Planning on going to a Schengen country for your next trip but have no idea how to even begin planning the process? We’ve got you covered. If you are traveling to the Schengen countries of Europe for the first time, you need to start by finding out whether or not you need a visa. This depends on your nationality since you can technically enter Europe without a visa if you are of a particular nationality. So, once you’ve figured out whether you need a Schengen Tourist Visa, you need to start the process of acquiring one. But how exactly do you do that?
How to get a Schengen visa
First things first: Figure out what type of visa you need. If you are going for a vacation, you would need a tourist visa. But there are about 7 more types of Schengen Tourist Visa that you can apply for depending on your needs.
Once you know which type you are applying for, find out where you need to apply for the visa. This could be a Schengen consulate, the Schengen embassy of your destination country or another state, or a visa center.
If you are going to more than one country, go to the consulate or embassy of the state you will be staying in the longest.
Once you know where to go, go ahead and book an appointment at the center. Note that the visa application must be made from 6 months to 15 days before your trip (although we would recommend not leaving it till the last minute and applying at least a few weeks before the trip).
Now you need to fill out your visa form in detail. Make sure to be careful while filling out all the details. Once done, gather all the required documents and head to the place where you need to give your visa interview and pay the fee.
After this, all you have to do is wait for your visa. But that does not mean you can’t plan what you want to do and where you want to go on your trip.
Top things to do and places to go
This will completely depend on the states you are visiting on your trip, of course. But here is a list of our favorite things to do and places to go to when visiting those particular Schengen countries:
- Visit Austria’s Imperial Palace i.e. the Vienna Hofburg
- Gorge on some delicious Belgian chocolate and wash it all down with some good old craft beer
- Visit the Prague castle if you are in the Czech Republic
- Go trek the Rabjerg Mile in Denmark
- Take a trip down Tallinn's Old Town in Estonia
- Sleep in a glass igloo and let the northern lights take your breath away
- Watch the sun sink into the horizon from the top of the Eiffel Tower in France
- Be awestruck by the sheer domineering magnificence of the Cologne Cathedral in Germany
- Admire the city of Venice while lazing in a gondola in Italy
- Dance the night away in Ibiza when you visit Spain
- Explore the majestic and austere Kalmar in Sweden
- Trace the trajectory of the gods while climbing Mount Olympus in Greece
Honestly, considering there are 26 beautiful countries that make up the Schengen, there is no way this list could ever be close to complete. So, make sure to research the places to go, food to eat, and things to experience in your destination country/countries so you can truly experience all the flavors of the land and its unique culture.