September is one of the best times of year for Mediterranean cruises. Not only can you expect fewer crowds and milder temperatures compared to the popular summer months, but there are plenty of lively events taking place that will add a little extra thrill to your holiday.
Korcula Photo Credit: Lawrence OP
Live Music Festivals
The music festivals taking place in the Med this month highlight a diverse range of genres and styles, from classical to modern. The entertainment begins with the Outlook Festival in Pula, Croatia (3rd September), one of Europe’s top bass music festivals, which features cutting-edge music ranging from dubstep to electronic. The music continues in Croatia with the Korkyra Baroque Festival, which takes place in early to mid-September in Korcula. This seven-day festival is a treat for both the eyes and ears, with many of the musical performances set in unique cultural heritage venues across the island. Lastly, there’s France’s Strasbourg Musica beginning in late September, which showcases favourites from the second half of the 20th century, along with creative contemporary music.
Diada de Catalunya Photo Credit: ElsHostaletsdePierola
Gibraltar celebrates its National Day with street parties on 10th September, while Barcelona marks Catalunya’s independence from the rest of Spain during Diada de Catalunya (11th September), with spirited demonstrations and flag-waving events. Malta celebrates its own Independence Day on 21st September, with parades and festivities taking place across the country to commemorate its political separation from Britain in 1964.
Valetta Photo Credit: Andrea~S
Arts and Creativity
September’s enriching arts and creativity events begin in Malta with the Valletta International Visual Arts Festival, which showcases pieces by internationally-recognised and up-and-coming artists from 1st to 7th September. Next is the Neptune Trident Festival in Tabarka, Tunisia (early September), during which both locals and tourists can put their spear-fishing skills to the test.
Lyon, France celebrates all forms of dance, from Flamenco to hip-hop, at the Lyon Biennale de la Dance from 10th to 30th September. Film buffs will be in their element with three film festivals taking place this month, including the arthouse Split Film Festival in Croatia (13th to 20th September); the prestigious San Sebastián International Film Festival in Spain (second week of September); and the star-studded Athens International Film Festival in Greece (17th to 20th September).
Regatta Storica Photo Credit: Roberto Trm
First in this month’s line-up of sporting events is the Finn World Championship, a prominent sailing event that takes places in Santander, Spain from 1st to 15th September. The water sport excitement continues with the Regata Storica in Venice (first Sunday in September), which features rowing regattas, in addition to a popular opening procession of gondolas along the Canal Grande. Other sporting events include the IAAF Continental Cup, an international track and field event in Marrakech, Morocco (13th to 14th September); and the Women’s World Volleyball Championship, which takes place in several different cities in Italy, including Bari and Trieste, beginning on 23rd September.
Patmos Photo Credit: TomUrc’s Photo
Singing, folk dancing and bullfights can be enjoyed at Portugal’s Romaria da Nossa Senhora de Nazaré (early to mid-September); while Barcelona, Spain’s Festa de la Mercè (mid-September) commemorates the city’s patron saint, Mare de Deu de la Mercè. In honour of the saint’s noted compassion for animals, the event includes a procession of people dressed as tigers, horses, and other animals. In Italy, there’s Festa di San Gennaro (19th September) celebrating the patron saint of Naples, and 23rd September is San Giovanni Rotondo’s largest festival, which honours the city’s much-loved saint, Padre Pio. The Feast of St John the Divine is celebrated in Níssyros and Pátmos, Greece with poignant liturgies on 24th September; and the month finishes with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, which is celebrated in Israel from 25th to 26th September.
Martina Franca Photo Credit: Tarantino Vincenzo
Food and Drink
The delicious cuisine attracts many cruisers to the Med, and this month is filled with festivals that celebrate this region’s unique food and drink. The GNAM! Street Food Festival (11th to 14th September) in Martina Franca, Italy features top local and international street food traders and chefs, along with culinary talks and live music.
The Pistachio Festival celebrates Aegina, Greece’s most famous nut from 18th to 21st September, with music, dance, and pistachio-based foods. Sample more local treats in France at Les Etoiles de Mougins from 19th to 21st September, or the France-wide Fête de la Gastronomie (20th to 22nd September). There’s also the Dubrovnik International Wine and Jazz Festival in Croatia at the end of September, which combines performances by world-renowned jazz artists with tastings of top Croatian wines.
These are only a few of the fascinating and fun activities and events you can expect to enjoy while you’re cruising the Med this September.
THE FULL LIST (BY COUNTRY)
3 September: Outlook Festival, Pula
Early to mid-September: Korkyra Baroque Festival, Korcula
13-20 September: Split Film Festival
End of September: Dubrovnik International Wine and Jazz Festival
10-30 September: Lyon Biennale de la Dance
19-21 September Les Etoiles de Mougins
20-22 September: Fête de la Gastronomie
Late September: Strasbourg Musica
10 September: Gibraltar National Day
17-20 September: Athens International Film Festival
18-21 September: Pistachio Festival, Aegina
24 September: Feast of St John the Divine, Níssyros and Pátmos
25-26 September: Rosh Hashanah
First Sunday in September: Regata Storica, Venice
11-14 September: GMAM! Street Food Festival, Martina Franca
19 September: Festa di San Gennaro, Naples
23 September: Commemoration of Padre Pio, San Giovanni Rotondo
23 September-12 October: Women’s World Championship (Volleyball), Bari, Trieste, and other cities
1-7 September: Valletta International Visual Arts Festival
21 September: Independence Day
13-14 September: IAAF Continental Cup, Marrakech
Early to mid-September: Romaria da Nossa Senhora de Nazaré
1-15 September: Finn World Championship (Sailing), Santander
11 September: Diada de Catalunya, Barcelona
Early to mid-September: Festa de la Mercè, Barcelona
Second week of September: San Sebastián International Film Festival
Early September: Neptune Trident Festival, Tarbarka
* All dates stated are for 2014 and subject to change