Thinking about the delectable dishes and fine wines of Europe might make your mouth water, but did you know that some people actually travel to Europe to lose weight? Staying at a weight loss spa is pricey, but we guarantee you’ll return home relaxed, rejuvenated, and a few pounds lighter.
Along with traditional spa services, weight loss spas also offer detox programs, exercise classes, nutritional advice, and medical procedures. Personal trainers and nutritionists are on hand for advice, personal meetings, and lectures. Some of these institutions focus on relaxation and detox while others put guests through rigorous exercise.
All of Europe’s luxury health care facilities focus on:
- Long-term lifestyle changes
- Feeling young
What better place for a spa than Europe’s majestic landscape? Both you and your waistline will enjoy vacations to these outstanding weight loss spas:
Clinique La Prairie (CLP) in Montreux, Switzerland
Located right on Lake Geneva, CLP has gained worldwide fame due to its anti-aging technology. Using “CLP Extract” (sheep cells), the institute offers rejuvenation treatments that can be found nowhere else on the planet. These treatments are recommended for guests over 40. Results last for about two years. Just 17-minutes of “Corpotrim” produces results similar to one hour of aerobic exercise. “Corpotrim” was developed to help keep astronauts in shape without the help of gravity.
CLP isn’t a fat camp. The machine-based BeautyMed program lasts 12 days and is ideal for individuals aiming to lose just a few pounds. Each guest undergoes a daily electro session in which the muscles and skin are stimulated and lymphatic drainage increases. Guests have access to a wide variety of electro and laser therapies. A slew of professionals are available for advice and to help you form a personal exercise routine.
CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa in Anguilla, British West Indies
This intimate beachfront resort is located in the curve of Rendezvous Bay. The 10-day program is available to only 20 guests at a time. In the morning, participants enjoy a relaxing walk on the beach followed by classes such as aerobics and yoga. There are also many traditional and unique spa treatments available (like Aquatherapy) in the famous Venus Spa. Meals consist of nutritious foods made with ingredients from the resort’s hydroponic farm. In addition to fitness classes, guests will also undergo a health assessment and attend lectures about fitness and nutrition.
Visitors uninterested in spa treatments or weight loss can take advantage of the resort’s championship golf course, fine dining, and of course the beach.
Stobo Castle in Peebleshire, Scotland
Prepare to be pampered. Just 20 miles north of Edinburgh sits a gorgeous castle featuring a Japanese water garden, tennis courts, a unique Crystal Steam Room, and a hydrospa. The indoor, glass-roofed spa offers over 80 different treatments. At Stobo Castle, guests can float in mineral-rich water in the Dead Sea Flotarium. You’re sure to lose a little weight from the haggis-only diet. In case you don’t know, haggis is a pudding-type dish that contains sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs. These ingredients are minced with spices, suet, oatmeal, stock, and onion. Despite the description, haggis makes for a savory meal with a great nutty texture.
Many individuals attend college in a foreign country not only to earn a prestigious degree, but also to experience different cultures. A business degree is a valuable tool to have in today’s tough job market.
A business degree will:
- Teach you skills useful for any career
- Improve your teamwork, time management, problem-solving, and leadership skills
- Give you opportunities to travel
- Prepare you for life
- Help you structure your personal finances
Whether you want to go for a basic accounting degree or pursue an MBA, earning a business degree is never a bad idea.
Earning a degree is a different experience in Europe than in the US. Whereas US applicants are pressured to show uniqueness, European applicants are asked to show why they are interested in a particular subject. Along with standardized test scores, European schools look at leadership skills and motivation. If you mention an extracurricular activity, it better be related to your intended field of study.
European schools are focused on education – there are no mascots, school colors, or football teams. This “no frills” approach to learning enables universities to be cheap (sometimes free!). While American professors are easily approachable and viewed as mentors, European professors lecture in great halls while standing on a raised platform. Which school you attend should depend on your personal goals.
