Non-Schengen countries

11 Non-Schengen Countries for Digital Nomads and Travellers

Hey there, fellow travelers! Imagine living in Europe for 6 months, 1 year or even longer without having to apply for a visa. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, it’s not. There are 11 amazing non-Schengen countries that allow you to do just that.

That’s why I’m excited to share with you in this article the best non Schengen countries to visit. My top choices offer affordable living, a digital nomad-friendly environment, delicious cuisine, and unique adventures.

From British citizens who Brexit their way out of the EU to digital nomads looking for a European base, this guide is for anyone ready to dive into a new and unforgettable European adventure. Because let’s face it, Europe is a truly amazing continent with so much to offer that it would be sad to not make the most of your time in this incredible part of the world.

The Schengen Area

The Schengen Area is a group of 27 European countries that have agreed to remove border controls between them, allowing for passport-free movement of people within the area. Travelers can move freely between countries without having to go through immigration or customs checkpoints.

Who is part of the Schengen Area?

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Croatia (since 2023)
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland (non EU)
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein (non EU)
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway (non EU)
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland (non EU)

EU vs Schengen Area

Now, let’s clear up any confusion between the EU and the Schengen Area. The EU is like a VIP club for 27 European countries, offering exclusive political and economic benefits. The Schengen Area, on the other hand, is like a party where 27 countries – not all identical to those in the EU – have abolished border control, allowing free movement of people between them.

But wait, there’s a catch. If you’re a non-EU citizen traveling to the Schengen Area, you can only stay for a maximum of 90 days on a tourist visa. That’s barely enough time to scratch the surface of all the amazing countries in the Schengen Area. So, what’s a digital nomad or traveler to do?

Schengen Visa and How to Stay Longer in Europe

If you’re planning on staying in Europe for more than 90 days, you’re going to have to get crafty. As a European citizen myself, I never realized how lucky I was to be able to explore this incredible continent without worrying about visas. It’s only when I started traveling beyond Europe that I quickly learned how challenging it can be to navigate visa regulations and stay in one place for more than a few months.

The key is to play the game of non-Schengen countries. You see, the 90/180 rule in the Schengen Area means you can only stay for 90 days within a 180-day period. But by spending time in non-Schengen countries, you can reset your 180-day clock, and potentially spend another 90 days in the Schengen Area.

So, it’s worth considering these non-Schengen countries as your secret weapon. When planning your itinerary, break up your time in Europe into chunks to make the most of your 90 days in the Schengen Area. For instance, spend a few months in the Schengen Area, then travel to non-Schengen countries for a month or two before returning. This way, you can explore more of Europe, keep your European base, and avoid overstaying your visa.

Non-Schengen Countries

While the Schengen Area offers visa-free travel and free movement, there are other European countries that do not belong to this agreement. These non-Schengen countries may require a separate visa, but they can provide an opportunity for non-EU citizens to extend their stay in Europe beyond the 90-day Schengen limit. Let’s take a look at these non-Schengen countries.

Which are they?

EU non-Schengen countries as of 2023

  • Bulgaria
  • Cyprus
  • Romania
  • Ireland

Hurry up though because Bulgaria and Romania are currently in the process of joining the Schengen Area.

Non-EU non-Schengen countries as of 2023

  • Albania
  • Andorra
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • Bosnia & Herzegovina
  • Kosovo
  • Republic of Moldova
  • Montenegro
  • North Macedonia
  • Russia
  • Serbia
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • Vatican City


The 11 Best Non-Schengen Countries To Visit

While there are several non-Schengen countries in Europe, some countries stand out more than others. Here are the 11 best non-Schengen countries to visit. They are perfect for digital nomads and anyone wanting to extend their stay in Europe beyond the usual 90-day limit.

Let’s dive in for a quick overview of these non Schengen countries and what makes them stand out as top destinations for travellers and digital nomads.


