New analysis finds that 396 temperature records were set in 29 countries in May, June, July and August.
These included all-time highs in France - of 46C - as well as Germany, France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, as much of Europe experienced two blistering heatwaves.
The hottest night ever for Scotland was also recorded this year, with the temperature only falling to 20.9C in Achnagart in the country's north-west on 25 July.
Although no given weather event can be directly attributed to climate change, increases in the underlying temperature makes heatwaves significantly more likely and more intense when they hit, scientists said.
"Some places in Europe have histories of weather observations going back more than 150 years and yet still saw new all-time highs," said Robert Rohde, lead scientists at the Berkeley Earth climate institute in California, which conducted the analysis.
"As the Earth warms, it has become easier for weather stations to record new all-time highs."
More than 30 temperature records were broken in the US, with a further 11 all-time highs in Japan, where 11 people died as a result of the summer heatwave.
Globally, July was the hottest July and the hottest month on record, being 0.04C warmer than the previous hottest month on record, in July 2016.
In the UK, Cambridge Botanical Gardens hit a record temperature for the country on July 25.
Dr Friederike Otto, of the University of Oxford, said shortly afterwards: "This July heatwave was so extreme over continental Western Europe that the observed magnitudes would have been extremely unlikely without climate change."