It saw people flee from their homes and cause wildfires across parts of Southern Europe.

Extreme temperatures this summer prompted warnings to stay indoors and evacuate from danger zones.

However, some people took a different approach as travel experts say there has been an increased interest in Scotland as a holiday destination for travellers from the south of Europe this summer, with one of the main factors being put down as the extreme heat experienced on the continent.

The Spanish Confederation of Travel Agents (CEAV) which represents travel agencies across Spain has spoken about the trend. 

The group’s president, José Manuel Lastra, told The Herald: “There is a shared perception amongst travel agents that, effectively, interest in destinations such as Scotland and Ireland has increased.”

Speaking to the Spanish press at the onset of extreme heat in the country during July, Lastra described its effect on the choices of Spanish holidaymakers: “There are many people who are thinking about trips to the north of Europe in search of a more benign climate, to places like Scandanvia, Ireland, England or Scotland. 

“Heat waves have a direct impact on traveller consumption.”

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eDreams, Europe’s largest online travel company, has noted the trend in its data. It’s Spanish branch has recorded an increase of 75% in its users searching for holidays to the UK between July and June this year. 

Pablo Caspers, Chief Air Supplier Officer of eDreams, said: “Soaring temperatures are prompting Southern Europeans to rethink their holiday destinations in search of cooler climates. 

“Weather conditions are likely to continue to influence traveller choices in the future and we anticipate we’ll start to see some travel destinations changing as a result of travellers seeking cooler climates.”

Large parts of southern Europe experienced an extreme heatwave during July over the period in which eDreams collected its data, with cities in southern Europe registering temperatures of 45 degrees. 

Another heat wave is expected to hit over the coming week, with temperatures to surpass 40 degrees by Wednesday in Madrid, while Seville in the southern region of Andalucia is expected to hit 43 degrees by Thursday.

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Rabbie’s, a company which runs small group tours taking tourists around the Highlands and Islands, experienced a substantial increase in European tourists over the month of July.

The company saw a 36% increase in tourists from Spain, France, Italy and Greece travelling on its tours this July compared to July 2022. In the earlier summer months, there was an increase of between 5-10% in bookings. 

The increased interest in Scottish holidays is not only coming from European tourists, however. AC Travel Group is a tour operator which operates across the UK and notes a recent raised interest from North Americans - which it also links to Europe’s extreme July heat.

CEO of AC Travel Group, Rob Russel, told The Herald: “We are seeing a lot of unusual late demand from American travellers for the UK and Ireland and I do believe that this potentially could be as a result of the press coverage of the wildfires and heat in the Mediterranean.  

“Our North American partners had been reporting that Greece was seeing significant demand for business this year and Italy is always the most popular market so for those who are looking to travel but not keen on the heat, I do believe we could be seeing a late switch to the UK.”

Elena’s Spanish Bar and Restaurant in Finnieston, Glasgow has noticed more Spanish tourists coming in as guests for a taste of home away from home earlier than usual this summer, as well as other European tourists.

Manager Neil McEwen explained: “Normally we don’t see so many tourists until August or September, but it was earlier than usual this year. Where we are located near Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, we have noticed a lot more tourists wandering about than usual for this time of year too.

“It might also be a combination of the fact that the euro is currently strong against the pound. But we haven’t heard any of them complaining about the rain here!” 

A VisitScotland spokesperson said: “It’s too early to say whether the higher temperatures we’ve seen in some countries this year will have an impact on travellers choosing a holiday destination in the future. 

“Our research suggests that the weather isn’t a prime motivator for international holidaymakers coming to Scotland, although in the past European visitors have stated they are more likely to say they come here because of it. 

“For the majority of visitors, it is our landscapes, history, heritage and culture which prove most inspiring when choosing Scotland as a destination.”