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16 European Countries Americans Can Explore Without Needing a Visa

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If you’re an American traveler, did you know your passport holds more power than most other passports worldwide?

The U.S. passport currently ranks 6th in Henley’s Global Passport Ranking, with access to 187 countries. This means you get to visit more countries without a visa. However, for the Schengen area, just make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months after your departure.

So, if you’ve been holding off on that European tour, this is your go-to signal. We’ve listed some of the best European countries that are visa-free for Americans.

1. Albania

‎Tirana Albania
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Albania is one of the most underrated travel destinations in Europe. Its geographical location alone makes it a convenient access point to other European countries like Greece and Montenegro. It is bordered by the Adriatic coastline, making it a great beach getaway.

Other things to enjoy in Albania are hiking, camping, or paragliding. There are also museums and historical sites to explore. U.S. citizens only need a passport valid for at least three months from the time they arrive in Albania. Those staying in this country for at least one year must apply for a residency permit.

2. Austria

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Austria is home to world-renowned classical musician Mozart, historically significant castles and churches, as well as beaches, lakes, and the Alps. If it’s your first time in Austria, you will love the balance between the country’s culture, history, and breathtaking nature.

Two of the most famous cities in Austria are Vienna and Salzburg. Vienna has been named the top city with the best quality of life, based on Mercer’s list.

3. Belgium

Bruges, Belgium
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When you think of Belgium, what may immediately come to mind is food: waffles and chocolates, to be exact. But there is more to this country than just gastronomy. You may also appreciate its unique festivals (I can recommend Tomorrowland) and artistic heritage.

Gothic cathedrals and many other historical structures have been preserved and help with Belgium’s tourism. Tourists may also enjoy a city tour and visit some of Belgium’s famous museums.

4. Denmark

Evening dusk in Copenhagen Denmark MSN
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Did you know that some of the world’s happiest people live in Denmark? Denmark ranks first in the World Happiness Report 2024 for the 60-and-above age group, which proves how friendly Denmark is to families and pensioners.

Denmark is a country deeply rooted in its history and cultural heritage. The people are welcoming and live a rather laid-back lifestyle. Those who want to explore and still experience a sense of home should visit Denmark.

5. Finland

Winter in Helsinki, Finland
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For seven years in a row, Finland has been considered the happiest country in the world, according to the World Happiness Report. It is a nation with minimal corruption and a strong sense of freedom.

Finland has stunning lakes and is one of the countries where the Northern Lights can be seen. Finnish people love the outdoors and are happy to share these green spaces with tourists.

6. France

Aerial view of Pau, France
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France has always been a busy travel destination. Paris alone attracts tourists because of the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum. But France is more than just Paris. Apart from the charming architecture, France shares a good stretch of the Alps with neighboring countries.

If you want an even more diverse travel experience, check out the French coast to see the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean, the Bay of Biscay, the North Sea, and the English Channel. Just be sure to comply with France’s requirements upon arrival.

7. Georgia

Batumi, Georgia
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Georgia is a small country, but it has a lot to offer in terms of travel experience. Georgia is nestled between Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. A city tour is all about stunning architecture and delightful cuisine.

But if you prefer off-road or outdoor activities, Georgia has waterfalls, canyons, and mountain parks. In fact, the highest mountain range in Europe is found in Georgia.

8. Germany

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Germans are generally known to be welcoming and festive people. September and October are great months to visit because of the beer festival Oktoberfest.

However, in terms of exploring the country, tourists should not have a problem hopping around different cities because public transportation services are accessible. The Cologne Cathedral, Brandenburg Gate, and Marienplatz are some sites to see in Germany.

9. Iceland

Town of Borgarnes in Iceland MSN
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Perhaps one of the most popular places to watch the Northern Lights is Iceland. People plan their trips to Iceland around Aurora season, and we need not ask why. But there are more reasons to visit this country, especially if you’re looking for new adventures.

You don’t get to climb glaciers daily or watch a geyser explode. These are just some of the fun things to do in Iceland. Taking a dip into the popular geothermal spa Blue Lagoon is a new experience worth trying, too.

10. Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
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If you are into landscapes or want to go pub-hopping, Ireland is the place to be. The “pub crawl” is a popular activity in Ireland where visitors are challenged to visit as many pubs as possible in one night.

But Ireland is not all about clubs and beers. In fact, the country has breathtaking castles and cathedrals that tell stories of Irish culture and history. 

11. Italy

Castelmezzano, Italy
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Italy is famous for many things: pasta, pizza, fashion, opera, and wine. It is also where some of the most popular landmarks in the world can be found, like the Tower of Pisa, the Colosseum, the Vatican, the Trevi Fountain, and more.

So, if you want the whole Italian experience, make sure to explore its gastronomic offerings and take a short trip to visit historical landmarks.

12. Luxembourg

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Although relatively small, Luxembourg is one of the richest countries in Europe. Like many European countries, Luxembourg is a blend of cosmopolitan hubs and natural landscapes. This means travelers can enjoy shopping, a good city tour, and hiking and biking adventures.

Luxembourg is also characterized by unique architecture that has a Renaissance feel. Some of the famous structures here are the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Grand Ducal Palace. 

13. Norway

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Norway is another country that offers a unique experience. Fortunately, it’s also visa-free for American passport holders. Stunning views of the Northern Lights and the fjords are some highlights of a Norwegian travel itinerary.

Norway is a paradise for both sea and mountain lovers. It shares borders with Finland, Sweden, and Russia. Its 63,000-mile coastline can circle the Earth two and a half times.

14. The Netherlands

Amsterdam, Netherlands MSN
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The Netherlands is known for picture-perfect tulip fields. The windmills lined up by the fields also add to the countryside’s relaxing atmosphere.

The capital city, Amsterdam, offers a different tourism experience. A city tour usually includes visiting the Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank’s house. Besides that, the Netherlands is known for its music scene and nightlife.

15. Switzerland

Old town of Geneva Switzerland MSN
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Switzerland has some of the world’s most picturesque landscapes. The Swiss countryside is all about the beauty of nature: the mountains, the lakes, and the Alps are enough to take your breath away.

But what is truly remarkable is how the country can protect its natural and green spaces while also being a prime business center. With Switzerland regarded for its quality of life, it’s high time you plan that Swiss itinerary.

16. United Kingdom

Bath, United Kingdom
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A tour of the United Kingdom is like going back to history because of the well-preserved structures. Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the Tower of London, and the British Museum all make travelers appreciate the country’s history and tradition.

Other parts worth visiting are Northern Ireland and Scotland. These elicit a different experience but do not fail to charm travelers with scenic countryside views. If you decide to visit the U.K., check out these guidelines first.

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Cape Town, South Africa
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