Here are the top three business schools in Europe:
#3: Saïd Business School (Oxford, UK)
Here’s a fun fact: just three months after they graduate, the average alumni is earning six figures (maybe these are people staying in Europe’s luxury golf resorts later in life)! Oxford’s prestigious business school is known for producing programmers. The school is divided into three sections: Business, Finance, and Management. Graduate students can earn their MBA in one year at SBS. In 2006, SBS launched a series of programs in which students can earn one of three diplomas in just 18 months. In 2013, SBS’s MBA program was ranked 24th in the world, 3rd in the UK, 6th in “The Best International MBA Programs” (Forbes), and 5th in “International Business Schools” (Business Week).
#2: London Business School (London, UK)
LBS is the UK’s top business school. It is consistently ranked as one of the top 10 business schools in the world. A competitive school, LBS offers many different business degrees including MBAs and PhDs. Sloan Masters in Leadership and Strategy is perhaps the school’s most famous degree. It is a master’s program developed for senior executives and professionals. Most Sloan Fellows have 15 years of experience under their belts before they start the program. The degree is full time and takes one year to complete. LBS also has a campus located in Dubai.
#1: INSEAD (Paris, France)
It’s not easy to get into INSEAD. Students must score 702 or higher on the GMAT (one point higher than the score required to get into LBS). This global graduate school is famous for its MBA program. It also offers a Master of Finance, a PhD in Management, and many other executive programs. Because INSEAD has campuses in the Middle East, Europe, and Asia, students have the unique opportunity to study in three different continents. Alumni have endless opportunities because INSEAD shares career services with Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business, and Kellogg School of Management in the US.
The Scots are credited with the invention of modern golf, but the origins of the game are widely debated. Most believe that the game was first played in Europe during the Middle Ages. Evidence unearthed in 2005 suggests that Mongolian travelers may have been the ones who brought the game (called “chuíwán”) to Europe. Either way, golf has been around for a long time.
Golf was banned several times throughout the 1400’s, but finally spread from Europe to the United States in the 18th century. It was firmly established in Europe by the end of the 19th century. In 1880 there were only 12 courses in England; by 1914 that number had risen to 1,000. Golf became incredibly popular in the US during the 1920’s. When an American won the British Open Championship in 1992, the US claimed dominance over the sport – a status they still hold today.
The history of golf is preserved worldwide in these famous museums:
- British Golf Museum (Fife, Scotland)
- US Golf Association Museum (New Jersey, US)
- World Golf Hall of Fame (Florida, US)
- Canadian Golf Hall of Fame (Ontario, Canada)
Today, Europe has become a destination for wealthy golfers. The rolling hills and mild climate are perfect for the sport. Luxury golf resorts aren’t just about golf; they focus on attitude, prestige, exclusivity, and landscape. Most important, they place guests in the very lap of luxury. Here are two of Europe’s best luxury golf resorts:
Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, Sicily
On Sicily’s south coast you’ll find a resort boasting discreet exclusivity (there are only 203 rooms). The grounds contain a private beach and every room has a view of the ocean with a private terrace. The resort’s two golf courses were designed by Kyle Phillips, a leading golf architect. When playing The East Course, golfers will travel along a meandering route that brings them to the sea twice. The 18th hole is located alongside the cliffs and the end of the course brings you to an elevated, tumbling landscape. The West Course is less diverse but touches the Mediterranean in the middle and is capped with a magnificent seaside finale. Both The East Course and The West Course make ingenious use of the natural terrain and make for a fulfilling experience.
Vidago Palace, Portugal
A long ago destination for those seeking Vidago’s legendary mineral waters, Vidago Palace is a resort fit for kings. With Belle Epoque charm, the resort combines the grandeur of a palace with the coziness of a cottage. There are only 70 rooms in the palace. The resort is nestled in the mountains and surrounded by woodlands. The lush atmosphere, mineral water, and tranquil setting make for a magical, restorative vacation.
