Our Travel Guide: The Best Time to Cruise…the Mediterranean

The Mediterranean’s one of the most popular regions of the world for travel and the big news in cruise is that the season, already a long one from spring to fall, has extended to winter. Because weather is quite different from season to season, it’s more important here than almost anywhere, because there’s four seasons of choice, to base your travel style, or travel goals, on what experiences you want to have, whether it’s watersports or cultural immersion (even Christmas markets!).

What’s new for Windstar is that the Mediterranean season is being extended for 2024 and 2025 itineraries. Ships are staying in the region well into October and even November. And of course, the most intriguing itinerary just developed for the Mediterranean is winter sailings. In the winter of 2024, Star Legend travels between Rome and Barcelona, with calls at Livorno (for Florence), Nice and Marseille. In the winter of 2025, Windstar will announce five different itineraries for the season; we’ll keep you posted.

Beyond the most recent developments in the Mediterranean, here’s what you need to know about what each season holds.

Tenerife, in the Canary Islands

Spring: The traditional kick-off season for Mediterranean voyages, April can be iffy. It’s usually rainy season and temperatures can still be bleak but if you head south – the Canary Islands, Greek Isles, and Spain and Portugal, you’ll find a less crowded experience with bright skies and warmish temperatures (generally this region doesn’t transition to beach season until May). From early April, cruises focus on southern European destinations, including the Greek Isles, Canary Islands and Turkey. Departures from Venice and Lisbon begin in spring, too.

Spain’s Malaga is one of the Mediterranean’s many great beach towns

Summer: The highest of high seasons in any part of the Mediterranean, including more northerly climes, like Italy, Croatia, France and the Netherlands. July to August is also an exceptional time to cruise to the Mediterranean region. Beaches are buzzing with tourists, and the weather’s hot and sizzling. The summertime means hot days, warm waters and hordes of folks flocking to the coastline. Summer is the time when there’s the most variety of places to go. It’s an appealing time for multigenerational trips.

In autumn, Greece’s Santorini is calmer — and cooler — than in high season

Fall: The cruise season now stretches through October and early November, and these voyages offer a cool autumn atmosphere. The weather’s still warm, the skies are clear and the scene is pleasant. It’s another sweet spot for visiting the Mediterranean. With kids back in school, there’s less crowds.

In winter, Florence is a magical stop on a Mediterranean cruise

Winter: When winter rolls in, the temperature drops and makes things pretty chilly. If you don’t mind cold weather and occasional rain (or snow) showers, this is a great time of year to explore cultural pursuits, such as museums, galleries, concerts and other performance venues.

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