You are currently viewing An important reminder if you’re going to Europe this summer (or in the future)

Traveling around Europe in summer can be an incredible experience; all the food, culture, languages, and experiences. It’s no wonder European countries are some of the most popular destinations for Canadians. But you might be in for a bit of a shock. 

Here’s what to know to double-check your summer accommodations or for all future trips in Europe!

 

What to check before your summer trip to Europe 

Unlike in Canada and the United States, most European homes and apartments — and even lots of hotels — don’t have air conditioning (AC)

That’s right. A hot summer night and no AC to keep you cool. I was born in the UK but live in France, so I know our lack of AC does sometimes surprise North Americans. 

Because so few places in Europe have AC, you will need to check in advance. If it’s a deal breaker for you, you might want to change your booking.

Hot weather in Genoa, Italy (photo credit: Chris Curry)

 

How to check if air conditioning is installed in advance

Many hotels booked online can be canceled for free for any reason in a few clicks, a great reason to book independently and on your own.

Flytrippers pro tip! Since many hotels are fully refundable, you should always recheck your bookings regularly and often! If the price has gone down — or if better hotel options are now at the same price as yours — you can simply cancel and make a new booking. Read the concrete example!

Most of the big hotel chains will have AC, but some don’t. Independent or smaller hotels might not. So check the room details before you reserve a room. 

Air conditioning mentioned in a Lisbon hotel page (image credit: Trivago)

 

It’s just not something Canadian travelers are used to looking out for, because they often take it for granted that AC will be available.

But it’s vital to double-check this when booking a hotel outside North America if you need AC, and most hotel reservation websites even have “air conditioning” as one of the search filters.

Air conditioning filter for hotel searches (image credit: Trivago)

 

If you’re staying in a home or apartment rental (through Airbnb, Vrbo, Marriott Homes & Villas, or others), you should assume there is no AC unless it specifically says so on the booking. 

More affordable hotels, hostels, and apartments are also unlikely to have proper air conditioning. You’re much more likely to get a small fan in your room than a proper AC unit. 

That said, air conditioning has become more popular in Europe in the last few years, even if it’s still unusual in many homes and rentals. 

 

Why don’t Europeans use air conditioning?

If you’ve never been to Europe, you may not know that only around 20% of European homes have air conditioning. In comparison, around 90% of North American homes have AC in at least one room. 

Summer in Mijas, Spain (photo credit: Simon Hermans)

 

So why is it that Europeans don’t like AC?

Well, there are several reasons why AC isn’t so popular on the other side of the Atlantic. The first is that Europeans just don’t need AC. Until recent years, European weather was pretty stable with low humidity, and only July and August saw temperatures get very hot. 

Because of this, there is just no need to install an AC system and only use it infrequently during 2 months of the year. But more recently, as the climate has changed and intense heat waves have become more frequent in Europe, people have started talking more about AC. 

Many Europeans believe that air conditioning is a waste of money and resources. Particularly in the countryside where old stone houses are everywhere, this style of building is designed to keep the heat out. Adding air conditioning was just unnecessary for plenty of people. 

Windows in Marseille, France (photo credit: Matthieu Joannon)

 

Chances are, as you travel across Europe, you’ll have to get used to not having an air conditioning unit. After a few days, you do get used to it. 

And remember, people in many European countries don’t eat until 10 PM and definitely don’t get to bed until after midnight when it’s much cooler. 

So, get ready to embrace some warm, sticky evenings! 

 

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Summary

If you’re traveling around Europe this summer, make sure you double-check if your accommodation has air conditioning. Not all Canadians know that AC isn’t as common in Europe as it is in North America, so be sure to keep that in mind if that’s important to you.

 

What would you like to know about air conditioning in Europe? Tell us in the comments below.

 

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Featured image: Cannes, France (photo credit: Jim Thirion)

Original publication date: July 29, 2022

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Emily Derrick

Now based in France, Emily is a writer from the UK with a passion for travel. Her love for adventuring was sparked during her time living and traveling in Canada as well as multiple trips across Europe. Emily always takes the scenic route to get to the heart of a country and when she isn't writing, she can be found outside with her two dogs Hugo and Suzette.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. neutrino78x

    Emily, I can understand not using AC in the northern parts of France, such as Paris, but surely down in Marsaille, and Montpellier, and Nice, they would AC???

    Those places get hot just like we do here in California!

    It’s not for environmental reasons either; whe the sun is up in California, 80% of our power comes from that. I’m typing on 18 May 2024 and CAISO’s wen site says 83% of out power is coming from the Sun.

    And in France 70% of the power comes from nuclear reactors. Nuclear power doesn’t produce any CO2 or other greenhouse gasses!

    All I can say is that I shall not visit France in summer months. 😮

    Do you guys at least heat your buildings in winter, or do you freeze in winter out if principle? 😮

  2. Frank

    European live like bugs and stink 😂 I don’t ever want them talking down on the us or canada. I’m currently in Europe now and they all want this sustainable society when they have like 3 billionaires in each of their countries who own everything like wtf

  3. Daniel Aiworo

    Will people in most countries in Southern Europe such as Spain, Italy, Greece, and Portugal have air conditioners in their homes?

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