The Most Visited Schengen Countries

most visited schengen countries

The Schengen Area is composed of 22 EU member states and four non-EU states of Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland, and Norway. The most visited Schengen countries are Germany, Italy, Spain, and France, which is also the most popular tourist destination in the world. In order to travel to Europe and discover its most popular attractions, eligible citizens will need to apply for the ETIAS program for Schengen countries.

Visiting Germany

visiting germany
The Branderburg Gate – Photo by Dennis Jarvis @Flickr

Germany is the fifth most popular Schengen state for tourists, with 35,555,391 total visitors in 2016.

Bavaria is the German state with the highest number of visitors, with the popular Oktoberfest in Munich taking place annually in its biggest city. However, the most visited city in Germany is Berlin, with a yearly total of about 135 million day tourists.

Attractions in Berlin tourists will be able to visit when traveling with the ETIAS for Germany include 138 museums and more than 400 art galleries. Tourists may also want to visit the Berlin Wall remains and Checkpoint Charlie, the palaces and parks of Potsdam, or the Currywurst Museum to explore the history of popular German cuisine.

Tourism in Italy

tourism italy
Colosseum in Rome – Photo by Rosino @Flickr

Italy is the fourth most visited Schengen country, with 50,700,000 total international visitors in 2015.

Milan, Naples, and Venice are popular destinations for international visitors, but the most popular city in Italy is Rome, with 8.78 million international tourists in 2014. The most popular attractions in Rome include the Colosseum, Vatican City and St Peter’s Basilica, and the ancient Pantheon Roman Temple.

Those traveling to the country with the ETIAS Italy will also be able to visit the most UNESCO heritage sites in the entire world, including entire cities such as Verona, Siena and the ruins of Pompeii under Mount Vesuvius.

Visitors to Spain

visitors spain
La Sagrada Família in Barcelona – Photo by Graham C99 @Flickr

In 2017, there were a total of 81,786,364 visitors to Spain, making it the second-most popular country for tourism in Schengen, and in the world.

Travelers to the country with the ETIAS for Spain will want to visit the most popular region, Catalonia, with its long stretches of golden beaches on the Costa Brava and the Costa Dorada. The most visited city in Spain is Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, with its most popular attractions the incredible architecture of Antoni Gaudí including the Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, and La Pedrera.

The capital of Spain, Madrid, is the second-most visited city and the cultural center of the country. Madrid offers a huge number of museums and art galleries to visit, including those on the Paseo del Prado featuring priceless artworks by artists like Goya, Velázquez, Dalí, and Picasso.

Travel to France

travel france
París Skyline at sunset – Photo by Falcon® Photography @Flickr

France is the most popular destination in the Schengen Area and in the world, with 85.7 million foreign tourists in 2013.

The most visited city in France is Paris, the capital, considered one of the most romantic cities in the world. The most popular tourist attraction in Paris is not the Eiffel Tower, but Notre Dame Cathedral, followed by the Basilica of the Sacred Heart church and the world-famous Louvre Museum.

Apart from the capital, the country offers a wide range of attractions for those traveling with the ETIAS for France to explore. Popular destinations in France also include the ski pistes of French Alps, the Mediterranean coast of the French Riviera, and UNESCO World Heritage sites such as the majestic Palace of Versailles and the numerous chateaux of the Loire Valley.

To travel to the most visited Schengen countries and discover the variety of attractions, eligible passport holders will first have to complete an ETIAS application for Schengen Area before their trip.

Travel to Schengen Countries with ETIAS

By the end of 2022, citizens from over 60 previously visa-free countries, including the United States and Canada, will be required to pre-register a ETIAS for Schengen countries for short stays of up to 90 days within a 180-day period. The European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) is a shared visa waiver system for the Schengen Area that will pre-screen foreign travelers to Europe for any security or public health risks.

Eligible passport holders who wish to travel to one of the most visited Schengen countries will need to complete a ETIAS application online before their trip. The simple online form will only take minutes to complete, with applicants having to provide a range of personal, passport and travel information, as well as answer a series of security questions. All the data provided will then be screened against various European information databases for the Europe visa waiver to be approved.

The ETIAS requirements will involve the applicant having a passport from an eligible country valid for at least three months upon arrival in a Schengen country. A valid credit or debit card to pay the ETIAS fee and a current email address to receive the visa waiver for Europe in the inbox is also required.

Upon approval, applicants will be able to print a copy of the ETIAS to present at border control when traveling to the most visited Schengen countries.