Vidago Palace’s championship golf course was built in 1936 (a Mackenzie Ross original). Redesigned by Cameron and Powell according to USGA specifications, the course will remind you of the sport’s inherent beauty and is an exhilarating challenge even for experienced golfers. Great contrasts in landscape evoke a respect for the palace’s natural surroundings. The course is located in Centennial Park, presenting players with magnificent views of rolling hills and small villages. The middle of the course dips into the historic Oura Valley. The course also includes a driving range, chipping area, two putting greens, and a golf school.
Transportation is a big concern when planning a trip to Europe. Renting a vehicle is more complicated and expensive than in the US. You’ll get the best deal if you rent by the week and select a package with unlimited mileage. Just like plane tickets, the earlier you book, the better. You can reserve a rental car online or with the help of a travel agent. Shop around and make sure to ask any and all questions you might have. Make sure to read the fine print before you agree to anything. Rental companies are notorious for tacking on extra fees.
You should definitely rent a car if you:
- Have lots of luggage
- Are traveling with a group of three or more
- Will be camping
- Plan to explore one area in depth rather than travel across Europe
The best areas in which to drive are the British Isles, Scandinavia, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Switzerland, Slovenia, and Austria. Before you decide to rent, consider the amount of miles you will travel, the duration of your trip, and the number of countries you plan to visit.
The two largest rental agencies in Europe are Europcar and Sixt. Check popular travel-booking websites to get quotes. Many US agencies operate in Europe (for example, National, Thrift, Hertz, Avis, and Budget). Consolidators like Auto Europe will compare prices for you. If you book through a consolidator, make sure to ask about add-on fees. When choosing a car, a small manual vehicle is your best bet.
To avoid financial risk, you should purchase insurance along with your rental car. You can purchase a Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) Supplement from the rental agency. It costs between $15 and $35 daily. You should buy insurance when you reserve the car, not when you pick it up. Unless you are confident about your abilities to drive on the left side of the road, you might want to purchase a super CDW. This waiver cuts deductibles down to zero. At an extra $10-$30 per day, it might seem outrageous; however, a CDW has a deductible of $1,000 or more. Ask your travel agent if it would be cheaper to purchase collision insurance from your travel insurance company, your credit card company, or through Travel Guard.
Make sure to ask about pickup locations and associated fees (airports cost the most). Paying $7 for a gallon of gas might seem outrageous, but many rental agencies offer fuel efficient “green” cars. Traditional vehicles will give you about 700 miles per $160 (diesel vehicles are cheaper). In some countries, you’ll want to purchase a toll sticker called a “vignette.” Keep in mind that you will only encounter tolls on expressways. In big cities, expect to pay about $30 daily for parking.
Buying a car and then selling it again (leasing) is a great idea for anyone needing a vehicle for over three weeks. Most leases last six months, include zero-deductible theft and collision insurance, and are tax-free. As a bonus, the car is probably new. Check out companies like Europe by Car and Renault Eurodrive.
Before drop-off time, make sure you know where the office is located. Double check office hours and make sure you leave yourself enough time to get from the office to the airport. Finally, don’t forget to brush up on European traffic laws before your trip!
Once they arrive, most visitors to Europe don’t consider flying an option. Until recently, rental vehicles and public transportation have been the most cost-effective ways to travel Europe. Things are different now. There are four reasons the cost of airfare has decreased dramatically in recent years:
- Deregulation of European airlines in the 1990’s
- The Open-Skies Treaty of 1992
- Competition between airlines
- Proliferation of small, niche airlines
There are currently 62 budget airlines in Europe. SkyScanner and Kayak are two great places to start looking for flights. Purchasing tickets far in advance will enable you to find the cheapest flights. Look for airlines that use either your starting or ending point as a hub. If you have multiple flights, be prepared for delays and leave yourself with plenty of extra time. Be flexible. Try to fly on weekdays during the spring or autumn. Avoid flying during the holidays. Check for sales and look for flights that depart early in the morning or very late at night. If you can’t find the exact flight you want, check flights to nearby airports. Departure times can change suddenly by up to 10 hours. Double check your itinerary a few days before your trip and check in online to avoid fees.
