Wildfires are still raging across Europe. What does this mean for Aussie travellers?

It’s been weeks since wildfires erupted across some of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations, but still flames are burning. 

In almost a dozen countries, authorities have been battling raging fires, the evacuation of tens of thousands, and the deaths of 34 people. 

“This era of global warming has ended,” the chief of the United Nations, António Guterres said last week. “The era of global boiling has arrived.” 

“Climate change is here. It is terrifying. And it is just the beginning.” 

But in the face of this devastating news, and sickening situation overseas, what does this mean for the horde of Aussie travellers who are preparing to head off on a Euro summer — or the tourists who are already there? 

Watch: Celeste Barber's mother-in-law on the devastating bushfire crisis. Post continues after video. 

Video via Celeste Barber.

Where are the fires in Europe?

Countries in the Mediterranean, including Croatia, Portugal, Greece, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Tunisia and Algeria, are among the worst affected by the fires which have forced tens of thousands of people — both locals and tourists — to be evacuated. 


In Greece alone, more than 667 fires had broken out by the end of July, with blazes on Rhodes, Corfu and Evira. While authorities have pointed to July being the hottest month on earth on record, tragically the Greek government said the majority of the fires were ignited by “human hand”, either by “criminal negligence or intent.”

The extreme heatwave has brought temperatures as high as 47.5 degrees celsius to the Italian island of Sicily, fuelling blazes and forcing the temporary closure of Palermo Airport last week, while in Algeria 34 people lost their lives in deadly fires that have been described as walls of flames. 

Is it safe to travel?

Despite “extreme temperatures” and “several active wildfires” across the European continent, the Australian Government is not telling people not to travel to Europe. 

Instead, the advice is to “expect travel disruptions if you’re due to travel to an area that might be affected by wildfires”, as stated on the Smart Traveller website. 

Australian tourists are also being urged to contact their travel provider for the latest update, monitor the local media for news, and follow the advice of authorities.

Can I cancel my trip?

This will depend entirely on your travel provider — the airline you’ve picked, the hotel you’ve booked and anything else you’ve arranged  — and your travel insurer. 


While it’s unlikely that companies will offer refunds or compensation because of the heatwave, if you’re due to stay in an area affected by the wildfires, there should be more flexibility. 

Listen to the host of The Quicky discuss 'Europe is on fire, what will happen to summer holidays?'. Post continues after podcast. 

Do Australians need to rethink the Euro summer?

Following the UN’s declaration of a “global boiling”, and warnings that temperatures are only going to get worse, have we reached the point where Australians need to rethink their Euro summers?

“There are definitely places on the planet where summer is becoming increasingly unbearable and we are seeing more worsening heat extremes and dangerous weather,” Andrew King, a senior lecturer in Climate Science at the University of Melbourne, told Mamamia’s daily podcast The Quicky.

He said Australians heading to Europe this summer need to be careful and take it easy. 

“Aussies going over there should be prepared for extreme heat,” he explained.
Making sure they stay hydrated, stay in the shade, maybe avoid being out in the middle of the day if possible, slowing down the sight seeing if the weather is really extreme, and just taking appropriate actions.” 

Image: Twitter/Mamamia.