  • Why You’ll Love It Here 

The first of our top non-Schengen countries is Albania, an incredibly affordable destination compared to other European countries. You can enjoy delicious food, comfortable accommodation, and exciting activities for a fraction of the price of other destinations like neighbouring Greece. Plus, the locals are friendly and welcoming, making it easy to feel at home in this beautiful country.

Albania is also home to stunning landscapes, from the crystal-clear waters and sandy beaches of the Adriatic Sea to the rugged peaks of the Albanian Alps. You can go hiking, swimming, or just relax on the beach – the choice is yours.

Albania, part of the non-schengen countries
Ksamil Islands, Albania (Source: Unsplash)
  • Why Digital Nomads Flock Here

As one of the top non-Schengen countries, Albania has become over the years a digital nomad hotspot thanks to its low cost of living, strategic location, modern infrastructure and beautiful scenery. You’ll find plenty of coworking spaces and cafes where you can work remotely while enjoying the local culture, and not too many tourists!

  • Foodie Finds

Albanian cuisine is a delicious fusion of Mediterranean and Balkan flavors, with plenty of fresh seafood, grilled meats, and hearty stews to try. Be sure to sample local specialties like burek (a savory pastry) and fergese (a cheesy dish with peppers and tomatoes) during your stay in the first of our best non Schengen countries to visit.

  • Visa Tips & Tricks 

Europeans, Australians and Canadians do not need a visa to enter Albania and can stay for up to 90 days. Americans are even luckier as they can stay for up to 1 year without a visa. Remote workers and digital nomads should also check out the digital nomad Visa Albania can offer.


  • Why You’ll Love It Here 

Montenegro is another of the best non Schengen countries to visit and home to some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in Europe. One could see it as the cheaper and less busy version of Croatia. From the stunning Bay of Kotor to the Durmitor National Park, there’s plenty of adventure to be had for outdoor enthusiasts.

But Montenegro isn’t just a destination for nature lovers – it’s also a great place for history buffs and culture vultures. For instance, the old towns of Kotor and Budva are both UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

  • Why Digital Nomads Flock Here 

When it comes to the digital nomad scene, Montenegro is a great option. With its amazing weather, a budget-friendly lifestyle, good internet and welcoming locals, it has everything you might need to feel at home.

  • Foodie Finds

With a mix of Slavic, Mediterranean, and Ottoman influences, Montenegrin culture and cuisine are a fascinating fusion of flavors and traditions. Don’t miss the chance to sample local specialties like cevapi (grilled meatballs) and priganice (a type of fried doughnut).

  • Visa Tips & Tricks. 

British, Europeans, Canadians, Australians and Americans do not need a visa to visit Montenegro for 90 days within 180 days.

Montenegro, one of the non-Schengen countries
Kotor, Montenegro (Source: Unsplash)


  • Why You’ll Love It Here 

Turkey is steeped in history and culture. Whether you’re wandering the streets of Istanbul’s historic old town, visiting the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia, or exploring the ruins of Ephesus, you’ll be transported back in time to a bygone era. On top, it’s also a great place for outdoor adventure. From hiking in the Taurus Mountains to swimming in the crystal-clear waters of the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, there are endless opportunities for outdoor activities.

  • Foodie Finds

Calling all foodies! You’re in for a treat in Turkey as the cuisine here is simply amazing. From the mouth-watering kebabs and mezze platters to the sweet indulgences like baklava and Turkish delight, there’s something to satisfy every taste bud.

  • Why Digital Nomads Flock Here 

Besides being an affordable country with gorgeous weather and top-notch infrastructure, Turkey offers plenty of coworking spaces and cafes where you can work remotely, making it a great spot for digital nomads. Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir are home to thriving digital nomad communities. And let’s also mention that Turkish people themselves are some of the friendliest and most hospitable you’ll ever meet. There is a reason why Turkey is on the list of the top 11 best non Schengen countries to visit.

  • Visa Tips & Tricks

While Europeans and British are exempt from visa requirements for stays up to 90 days within 180 days, Americans, Australians and Canadians need to get an E-visa/Visa on arrival.

I would advise to check the specific requirements for your country before visiting this third country on our list of top non-Schengen countries.


