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The coolest hideaways in our hottest European cities

Don't let the warm weather put you off an urban getaway. There are plenty of places to chill, says Sarah Marshall

The Hotel Excelsior Venice Lido Resort
The Hotel Excelsior Venice Lido Resort
VP Plaza Espana Design's 12th floor terrace
Piazzale Michelangelo

If you're thinking of taking a city break this summer, you might need to take time out from the streets and sightseeing to chill as the mercury rises.

We've selected the hottest summer cities in Europe, and recommended the coolest hideaways for while you're there...

Venice - an unlikely beach break

Sticky, smelly, crowded - these are all words you might associate with Venice in the summer. But that doesn't necessarily need to be the case. Do your sightseeing around St Mark's early in the morning, when everyone else is still sipping cappuccinos at the hotel buffet, then nip across the lagoon to the Lido and spend a few hours relaxing on the 11km sandbar.

On Saturday, the Hotel Excelsior Venice Lido Resort opened its exclusive, cabana-filled beach and launch pop-up terrace restaurant, The Bistrot del Mare by Lionello Cera, serving local cuisine. Try the Risotto di Go, made with goby, a fish found in the lagoon.

How: doubles in July/August start from £326, including breakfast. Visit hotelexcelsiorvenezia.com.

Madrid - a sunset swim with views

For those visiting Madrid in the height of summer, when temperatures average 32°C, the VP Plaza Espana Design's 12th floor terrace is a welcome relief; swim in the outdoor pool with 360-degree views of the city, after a day spent visiting the key attractions. The five-star luxury property is located in the heart of the Spanish capital - making it a convenient pit-stop - and the rooftop is open to both guests and visitors.

The terrace is also home to Botania, a restaurant from the prestigious Larrumba Group, which features a garden patio and serves contemporary Spanish cuisine such as octopus carpaccio, fried artichokes and Jamon Iberico.

After sunset, relax with a cocktail and enjoy jazz sessions and DJ sets from 10pm at the Ginkgo Sky Bar. On Sundays, live bands perform.

How: doubles from £194 room only. Breakfast is an additional £26 per person. Visit plazaespana-hotel.com/en.

Palma de Mallorca - a breath of fresh air

Historic Balearic city Palma is home to the Ca Sa Galesa Terrace, situated in the heart of the historical old town. The rooftop bar, which can be found at the top of the five-star Hotel Palacio Ca Sa Galesa, offers a space to escape crowds, just metres away from the La Seu cathedral.

Dip into the pool or relax on a Balinese-style sunbed.

Beyond the hotel, Palma has numerous breezy courtyards and plenty of museums and galleries where you can cool off.

How: doubles from £138 room-only. Visit palaciocasagalesa.com/en/urban-oasis/terraceon.

Florence - rise above the crowds

Famous for its wonderful Renaissance art galleries and medieval architecture, Florence attracts big crowds in the height of summer. Slip away from the tourist trail by visiting Piazzale Michelangelo, one of the highest points of the city. Enjoy the views and discover beautiful rose gardens on the walk up.

After a day of exploring the famous Duomo, art galleries, museums and pizzerias, head back to the four-star Hotel Brunelleschi, hidden away in the Piazza Santa Elisabetta, close to the Uffizi Gallery.

How: Sardatur Holidays (sardatur-holidays.co.uk) offer three night's accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis with return flights and local transfers from £609pp based on two adults sharing.

Ibiza - one big cool down

High temperatures aren't conducive to work-outs on holiday, but if you want to stay in shape, try an early morning sun salutation or downward dog.

Located next to Marina Botafoc, a short walk from Ibiza Town and the UNESCO site of Dalt Vila, 16-room boutique hotel Mikasa runs 90-minute yoga classes on its rooftop.

After watching the sunrise, refuel with a healthy all-day breakfast in the hotel's restaurant - served until 7pm. The classes and breakfast take place from 9am to 10.45am and are free for hotel guests, while outside participants can join for/£22 per person, including breakfast.

How: doubles from £418 with breakfast. Visit mikasaibiza.com.

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