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The European holidays you can take this summer to avoid the heat

Simon Calder’s Travel

Greece is experiencing its earliest-ever heatwave, with several tourists dying the high temperatures.

Temperatures exceeded 44C, with one meteorologist warning the current deadly heatwave would “go down in history” as Greece’s earliest summer heatwave in more than 100 years.

But as temperatures rise in the southern Med, a trend for ‘coolcations’ in the north continues to soar.

Whether bathing in the Baltic or dining al fresco above the Arctic Circle, city breaks at higher latitudes promise to be extremely pleasant during the summer months.

Helsinki, Finland

Shaping up to be one of Europe’s coolest city breaks, Finland’s capital scores highly in terms of trendiness. Summers are warm enough to spend time on one of the archipelago’s many islands which boom into life during these months.

Head to Lonna, a 10-minute ferry ride from the Market Square, to flip-flop between a hot house and the bracing Gulf of Finland at one of the city’s finest public saunas. Further south, Pihlajasaari has rocky cliffs, grilling stations and a nature trail.

Helsinki is a brilliant summer destination if you don’t want to get too hot and bothered
Helsinki is a brilliant summer destination if you don’t want to get too hot and bothered (Alamy/PA)

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Back in the city, several restaurants have been awarded stars in the new Nordic Michelin guide, including the excellent 14-seat Room by Kozeen Shiwan – an edible memoir of the Iraq-born chef’s colourful life plated up in equally theatrical dishes.

A 40-minute drive out of town, Nuuksio national park also has a number of shady hiking trails and clear lakes to cool off in.

Bodo, Norway

Designated a European Capital of Culture 2024, this rapidly growing northern Norwegian city combines urban attractions with easy access to natural wonders, making it one of the most scenic places on the planet.

Lying above the Arctic Circle on a peninsula between two fjords, it’s ideally located to experience the Midnight Sun – either on a hike, a late night dip, or a round of golf at Bodo Golfpark.

Cool off with a rib boat ride to Saltstraumen, the world’s strongest maelstrom where 400 million cubic metres of water cross a narrow strait, or a trip to one of Europe’s most accessible glacier, Svartisen.

In town, more than 1,000 performances, concerts, art exhibitions and events will take place as part of the Bodo 2024 cultural programme.

Stockholm, Sweden

There aren’t many country…

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