When you dream of jetting off to somewhere warm and sunny, you likely picture a beach destination with temperatures in the 80s or even 90s (Fahrenheit)—not a desert known for its infamous heat. With temperatures regularly soaring past 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.7 degrees Celsius), the hottest places on Earth range from busy cities to stunning desert landscapes. By Elizabeth Rhodes
Death Valley in California is commonly known as the hottest place in the world, thanks to its record-setting temperatures, but some of the other locations on this list might surprise you. While some of these places are known for year-round scorching temperatures, others can be relatively pleasant throughout the cooler months before reaching extremes when the weather warms up.
Here are 11 of the hottest places on Earth.
Death Valley, California
According to the World Meteorological Organization’s Global Weather & Climate Extremes Archive, temperatures in Death Valley reached international extremes when they hit 134 degrees Fahrenheit (56.6 degrees Celsius) in 1913 — the hottest temperature recorded anywhere in the world. Although some scientists debate the reliability of historic temperature readings, Death Valley reportedly hit 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54.4 degrees Celsius) last summer, too, so there’s little doubt that this is one of the hottest places on Earth.
Oodnadatta in Australia, is the site of the highest temperature recorded in the Southern Hemisphere, according to the World Meteorological Organization’s Global Weather & Climate Extremes Archive. It reached a scorching 123 degrees F (50.5 degrees Celsius) in January 1960.
Kebili, Tunisia, holds the record for the highest temperature recorded in the Eastern Hemisphere, with 131 degrees F (55 degrees Celsius) marked in July 1931.
Mitribah, Kuwait, recorded the highest temperature in the WMO’s Region II, which encompasses most of Asia, in July 2016, when it witnessed a temperature of about 129 degrees Fahrenheit (53.8 degrees Celsius).
In May 2017, Turbat experienced blistering heat reaching about 128.7 degrees F (53.7 degrees Celsius), one of the hottest temperatures recorded in Asia.
Rivadavia claimed the highest temperature recorded in South America, reporting 120 degrees F (48.8 degrees Celsius) in December 1905, according to the WMO.
Tirat Tsvi, Israel
With the highest documented temperature of 129 degrees F (53.8 degrees Celsius) in June 1942, Tirat Tsvi in Israel holds the record among places in WMO’s Region VI (Europe, including the Middle East and Greenland).
Athens, Greece, set the record for continental Europe in July 1977, when it saw its highest temperature — 118.4 degrees F (48 degrees Celsius). If only the Acropolis had air conditioning!
Lut Desert, Iran
NASA satellite imaging revealed more of the world’s hottest places, recording land skin temperatures (the heating of the land’s surface rather than the air temperature the WMO uses) in hard-to-reach, remote areas. And a 2012 article reported that Dasht-e Lut in Iran reached 159.3 degrees Fahrenheit (70.7 degrees Celsius) in 2005.
Flaming Mountains, China
With a name like “Flaming Mountains,” it’s no surprise that this area is pretty warm. This location passed 150 degrees Fahrenheit (65.5 degrees Celsius – land skin temperature) in 2008, according to NASA.
While the above locations have set records for super-high temperatures, Ethiopia’s Danakil Depression is known for its year-round heat. The Dallol hydrothermal field, located within the Danakil Depression, creates an absolutely otherworldly landscape.