Wednesday, December 8, 2021

6 Amazing Schengen Countries to Visit in 2021!

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Let me guess, your friend or colleague told you about that wonderful vacation that they had in Europe, with their Schengen visa. Can you really visit multiple European countries with a single visa? This must be a question that’s pestering you. Good news, because you can! Here, we shall see all about Schengen countries, Schengen Visa, and amazing Schengen countries you should visit this year, so buckle up!

Schengen Area

Before we go into what a Schengen visa is, we need to know about the Schengen zone. There are 26 countries in the Schengen area, and it is the largest visa or passport-free zone in the world. Schengen countries have eliminated their internal borders and share rules for border controls, a symbol of pure harmony.

External borders of the European Union follow the ETIAS, a new initiative by the European Commission. Schengen zone encompasses a majority of the EU countries and some others not members of the European Union EU.

What is a Schengen Visa?

The Schengen visa allows you to travel to any of the Schengen countries. You can travel freely within the Schengen zone as there is no internal border control.

Schengen Visa Applications

Before proceeding to your visa applications, put together your travel plan that covers your intended stay period, countries you want to visit, time and point of entry into the Schengen zone, and point of exit. Once your travel goals are set, focus on the Schengen visa requirements and schedule an appointment at a Schengen consulate in your country.

Schengen Visa Validity

Several types of Schengen Visas, such as single-entry, multiple-entry, and double-entry visas, are issued based on the frequency of visits and reason for visiting. Schengen visa validity follows the 90/180 rule. Confused? No worries!

You can stay in the Schengen zone for 90 days, consecutively or with gaps in between, but your 90 days of stay within the Schengen zone is valid only during the 180 days period (3 months). For more information about Schengen visa requirements and validity, click here or drop a comment below!

Now that we have a brief idea about the Schengen zone and countries in the Schengen area, our next action plan is to help you narrow down your itinerary. Having 26 countries to choose from might have left you in a dilemma, which is why we have listed some amazing Schengen countries that you must check out!

1. Switzerland

Schengen Countries
Photo by Denis Linine from Pexels

Known as the ‘Playground of Europe’, Switzerland is a snow-covered expanse that offers scenic mountain ranges and the countryside. For fun and frosty vacation, Switzerland is one among the Schengen countries you could blindly consider!

Sights To See

Among numerous historic castles and buildings, the Château Chillon is one to visit. Offering a breathtaking view of mountains, there is a high chance you might get lost in that fairytale world! The capital city of Bern also has a lot to offer, with art galleries, The Rose Garden, fountains constructed in the 16th century, and the medieval clock tower Zytglogge.

Things To Do

If you’re going to Switzerland, skiing is one activity you cannot miss! Switzerland is bliss for skiers (check out the ski resort at Zermatt), while during the summer, it is a paradise for hikers (The Swiss National Park offers 80 km of hiking trails).

Must-Try Delicacies

Switzerland is one of the biggest chocolate consumers globally, and Swiss chocolate and Swiss cheese are two specialties here. Cheese fondue is a must-try culinary specialty of Switzerland. If you’re looking to explore Swiss food, be on the lookout for the Street Food Festival in Zurich!

2. Iceland

Schengen Countries
Photo by Kamil from Pexels

A breathtakingly beautiful country that has always piqued the interest of tourists, Iceland has iconic landscapes, delicious local cuisine, and activities to do that cannot be experienced in other Schengen countries.

Sights to See

If you’re already in Iceland, you cannot afford to miss the Northern lights! For peak visibility, you could visit between December and February.

Iceland is also known for whale watching tours, the most common sightings being humpback and Minke whales. Keep an eye out for the rare killer whales as well! Reykjavik is a popular location for whale-watching tours.

If you’re visiting during March or September, then the Northern Lights are a magical sight that you’re very likely to see! Norway and Finland are other Schengen countries where you can view the Aurora Borealis.

Things to Do

Known worldwide for their geysers and healing waters, a visit to Iceland is incomplete without a relaxing spa at the Blue Lagoon. Iceland is also famous for its beautiful waterfalls. The Skόgafoss is one of the most popular ones. 10 minutes away from this roaring waterfall is the Seljalandsfoss, where you can walk behind the waterfalls. Sounds just like a scene out of a movie, doesn’t it?

Must-Try Delicacies

You have never truly explored a country if you haven’t got a taste of their local cuisine. Iceland offers unique, exquisite flavors, and the food here is one of the healthiest in the world. They have some of the world’s best hot dogs (you have Bill Clinton’s word for it!), and their rich lamb soup (Kjötsύpa) is a traditional delicacy best suited to the chilly winters.

Talking about food in Iceland is incomplete without the Dark Rye Bread baked using a hot spring. This intriguing experience lets you bake your own bread by utilizing the geothermal activity in the area.

3. Spain

Schengen Countries
Photo by Aleksandar Pasaric from Pexels

Feeling a bit chilly? You’ve come to the right place! Known for the numerous beaches, diverse culture, historical landmarks, and exquisite cuisine, Spain is a beauty not to be missed!

Sights to See

In contrast to the white, snowy expanse of the previously explored amazing Schengen countries, Spain offers you golden sands and sunny beaches for a relaxing vacation. The city of Las Palmas is home to one of the best beaches in Europe, Las Canteras. Some inevitable stops here at Spain are the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia, Catedral de Santa Ana, and the Great Mosque of Cordoba.

