clothing allows you to adjust your outfit as the temperature changes throughout the day. You can remove layers as needed to stay comfortable.

So make sure you pack something that is light and cool but also sturdy enough to handle the rigors of travel.

4. Take care of your sun protection

Staying protected from the sun’s rays is essential for keeping cool and avoiding sunburn during Madrid’s hot summers. The best way to stay cool in the heat is by choosing the right clothing and accessories to shield yourself from the sun.

Here are some tips to improve you sun protection:

  • Invest in a wide-brimmed hat to provide shade for your face, neck, and shoulders. Alternatively, look for a hat or cap that provides great protection from the sun while remaining lightweight, comfortable, breathable, and super packable.
  • Choose sunglasses that offer 100% UVA and UVB protection to safeguard your eyes from harmful rays. Look for oversized frames for maximum coverage and for nice, crisp, strong lenses.
  • Sunscreen is still an essential part of sun protection. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to any exposed skin, and reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating.
  • Pack a stylish scarf or wrap that you can drape over your shoulders for extra sun protection. This versatile accessory can also add a touch of flair to your outfit.

5. What to eat and drink to stay cool

The food you eat can also help you stay cool. Try adjusting your diet so that it includes the following:

Fresh produce

Fruits and vegetables are easy to digest and often high in water content. Salads and other dishes rich in seasonal produce will keep you feeling light and hydrated, too.

Hydrating foods include: melon, watermelon, tomatoes, broths and soups.

Low-fat meats

Fat takes longer for your body to digest and carries a higher salt content, which can add extra strain on your body when you need it maximized for efficiency. Consuming too much salt also increases your risk for dehydration.

If you eat meat, choose low-fat versions (like chicken breast) in the summer.

Drinks

Indulge in local cooling treats like horchata (tiger nut milk) or gazpacho (chilled tomato soup), which can help lower your body temperature.

But most importantly, avoid excess caffeine and alcohol. While you might be tempted to indulge in coffee or cocktails, both caffeine and alcohol can contribute to dehydration. Limit your intake and balance them with plenty of water.

6. Look for an indoor oasis

When the temperatures rise to uncomfortable levels, seeking refuge in air-conditioned indoor spaces can provide you with a much-needed break and a chance to cool down.

The best way to stay cool in the heat is by finding air-conditioned indoor spaces. This allows you to escape the heat, recharge your energy, and continue enjoying your exploration of the city without feeling overwhelmed by the weather.

By strategically planning your day to include visits to air-conditioned spaces, you can maintain your energy levels, escape the sun’s intensity, and make the most of your time exploring this vibrant city.

  • Museums and galleries: Madrid is home to a plethora of world-class museums and galleries that offer both cultural enrichment and cool respite. The Prado Museum, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, and the Reina Sofía Museum are popular options. Take your time to appreciate the art while enjoying the comfortable indoor environment.
  • Cafés and restaurants: All cafés and restaurants in Madrid are air-conditioned, providing a pleasant atmosphere to savor local cuisine and beverages while taking a break from the heat. Consider trying traditional Spanish dishes or cooling down with a refreshing gazpacho (chilled tomato soup).
  • Cultural centers: Check out cultural centers and community spaces that often host exhibitions, workshops, and events in air-conditioned environments. These places offer unique insights into local culture while keeping you comfortable.
  • Shopping areas: Madrid boasts several shopping areas where you can enjoy air-conditioned shopping, dining, and entertainment. Gran Vía, the largest shopping street in the city, is lined with stores, and restaurants that provide a cool escape. You can also enjoy Serrano and the rest of the Salamanca district – the most glamorous and upscale area in the city.
  • Cinemas: Catching a movie is a fantastic way to spend a few hours indoors while escaping the heat. Look for theaters that show both international and local films in original version (no dubbing).
  • Wellness retreats: Some spas and wellness centers offer day passes that grant you access to their facilities, including pools, saunas, and relaxation areas. It’s a luxurious way to stay cool and pamper yourself.
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