From the pristine beaches and ancient ruins of the Eastern Mediterranean to the artsy and flavorful countries of the Western Mediterranean, this region is easily one of the most diverse in the world. Revel at Spanish and Italian architecture, soak up some sun in Greece, explore antiquities in Istanbul and Malta or get a taste of the French countryside on the outskirts of Nice, Monte Carlo or Cannes. Some Med itineraries dip down into northern Africa; the Canary Islands are also a popular stop for repositioning cruises.
Cruises to the Mediterranean
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Top Mediterranean Cruise Itineraries
Norwegian Epic7-day Western Mediterranean from BarcelonaBarcelona, Naples, Rome , Florence , Cannes, Palma de Mallorca, BarcelonaNow
Norwegian Epic7-day Western Mediterranean from Rome (civitavecchia)Rome , Florence , Cannes, Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona, Naples, RomeNow
Norwegian Epic4-day Western Mediterranean from Rome (civitavecchia)Rome , Florence , Cannes, Palma de Mallorca, BarcelonaNow
Norwegian Epic3-day Western Mediterranean from BarcelonaBarcelona, Naples, RomeNow
Star Legend8 Night Mediterranean CruiseBarcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Almeria, Malaga, Gibraltar, Seville , LisbonNow
Popular Mediterranean Content
The crystal blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea sparkle year-round, making cruises in the region a hot ticket for passengers around the globe. (Even Australians make the long trek during their winter.) But with so many ports spanning the Med, how do you pick which itinerary is right for you? Generally, Mediterranean cruises are divided into Western Mediterranean – Monaco, Spain and France -- and the Eastern Mediterranean, which includes but is not limited to Croatia, the Balkan countries, Greece and Turkey. Italy does double duty, serving as an embarkation/debarkation homeport for both (usually Rome for Western Med cruises and Venice for eastern routes); Italian ports of call feature in both itineraries, as well. It's hard to go wrong with either. Both itineraries include UNESCO-approved cultural and historic sites that will help you complete your bucket list. Both also offer fabulous ports of call with outstanding cuisine and local wines, beaches for all sorts of travelers and opportunities for shopping. Keep in mind that either itinerary will be port-intensive; this is not a cruise where you spend lots of time lolling near the ship's pool. Read on to find out how to choose between an Eastern Mediterranean vs. a Western Mediterranean cruise.
World-famous sights such as the Parthenon in Athens, charming seaside tavernas and crystal-clear waters are all part of a Greek island-hopping cruise. Only 227 of the 6,000 islands and islets scattered in the Aegean and Ionian Seas of Greece are inhabited and some are only accessible by boat, making a small ship cruise the best way discover these idyllic destinations. Take a look at our list of the 10 best cruise lines for a Greek island-hopping odyssey.
Unless your heart's set on sailing the Greek Islands, beaches might not be the first thing that comes to mind when planning a Mediterranean cruise. The region lures visitors with its culturally rich cities, food and wine, and historic landmarks. But behind all the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and
Named for an ancient tribe that lived along the eastern coastline of the Adriatic Sea in the first millennium BCE, the Dalmatian Coast is best known as the place the white and black spotted dog came from. But with a history that dates back to a time before the Greeks and includes long sweeps of time under the rule of various empires (Roman, Byzantine, Venetian, Yugoslavian), there's so much to learn about and see in any of the cities and towns that dot the area's islands and coastline. The Dalmatian Coast stretches southeast from Italy's Venice (rulers from here used to oversee this part of the world), encompassing Croatia and parts of Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro. The ports are often visited as part of Eastern Mediterranean itineraries (although it's technically on the Adriatic Sea), as well as by small ship cruise lines that stop at smaller cities and towns exclusively along the coastline. Whether you sail an itinerary that sticks exclusively to the Dalmatian Coast or a Mediterranean journey that stops at select ports on the way to elsewhere, you'll visit towns with quaint old city centers, narrow stone streets, medieval fortified walls, cathedrals that span hundreds of years and subtle signs of the war that raged through this area in the mid-1990s. With excursions on offer that range from classic city tours and culinary tastings to hikes or kayak trips through pristine natural environments, a cruise along the Dalmatian Coast offers a rich experience to history buffs, foodies, active travelers and anyone who simply wants to explored a less-traveled path.
Incorporating Spain, Italy and France, the Western Med has been influenced by cultures from all over the globe -- and each one has left its mark on the region's architecture, food and traditions. Vibrant cities and iconic landmarks are located close to many of the ports, so you'll have scenic surrounds, mouth-watering cuisine and fantastic shopping opportunities a stone's throw away. Wherever you visit, you're guaranteed to discover something new about your European neighbors. But deciding where to focus your day in port could become an overwhelming task. To help you pick from the many options available, here are some of our favorite shore excursions in the Western Mediterranean.