  • Why You’ll Love It Here

If you’re looking for a new base in Europe, don’t overlook Bulgaria! This beautiful country has so much to offer, from the stunning peaks of the Balkan Mountains to the gorgeous beaches of the Black Sea coast.

In winter, head to Bansko for some amazing skiing with fewer tourists and lower prices than Switzerland. In summer, take advantage of the many outdoor activities available. And if you’re into history and culture, Bulgaria’s got plenty of that too, being one of the oldest countries in Europe.

  • Foodie Finds

Let’s not forget about the food! Bulgarian cuisine is a mouth-watering mix of flavors from the Balkans, Mediterranean, and Middle East. You simply must try some banitsa (a savory pastry with cheese), kavarma (a hearty meat stew), and tarator (a refreshing yogurt and cucumber soup).

  • Why Digital Nomads Flock Here 

Bulgaria is an excellent choice among non-Schengen countries, with a plethora of coworking spaces and cafes perfect for working and unwinding. The expat community is friendly and welcoming, and the internet connection is reliable. Additionally, Bulgaria boasts a low cost of living, making cities like Sofia, Plovdiv and Varna attractive options for digital nomads and travelers alike.

  • Visa Tips & Tricks

Most Europeans have freedom of travel in Bulgaria, meaning they can stay as long as they want. Australians, Canadians, Americans and British can stay without visa for 90 days.


  • Why You’ll Love It Here 

Cyprus is a Mediterranean paradise and one of the non-Schengen countries that offers a perfect blend of culture, history, and nature. The island is home to stunning beaches, ancient ruins, and picturesque villages that will leave you enchanted.

The crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea and the warm climate make Cyprus a top destination for beach lovers. Whether you prefer relaxing on secluded coves or vibrant beaches with water sports and beach bars, you’re sure to find your ideal spot.

Cyprus, one of the non-schepgen countries
Ayia Napa, Cyprus (Source: Unsplash)
  • Foodie Finds

Cypriot cuisine is a delicious mix of Greek, Turkish, and Middle Eastern influences. Some must-try dishes include halloumi cheese, souvlaki, and moussaka, which are best enjoyed with a glass of local wine.

  • Why Digital Nomads Flock Here 

Cyprus made it to our list of top non-Schengen countries for good reason. It offers a high quality of life, fast internet, modern coworking spaces, great weather and a laid-back lifestyle. Limassol and Nicosia are the two main cities with a growing digital nomad scene, while smaller towns like Paphos and Larnaca offer a quieter pace of life.

  • Visa Tips & Tricks 

Same as for Bulgaria: most Europeans have freedom of travel in Cyprus, meaning they can stay as long as they want. Australians, Canadians, Americans and British can stay without visa for 90 days. Also, check out the Digital nomad visa Cyprus offers for remote workers looking for a longer-term base in the Mediterranean.


  • Why You’ll Love It Here

Let’s continue with country number 6 on our list of non-Schengen countries. Have you ever considered visiting Romania? This stunning country is full of surprises and a land of contrasts, with a diverse range of landscapes that are perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. From the Carpathian Mountains to the Danube Delta and the Black Sea coast, there’s something for everyone. Hiking, skiing, and wildlife watching are just a few of the popular activities you can enjoy.

And of course, you can’t visit Romania without checking out Transylvania! This central region is best known as the land of bloodthirsty vampires and howling wolves, but it’s a real place with fascinating history and culture. Don’t miss the chance to visit Bran Castle, also known as Dracula’s Castle.

  • Why Digital Nomads Flock Here

Romania is an increasingly popular destination with fast internet, a low cost of living, and a growing startup scene. Bucharest is a great hub for coworking spaces and events, while smaller towns like Cluj-Napoca and Brasov offer a more relaxed pace of life. Come and experience for yourself the beauty and warmth of one of the best non Schengen countries to visit!

  • Foodie Finds

The country offers a delicious mix of traditional and modern cuisine. Don’t miss out on trying sarmale (stuffed cabbage rolls), mici (grilled minced meat), and papanasi (a sweet cheese dessert).

