The new ETIAS waiver program (European Travel Information and Authorisation System) is expected to come into effect by the end of 2022.
From that moment on, nationals of around 60 different countries will have to fill out an online application in order to obtain their ETIAS travel authorisation without having to visit a single embassy in person.
Once they’re granted their ETIAS authorisation, visitors will be allowed to visit the countries in the Schengen Area for short-term stays (up to 90 days). This includes both tourists and people travelling for business purposes.
Foreign nationals holding a valid ETIAS will enjoy the freedom to move within the Schengen Area and visit several countries without having to re-apply.
It is important to remember that, although mandatory when applicable after 2022, ETIAS is not a visa. It is a travel authorisation or visa waiver similar to the US ESTA or the Canadian eTA.
This article explores some of the most popular cities to visit in ETIAS countries.
Vatican City with ETIAS
When thinking of ETIAS cities, the small Vatican is probably not the first to come to mind. The good news is, the culture-rich residency of the Pope is one of the countries that can be visited with a valid ETIAS visa waiver.
Vatican City is obviously one of the most important pilgrimage destinations for believers around the world. Here they can visit Saint Peter’s Basilica and see the Pope at the Papal Audience held every Wednesday.
However, it’s also home to some of the finest artworks in the world. The Vatican Museums host more than 70,000 masterpieces — including, of course, the Sistine Chapel.
Budapest with ETIAS
Budapest, in Hungary, is a charming destination that has much to offer to lovers of history, culture, music, and wellness alike.
There are tens of art museums in Budapest, from the Hungarian National Gallery to the Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art that preserves Eastern and Central European art from the 20th century. Here tourists can see the works of Andy Warhol as well as other famous contemporary artists and temporary exhibitions.
Budapest is also one of the most famous European locations for spas and wellness centres. Some were founded centuries ago and are real architectonic marvels of handmade tiles and coloured glass.
Every summer, the Sziget Festival turns the Danube’s Obunda Island into one of the greatest music events in the world. More than half a million people gather here to see the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Gorillaz, Kendrick Lamar, Muse, and Rihanna.
Prague with ETIAS
Known by many as the City of a Hundred Spires, Prague is a maze of Gothic churches, Baroque sculptures, and contemporary art located in the Czech Republic. A walk around this architectonic pastiche is enough reason for most tourists to fall in love with Prague.
Yet Prague has much more to offer, including a lively and international nightlife and countless award-winning breweries.
Barcelona with ETIAS
Barcelona is the biggest city in the Spanish region of Catalonia and sits between the mountains and the Mediterranean — ideal for those who enjoy outdoor activities, from sunbathing and surfing to hiking and climbing.
Walking around the city’s streets is in itself a cultural experience.
This is the home of Antoni Gaudí and hosts some of the architect’s most famous works such as the Sagrada Familia and Casa Batlló. However, there are many less famous yet still breathtaking façades and surreal architectonic details scattered around town, ready to amaze passersby at every corner.
Berlin with ETIAS
Berlin attracts 13.5 million travellers each year.
Some of the reasons why they reach the German capital are its vibrant cultural life and the great resources the city dedicates to creativity. Music festivals, exhibitions, a buzzing nightlife — there is much to see and do in Berlin.
Visiting the many history-rich spots in the city can be an inspiring and emotional experience for many.
Highlights include the Brandenburg Gate, the Holocaust Memorial, and the remains of the Berlin Wall covered in graffiti that call for world peace and reunification.
Paris with ETIAS
Considered by many the capital of romance and fashion, Paris is an all-time favourite destination in France and Europe.
ETIAS tourists headed to Paris can expect world-class museums, breathtaking views of the Seine, and unforgettable landmarks such as the Tour Eiffel, Arc de Triomphe, and the Centre Pompidou.
It’s advisable to plan the trip ahead as the number of things to see and do in Paris can feel overwhelming — the Louvre Museum alone would deserve 2 days to be visited in-depth.
Besides sightseeing, Paris is renowned for fine dining, head-spinning shopping, and some of the best theatres around.
All the above cities can be visited visa-free thanks to the ETIAS visa waiver.
Still, tourists wishing to travel there will need to check their ETIAS eligibility before starting the online application process and booking their flights.