Anna Carroll regularly stays with family in Greece, but says this heatwave is different from anything she has experienced before

Anna Carroll and her boyfriend Seán Ó Conghaile, from Dublin, arrived in the city of Thessaloniki on Saturday to be greeted by stifling temperatures of 42C.

“It hit you straight away,” Ms Carroll said. “Your body hasn’t acclimatised, so it’s like a shock.”

The couple were planning to be busy while away, but have had to shelve their outdoor activities and stay inside as much as possible.

‘It’s changed our plans… the heat just saps you’

“We’re both quite active people and we had intended doing some walks,” Ms Carroll said. “Even in a regular summer, walking can be intense, but I always like to do something active when I’m on holidays.

“We said that’s out of the question now – there’s no way we can do that. It’s changed our plans in that sense because otherwise we’d have been doing more, but the heat just saps you. I feel like this is such a different approach to other holidays in the past, just trying to be sensible and not overdo it.”

The couple stayed with Ms Carroll’s family in the countryside outside Thessaloniki before heading to Halkidiki, a peninsula that is slightly cooler.

Firefighters in Greece have been battling wildfires this week. Photo: Reuters

“They don’t have any air conditioning in the house or anything, so we knew for the two nights we’d be there that it would be tough,” she said.

She kept cool overnight by placing a damp towel on her chest.

“We didn’t even have a fan,” she added. “I’ve been using a fan back home in Dublin for the last few weeks, so I was saying, ‘This is where we actually need the fan’.”

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Despite being a Mediterranean country, such blistering temperatures are far from normal in Greece. Locals, despite being used to warm weather, were changing their own travel plans, Ms Carroll said.

“Greece has always been a very hot climate. We’re in July so that’s to be expected,” she said. “But there’s no doubt that it’s a heatwave.

‘The water is so hot. We’re not getting the relief you would on previous holidays’

“I’ve been to Greece many times because I have family here. Of course it’s always hot, but I think it’s different. It’s definitely unprecedented, but we know temperatures are rising and I definitely feel it’s different this time around.”

Temperatures in Halkidiki are lower than Thessaloniki, but spending the day at the beach offers little relief.

“The water is so hot. I don’t even feel we’re getting the relief you would on previous holidays,” Ms Carroll said.

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