Traveling the world remains one of the top desires for most people. Some do it for professional reasons, while more do it for personal ones. Europe is, without a doubt, a dream destination for the majority of us. However, it is really hard to plan a trip to Europe and pick just one destination. Well, how about most of them? This is exactly what a Schengen visa allows you to do.
A Schengen visa is a gateway to visit any European country in the Schengen area – without restrictions. Let’s know more about the Schengen visa and some of the best Schengen countries to visit in Europe.
What is Schengen Visa?
A Schengen Visa is a special kind of visa that allows its holder to visit any country in the Schengen area for a short visit. The visa allows short stays of up to 90 days and could be used for personal or business visits.
Schengen visa has emerged as the most powerful tool for tourists visiting Europe. The visa originated with the Schengen Agreement in 1985 which made European countries abolish their national borders and allow easier transit of people and goods. Holders of the visa can freely move around the Schengen area without any border control or restrictions. Currently, there are 26 member countries that form the Schengen area. In 2019, more than 15 million people used the Schengen visa to transit across Europe.
Following are some key features of the Schengen visa:
- The visa could be taken from any of the 26 member countries and would allow you to move around the Schengen area all the same. Typically, the first country you would visit in Europe is the one that grants the visa.
- Schengen countries are not the same as the countries in the European Union. While there are some significant overlaps, there are also countries in the Schengen area and not in the EU (and vice versa).
- The visa allows you to stay for up to 90 days. For any longer than that, you would have to apply for a national visa in one of the countries.
Not just the Schengen area, but the list of any must-visit countries in the world cannot be complete without France. France has consistently been one of the most visited countries in the world. The allure of French romance, famed medieval architecture, and delicious cuisine easily makes it one of the best Schengen country to visit.
While the Eiffel Tower is a must-visit attraction of the country in the capital city of Paris, France boasts many more wonders to behold. The cathedrals and castles are a special attraction – be it the Palace of Versailles, Notre-Dam Cathedral, or the Castle of Chambord. If you want a detour from the usual suspects, France also has a plethora of quaint villages to enjoy the peaceful natural beauty, like St-Jean Pied de Port and Pérouges.
The best time to visit France would be late spring (April – May) or the fall season (September – October). However, if you want to enjoy the festivities and bustling crowds of France, then the summers (June – August) would be the best. In 2019, France saw 90.9 million visitors from around the world.
The birthplace of Western civilization, Greece continues to fascinate the world even today. A balance of enthralling natural beauty and majestic ancient wonders is what defines Greece as one of the best Schengen country to visit.
The capital city, Athens, is one of the most visited sites in the country and home to ancient attractions like the Acropolis and Parthenon. The monasteries of Meteora, the ruins of Delphi, and the temple of Hephaestus are some other vestiges of the ancient world that are the major attractions of Greece. But Greece is also an idyllic country to relax and absorb the beauty of nature, with cities like Santorini that offer a breath of fresh air.
The best time to visit Greece would be from the summer to fall (May – October) when the weather is warm and pleasant. Greece saw 31.3 million visitors in 2019.
One of the most powerful economies in the world, Germany attracts visitors for a different reason. Business visits are the most common purpose in visiting Germany, but you would be wrong to assume the country has no wonders to behold.
One of the oldest countries in Europe, Germany offers a plethora of castles and cathedrals like The Cologne Cathedral, Reichstag building, Neuschwanstein Castle, Heidelberg Castle, and Aachen Cathedral. Bavaria is one of the most visited cities due to the castles, while Munich is popular for Oktoberfest. The capital city of Berlin is home to the top businesses of Germany, as well as the most significant historical sites from the 20th century.
The best time to visit Germany would be in the summer, from May to September. However, if you want to attend the iconic Oktoberfest, you might to extend it until October. 35.2 million visited Germany in 2019.
There‘s nothing in the world that offers what Italy does. The fourth best Schengen country to visit in terms of footfall, there are plenty of things that make Italy the amazing destination it is. Italian architecture along with Italian food makes it one of the must-visit countries not just in Europe, but in the world.
Italy offers glorious relics of the ancient Roman empire with sites like the Colosseum, the Forum, the Pantheon, and the Palatine Hills. The capital city of Rome is a wonder in itself, with access to the Holy Vatican Church and numerous other attractions too. The city of Florence is famous for its Renaissance beauty, particularly the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. The dream-like city of Venice has long been the destination of couples looking for some romantic moments on its numerous canals. And of course, the Tower of Pisa is a must-visit for its fame. Italy has no dearth of amazing places to visit in this country, including the Cinque Terre, Capri, Sorrento, Amalfi Coast, and Lake Como. And anywhere you go, amazing food will follow.
The best time to visit Italy is early summer (May – June) or the fall season (September – October). In 2019, Italy was visited by 64.5 million people.
Denmark is basically a place you wish your country was. The Scandinavian country is a haven of prosperous and happy people, with great infrastructure, architecture, and natural beauty.
The capital city, Copenhagen, is a bustling metropolis that sees the most business visits in the country. But other cities in Denmark offer more options – be it Aalborg with its revitalized waterfront that’s a sight to behold, or Roskilde which offers a plethora of ancient Viking sites. Scattered across the country are beautiful gardens, mountains, and cathedrals, like the Roskilde Cathedral, Ledreborg Palace, and the Aalborghus Castle. Other destinations include Jutland, Tivoli Gardens, Funen Island, and Aero Island. Denmark is also generally a great place to just relax and spend some quality time amidst some great people.
Denmark sees terrible winters, so the best time to visit it is during the peak summer months of June – August. In 2019, 8.3 million people visited Denmark.
