European heatwave: the highest temperatures ever recorded at holiday hotspots - as Rome reaches 42 degrees

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If the Italian Island of Sardinia gets a little over one degree hotter, it could break Europe's highest temperature record

A number of popular tourist spots in Italy have broken their own highest temperature records, with one on track to potentially reach the highest ever recorded in Europe.

Much of Southern Europe and the Mediterranean regions are in the grips of back-to-back heatwaves, with the anti-cyclone Charon sweeping its way across the continent. It comes on the tail of the Cerberus heatwave, whose effects first started to be felt on 10 July.

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The UK's Met Office has also warned hot conditions are here to stay for Europe and North Africa in July, and the heatwave may even intensify in the coming days.

But how does the latest heatwave's extreme heat compare to the highest temperatures ever recorded in some of Europe's most popular destinations?

Here's everything you need to know:

Mediterranean countries like Italy and Greece have recorded some extreme temperatures over the years (Image: NationalWorld/Adobe Stock)Mediterranean countries like Italy and Greece have recorded some extreme temperatures over the years (Image: NationalWorld/Adobe Stock)
Mediterranean countries like Italy and Greece have recorded some extreme temperatures over the years (Image: NationalWorld/Adobe Stock) | NationalWorld/Adobe Stock

Italy

The weather in Rome on Tuesday (18 June) was recorded at 41.8C, and local media reported an influx of emergency room admissions in the capital as locals and tourists alike struggled with the intense heat.

Rome is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, welcoming millions of visitors each year. The heatwave has broken Rome's previous top heat record of 40.7C set in June 2022, the Guardian reports.

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Other popular tourist regions affected by the extreme temperatures this week included Sicily which hit 41C, and Sardinia which reached 47C. Meanwhile 23 cities including popular spots like Tuscany's Florence were issued red alerts - meaning the heat was intense it posed a threat to everyone.

Sardinia's Wednesday (19 July) temperature high of approximately 47.3C is the hottest the island region has ever been, the i reports, whereas Sicily once reached 48.8C on 11 August, 2021. This is the highest land temperature ever recorded in Europe, but with the heatwave set to continue into the coming weekend - forecasters fear Italy Sardinia could be on track to reach that extreme once more.

Greece

Greece is being affected by the heatwave too, which has contributed to devastating wildfires that are ravaging the area surrounding the capital - leading to thousands of evacuations.

Extreme heat in Athens has seen staff at ancient archaeological sites like the Acropolis - which are popular tourist destinations - take part in afternoon work stoppages due to the dangerous temperatures.

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As of Wednesday, Athens is currently seeing temperatures in the high 30s, but could reach 41C on Saturday, according to the Met Office. However, the highest temperature ever recorded in Athens was 48C - on 10 July, 1977.

Off of the mainland, popular island destinations like Santorini are currently sitting in the late-20s and early 30s, but the highest temperature ever recorded there was 41C, on 30 June 2017.

Spain

Spain saw highs of 45C on Wednesday. Madrid reached 37C, while other popular tourist destinations have also been plagued by high temperatures, including Seville at 41C, Majorca at 36, and Barcelona and Ibiza at 31C.

The highest temperature ever recorded in Madrid was 40.7C on 14 July last year. Barcelona's record is 37.4C in August 2010, while the islands of Majorca and Ibiza have records of 44.5C in August 2022 and 38.4C in September 2016 respectively, according to local media.

Seville reached 47C way back in 1946. The Andalusian capital was also reported as breaking 50C twice in the late 1800s, but measurements were considered less accurate at the time.

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