Does a $100 (or less) plane ticket sound too good to be true? There are many downsides to low-cost airlines. You can’t use travel agents, tickets are available only online and are not refundable, and schedules are tight. Flights that aren’t filled up are sometimes cancelled on short notice. If you’re late, the plane will not wait for you. Almost all budget flights are point-to-point and do not offer connecting flights. There’s always the chance that a small airline will suddenly go out of business. Budget airlines are safe, but provide only basic transport (don’t expect snacks). Since the airlines don’t make much money on ticket sales, they will use every excuse to fine you. Make sure to read the fine print and look up all information about luggage.
With 41 hubs, Ryanair is Europe’s largest budget airline. If you book early, you can find flights from London to a variety of European cities for only $20. Ryanair is notorious for “add-on fees.” The only way to avoid paying a credit card fee is to use a prepaid MasterCard credit card. The average one-way ticket from Ryanair is between $55 and $65 (this price includes tax and fees). Ryanair has very strict baggage regulations. It is recommended that you purchase insurance that protects against flight cancellation because Ryanair has a very limited compensation policy in regards to cancelled flights. Make sure you know where your end point is because Ryanair often flies to small, obscure airports far from the city you’re trying to reach.
A little more expensive is easyJet, Europe’s second largest budget airline. When flying with easyJet, you will not be charged a fee for printing your boarding pass in the airport. However, like Ryanair, there is a fee for every piece of checked luggage. But unlike Ryanair, easyJet tends to use principal airports. There are no seat assignments and a one-way ticket ranges from $27-$570.
The third largest budget airline in Europe is airberlin. It has a huge network and offers long flights in addition to within-Europe flights. One-way tickets start at $60. This price includes luggage, fees, and tax. Unlike most of Europe’s budget airlines, airberlin offers free drinks, newspapers, and snacks onboard. They also allow up to 44 pounds of free checked luggage per passenger.
Nestled amongst the snow-capped mountains in Lombardy, Italy you will find a Y-shaped body of water called Lake Como. Its quiet waves cover over 90 square miles, making it the third largest lake in Italy. Formed by a long-ago glacier, Lake Como has been an oasis for the wealthy since Roman times. Today, it is a popular tourist attraction famous for its elegant old villas, breathtaking vistas, spas, palaces, historic churches, and wildlife. And don’t forget water-based activities like sailing, windsurfing, or simply taking a ride on the ferry. You’ll want somewhere peaceful to stay in which to enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Here is a list of the top three bed and breakfasts in the Lake Como area:
#3 – Le Eriche (“The Heathers”)
Located less than two miles from Lake Como’s tourist center, Menaggio, Le Eriche presents visitors with magnificent views of the surrounding mountains. If you’re looking for a peaceful way to enjoy the outdoors, Le Eriche is for you. Upon your arrival, you will be greeted warmly by the hosts. Guests have two types of rooms to choose from, each with a private garden in which free breakfast is served each morning. The room comes with a fridge, free Wi-Fi, a parking space, and a crib (if requested). The rooms are well furnished and clean. Guests staying at Le Eriche most often comment about the spectacular views, excellent breakfasts, and warm service. At Le Eriche, you are treated like friends.
