5 countries to clear your Schengen days in Europe

The Schengen Agreement is a pact between 27 countries, mostly in Europe, which makes traveling between them much easier. The agreement eliminates border checks, allowing you to visit any of the participating countries without needing a separate visa for each one. Essentially, it turns these 27 countries into one big travel zone, known as the Schengen Area.

There’s one important rule to remember though: visitors, including Americans, can only stay in the Schengen Area for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without a visa. This means you can’t leave the area and immediately return to restart the 90-day count. 

Here comes the important role of the non-Schengen countries. Many travelers decide to split their time in Europe between Schengen and non-Schengen countries to respect the 90 days limit without having to stop their travels. Generally speaking most of those countries are in Eastern Europe. They’re not only great for clearing your Schengen days but also to lower your expenses since they’re more affordable. 


As a gem in the Balkan Peninsula, Albania serves as a delightful retreat for travelers looking for a blend of rich history, stunning landscapes, and affordable living. It’s a non-Schengen country which means you can rejuvenate your Schengen days while enjoying its diverse offerings. From the vibrant capital, Tirana, with its eclectic architecture and buzzing nightlife, to the soothing beaches of the Albanian Riviera, Albania offers a unique European experience without breaking your budget.


Romania is a captivating mix of medieval charm, natural beauty, and cultural richness. Whether you’re exploring the legendary castles of Transylvania, strolling through the colorful streets of Bucharest, or hiking the Carpathian Mountains, there’s plenty to keep you engaged. The country is also known for its affordability, making it particularly attractive for the budget-conscious traveler. Romania allows you to unwind from the Schengen clock while immersing yourself in a vibrant, yet cost-effective European lifestyle.


Often termed the ‘Pearl of the Mediterranean’, is a stunning non-Schengen country that boasts picturesque landscapes, medieval architecture and pristine beaches. The coastal town of Budva, with its charming Old Town and vibrant nightlife, and the UNESCO-listed Kotor Bay are among the must-visit destinations. The country is also surprisingly affordable, considering its skyrocketing popularity, providing an excellent option to prolong your European journey without infringing the Schengen rules.


Located in the heart of the Balkans, is a non-Schengen country that perfectly combines the allure of the past with the pulse of the present. Its vibrant capital, Belgrade, has a thriving arts and culinary scene. Outside of the cities, the serene landscapes and welcoming rural communities offer a unique travel experience. The affordability of Serbia adds to its appeal, making it an enticing option for digital nomads and long-term travelers aiming to respect the Schengen Zone’s 90-day rule.


An enticing island in the Eastern Mediterranean, promises a diversely rewarding experience. It’s a non-Schengen country, so spending time here can effectively pause your Schengen countdown. From the pristine beaches and turquoise waters to the ancient ruins and delightful cuisine, Cyprus has a lot to offer. The cost of living is generally reasonable, allowing travelers to enjoy the luxuries of island life without the hefty price tag often associated with such destinations.

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