Why Fall Is the Best Time for a Mediterranean Cruise

Posted August 16th, 2018

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.

Insider TipThe Mediterranean waters remain warm enough for a swim as late as November and calm enough for easy sailing, fishing trips and day trips to nearby islands.

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.

Insider TipAfter a cool dip in the Mediterranean’s azure waters, try Nice’s favorite tuna sandwich, the delicious pan bagnat.

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.

Insider TipDon’t miss the street food festivals in Barcelona! Try the Moscatel sweet wine or roam the city for fresh seafood, roasted sweet potatoes, pumpkin soups and marzipan.

Amazing wildlife

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.

Insider TipWatch the skies in Crete for the enormous raptor lammergeyer, the incredible bearded vulture, that patrols the ports along the Mediterranean.

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.

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