Home Tourism Two Balkan countries added to the Schengen area

Two Balkan countries added to the Schengen area

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Bran Castle, Romania

Bran Castle, Romania Shutterstock

From March 2024, visa holders will be able to visit two more countries, Bulgaria and Romania, as part of their trip. Europe journey. With initial reluctance, the European Union finally agreed to include these two beautiful Balkan nations. The relaxation of land controls will benefit both countries economically by streamlining commercial traffic and reducing waiting times for trucks crossing the Danube since Greece And Türkiye.

Dive deeper into the Schengen area, discover the Schengen area visa application process and discover the reasons to include Bulgaria and Romania in your European travel itinerary.

The Schengen visa

The Schengen visa

A Schengen visa is a travel permit that allows entry into the Schengen area. This zone is made up of 27 European countries that have abolished passport controls at their mutual borders, allowing unrestricted movement. Obtaining a Schengen visa involves several essential steps.

A Schengen visa allows travel throughout the Schengen area for 90 days within a 180 day period. The maximum visa stay duration under the Short Stay Program is 90 days, but this may vary depending on the visa type. To be eligible for a Schengen visit visa, you must be a citizen of a non-European country outside the European Union and provide proof of the reason for your trip and the duration.

Use the Schengen visa

A woman applies for a Schengen visa

There are a few key steps that must be followed to qualify for the Schengen visa. First, you need to determine the purpose of your visit, such as sightseeing, business or family. This determines the type of Schengen visa you should apply for. Next, you need to choose the appropriate embassy or consulate to submit your visa application, usually based on the main destination of your trip.

Later, you will need to gather and organize the required documents including a completed application form, passport size photos, passport, travel itinerary, proof of accommodation, travel insurance, proof of financial means and a letter of invitation if necessary. After making an appointment with your chosen embassy or consulate, you must appear for the visa interview, pay the applicable visa fee and wait for processing to complete, which usually takes around 15 calendar days.

Throughout this process, you should stay informed of the specific requirements and procedures of the Schengen country you plan to visit, as these may vary. Additionally, staying informed of any changes or updates to visa policies is essential for a smooth and successful application process.

Balkan Nations Tours

A photo of the Baba Vida Fortress in Vidin along the Danube, Bulgaria

To explore the two Balkan nations, Bulgaria and Romania, you can consider travel tours that integrate them with various European itineraries. Of Visit to the Balkan Peninsulawhich reveals common stories and picturesque landscapes in Bucharest and Sofia, Cruise on the Danubepassing through various cities in both countries like Constanta and Vidin, these tours offer a mix of cultural, historical and natural attractions.

You can also get started in Visit to the capitals of Eastern Europediscover the unique charm of Bucharest and the monuments of Sofia on your way, or opt for the Adventure in Transylvaniadiscovering the medieval wonders of Bran Castle and Cluj-Napoca.

Additionally, you can also enjoy the seaside beauty of Constanta and Varna along the Exploring the Black Sea Coast or immerse yourself in the ancient Thracian civilization with the Thracian Heritage Trail, exploring archaeological sites in both countries. These travel tours promise a comprehensive experience, showcasing the diverse and captivating facets of Romania and Bulgaria within the broader tapestry of European exploration. You can view tours online and make your booking based on your pace and travel style.

Explore Romania

Timisoara Orthodox Cathedral, Timisoara, Romania

Romania has many beautiful cities worth exploring. While Bucharest combines historical charm with modern dynamism, Brasov enchants visitors with its medieval fortifications and picturesque setting. Sibiu has well-preserved medieval architecture and cultural events, and Cluj-Napoca is a vibrant university city that offers youthful energy, historic sites, and vibrant nightlife. Timisoara combines history, baroque architecture and parks, while Constanta attracts visitors with its ancient ruins and modern attractions. Finally, Iasi impresses with its architecture and literary tradition, and Sighisoara, the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler, also known as Dracula, transports visitors to a medieval world with its well-preserved citadel and colorful houses. Each city showcases Romania’s rich history, culture and natural beauty. The best time to visit Romania is from April to October.

Explore Bulgaria

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Bulgaria

Bulgaria is an ideal destination for those who love nature and seek a modern lifestyle. It combines modern amenities with ancient architecture. Sofia, the capital, is a perfect example of this mix, with landmarks such as the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and the National Palace of Culture. Plovdiv is another city with Roman amphitheaters and a rich history. Varna, cradle of the oldest European civilization, offers beaches, heritage and nightlife. Veliko Tarnovo is a town with a medieval Tsarevets Fortress that is sure to captivate you. Burgas is a great place to relax, while Ruse is a great destination for admiring the Danube, with well-preserved architecture. Nessebar has ancient ruins that are sure to enchant you. Finally, Blagoevgrad is a vibrant university town, popular for its cultural and ecological tourism. The spring season, from April to June, is the best time to visit Bulgaria and witness it in all its glory.

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