This paper presents a review of the state-of-the-art in understanding and quantification of the Mediterranean heat and mass (i.e. salt and water) budgets. The budgets are decomposed into a basin averaged surface component, lateral boundary components (through the Gibraltar and the Dardanelles Straits), a river input component and a content change component. An assessment of the different methods and observational products that have been used to quantify each of these components is presented. The values for the long term average of each component are also updated based on existing literature and a first estimate of heat fluxes associated with the riverine input has been produced. Special emphasis is put on the characterization of associated uncertainties and proposals for advancing current knowledge are presented for each budget component.