#2 – Nest on the Lake
A few minutes drive from the famous Bellagio resort in the charming village of Lezzeno lies what was once a simple fisherman’s house. Today the structure is a casual bed and breakfast called Nest on the Lake. All bedrooms look out upon Isola Comacina, Lake Como’s only island. This inn can be hard to find, but once you get there you won’t want to leave. Guests are treated to spacious rooms and a private beach. Make sure to book a room with a balcony to enjoy stunning sunsets over the lake! The inn has a peaceful, antiquated feel that will make you feel like you’re staying at grandma’s house. Start your morning with a delicious outdoor breakfast as you watch for swans and other wildlife. Explore the many restaurants within walking distance, take advantage of the free Wi-Fi, relax on a raft in the lake, and make sure to ask your host about the bus and ferry services.
#1 – Villa Tres Jolie
Our number one pick is Villa Tres Jolie, a luxurious bed and breakfast located above the lake at its top end. Surrounded by mountains, Villa Tres Jolie was designed for relaxation. Inside you will find a generous breakfast room, a library in mountain chalet style, a “salone” (bar), and a room full of information about things to do in the Lake Como area. Outside is a sun terrace with a hot tub. During the summer, breakfast is served outside on the terrace. Organic, homegrown produce is used as much as possible. Villa Tres Jolie offers “special weeks” in which guests can learn about Italian topics such as wine, language, culture, and cooking. Make sure to contact the villa in advance if you are interested in staying during a special week.
There are certain European cities with a romantic, fairytale-like reputation. Paris, France is one of them. The current capital of France, Paris has been an important European city for over 2,000 years. Today it is a world leader in business, entertainment, and culture. Over time it has earned nicknames like “the city of love.”
It’s easy to become overwhelmed if you’re a first time visitor to Paris. Monuments, museums, and cathedrals are everywhere. Every corner and café in the city is worth exploring, but there are certain places you just can’t miss. Here are the top three tourist attractions in Paris, France:
#3 – Notre Dame Cathedral
The world-famous Notre Dame Cathedral is a wonder to behold with its gargoyles, chimeras, dramatic towers, and prominent spire reaching over 400 feet into the air. This Catholic cathedral is a marvelous example of French Gothic architecture. Bishop Maurice de Sully commissioned the cathedral in 1163. Legend goes that the church’s design is based on a sketch Sully drew on the ground as the result of a holy vision. After more than 100 years of labor, the cathedral was completed in 1345. It was one of the first buildings in the world to feature flying buttresses and its stained glass and sculptures were harshly at odds with the Romanesque architectural style prevailing at the time. Today the cathedral is the official chair of the archbishop of Paris. Take a tour of the place to behold wondrous sculptures, Gothic carvings, ancient relics, and breathtaking rose windows. Don’t forget to climb the North Tower, where you can view the city from Quasimodo’s lair.
#2 – The Louvre
They say you could spend a lifetime exploring the Louvre. Indeed, the museum is home to over one million artistic works dating from the medieval period to the present. Located inside the Louvre Palace, which was originally built as a fortress for King Phillip II, the art museum opened in 1793 with a proud exhibit of 537 paintings. The structure itself is a work of art with its signature glass pyramid entrance. Inside you will find world-famous works such as Michelangelo’s Dying Slave, Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, and the Greek sculpture Venus of Milo. The diverse collection includes exhibits featuring Egyptian artifacts, works by Rembrandt, the Code of Hammurabi, the luxurious apartments of Napoleon III, and much, much more. When in Paris, you won’t want to miss this most coveted of the city’s museums located on the banks on the Seine.
#1 – The Eiffel Tower
What image comes to mind when someone mentions Paris or France? The Eiffel Tower, of course! This worldwide cultural icon soars over 1,000 feet into the air. Located on the Champ de Mars, this gigantic structure is one of the most photographed attractions in the world. Named for engineer Gustave Eiffel, construction on this iron lattice tower started in January 1887. The tower was finally unveiled in May 1889 as the entrance to that year’s World’s Fair. Although Parisians disliked the structure when they first saw it, the Eiffel Tower is now the most-visited paid monument in the world. Did you know there are actually two restaurants within the tower? Visitors can take the elevator (or stairs!) to see breathtaking views of Paris during the daytime or evening.
