Mediterranean cyclones with tropical-like characteristics such as spiral cloud coverage and a central cloud-free ‘eye’ are referred as medicanes. These systems have been analyzed due to their relation with high impact weather. In previous studies, the identification of medicanes is typically performed subjectively, using satellite pictures, but also objectively through three-dimensional diagnosis of a warm core and an axisymmetric structure. Despite the presence of these characteristics, it is still unclear if medicanes present dynamical similarities with tropical cyclones. We analyse the (thermo-)dynamics of a recognized medicane that occurred in December 2005 by applying different diagnostics to a high resolution simulation. These diagnostics are focused on the intensification, dynamical structure and water budget of this representative case, aiming to highlight extratropical and tropical cyclone characteristics. Three stages in the medicane life-cycle are identified: In stage I, a potential vorticity (PV) streamer reaches the Mediterranean, triggering deep convection and deepening the medicane’s central surface pressure due to diabatic heating. When lowest central pressure intensity is reached (stage II), the medicane presents a warm-core and axisymmetric structure. However, convection is rather weak and the PV streamer evolves into a cut-off system that contributes to the deepening of the medicane’s surface pressure. Finally, stage III corresponds to the decay phase where the medicane tends to weaken and to lose its axisymmetric structure. Our results highlight the detrimental role of deep convection prior to medicanes mature stage, as well as the possibility of positive or negative feedback of upper tropospheric dynamics on their central surface pressure. In addition, we show that medicanes’ warm core might be achieved due to fronts seclusion, while the “eye" formation is associated with dry air intrusions. Our analysis suggests that medicanes are hybrid systems combining both characteristics of tropical and extratropical cyclones and thus they plausibly correspond to subtropical cyclones.