It’s still possible to be in Schengen!
I have the 90-day Schengen restriction as well (U.S. citizen). Got a 90-day extension in Spain without having to leave the country. Lived in Almería, which is 1 of 3 places in Europe with mild and dry winters. (Hot and dry summers as well.)
The locals have a saying, “There are 2 seasons in Almería – beach season and not-beach season.”
I shared a 3-bedroom apartment 100m from the beach with a balcony and a 10-min walk to the center for 165 EUR/mo (utilities extra).
Right on the coast. Mostly sunny and rains about once a month. Coldest it got was 10C/50F.
Gorgeous sunsets and a 7km promenade for walking, jogging, exercising.
Access to secluded beaches…
It seems like a dream. Honestly though, this place isn’t for everyone. Almería has a lot of strong characteristics that make it quirky to live there. It’s a very chill environment, through-and-through – a lot of the locals live a ‘mañana lifestyle’. There’s also a lot of Erasmus students adding to the beach + party vibe. Wake up late, café, beach, sunset, party. Almería is a bit isolated on the very SE tip of Spain so very few locals leave, and only speak Spanish.
Definitely a unique experience. And for me, I’d go back because it’s well worth the beaches and sun.
Like I said, this is not a ‘work hard, play hard’ city – it’s very much a 'relax to the max’. If you can avoid temptations and you’re good at keeping a strict schedule, it’s a GREAT place to wake up and exercise, work for 5 hours, take an hour break to eat and cool off in the sea, work a bit more, then have your free time.
If anyone’s interested in how I did this – get a Schengen extension in Spain – I can go into extensive detail. I don’t recommend going in blind like I did.