If you’re interested in becoming a traveling teacher, Europe is one of the best places to go. With so many countries to explore, the opportunities for adventure are endless. Unlike Americans, Europeans aren’t all about work. You’ll find that a teaching job provides you with enough money and free time to fully experience your new home.
Finding a job in a foreign country can be intimidating. The first thing you need to do is decide in which country you’d like to teach. Almost every country wants English teachers, but Spain, the UK, Georgia, and France have the highest need. Based on ease of obtaining a legal job and overall experience, the best countries in which to teach English are Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, France, and Denmark. If you’re not ready to immerse yourself in a foreign language, consider teaching in the UK. Many people move there just to learn English.
Each country has different education requirements. Make sure you meet the qualifications for your new job. Most employers require an undergraduate degree or a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate. You can obtain a TEFL certificate online, but it’s best to find a program that includes teaching experience. English, Literature, and Teaching degrees are also valuable. Some institutions will require you to prove your proficiency in English. Others require only a basic teaching license. Interpersonal skills are also very important when it comes time to apply, as well as previous experience.
If you wish to work in a private language school, you will have to complete a basic course of 100 or more hours with 6 hours of observed teaching. Some facilities offer and require more specific courses, such as ILT (Introduction to Language Teaching), PLT (Practice of Language Training), and Literacy.
Many Americans overlook the fact that some European countries prefer a certain gender. Other countries only hire teachers within a certain age range (usually 20-40). If you have obtained a TEFL and you are under the age of 19, you will probably only be able to teach in volunteer situations.
As with almost any job, your salary depends on many factors, including experience, seniority, and education. There is sometimes a danger of exploitation when you travel and teach. In recent years, many institutions in Spain have paid teachers under the table in order to maximize their profits. This might not sound bad for the teachers, but when paid illegally, teachers can lose their benefits. Make sure you are paid in accordance with the law.
Some countries ignore labor laws when it comes to foreign employees. They assume the foreigners won’t know or understand local laws regarding things like end-of-contract payments and working hours. If you don’t speak the local language and/or aren’t familiar with the country’s culture, you may find yourself a victim. Individuals who can’t adapt to the culture of their new home usually give up after a few months. With proper preparation, you should be able to avoid this situation.
Speaking of preparation, you’ll also want to make sure you have the proper documents. Requirements are different for each European country. Many teachers follow the “don’t ask, don’t tell” method by working illegally with a tourist visa. This is not a good idea!
There are several websites you can visit to help you get a professional teaching job abroad. Check out TeacherHit.com and TeachAway.com. Keep in mind that September is the highest recruiting month for foreign English teachers.
Visitors to Europe may be at a loss when it comes to purchasing cosmetics. This article will give you some advice on which brands to look for. London, Berlin, and Paris have the largest selection of beauty products. Keep in mind that each European country sells different brands. International names like Estee Lauder, Body Shop, Shiseido, and Chanel are found all across Europe, but it’s more fun to explore the brands unique to the country in which you’re staying.
If you’re on a budget, drugstores will be more than adequate for your beauty needs. Lots of European drugstores allow you to sample their products. This is a great feature lacking in US drugstores.
Bourjois is one of Europe’s most famous cosmetic brands. With a focus on the particular glamor of 19th century Paris, this brand can proudly claim to have created the first powder blush. If you’re looking for a makeup remover, go for Bioderma Crealine H2O. For a great moisturizer, try Embryolisse.
If you’re visiting Europe during the summer, you’re going to need sunscreen. La Roche-Posay Anthelios AC is recommended for oily skin and those suffering from acne. Unlike sunscreens that claim to be “oil free,” this one really is!
In France, look for Monoprix and luxury brands Galeries Lafayette and Printemps. When visiting Sephora stores (you can find these in France, Italy, and Spain), look for eye shadow and blush by Fred Farruggia. Sephora stores also carry Makeup For Ever products and drugstore brands like Maybelline and L’Oreal. Sephora often has sales on their more expensive products during the summer. Another French brand to look for is Lollipops.
