Hey guys! So I am deep into my planning process and I came across the Schengen Visa. I am travelling to UK, France, Spain, Italy, Switz., Austria, Germany, and Netherlands and I am not to sure what the whole deal is about the Visa. So I am wondering is that something I need along with my passport in order to travel to those countries??
The Schengen Visa is something you, as an American citizen (I'm assuming, based on your profile information), get automatically (no need to apply for it beforehand) when you arrive in the Schengen Zone (not quite the same as the EU; it includes all countries you list, except for the UK). It allows you to stay in all countries within the Schengen Zone as if they were one country (there's no internal border checks), with the maximum amount you can stay being limited to 90 days (out of any period of 180 days, with that being calculated as a rolling window).
As said, the UK isn't part of the Schengen Zone, so time spent in the UK doesn't count toward this 90 day limit.
[ Edit: Edited on 14-Apr-2013, at 14:25 by Sander ]