  • Visa Tips & Tricks 

Here again most Europeans have freedom of travel, meaning they can stay as long as they want. Australians, Canadians, Americans and British can stay without visa for 90 days within any 180 day period.

Good news: Romania also proposes a digital nomad visa which will allow you to do remote work for 12 months. It can be extended again for another 12 months.


  • Why You’ll Love It Here

Georgia is a hidden gem, maybe not that hidden anymore though. Located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, this country has a rich cultural heritage that dates back thousands of years.

One of the main attractions in Georgia is its stunning natural scenery, with towering mountain which are something, lush forests, and pristine beaches. The Caucasus Mountains are a popular destination for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts – some even say they better than the Alps – while the Black Sea coast offers sun, sand, and sea.

  • Foodie Finds

When it comes to food, Georgian cuisine is really amazing. It features a mix of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Central Asian flavors, with signature dishes like khinkali (dumplings), khachapuri (cheese-filled bread), and shashlik (grilled meat skewers). Oh, and did I mention that Georgia is where wine was invented and that it’s still a big part of the local culture?

Georgia, one of the non-Schengen countries
Tbilisi, Georgia (source: Unsplash)
  • Why Digital Nomads Flock Here

Georgia is not just up-and-coming, it’s maybe one of the most interesting non-Schengen countries and nomad hotspots out there! The cities of Tbilisi and Batumi are packed with vibrant coworking spaces and networking events, perfect for meeting like-minded folks. Plus, living in Georgia won’t break the bank – it’s almost as affordable as Southeast Asia! And don’t forget about the climate: warm summers and chilly winters make for a refreshing change of pace.

  • Visa Tips & Tricks

This time, it’s easy: Australians, Americans, Canadians, British, Europeans all get visa-free entry for up to 1 year. And Georgia also offers a special digital nomad visa, happy days!

North Macedonia

  • Why You’ll Love It Here 

North Macedonia is one of the most underrated non-Schengen countries for travel and digital nomads. It’s a small country located in the Balkans, bordered by Greece, Albania, Kosovo, and Serbia. The country might not have direct access to the sea but it has lakes and a plethora of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

  • Foodie Finds 

Shall I talk about food again? The local specialties include tavce gravce (baked beans), ajvar (a roasted red pepper spread), and kajmak (a creamy dairy product).

  • Why Digital Nomads Flock Here 

North Macedonia offers a very low cost of living, great internet, and a growing digital nomad scene. Skopje, the capital city, has a number of coworking spaces and networking events. Also, the country is less crowded than other European countries. Overall, North Macedonia is a hidden gem that is just waiting to be discovered.

  • Visa Tips & Tricks 

Europeans, Americans, Canadians and Australians can enjoy up to 90 days without prior visa, eVisa, or on-arrival visa.

Bosnia & Herzegovina

  • Why You’ll Love It Here 

Bosnia & Herzegovina is another of the wonderful non-Schengen countries located in the Balkans. Its natural beauty with majestic mountains, crystal-clear rivers, and beautiful lakes makes it the perfect destination for outdoor adventures. Be sure to visit places like Sarajevo, Mostar, and the Pliva Lakes, but trust me, there’s so much more to explore!

  • Foodie Finds

After a long day of exploring, you will want to indulge in some delicious and affordable traditional food. Don’t miss out on trying sarma (meat and rice in pickled cabbage leaves), cevapi (a pita filled with cream and sausage), and burek (a flaky pastry with meat, cheese, and spinach).

  • Why Digital Nomads Flock Here 

With a blend of cultures, unique architecture, great food, decent internet speed and affordable prices, Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the best non Schengen countries to visit for digital nomads. Don’t hesitate to add this country to your travel list!

  • Visa Tips & Tricks 

Here again, Europeans, Americans, Canadians and Australians can enjoy up to 90 days without prior visa, eVisa, or on-arrival visa.


