Looking for a bit of sun and heat?

I think that we are universally agreed that this year’s summer was one of the worst on record and with the long range weather forecast for the next eight years not particularly encouraging, perhaps it’s time that we had a conversation about the 10 hottest places around the world that we should consider for that next holiday.

By some measures, Bangkok is actually considered the hottest big city on earth. The average temperature for the entire year is 29°C, which  includes the coolest month of December when the average high is 31°C and the average low is 21°C. Its location just north of the Equator helps explain the oddity of having April and May tie for the hottest months, with average high temperatures of 39°C.

Mecca — the holiest of all Islamic cities is best known as the destination each year for the annual pilgrimage called The Hajj, which moves around the calendar which lately has been during the winter months, fortunately for the 2 million or so who turn up annually. The average high temperature for the entire year is 37°C, and during the month of  June it peaks at 43°C, making this one of the hottest cities on the planet.

Who hasn’t heard of the Taj Mahal — considered by many to be the most beautiful building on earth! The Taj is located in Agra, India.  The average high temperature in May  is 42°C, which makes taking a dip in the Yamuna River which runs just behind the Taj sound appealing, in spite of its reputation as one of the most polluted waterways in the world.

What about heading west to the good ‘ol US of A? Las Vegas, located in the Mojave Desert is still easily the world’s hottest major gambling destination. The average high temperature in July is 40°C and triple-digit Fahrenheit temperatures are common all summer long. Hotel prices ease off their spring highs in June and July, and the smaller crowds are treated to some of the world’s most robust air conditioning systems in this city that contains around 20 of the world’s 25 largest hotels. Las Vegas doesn’t sizzle year-round though, and many winter visitors are surprised to discover that the city averages 35 days per year that drop below freezing.

Of course, one of the hottest places on the planet has to be Dubai.  From June to September, the average temperatures are at least 38°C, and forget about that ‘dry heat’ thing because it’s humid there too. Temperatures in the Persian Gulf can reach 45°C in summer and many pools actually need to be cooled to be comfortable.

Seville has to be one of my favourite cities in the world but my God, does it get hot in summer! It may not be able to compete on an international stage, but Seville deserves note as the hottest of all the major tourist cities in Europe. The capital of the Andalusia region, where almost every building is painted white, has around 700,000 siesta-loving residents, although it’s not clear how many stick around all summer. In both July and August, Seville averages a scorching 35°C, and it’s prone to wild swings as well. From June to September there have been days of at least 44°C. in each of those months during the last 20 years, and an all-time high of 50°C was recorded on August 4, 1881, which is still the highest ever recorded in Europe.

Summer in Cairo isn’t actually as hot as you might think it would be (although it’s still very hot), but summer in the tourist town of Luxor about 420 miles to the south is outrageous. This is home to the Valley of the Kings and is also commonly used as the beginning or ending point of the surprisingly affordable Nile cruises. But visitors to what is sometimes called the “world’s greatest open-air museum” had better be sure to stay hydrated if they are brave enough to visit during the peak months. Almost every day reaches at least 38°C from May right through to September, and the hottest temperature ever recorded here was 50°C, and that was earlier this year!

Some 25-odd years ago, I experienced the granddaddy of all ‘brain freezes’ while trying to cool myself down from the relenless heat of the Northern Territories in Australia while stayng in Darwin. Most of Australia’s big travel cities have rather pleasant climates, even if the summers do get a bit hot and humid at times. But Darwin, which is located near the Top End of the country, gets the nod as the hottest because it really never gets cool. Its location not too far south of the Equator and also on the Timor Sea keeps it very warm almost every minute of every day. The average high temperature during the “cool” months of June and July is still 31°C. During the wet months of December to March, the temperatures are only a bit higher on most days, but the stifling humidity which is around 70% makes it feel a million times worse.

When you picture Morocco you’d probably imagine that the entire country would be ablaze, or at least feel like it, all summer, but Casablanca, Tangiers, and Rabat are all on the coast, so their peak temperatures are actually reasonably mild. Fez and Marrakech, on the other hand, are inland, and a different story altogether. Marrakech takes the cake between the two, with average high temperatures in July and August being 36°C, but at least it’s usually bone-dry. The famous open-air market at the edge of the Marrakech Medina can still get out of hand though, with a recent July recording hitting 49°C.

The Arizona capital of Phoenix, located in the Sonoran Desert isn’t as internationally well known as Las Vegas, which is about 300 miles northwest, but it’s larger and also hotter almost every day of the year. The average July high temperature of 41°C doesn’t begin to tell the story in this sprawling city where triple-digit Fahrenheit readings usually start in May and go almost straight through to the end of September. In fact, the one and only time i was ever in Phornix was about 18 years ago when i arrived into the city on a flight from St. Louis. It was October 4th and I remember the date distinctly because the temperature outside was a balmy 45°C!

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