Europe's top summer getaway destinations - United Hub
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Europe's top summer getaway destinations

By Nick Harper, June 13, 2017

Summertime and vacations go hand-in-hand, and the longer days and sunnier weather make Europe's cities an essential destination. Combining centuries of history, art and architecture with some of the world's finest cultures and cuisines, you'd be wise to factor in one of the following five destinations for your next vacation.

Quadriga statue in Berlin, Germany at sunset.

Berlin, Germany

With an almost unrivaled mix of history and decadence, any time of the year is great for a long weekend or a longer vacation to Berlin, but the city really comes alive during the summer months. The warm weather and longer days from June through September mean the city is even more vibrant, with an almost endless array of events. Carnival of Cultures, Classic Open Air and the Berlin Circus Festival are just three of so many celebrations that bring Berlin to life.

Factor in world-class museums and galleries, restaurants and bars, gardens and green spaces, and you'll find a city that can lay claim to being Europe's best. And that's before you've even discovered its famous currywurst

Average summer temperatures: June 63°F, July 64°F, August 64°F

Fly: United Airlines flies into Berlin (TXL–Tegel)

Aerial view of Barcelona from Park G\u00fcell

Madrid & Barcelona, Spain

While the locals in Valencia, Seville and a multitude of postcard-pretty villages might beg to differ, a vacation to Spain essentially boils down to a choice of two cities: Madrid or Barcelona.

At Spain's heart lies the capital, Madrid, one of Europe's most sophisticated experiences, where world-class art lines the walls of museums and world-class cuisine lines the stomachs of the revelers who party deep into the night. In Madrid they have a saying. "If you're in Madrid, you're from Madrid." The warm feeling will envelop you and you won't want to leave.

If you can tear yourself away, head 400 miles east, to the seaside and Barcelona. The glittering capital of Catalunya is no less exhilarating — a city of Gaudi's imagination, endless sunshine and extraordinary cuisine, from back street tapas to the highest end fine-dining. Almost as hot during the summer as Madrid, Barcelona has the advantage of its beaches, making escape from the summer heat easy.

If it comes down to a choice between the two cities, either one is a great option. If you can though, be clever and choose both.

Average summer temperatures: Madrid: June 70°F, July 77°F, August 77°F. Barcelona: 68°F, July 73°F, August 75°F

Fly: United Airlines flies direct to Madrid (MAD) and Barcelona (BCN)

Bikes along the canal at sunset in Amsterdam

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Blessed with more than 20,000 miles of bicycle paths and a landscape that is almost as flat as its celebrated pancakes, the Netherlands is one of Europe's finest countries to explore by bike. Many of those cycle paths will lead you to the heart of the nation and its capital, Amsterdam, where bike lanes crisscross canals beside the windmills of your imagination.

Stay a while and you'll discover one of Europe's greatest cities, a place where history, art and modern flair collide. It's a city of what seems like a million great bars and restaurants, a place where it feels like a carnival might break out at any minute. It's a place that's famously "gezellig" — a Dutch word that translates roughly to convivial or cozy. Spend even a few days of your summer here and you'll understand why.

Average summer temperatures: June 59°F, July 63°F, August 63°F

Fly: United Airlines flies direct to Amsterdam (AMS)

River Saone in Lyon, France

Lyon, France

The next time you grab a map and look wistfully at Paris, let your finger trail down the page 200 miles south to the Rhône-Alpes region and France's second city of Lyon. You'll escape the tourist crowds in a big city with a very intimate feel, and Lyon is worth visiting for the food alone. Dubbed the gastronomic capital of the world, it boasts more restaurants per square meter than anywhere else on earth. The last person with the patience to count the city's restaurants hit 4,000, with several of them boasting Michelin stars.

There is more to Lyon than food, of course. There are vineyards too — the Rhône Valley vineyards are nearby and combine two of life's greatest pleasures. In between drinking and eating, explore the galleries, the Old Town and cruise down the Saone River — and in doing so, work up another appetite.