Things to Do

Spain offers many diverse activities, so what to do is not going to be a question! If you’re an adrenaline junkie, you’re in luck. You could go skydiving in Seville or Empuriabrava, skiing across the Sierra Nevada mountain range, and partying the night away at Ibiza.

Spain is also home to the only ice bar in the world. Located on the El Somorrostro beach, the bar operates at an internal temperature in the range of -2 °C to – 10 °C and is a great relief from the scorching heat of the summer sun.

Must-Try Delicacies

Among the numerous delicious treats Spain has to offer, Tapas is deeply rooted in Spanish culture. They are available everywhere, usually as sides to drinks. Madrid offers some of the best tapas in Spain.

Paella is another traditional Spanish dish capturing hearts with its delicious, mouth-watering flavors. Gazpacho, Tortilla Espanola, and Pisto are other authentic Spanish dishes you could try out.

4. Greece

Schengen Countries
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Among the Schengen member states, Greece, the cradle of western civilization, has one of the greatest mythological significance. Ancient ruins, sublime islands, and museums teeming with proof of rich history and culture are all factors that attract visitors to Greece.

Sights to See

Some of the most popular Greek sights are the Acropolis, the Delphi Ruins, and the Palace of Knossos. For swimming, sunbathing, or a simple walk along the shore, Myrtos Beach and Navagio Beach are ideal spots.

At Zakynthos, you will see the serene Blue Caves, resulting from thousands of years of erosion. For honeymooners, Santorini is highly suggested for the magnificent architecture and the picture-perfect views taken in by long walks along the island.

Things to Do

If you are into Greek mythology, hold on to your hats as you have an opportunity to get up to the throne of Zeus, Mount Olympus. This is one of the most exciting activities here, apart from trekking through the Samaria Gorge and hiking the Corfu trail. The latter is a challenging 220 km long trail that could take you 8 to 10 days to complete.

Must-Try Delicacies

Greek cuisine is one of the most tempting, which will leave you confused between the options available. One of the must-try dishes here is Souvlaki, a popular Greek street food consisting of grilled meat on a skewer. For those with a sweet tooth, some specialties to try are Baklava, Amygdalota, and Bougatsa.

5. Norway

Scehengen countries
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Known as the Land of the Midnight Sun, Norway is a country of sheer beauty and stunning views. Norway is one of the Schengen countries where you can view the Northern Lights.

Sights to See

The best place to get an insight into Norway’s Viking heritage is their museums. There are exhibits of Viking vessels and helmets, along with artifacts from around the world. The Bryggen Hanseatic Wharf at Bergen hosts remnants of the middle ages. For stunning views of Norway, Geirangerfjord and the Dalsnibba summit are where you need to be!

Things to Do

If you’re into hiking, the Island of Senja and Pulpit Rock are two must-visit spots. Both offering spectacular views from up top. You are sure to capture the Norwegian landscape perfectly. If you are looking for a challenging hike and a daredevil stunt, you must hike to Kjeragbolten. While the view is magnificent, would you risk it all to stand on a boulder wedged between two granite faces?

Must-Try Delicacies

Some delicacies you just cannot miss here are Lefse, a traditional flatbread, and pickled herring, one of the most popular items in Norwegian cuisine. In the summer, Norway hosts a variety of berries, such as bilberries and lingonberries. The most sought-after of them all is the cloudberry, a seasonal berry used in desserts. Don’t forget to taste their national dish Fårikål, a slow-cooked, aromatic wonder.

6. Finland

Schengen Countries
Photo by Frans Van Heerden from Pexels

Finland is one of the most vibrant Schengen countries, and its pristine forests and throbbing cities give visitors the best of both worlds. Whether you visit during the winter or summer, this is one of the Schengen countries where you have activities for all seasons.

Sights to See

Known as the Land of the Midnight Sun, Finland offers sights unattainable in any part of the world. During the winter, the sun disappears for months. This is when you can see the Northern lights by spending the night in a glass igloo or cottage.

Things to Do

Nuuksio National Park is your ideal location for swimming, hiking, skiing, camping, and fishing. Located within Helsinki, it is easily accessible and is the best place to get a taste of nature. Finland offers some of the best kayaking, hiking, and canoeing spots in the Schengen countries.

The Kemi Snow Hotel at Lumilinna is a popular place to stay during the winter, made entirely out of snow and ice.

Must-Try Delicacies

Some must-try traditional Finnish foods are Korvapuusti (fresh out of the oven cinnamon buns, best paired with a mug of coffee) and Karjalanpiirakka (rice porridge-filled pastry), which is available in any bakery. Fish play an important role in Finnish cuisine, and the Lohikeitto is a salmon soup specialty with a milky broth and a dash of fresh cream.

When discussing amazing Schengen countries to visit, we are spoiled for choice! Each of these EU countries has its own special offering. San Marino in Italy presents some of the most serene spots for a relaxing vacation. Italy is home to authentic dishes such as pasta and pizza and holds several amazing facts.

Paris, the city of love, is also one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Schengen countries. Austria is one of the Schengen countries that offer views out of a fairy tale, majestic mountain ranges, and historical ruins and monuments that portray its rich culture and history.

This list of amazing Schengen countries is all the European travel information you need to plan your itinerary for a wonderful trip. Comment down your favorite travel destinations and Schengen countries!

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