The region’s first shoulder season starts around April and May. It’s a perfectly pleasant time to explore, with less of the uncomfortable heat you can expect in the summer months, so it’s perfect for sightseeing and active excursions. You can also expect smaller crowds, fewer children and less tourists. As for prices, a cruise at this time of the year won’t set you back as much compared to peak times.
Eastern Mediterranean Cruises
With natural wonders, iconic cultural highlights, and of course, a long list of incredible cuisine to gorge on, it’s no surprise that the eastern Mediterranean is one of the world’s top tourist destinations.
With beautiful cities like Dubrovnik, Athens, Venice and Kotor among its highlights, the unmistakable combination of historic destinations, sunshine and rugged coastlines make for a multitude of breath-taking adventures.
And with a superb selection of cheap cruise deals to the region, we’ve made sure our Eastern Mediterranean cruises let you explore and experience only the best of this awe-inspiring part of the world.
Got the travel itch and looking for last-minute Mediterranean cruises? How about a holiday where everything’s taken care for you? Whichever way you’re looking to travel in 2023, Eastern Mediterranean cruises from Cruise Nation have what you’re looking for – and more.
There are plenty of great times to cruise the Eastern Mediterranean. But when it comes to weather, certain months are better than others, so before you book it’s good to know the prime times to cruise the region.
What’s the weather like in the Eastern Mediterranean?
DO IT YOURWAY
Having the freedom to cruise your way is just one of the many reasons why Cruise Nation is the way to go for the ultimate Eastern Mediterranean cruise getaway.
We like to keep your options open here. If flying isn’t your thing, then our no-fly cruises do away with baggage restrictions and long queues. Simply head to a nearby UK port and you’ll find your cruise liner awaiting your arrival.
Our fly cruises, meanwhile, let you lengthen your leisure time either side of your holiday. Want to soak up the Athenian sun for a few days before you set sail? You can do that. Or maybe you’re not quite ready to leave Rhodes just yet? Simply add a few extra days onto your itinerary.
Whether it’s a short stay, a longer stretch or somewhere in between, you’ll find 5-day, 7-day, 10-day Eastern Mediterranean cruises right here with FREE stay options to make sure you get the most out of your unforgetable holiday.
Eastern Mediterranean Highlights
The Eastern Mediterranean’s most charming old town, sailing into Dubrovnik is a magical experience whether it’s your first or fifth time.
The city’s status as a popular tourist hub has escalated over the past several years, and once you step onshore, it’s easy to see why. Baroque buildings line the pristine streets, twisting stone steps lead to hidden restaurants and bars, while the azure waters tempt swimmers to take the plunge, even in the colder months.
Food lovers will delight at the wide variety of cuisine on offer, but it’s in the seafood restaurants where Dubrovnik’s unique tastes truly shine. After dinner, head for the city’s cliffside bars or take the scenic cable car to the heights of Mount Srd (pronounced serj) for one of the finest sunsets views in the entire Mediterranean.
One of the world’s oldest cities, Athens’ listed historic sites, mythical gods and laid-back lifestyle has kept travellers returning to the Greek capital for hundreds of years. It’s a kind of appeal that won’t be changing anytime soon.
Today, the sprawling city is a perfect blend of old and new: ruins sit next to chic new restaurants, centuries-old artefacts hang side-by-side with modern masterpieces and boutique hotels provide a fresh take on city-dwelling.
No Athens stop on a Mediterranean cruise would be complete without a visit to the Acropolis and the Parthenon, while those looking to indulge in some retail therapy should make for the Plaka – the city’s oldest neighbourhood, lined with pretty boutiques and jewellery stores – for a wardrobe refresh with a twist.
Romance, mystery and intrigue combine in one of the world’s most-visited cities. The floating maze of streets and winding canals that cover Venice’s 100 islands are easy to lose yourself among, but a short gondola ride will soon see you back at Venezia’s main attractions.
Unmissable sights include the hidden rooms and passages of the Dodge’s Palace in St. Mark’s Square, the beautiful Bridge of Sighs and the incredible artwork of the Basilica. Bucket lists at the ready…
Venice is also one of the finest cities in the world for food and drink. Avoid the tourist-traps and sky-high prices around the most famous sights and instead dive down a side street, where bars and restaurants are filled with local alfresco diners, sipping elegantly on Aperol Spritzes canal-side.
Once the capital of the Eastern Christian Empire, Istanbul has been home to a number of fascinating cultures – including the Romans, Greeks and Ottomans. This diverse heritage has had a huge impact on the city, and Istanbul continues to be a cultural capital for art, religion and traditional Islamic architecture.
