The 10 hottest places on Earth, from Death Valley to Tunisia

Which destinations have achieved record-busting heat?

Helen Coffey,Jo Caird
Monday 18 July 2022 08:11 BST
California's Death Valley has the highest recorded temperature
California's Death Valley has the highest recorded temperature (David McNew/Getty Images)
Leer en Español

Temperatures are set to soar in the UK this week, with predicted potential highs of 42C. Elsewhere in Europe, the heatwave is causing wildfires to rage in France, Spain and Portugal.

The current record for the highest temperature ever recorded in Europe is 48C, which was registered in Athens, Greece, in 1977. But last year regional authorities on the Italian island of Sicily registered a temperature of 48.8C on 11 August 2021.

If verified by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), it will be a new record for Europe.

Here are 10 other spots that are almost too hot to handle.

Death Valley, California, USA

The aptly named Furnace Creek currently holds the record for hottest air temperature ever recorded. The desert valley reached highs of 56.7C in the summer of 1913, which would apparently push the limits of human survival. There is debate over the validity of this temperature, but even if proved false Furnace Creek still comes top: a temperature of 54.4C was recorded in August 2020. Average temperature highs today reach 47C during summer, and it’s the driest place in the States.

Ouargla, Algeria

The highest temperature ever reliably recorded in Africa was 51.3C in Ouargla in the Algerian Sahara desert, on 5 July 2018. There are plenty of historic claims for Africa’s hottest temperature – including 55C in Kebili, Tunisia, the current official record – but these all ring alarm bells because of the way they were recorded, at French and Italian military outposts during the colonial period.

Mitribah, Kuwait

Mitribah, a remote area of northwest Kuwait, hit a sweltering 53.9C on 21 July 2016. Not only was it the third highest temperature ever recorded, it’s also the highest temperature ever recorded for the continental region of Asia.

Dallol has the highest average temperature of an inhabited place
Dallol has the highest average temperature of an inhabited place (Getty Images/Vetta)

Basra, Iraq

A temperature of 53.9C was recorded at Basra International Airport in Iraq on 22 July 2016.

Turbat, Pakistan

Turbat, a city located in southern Balochistan, Pakistan, recorded the fourth highest ever temperature on 28 May 2017: 53.7C.

Dallol, Ethiopia

This hydrothermal field with salt formations, acidic hot springs, and gas geysers had an average daily maximum temperature of 41C recorded from 1960 to 1966. These soaring numbers mean it has the highest average temperature of any inhabited place on earth.

Aziziyah, Libya

The former capital of the Jafara district, 25 miles south of Tripoli, used to claim the title of hottest place on earth – in 1922 the temperature was recorded as a sweltering 58C. However, it was stripped of its title in 2012 when meteorologists declared this invalid due to a number of factors, including the fact that the person who recorded it was inexperienced. However, the town still regularly experiences temperatures of over 48C in midsummer.

Kebili is a desert town known for its dates
Kebili is a desert town known for its dates (Getty Images)

Quriyat, Oman

The Omani city of Quriyat, which is located south-east of the capital Muscat, recorded the highest ever minimum – ie night-time – temperature on 26 June 2018. The mercury didn’t get below 42.6C that night, beating the previous record of 41.9C, also recorded in Oman.

Dasht-e Loot, Iran

This desert plateau has the hottest ground temperatures on the planet – satellite measurements taken between 2003 and 2009 found a maximum temperature of a staggering 70.7C. Needless to say, the region is uninhabited.

Ghadames is a Unesco world heritage site
Ghadames is a Unesco world heritage site (Getty Images)

Bandar-e Mahshahr, Iran

This sweltering city hit the second highest heat index on record – the heat index combines air temperature and relative humidity. Bandar-e Mahshahr registered a heat index of 74C in July 2015. The hottest recorded temperature there is 51C.

[This article was originally published in August 2020]

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in