Experience the best of France, Italy, Spain and Portugal on a western Mediterranean cruise. Travelling by sea gives you the chance to savour each country's distinctive flavours before moving on to the next, contrasting the art, culture and cuisine of some of Europe's most dynamic destinations.
Cities like Barcelona and Rome offer enough experiences for a whole holiday, but cruise itineraries are designed to showcase the best of each destination in a program that appeals to you.
You'll find inspiring Mediterranean cruises to suit your passions, whether your idea of the perfect trip is sunbathing on the Côte d'Azur, sightseeing in Rome or hiking to the top of active volcanoes.
- Currency - all countries in the Western Mediterranean have adopted the euro as a common currency, so you won't have to worry about changing your money when travelling in the region. Credit cards are also widely accepted. Coin denominations include: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents. Note denominations include: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euros.
- Population - the countries with the largest populations in the region are France (62 million), Italy (60 million) and Spain (47 million), with a high concentration of people living in coastal areas.
- Language - Europe may have a common currency
- Time Zone - the Western Mediterranean is 1 hour ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC+01:00) with the exception of Portugal in UTC+00:00. Travelling east of Italy to Greece and other destinations in the eastern Mediterranean, the time zone changes to UTC+02:00.
- Weather - the climate is milder in the western Mediterranean compared to the east, with average temperatures around 30 degrees Celsius at the height of summer and moderate winters reaching a low of several degrees above zero in northerly cities and highland areas.
Did you know..?
The Mediterranean is one of the most historically and culturally significant regions on earth. It has played a central role in the development of 3 continents, as well as influencing societies further afield. The name 'Mediterranean' is Latin for the middle of the earth, as was believed to be the case in antiquity before the discovery of the Americas and Australasia.
Who goes there?
The western Mediterranean is a long established and competitive cruise destination, and a large number of cruise lines offer tours of the region to suit travellers of various ages and interests.
For ocean cruises in well-equipped liners, tour the Mediterranean with Costa Cruises, Crystal Cruises or Princess Cruises and make the most of the entertainment, spas and dining facilities on board your floating resort.
If you're interested in exploring lesser visited sites of the region, cruise lines such as Azamara Club Cruises and Silversea specialise in cultural experiences to help you make a personal connection with your destinations.
Best time to go?
The European summer is peak cruise season, when the air and sea are at their warmest and most inviting. If you would prefer to avoid crowds, you can still enjoy comfortable temperatures by waiting until late September or October, after the kids have returned to school. Southerly destinations such as Costa del Sol, Sicily and Morocco stay warm all year round.
- French Riviera - with its famously blue seas and coastal mountain scenery, the natural beauty of France's Côte d'Azur has inspired such notable artists as Matisse, Picasso and Renoir. Every summer, sun-seekers flock to its charming seaside towns and high-end resorts for the dependable weather, the local handicrafts and the laid-back atmosphere.
- Sicily - whether you're drawn to the unique fusion heritage of Palermo or its surrounding volcanic islands, Sicily has a distinct character from the Italian mainland, despite being separated by just a few kilometres. Mount Etna is a popular day trip, where you can hike through the volcanic landscape or enjoy a skiing experience with a difference in the winter.
- Monte Carlo - travel in style to this celebrity playground in one of the world's smallest countries. Try your luck at the world-famous Monte Carlo Casino, get lost down Old Monaco's winding streets and tour the exquisite Royal Palace, home to the House of Grimaldi.
- Malaga - the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, art enthusiasts can trace the painter's life and see many of his most celebrated works at Malaga's museums and galleries, while the city's ancient Roman and Moorish ruins will appeal to history lovers. As the capital of Spain's eternally sunny Costa del Sol, Malaga is also blessed by beaches and a favourite for rock climbing at El Chorro.
Ports of Interest
- Gibraltar, Spain
- Cadiz, Spain
- Valencia, Spain
- Sorrento, Italy
- Portofino, Italy
- Palermo, Sicily
- Nice, France
- Naples, Italy
- Marseille, France
- Mallorca, Spain