Published April 04, 2011
Hot vacation spots like St. Bart’s and St. Tropez are places to go to see and be seen, and you’ll pay a pretty penny for the privilege. But what if you just want go somewhere that’s simply hot?
With the help of the National Climactic Data Center, we’ve pinned down the exact locations on each of the seven continents where the highest temperatures ever have been recorded, and have a few suggestions on where to stay.
Africa. El Azizia, Libya – Max Temp: 136 F in 1922
OK, maybe you’ll want to put this one off for a few months – or years – but located less than an hour’s drive from Tripoli, El Azizia is the disputed (isn’t everything in Libya?) title holder for highest temperature ever recorded. A Bedouin tent would be the right way to spend the night in the rocky desert outside of this small town, especially with a dearth of hotels, but after a day of baking in the sun you’ll be better off backtracking to the coast and spending the night at the Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli, where you can enjoy a nice steam bath, Finnish sauna…wait, where’s the pool!?
North America. Death Valley, CA – Max Temp: 134 F in 1913
The name says it all. Dry, desolate and absolutely stunning, the hottest place in North America still manages to be a draw for hikers, campers and aficionados of the borax mining industry that once thrived here and lives on in the form of ghost towns scattered across the valley. The aptly named Furnace Creek Resort opened in 1927 and is still in operation as a luxury hotel, featuring the world’s lowest elevation golf course and its own airstrip for quick getaways to nearby Las Vegas to cool down.
Asia. Tirat Tsvi, Israel – Max Temp:129 F in 1942
Set in the relatively lush farmlands of the Beit She’an Valley, just a few miles from the Jordan river, this kibbutz not only runs its own meat packing facility, but also a small hotel with a petting zoo for the kids, and a pool for everyone – though men and women have to bathe separately. You can take in some of the area’s renowned bird watching while you wait your turn.
Search for Oodnadatta on a map and you’ll find it in a middle of nowhere sea of brown, fully 600 miles away from the city of Adelaide on the shores of the cooling waters of the Gulf of St. Vincent. A railroad town of about 250 residents, Oodnadatta is located on the historic, unpaved Oodnadatta Track trade route and consists of little more than a cluster of homes and a general store called the Pink Roadhouse, which has parking for campers – exactly what you’ll want to tow along behind your ute if you plan to visit here.
Europe. Seville, Spain – Max Temp: 122 F in 1881
Known to many as the most Spanish of Spanish cities, one trip here in August and you’ll understand why Andalucians started taking afternoon naps. Even the streets of the old town are covered by white sheets in summer to help fight a sun as fierce as the bulls in the Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza. As far as hotels are concerned, you can take your pick in this metropolis, but we suggest a trip out of town to the nearby El Bulli Hotel, where you can enjoy a meal that was dreamt up in the molecular gastronomic mind of one of the greatest chefs in the world, Ferran Adria.
South America. Rivadavia, Argentina – Max Temp: 120 F in 1905
If you are capable of finding your way to this remote village in the badlands of northwest Argentina, you can probably find your own place to stay. Accessible only via a 100 mile-long gravel road, this agricultural region is plagued by deforestation and about as far from the tourist trail as you can get. But, if you can brave the 12 hour drive from here to the provincial capital of Salta, you might want to rest up after your long trip at the House of Jasmines, a Relais & Chateau property once owned by actor Robert Duvall, and now run by a helicopter pilot named Stephanie. On second thought, skip the drive and give her a call.
Antarctica. Vanda Station – 59 deg F - 1974
Temperatures in the triple digits not your thing? Well, perhaps you should head south this year, and by that we mean all the way to the bottom of the world. The Vanda Station research facility in Antarctica’s Ross Dependency was the site of the highest ever temperature recorded on the continent, a blistering 59 deg F on January 5, 1974. Unfortunately for even the most intrepid travelers, the station was closed in 1995 and the only thing left is – fittingly - an automated weather station.