Average summer temperatures: June 64°F, July 72°F, August 70°F

Fly: United Airlines' partners fly direct to Lyon (LYS)

Colorful buildings on and up the coastline of Lisbon, Portugal.

Lisbon, Portugal

A Portuguese vacation has to factor in time in the capital city. A sun-kissed city built on seven hills overlooking the Rio Tejo, Lisbon is a magical but very manageable mix of ancient ruins, grand cathedrals and crisscrossing cobbled alleyways that spill down to a glittering waterfront and beaches.

Despite its soaring reputation, the city still feels like one of Europe's great secrets. Expect fine food, fine wine and fine fado — the city's ever popular folk music to the uninitiated. Even better, expect very fine value for money as Lisbon remains one of the continent's best value locations.

Average summer temperatures: June 70°F, July 75°F, August 73°F

Fly: United Airlines fly direct to Lisbon (LIS)

United Airlines or its partners fly to all of the European destinations detailed above. Book your flight at united.com or on the United app to start your adventure.

Making our app more accessible for people with disabilities

By The Hub team, October 28, 2020

We're proud to launch a redesigned version of our United app to make it easier for customers with visual disabilities to manage all aspects of day-of travel, including check-in, viewing reservation details and flight status, bag tracking and more.

This latest version of our app is now available to both Android and iOS users, and it offers increased color contrast and more space between graphics. Furthermore, we have reorganized how information is displayed and announced to better integrate with screen reader technologies like VoiceOver and TalkBack, which are built into most handheld devices. By restructuring the way the information is organized on the app, screen readers are better able to convert text to audio in the proper, logical sequence, allowing customers to better understand and navigate the app.

United Zoom backgrounds for AvGeeks

By The Hub team, October 27, 2020

Calling all AvGeeks and travelers! Take your next video call from a United Polaris® seat, the cockpit or cruising altitude with United-themed backgrounds for use on Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

Newly added to our collection is a background encouraging our employees and customers to vote. Our mission is to connect people and unite the world — and one of the most important ways to do that is to engage in the democratic process. No matter which party you support, we know our democracy will be stronger if you make your voice heard and vote.

So for your next meeting or catch up with friends and family, download the app to either your computer or mobile device to get started.

Looking back at a landmark year with Special Olympics

By Ryan Wilks, October 19, 2020

Earlier this summer, we shone a light on our flagship partnership with Special Olympics and our commitment to the Inclusion Revolution. In that same story, we introduced you to our four Special Olympics Service Ambassadors, Daniel, Kyle, Lauren and Zinyra (Z), who, this month, celebrate one year working at Chicago O'Hare International Airport as part of the United family.

This groundbreaking, inclusive employment program took off as a part of our ongoing partnership with Special Olympics, a community relationship that employees across the company hold close to heart. The original 'UA4' (as they call themselves) have become an integral part of the United team serving customers at O'Hare Airport. Even from behind their masks, their wide smiles and effervescent spirit exude and bring life to the service culture of excellence we strive towards every day.

"The UA4 are more than just customer service ambassadors. They are shining examples of how inclusion, accessibility and equity can have monumental impacts on the culture and service of a business and community," said Customer Service Managing Director Jonna McGrath. "They have forever changed who we are as a company. While they often talk about how United and this opportunity has changed their lives, they have changed ours in more ways than we can count."

In the two years of partnership with Special Olympics, United employees have volunteered over 10,500 hours of service at events around the world and donated over $1.2 million worth of travel to the organization.

"This inclusive employment program is what community partnerships, like ours with Special Olympics, are all about: collaborating to identify areas where the needs of the community intersect with the cultural and business opportunity, then creating the infrastructure and programming to bring the two together," said Global Community Engagement Managing Director Suzi Cabo. "Through this program, our goal is to show other companies that when you put a committed effort and focus towards inclusion and breaking down barriers, you transform lives. I challenge other business around the world to follow our lead in joining the Inclusion Revolution."

Check out the video below to hear from our Special Olympics Service Ambassadors firsthand.

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