A region of diverse cultures, natural beauty, rich history, great weather and more can't-miss sights than almost anywhere else on earth, the Mediterranean attracts millions of travelers every year and spans several must-see destinations from Italy to Israel, Croatia to Cyprus, the Amalfi Coast to the Turquoise Coast, Corsica to Sardinia and Portugal to Greece.
For many people, visiting the Mediterranean is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But with so much to see and (typically) a limited amount of time to take it all in, maximizing your Mediterranean vacation is a must. That's why cruising is one of the best ways to see the Mediterranean.
Simple, safe and surprisingly affordable, a Mediterranean cruise allows you to experience a variety of destinations in comfort with a virtually endless amount of activities both on land and at sea. The perfect mix of cosmopolitan cities and medieval towns, big and small islands, sandy beaches and rugged coastlines, ancient sites and modern marvels—a luxurious Mediterranean cruise is one of the best vacation values in travel.
But when is the right time to set sail? Since planning a vacation is often dictated by factors beyond your control–from budgets to big events, the crowds to the cruise line's itineraries, or the amount of time off you have to others you're traveling with–the Mediterranean is one of those picture perfect places that can actually be enjoyed year-round.
If you have the freedom to choose when to cruise, here's why our experts believe experiencing the Mediterranean in the fall months makes the most sense.
Sunny days, cooler temperatures
Temperatures in the Mediterranean drop as leaves fall, making the autumnal days ideal for sightseeing. Cities like Rome will be cooler, making a walk around town squares much more pleasant compared to the summer months. Onboard, the mild temperatures make for a much smoother and more comfortable cruising experience overall.
Fewer crowds, calmer seas
By September and October, the summer cruise crowds have usually dissipated. This means less tourists in port so must-see spots and can't-miss sites will be typically easier to explore and navigate. The "shoulder season" also means less people so ships aren't as packed giving you plenty of space onboard to relax.
The city of Nice stands out in the fall season with its medieval town, gorgeous beaches, and golden hues against cloudless blue skies. Other cities along the French Riviera that are normally jam-packed tend to wind down this time of year, allowing cruisers to enjoy nearby cruise ports at a more leisurely pace.
Best food and wine of the season
Food and wine is another highlight for Mediterranean cruises in the fall. Of course, Mediterranean food and wine is available all year round, but the fall signals harvest season and many cities celebrate by hosting unique festivals for true food lovers.
Depending on the specific cruise itinerary you choose, Barcelona is a great port of call to visit during a fall Mediterranean cruise. Aside from architectural gems like La Sagrada Familia and Parc Güell, the city hosts the Sitges Wine Harvest and Cavatast Festival in October drawing from nearby Rioja and Ribera regions.
Also occurring every fall, the Mediterranean shores and coasts come alive with a diversity of marine wildlife and bird species. In fact, most migrant bird species of Northern Europe fly across the Mediterranean around autumn. Raptors and flamingoes can be found in Spain, France, and Portugal while endangered species like the lesser kestrel, rock partridge and the legendary peregrine falcon are often seen in Croatia and Montenegro respectively.
Marine mammals throughout the Mediterranean include the monk seal and cetaceans like the fin and sperm whales, short-beaked common dolphin and harbor porpoise. Hundreds of unique fish species also abound in the bright blue waters of the Mediterranean. It’s not unusual to see a school of sardines and anchovies when you head in for a dive or snorkel.
While summer might be peak cruising season, try sailing in the fall if you want to make the most out of the Mediterranean. Speak to a CruiseInsider expert today at (877) 734-68508 to start planning your fall Mediterranean escape or CLICK HERE to learn more.
Expedition Ship Terminology
Ranging from authentic polar-class ice-breakers to all-inclusive luxury yachts and an array of sizes and shapes in-between, expedition cruise ships are a comfortable, easy way to explore the world's most remote regions in style and safety. [BREAK] These specially designed expedition small-ships are more than just your home away from home as you explore the world's off-the-beaten-path places, they're also home base for daily shore excursions, exploration activities, wildlife encounters, nightly enrichment, expert guest lectures and interaction with like-minded passengers and passionate crew. Courtesy of Zegrahm Expeditions—one of the world's leading adventure cruise lines and a top expedition partner of CruiseInsider—below you will find a few helpful terms to help better navigate the ship on your next expedition cruise.Posted November 8th, 2018
Essential Packing Tips for Your World Cruise
When it comes to cruising, there’s a lot more to packing than simply tossing your favorite outfits and accessories into a suitcase, especially when you’re going on a world cruise that could be 45-100 days or more. Several factors affect what to bring (or not bring) on a global voyage – including onboard events and theme nights, cruise ship dress codes, changing weather conditions, excursions and port activities, cultural and seasonal subtleties and more – all have an impact on what to pack for a world cruise. [BREAK] To help you ensure you're perfectly prepared for your globe-trotting experience, our CruiseInsider experts have compiled a list of essential packing tips and tricks, including a helpful world cruise packing checklist that will make packing a cinch.Posted November 1st, 2018
12 Reasons to Take an Expedition Cruise
If your perfect cruise doesn't include buffets and bingo, or boring days at sea on the world's biggest ships, an expedition cruise might be the right fit for you. [BREAK] An expedition, or adventure cruise, is nothing like a typical cruise. Surrounded by fellow adventurers and phenomenal vistas, every expedition voyage takes you somewhere special and allows you to experience the world in one of the most immersive, intimate ways possible.Posted October 25th, 2018