After two Corona summers, you can finally travel halfway carefree again - millions of tourists are taking this to heart this year. However, holidaymakers should also be aware of imminent dangers such as fires, high heat and sometimes even storms. An overview.
Don't jump into Lake Garda - the water level is so low you might hit your head! Unfortunately, these and other warnings are no joke. In France, the railroad tracks are bending because of the heat, in Italy some fountains are no longer bubbling to save water, in Portugal and Greece there are warnings about fires. Most vacationers are not directly affected by this, but everyone should still be careful - and follow the instructions of the authorities in an emergency. A Mediterranean overview from south-west to south-east.
Portugal: Because of the many forest fires that have been raging in Portugal for a week, the state of emergency applies in the holiday country, which is also very popular with Germans, up to and including Sunday. As part of the so-called "Estado de contingência", the third highest level of emergency, locals and tourists are not allowed to light campfires in the forest, among other things. The stay in forests is also very limited. Otherwise, you can continue to take normal vacations for the time being; According to authorities on Friday, the flames did not pose a threat to tourist or larger residential areas.
Spain: Portugal's neighboring country has also been hit by a drought that has lasted for months and scorching heat with temperatures of up to 45 degrees, which, according to the Aemet weather service, will last at least until Monday. However, there are currently far fewer forest fires in Spain than in Portugal. And there are no restrictions like in the western neighboring country.
France: Vacationers in France have to be prepared for quite hot days in the coming days. In large parts of the country, well over 30 degrees Celsius are predicted between Sunday and Tuesday, and the capital Paris, which is popular with tourists, is not spared. The heat is likely to cause problems with traffic. Because it causes overhead lines to expand and hang lower and rails to sometimes overheat, the trains of the French SNCF sometimes run slower at high temperatures. There may therefore be delays in rail traffic.
There are also forest fire warnings in some southern areas, such as on the Atlantic coast south of Bordeaux. Therefore, some forest and country paths may not be entered or driven on.
Italy: Vacationers also have to be prepared for extreme heat here. At the weekend, temperatures can locally reach up to 40 degrees Celsius. Due to the low amount of rain and snowfall this year, especially in the north, there is a drought and water bodies carry much less water than usual. Anyone who wants to swim in Lake Garda, for example, should be careful when jumping in, recommended a representative of the local community association. Reason: the low water level.
Because of the emergency, cities like Milan and Venice recently decided to turn off wells to save water. The government in Rome has already declared a drought emergency in the five regions of Lombardy, Piedmont, Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Emilia-Romagna. Other regions could follow. However, this should not have any direct impact on holidaymakers. There is also an increased risk of forest fires in many parts of Italy. "A quarter of the forest fires this year were probably caused by cigarette butts. Any risky behavior that could cause a forest fire must be avoided at all costs," says Arnold Schuler, the Provincial Forestry Commissioner for South Tyrol.
Greece: Although Greece has so far been spared the severe heat in Western Europe, it is also very hot and dry there. Dozens of forest fires break out every day. Many can be contained quickly, but in strong winds some fires spread almost unhindered. Therefore, the second highest forest fire warning level currently applies to some areas - including Athens and the surrounding area, the islands of Crete and Euboea, Lesbos and Samos and also the north-east of the Peloponnese peninsula.
It can happen that tourist towns are evacuated as a precaution because a fire nearby cannot be brought under control. Anyone who owns a smartphone - regardless of whether they are at home or abroad - will then receive a warning text message from the Greek Ministry of Citizens' Protection with a piercing signal tone. In Greek and English, it asks people to leave the area. The fire brigade repeatedly calls on Greeks and tourists alike to avoid any kind of fire - whether it's the famous cigarette thrown out of the car window or a supposedly harmless barbecue.
But not only in the heat, caution is also required in storms. Just last week, a tourist died in the sea off the holiday peninsula of Chalkidiki during severe storms. The man and two friends had gone swimming despite the high waves and storm, the current and the waves drove the men out to sea. The first was rescued after a few hours, and another survived 19 hours at sea before being apprehended. He was clinging to a beach ball, the kind children take to the beach. The third man could only be recovered dead.
Turkey: Holidaymakers in Turkey must also expect fires on the Mediterranean coast, for example. It's hot, dry and windy in the southwest - a spark is often enough to start a major fire. Also, especially in strong winds, one should not underestimate how quickly a fire can spread. Holidaymakers should follow the guidelines of the authorities and leave their hotels immediately if asked to do so. In many places, access to forests is also prohibited during the hot months.
The Turkish government seems to be better prepared for the forest fires this summer than last year. At the time, she had been subjected to harsh criticism, among other things, because there were no operational fire-fighting aircraft available at the beginning. This year has been different so far. The fire that broke out in Datca on Wednesday, for example, was brought under control by the emergency services a day later, despite strong winds.