If you like perfume and you’re visiting Paris, you’re in for a treat. Visit a boutique called Serge Lutens at the Palais Royale. Inside you can sample a gigantic array of perfumes.
In Italy and France, look for Kiko stores. Kiko is known for its wide selection of products, great prices, and sales. The Italian store Limoni Perfumeria has a wide selection with great packaging. Look for inexpensive brands Pupa and Collistar.
In London, look for EU-exclusive Illamasqua shades.
In Germany, look for brands Astor and P2. Both brands can be found in common drugstores. Their products are inexpensive and of good quality. P2 makes great lip products. Catrice (a little more expensive) and Essence (a little less expensive) are two more great drugstore brands found in Germany. Catrice has a reputation for wonderful nail polish.
Germany is known for its focus on organic makeup and skincare. In Denmark, visit stores Matas and Magasin to find a great selection of products. If you see the name Nilens Jord, check out the mascara and eye shadow. All Nilens Jord products are free of paraben and perfume. The Danish brand GOSH is not recommended.
In the Netherlands, drugstore Kruidvat en Etos is recommended for beauty supplies. They carry aforementioned brands Catrice and Essence. They also carry MNY. Essence can also be purchase in Switzerland’s drugstores.
In the United Kingdom, visit House of Fraser. Look for brands Illamasque, Butter London, Sleek, 17, Models Own, and Barry M. International travelers often say that in regards to makeup, the UK is similar to the US.
In Spain, look for Agatha Ruiz de la Prada perfume and try out some skincare products from Instituto Español de la Piel.
If you will be traveling to Europe either for business or for pleasure, you might need to acquire a Schengen Visa. The Schengen Agreement back in 1995 led to the formation of a 26-country borderless zone called the Schengen Area. This region includes Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. Citizens of European countries that are not part of this zone may travel through this region with no limitations (Bulgaria, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania, and the UK). With the Schengen Visa, you will be able to travel freely throughout these countries without showing documentation when crossing borders. The goal of the Schengen Agreement was to harmonize visa policies and eliminate traffic jams caused by border checks. For international travelers, the Schengen Area is sort of like one really big state. In fact, this area is home to over 400 million people.
If you’re from the following list of countries, you are able to visit the Schengen Area for up to 90 days within a period of 180 days without the visa: Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong (SAR), Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Macao (SAR), Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, United States, Uruguay, Vatican City, and Venezuela.
The Schengen Visa comes in three types. You’ll need Type A (Airport Transit Visa) to pass through airports within the Schengen Area. However, this visa is not standardized and each country has different regulations to determine which citizens need the visa to pass through Schengen airports. Type B (Transit Visa) is valid for only five days. This visa is issued to citizens of non-Schengen countries in order to travel through the Schengen Zone to reach their destination. Type C is the most commonly used Schengen Visa. It is valid for up to 90 days within a period of six months and grants entry into the Schengen Area. Tourists use this visa for single, double, or multiple entries into the Schengen Area.
To apply for the Schengen Visa, contact the Embassy of whichever country you will be staying in the longest during your European visit. If you will be in different countries for equal amounts of time, chose the country you will visit first. If you have any questions, feel free to ask the Embassy.
There are many requirements you must meet in order to acquire the Schengen Visa. First of all, your passport must be valid at least three months prior to the date at which you will visit the Schengen Area. In addition, you must prove to the Embassy that you have enough money to fund your trip. You must also prove that you have a valid itinerary, have purchased round-flight tickets, and have reserved room(s) in a hotel. Don’t forget to purchase travel health insurance covering at least the equivalent of $40.56. Your insurance must include hospital treatment and emergency flight. Lastly, you must prove that you are a citizen of your home country and convince the Embassy that you really will leave the Schengen Area within 90 days.