With more galleries, museums and minarets than you can point a camera at, Istanbul’s picturesque array of art and architecture makes for plenty of photo-ready opportunities for the snap-happy. Once you’re finished creating your very own postcard shots, be sure to sample its food, from huge mezes to incredible kebabs, made in ways you won’t have tried before.
And what makes Istanbul even better? It’s the ideal starting point to begin your cruise to the Eastern Mediterranean – within close travelling distance to a number of beautiful destinations including Ephesus and Halicarnassus.
Whether it’s a deep dive into its past or a lounge on the beach, Rhodes offers the best of both worlds. Begin at Rhodes Old Town, where you’ll uncover a twisting labyrinth of cobbled alleys, awe-inspiring architecture, and ruins from Classical, Ottoman and Italian eras waiting to be discovered.
The New Town, meanwhile, is anything but ancient. A sprawling modern resort, tourists are well catered for here. Festooned with beaches, high-end shops, a bustling nightlife, and plenty of bars to pull up a chair at, it’s a completely different world from the Old Town.
But Rhodes’ true highlight is perhaps its cuisine. Foodies are in for a real treat here; the local cuisine is about so much more than powering you through the day. It’s a way of life. Expect succulent lamb dishes, fresh Greek yoghurt flavoured with herb-infused honey, succulent souvlaki, and locally caught fish that came ashore just hours earlier.
Bari might not have the big-name reputation of other Eastern Mediterranean ports, but its hidden-gem status surely won’t last much longer. Once a gritty urban sprawl, Bari’s easy access has given it a new-found energy, a place that welcomes all who step foot on its shores.
Lined with ancient narrow streets, Bari’s Old Town is home to spectacular architecture that dates back a thousand years. Here, you’ll find the relics of St. Nicholas himself inside Basilica di San Nicola, while Bari Cathedral promises unforgettable sightseeing within a peerless Christian Basilica.
Elsewhere, the city has undergone significant renewal, with an array of highlights and tourist attractions introduced in recent years. These more recent sights sit alongside Bari’s bohemian enclaves, with a plethora of exhibitions, film screenings and art workshops bringing a unique cultural flair to this underrated Italian port city.
Once overshadowed by nearby Dubrovnik, Split’s personality has made it a go-to for tourists in recent times. And with no shortage of things to see and do and delicious food to eat, it’s easy to see why.
A wander through Split’s Old Town offers up plenty of sights, chief among them being Diocletian’s Palace, a UNESCO-listed highlight that offers up arched gateways, marbled columns and the chance to scale the bell tower of the Cathedral of St Domnius, where incredible views of city and coast await.
Elsewhere, year-round sun warms the palm-lined Riva, a seafront promenade where locals take their coffee very seriously. Grab a cup before heading to Bačvice beach’s warming waters for some rest and relaxation.
For culture lovers, Meštrović Gallery and the Gallery of Fine Art are sure to satisfy, but be sure to leave room for Split’s food scene too – especially if fish is your thing.
It may be Greece’s answer to Ibiza, but there’s more to Mykonos than its pulsating party scene. And though the main town, Hora, certainly gets busy, there’s still plenty of quiet spots to check out amongst its bevy of boutiques, cafes and restaurants. Take the town’s windmills for instance. A short hike up the small hill away from the main town, it’s well worth making the trip here – especially at sunset.
At Hora’s edge, meanwhile, the Rarity Gallery boasts frequently changing exhibitions featuring the best in contemporary painting, photography and design. Elsewhere, to the south of Hora, the Aegean Maritime Museum, quiet and peaceful, lets visitors dive into Greece’s storied seafaring heritage, with an array of nautical artefacts from different centuries.
Delos is another highlight. The mythic birthplace of Apollo and Artemis, this uninhabited island plays hosts to several temple ruins and treasures. And when you’re done, the nearby beaches let the intrepid take up everything from windsurfing and kayaking to stand-up paddleboarding. With so much to see and do in Mykonos by day, it may be hard to muster up the energy to take in its fabled nightlife.
Eastern Mediterranean ports
Liking the sound of an Eastern Mediterranean Cruise right now? We thought you might. Here’s where you could be calling at in the very near future…
Eastern Mediterranean Cruises FAQs
As we move into June, temperatures start to rise, but not uncomfortably so. Rainfall is also a rarity. If you fancy a dip, then this is when the water starts to warm up, too. Crowds will begin to grow too, but it’s nothing like the peak summer season.
Heat, crowds and prices are at their highest in July and August. Lightweight clothing, plenty of water and shady breaks will serve you well, while frequent swims in the now-balmy Mediterranean are perhaps the best way to cool off.
The Eastern Mediterranean’s second shoulder season returns in September and October, and with it come fewer crowds and lower prices. What’s more, the lovely weather sticks around too, especially compared to the Western Mediterranean. It does cool down towards the end of September and into October, but it’s certainly better than the weather back home at this time of year.