With the EU Schengen Convention in place, is there a way we can holiday in Europe for six months straight?
- V. Hodge, Gympie, Queensland.
You can only spend up to 90 days in countries that are a party to the Schengen Convention without having to get visas.
The 90 days are cumulative within a six-month period, so you cannot simply make a side trip to another country, then return and start again.
If you want to avoid the hassle and expense of getting visas, I would recommend planning for 90 days within the Schengen countries and spending the rest of your time elsewhere.
Did you know Britain and Ireland are not part of the Schengen region? You could spend six weeks travelling around England, Scotland and Wales and another six weeks travelling around Ireland.
Many Australians underestimate the time they need in Britain and Ireland because of their small geographical sizes but there is so much to do and see and you do not cover big distances in a day.
Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania are also outside of the Schengen Convention, if they are of interest to you.
If you do want to spend more than 90 days in the Schengen area, you'll have to apply for a visa for each country you wish to visit.
Contact the embassy, consulate or high commission of the countries in question about entry requirements and visa costs. You can find a list of these contacts at smartraveller.gov.au.
- Jane E. Fraser
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