For those looking to enjoy the most beautiful sights nature has to offer, Finland is one of the best Schengen country to visit. The ice-laden Nordic country offers an experience of a lifetime.
Finland stands out for its Northern Lights – the spectacular natural phenomenon that every travel junkie hopes to witness at least once in their lifetime. Throughout the country, you can witness various beautiful ice-covered landscapes that are perfect for lovers of ice sports. The capital, Helsinki, is a must-visit for its sprawling shopping arcades that are heaven for shopaholics. Other top destinations in Finland include Levi, Turku, Aland, Savonlinna, Porvoo, Suomenlinna, Tampere, Santa Claus Village, Northern Lights, Sibelius Monument, and Nuuksio National Park.
Like most Nordic countries, the best time to visit Finland is in the summer (June – August). Around 12.43 million tourists arrived in Finland in 2019.
Spain has always been one of the top tourist destinations in the world. From a rich culture and heritage to sprawling attractions and wonders, it is without a doubt one of the best Schengen country to visit.
One of the key attractions of Spain is the wonderful beaches that are some of the best in the world. From Ibiza to Majorca, there is no dearth of beaches that offer an enthralling view of the ocean wrapped in scenic nature. Madrid, the capital city, is a class unto itself. Plaza Mayor, El Retiro Park, and the National Museum of Prado are some of the places you could visit in Madrid. Other places to not miss in Spain include Santiago De Compostela Cathedral, Costa Brava, Costa Del Sol Beach, Guggenheim Museum, The Canary Islands, and La Concha Beach.
Spain is the best to visit during spring (March-May) or during late fall (September – November). In 2019, Spain saw a whopping 83.5 million visitors – second only to France.
Despite its small size, Belgium remains one of the best Schengen country to visit for any tourist. The beautiful architecture and the amazing Belgian culture are two of the biggest reasons to visit this nation.
The capital city of Brussels offers some of the grandest architectural wonders you would find in Europe. The Grand Palace and the Atomium are some of the must-visit places in the city. The Battlefields of Flanders is an unmissable destination for any enthusiast of European history, while the canals of Burgess offer a picturesque backdrop. Ghent and Mechelen are some of the other places you must definitely check out in Belgium.
Belgium has good weather almost throughout the year. However, summer (April – June) and fall (September – October) are particularly good times to visit the country. 18.06 million people visited Belgium in 2019.
For plenty of good reasons, the Netherlands has remained one of the best Schengen country to visit – in fact, one of the best countries overall too. The country offers the calm of Nordic countries and the charm of countries like France and Italy – all in a single place.
Throughout the Netherlands, you will find plenty to soothe your eyes – from windmills and canals to museums and heritage sites. The capital city of Amsterdam offers picturesque sites that would be best enjoyed with a loved one. The water canals and beautiful architecture make Amsterdam a prime spot on Instagram. Other locations that you must visit in the Netherlands are Rotterdam, Eindhoven, Giethoorn, Keukenhof, Kinderdijk, Breda, Arnhem, Maastricht, and Delft. Attractions include De Hoge Veluwe National Park, Canals of Amsterdam, and Anne Frank House.
The Netherlands has largely pleasant winters, so you can visit between September – November. You can also visit in June if you want to avoid the winter. In 2019, the Netherlands saw a footfall of 25.9 million people.
Spellbinding nature and astounding art are the two things that define Austria, one of the best Schengen country to visit. Austria has a rich history, combined with its art and architecture, to rival any European country.
Austria boasts of medieval buildings that would leave any architecture lover awestruck. The ornate and stylish buildings decorate every major city of Austria – the capital city of Vienna being its prime example. But if you are not into buildings and prefer staying closer to nature, Austria doesn’t disappoint. The snow-laden mountains of The Alps offer a nice abode of nature and a place for lovers of ice sports, including the Zillertal Alps and the Grossglockner Alpine Road Other places in Austria that you should definitely check out include Bad Gastein, Worthersee, Graz, Wachau, and Innsbruck.
Austria enjoys pleasant spring and soothing fall, so April, May, September, and October are the best months to visit it. 22.7 million people visited Austria in 2019.
Start Your Schengen Visit With BookMyForex
A Schengen visa will allow you to visit one or more of your favorite countries in Europe. It is a powerful tool to make your journey easy, but BookMyForex can make it even easier.
With BookMyForex, currency exchange becomes a piece of cake. You can convert your INR not just to Euro, but also to Danish krone, Polish zloty, Swedish krona, or Swiss franc. The entire process is quick, accessible, and simple. BMF also offers the least fee on currency exchange, offering value for money to you.
For those interested in currency exchange, BMF offers a simple and fast method. All you need to do is go to the website and select the city you want to send the money to. Type in the currency you presently hold and the currency you want to convert it into. It takes less than five minutes for the booking process and the money is delivered right to your doorstep within the same day. You get the most competitive rates as compared to other money changers around the world.
You can also use a forex travel card. It is simple to use and gives you the luxury of getting forex at inter-bank rates with zero markup. All the rates are live and transparent, giving you the best possible rates.
All you need to do is download the BookMy Forex app from the website or your mobile. You have to enter the city and the currency you would like to have. Simply put in the forex amount or the Indian rupee equivalent of it and you will get same day doorstep delivery. Once you have the BMF card you will get real time spending notifications that will help manage the card. With a completely digital process, the booking of the amount is done within minutes.
So what are you waiting for? Get your Schengen visa, pick the best Schengen country to visit, avail the services at BookMyForex – and you are good to go!