Exploring these 7 cities of Old World Europe
When it comes to ancient history, Europe is a treasure trove. A continent dating back several thousand years, discovering ancient history in Europe is rarely a difficult task. Just walk around one of the seven cities listed below to see for yourself. You'll be sure to notice all of the architecture, history and monuments that make each city a must-see destination.
An obvious choice, but you can't experience Old World Europe without including this historic city. The Eternal City's history spans more than 28 centuries and celebrates its history on every street and in every square. From notable sites like the Colosseum and the Roman Forum to hidden treasures just waiting to be discovered, the city more than justifies its reputation of being a must-see destination.
Without a doubt, Rome should be on your list. The best time to visit is in the late spring (April-May) when temperatures are comfortable and the crowds are less. June through August is the height of summer and swelteringly hot, as well as unbelievably busy.
Fly to Rome from multiple U.S. cities.
Wherever you wander in Athens, from Syntagma Square and the National Gardens to the winding streets of Old Town Plaka, it's impossible to escape the city's unparalleled sense of history. In what is essentially the world's most amazing open-air museum, Athens is home to monuments that date back more than 2,500 years.
From time to time, it's possible to forget the ancient history of Athens as you stroll in and out of an endless array of boutique stores or sit drinking coffee or cocktails on a sun-drenched terrace. That is until you look up and see The Acropolis and the mighty Parthenon staring down at you. Visible wherever you roam, they're a constant reminder that you are standing in the cradle of Western civilization. And you might want to take a picture.
Athens peak tourist months fall between June and August, so plan to travel here between March and May or September and November. During these times, the crowds will be substantially thinner and the sunshine is still plentiful.
Fly to Athens from multiple cities in the U.S.
One of Europe's best-preserved medieval cities, Tallinn has the feel of a small city that stood still in time. First receiving city rights in 1248, all roads then and now lead to the walled Old Town. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997, cobbled streets wind up to and around Toompea Castle, the Town Hall, the ancient Dominican Monastery and the many churches whose spires climb high into the sky.
Increasingly busy, as word of its charms spread, Tallinn's peak tourist months fall between June and August. Head here in late November through to January for Christmas markets. The crowds have thinned and the city's medieval walls cloaked in snow are as pretty as any postcard.
Fly to Tallinn from multiple cities in the U.S., via one of our Star Alliance partner airlines.
Prague, Czech Republic
Dating back a full millennium, Prague's historic center has been on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1992. As you stroll between Hradcany Castle, St Vitus Cathedral and across the Vltava River via Charles Bridge past numerous churches and palaces, you'll see why. The end of communism in 1989 saw the city reborn, and in the intervening decades, it's become a city known for its culture and history with comparisons to Paris, London and Rome.
The crowds on the cobbled lanes that zig-zag the Old Town Square are proof of that, but the green spaces and hidden courtyards bring unexpected escapes with barely a tourist in sight. Many also say Prague has some of the world's finest beer, but you'll have to judge for yourself when visiting the city. The best time to visit is during the spring or early fall when the weather is mild, offers clear skies and is less crowded.
Fly to Prague from multiple cities in the U.S., via one of our Star Alliance partner airlines.
At the heart of Sweden's picture-book capital city lies Stockholm's old town, Gamla Stan, one of the largest and best preserved medieval city centers in Europe. Dating back to 1252, the old town is a walkable museum. Its narrow cobblestone streets wind off towards The Royal Palace, Stockholm Cathedral and past a succession of gold-hued buildings that give the center its unique character and charm.
Spring, fall and winter have their charms, but plan to visit during the summer months to see Stockholm and its surrounding towns at their best. You'll be able to explore the green parks and the thousands of islands in the Stockholm archipelago on foot, by bike or by kayak.
Fly to Stockholm from multiple cities in the U.S.
As a city first inhabited in 500 BC, Vienna is one of Europe's historical heavyweights. From the imperial palaces of Schönbrunn and Hofburg to the grand Ringstrasse boulevard that circles the historic Innere Stadt (Old Town), this is a city rich with history. While being old, the city is also new in many facets, including its latest modern architecture, trendy clubs and shops, so it's easy to see why Austria's capital was voted the world's most liveable city for the ninth year in a row.
Of course that might also have something to do with the fact that the Viennese have perfected the art of café culture. Wherever you roam, coffee and cakes of world renown are never far from your fingertips. Plan to visit from April to May or September to October to enjoy lower prices, seeing the main attractions without waiting in long lines and a moderate amount of tourists.
Fly to Vienna from multiple cities in the U.S., via one of our Star Alliance partner airlines.
If you're looking for a city steeped in history, head to Budapest. Built on more than 120 hot springs, the Hungarian capital has been home to human beings since the stone age. Its first settlers made their camp along the banks of the mighty Danube River that splits historic Buda on the west bank and art nouveau Pest across the water on the east side. Today, the two parts are joined in name and connected by the 19th century Széchenyi Chain Bridge.
The city is home to too many historical landmarks to see in a single visit, particularly as the nightlife — from grunge bars and 'ruin pubs (or bars created in the ruins of abandoned buildings, stores, lots, etc.) to the splendid State Opera House — may have you sleeping in a little later than usual. If that happens, head to one of the many open-air thermal baths to feel refreshed.
While the climate is always relatively mild, head to Budapest March through May or September through November in order to avoid the overwhelming crowds of tourists.
Fly to Budapest from multiple cities in the U.S., via one of our Star Alliance partner airlines.
If you go
Calling all AvGeeks and travelers! Here's a fun way to take your next video call….from a United Polaris seat, the cockpit or cruising altitude. We're introducing United-themed backgrounds for use on Zoom, a video conferencing tool that many people are using to stay connected.
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Video provided by the U.S. Embassy Ecuador of Americans returning home on United.
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In the midst of mobilizing our cargo operations, our teams at New York/Newark (EWR) and Jacksonville (JAX) stepped in to assist Roche Diagnostics with transporting a vital component for an instrument being used for COVID-19 testing.
The component was stuck at EWR en route to the Mayo Clinic in Florida after another airline's flights were cancelled. A Roche employee contacted us asking for help and, within a few hours, our teams had the piece loaded onto a Jacksonville-bound aircraft, with arrangements in place to deliver it to the Mayo Clinic.
The item we shipped will allow the Mayo Clinic in Florida to process hundreds of COVID-19 tests per day. Mayo Clinic Laboratories has been on the front lines of increasing testing capacity to expedite caring for patients at this critical time and working to ease the burden being felt at test processing laboratories in a growing number of areas.
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