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Where will the Schengen visa take you?

So you’ve decided that it's time you travel across Europe? Whether it's a road trip with the kids, a backpacking vacation, or a luxury tour with your partner; there's no avoiding the visa queue. Quite the dampener, but with the Schengen visa – possibly one of the best things to happen to travellers – you can visit nearly 30 European countries on a single visa! That's not all, there is a list of countries which are not part of the Schengen Area and yet allow Schengen visa holders to visit. Read on and make the most of the Schengen visa with Skyscanner.

Tip: Try out Skyscanner’s Multi-city flight tool for hassle free booking and make the best of your Schengen visa! Read more here

Apply for a Schengen visa – Read Skyscanner’s Schengen Visa Application Guide

The Schengen visa will take you to these countries OUTSIDE the Schengen Area

Countries that are not part of the Schengen Area and still welcome Schengen visa holders and are in Europe are Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Georgia, Gibraltar, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Turkey. Here is a look at some of them. Some countries outside of Europe do not require separate visas if travellers have valid Schengen visas. These countries are Antigua and Barbuda, Sao Tome and Principe and Colombia.

1. Croatia

Croatia – where beaches with sparkling waters cross majestic mountain ranges and ancient walled cities complement the medieval vibe of old towns. The more than 1,000 islands that sit pretty on the Adriatic are home to the most absorbing history, culture and architecture in Eastern Europe.

Read more: Croatia tourism

2. Georgia

A country over run by vineyards, where history makes its presence felt in the form of old cathedrals and solitary watchtowers – Georgia is warm, hospitable and extremely beautiful. From the appreciation of wine and the arts to spending time in beautiful landscapes, a visit to Georgia is as enriching and interesting as it is easy on the eye.

3. Romania

Mountains and forested hills home to exquisite slices of history; Romania’s cobblestone towns, stone churches, castles and ancient monasteries stand in delightful contrast to the exciting capital city Budapest. A Romanian holiday is a whirlwind of sightseeing, culture and wildlife.

Read more: 10 secret castles in Europe to visit

The Schengen Visa will take you to these countries within the Schengen Area

First timers with the Schengen visa usually head to France, Germany, Spain and Switzerland: classic European destinations within the Schengen Area. You could even throw in a bit of Italy and Greece and give your trip a different twist. For those who’ve done the essentials, there are the less explored countries: the Balkans and Scandinavia, along with Portugal and Poland. It is recommended you apply through the embassy of one of the larger countries, such as Germany, Switzerland or France. Obviously, the country where you apply from will have to be included in your travel itinerary, but that should be well worth it, since the processing time here will be shorter. Embassies of these countries can be found in most metros and they will be more efficient on the whole.

1. Germany

One of Europe’s most visited countries, Germany’s popularity with travellers grows every year. Its cities, where a lot of European history has played out; its beautiful towns and breathtaking countryside – all come together to offer an enticing mix to the visitor.

Read more: Germany visa – How to apply for a visa to Germany

2. Switzerland

Switzerland is where you want to head to for a relaxing break. Walk along beautiful lake shores, stay at remote Alpine inns, eat at the best restaurants or head up the mountains for some skiing and hiking. And this is just a glimpse of the many experiences in beautiful, romantic, honeymoon-worthy Switzerland.

Read more: Ultimate Europe travel guide: With a twist

3. Italy

Artistic treasures, beautiful people, romantic language, great food and old, old culture. Italy is a tourist’s dream. Visit to soak up Roman history and get a sense of medieval life, all the time teasing your taste buds with the best menus ever!

Read more: Italy visa – Italian visa for Indians – A quick guide

4. Spain

Spain will floor you with its history and architecture, both steeped deep in the eternal romance that Spain is famous for. If you visit one foreign country in the world, make it Spain – a wise man once said.

Read more: All you need to know about your backpacking trip across Europe

5. Poland

Poland, lesser visited and waiting to be explored! A country that can double up as a live museum of history, complete with its medieval capital and Jewish flavour.

Read more: Poland visa for Indians – A quick guide

6. Portugal

Cities, countryside and coasts, Portugal is one compact surprise. Lisbon, Porto, Douro, Algarve – all waiting to be discovered.

Read more: Travel to Europe: Three affordable holidays

7. France

France, melting pot of cultures – a beautiful land teeming with contrasts. What’s more, it is home to some of the world’s most famous and notable landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower. To top it all off, it has a world-class cuisine that promises to titillate your taste buds, and please your gastronomic urges.

Read more: French visa for Indians – A quick guide

8. Austria

Perfect for a relaxing holiday, Austria with its palaces, vineyards, medieval castles and old world cafes turns on the charm without warning. Take it in slowly, the country is too beautiful to rush through.

Read more: Tour Europe in under INR60,000 for 10 days all-inclusive!

Published April 2017. Whilst information was correct at the time of publication, we’d recommend that you check the details with the country embassies before booking your tickets. Countries not in the Schengen Area may have additional visa requirements.