  • Why You’ll Love It Here 

Serbia is one of the coolest non-Schengen countries in the Balkans. It’s becoming increasingly popular as a tourist destination in recent years, boasting a unique vibe that’s both laid-back and exciting. Serbia is also home to several spas, and the entire region has a Game of Thrones-esque feel that’s truly epic.

Belgrade, the capital, is a cultural hub with a thriving arts and music scene. There’s no shortage of museums, galleries, and live music venues to explore, and the nightlife is off the hook. And the best part? Serbia is a budget-friendly and welcoming destination, perfect for digital nomads who are just starting out.

  • Why Digital Nomads Flock Here

It’s no wonder why more and more digital nomads are flocking to Serbia. You’ll find coworking spaces and networking events, in Belgrade and Novi Sad for example, so there’s always something to keep you busy. The country also offers great working conditions with fast internet, a low cost of living, a fascinating culture, and vibrant nightlife – everything a digital nomad could ask for.

  • Foodie Finds

Serbian cuisine is hearty, flavorful, and influenced by various cultures, including Ottoman, Hungarian, and Austrian. One of the most popular dishes is cevapi (a grilled sausage served with onions and pita bread). Another must-try is pljeskavica (a type of burger made with ground meat and served with various toppings). They also have ajvar if you want something lighter.

  • Visa Tips & Tricks 

Same than for the last two Balkans non-Schengen countries, it’s usually 90 days visa free for Americans, Canadians, Europeans and Australians.

United Kingdom

  • Why You’ll Love It Here

Let’s give a warm thought to our British friends, who since Brexit, have had to face the joys of European visas and are now on the list of non-Schengen countries. But for non-EU citizens, it’s actually great news because now the UK is a new place to explore longer!

The UK includes England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and is a popular travel destination for people from all over the world. There’s something for everyone there!

London, the capital city, is one of the most visited cities in the world, and for good reason. It’s home to iconic landmarks and some of the best restaurants and shopping in Europe. I mean, how can you not love it?

But the island has much more to offer than just London. Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is a beautiful city with a rich history and a lively arts scene. The Scottish Highlands offer stunning landscapes and outdoor activities such as hiking and even sometimes skiing. And while Wales is known for its coastline, ancient castles, and unique Welsh culture, Northern Ireland is home to the world-famous Giant’s Causeway.

UK as one of the non-Schengen countries
Skye, Scotland (Source: Unsplash)
  • Why Digital Nomads Flock Here 

No need to say that the UK is a perfect spot for digital nomads, with convenient infrastructure, reliable internet, international food, and a thriving remote working scene. When city life becomes too much, simply head to one of the charming countryside towns to unwind and relax. Maybe, the only drawback of this island is that the weather is not always the best.

  • Foodie Finds

The UK has a diverse range of traditional dishes and modern cuisine influenced by its multicultural population. Some classic British foods include fish and chips (a battered and fried fish fillet with chips (french fries) on the side), and full English breakfast with eggs, bacon, sausage, baked beans, grilled tomato, and so on.

Of course, we can’t forget the quintessential British Sunday roast dinner. Don’t even think about skipping this weekly tradition, where you’ll indulge in roasted meats, potatoes, veggies, and gravy. It’s a meal that will leave you feeling satisfied and ready for a cozy Sunday afternoon nap!

  • Visa Tips & Tricks

The United Kingdom is one of these flexible non-Schengen countries and offers 6 months visa free to Australians, Europeans, Canadians and Americans who come for tourism purposes.

Final Thoughts on the Best Non Schengen Countries to Visit

So there you have it! While the Schengen visa may limit your time in Europe, there are still so many amazing non-Schengen countries to explore. From savoring fresh seafood on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey to hiking through the rugged mountains of Georgia, each destination offers endless possibilities for adventure, work, and play.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my travels (click here for a few more life and travel lessons), it’s that the best experiences often come from stepping outside your comfort zone. So why not take a chance and explore the non-Schengen countries that await you? Can’t you imagine sipping wine in Georgia or soaking up the sunshine on the idyllic beaches of Albania?

If so, it’s time to extend your stay and create unforgettable memories!