See more of Europe with these multi-destination vacations
Less is more, they say, and that's sometimes true. But not where travel is concerned. Often, when traveling, more is more. Why visit one European country on vacation when you can hop borders and visit two? Thanks to the advent of faster travel links and nation-straddling super-bridges, it's now possible to pack more than one country into a single vacation–and highly recommended.
So, maps at the ready, here are five we suggest you check out first.
London and Paris
Given their proximity, it now feels strange to think that before 1994, traveling from London to Paris or Paris to London was a journey that took much longer than anyone liked. The two cities stand 288 miles apart, and the quickest route from one to the other was a slow boat across the English Channel or the rail-linking Eurotunnel, which only took you part of the way.
Then, in 1994, everything changed. Eurostar arrived, a truly high-speed rail link connecting London with Paris—and on to the sunshine of the South of France. Now, it's possible to wave goodbye to the cosmopolitan charms of London and say bonjour to super chic Paris—or vice versa—in next to no time, reclining in a comfortable seat with a glass of champagne in hand. Best of all, traveling from London's St Pancras International to Paris' Gare Du Nord, or vice versa, you're delivered straight into the heart of the city.
Fly: United flies to from multiple cities in the U.S. to London and Paris
Train: London to Paris: 2 hours, 15 minutes
Vienna and Budapest
To choose between Vienna and Budapest is a regrettable task. The former is one of Europe's must-see cities, a cultural heavyweight full of romance, opera houses, stately boulevards and delicious cake. The latter is no less impressive, a glittering city of hot thermal springs and imperial architecture that straddles two sides of the mighty Danube. Opting for one over the other is a trying task, but you don't have to choose when they sit just three hours apart.
We suggest basing yourself in Budapest and staying on the Pest side of the river, among the main tourist sites and surrounded by bars, restaurants, and nightlife. From there it's a quick, easy and inexpensive train ride west to Vienna. And if you have the time and can handle three cities in three countries in a single trip, you might also want to add Prague to your travel itinerary for a classic Central Europe trifecta.
Fly: United's partners flies from multiple cities in the U.S. to Budapest
Train: Budapest to Vienna: 2 hours, 44 minutes
Amsterdam and Brussels
Around 130 miles and three hours south of the Netherlands' sits Brussels, a thriving, shiny cosmopolitan metropolis that is all too often overlooked by the international traveler.
Amsterdam, of course, needs no real introduction, a bustling sprawl of canals and museums, history and hedonism. Where the Danes have their 'hygge', Amsterdam is famous for its 'gezellig', a feeling of care-free coziness that infects both locals and tourists alike. Brussels, by comparison, flies under the radar but that may be changing.
Majestically transformed over recent years, the city's 17th-century center is flanked by boulevards that are home to a thriving café culture and restaurant scene. Follow them around until day becomes evening and the nightlife takes over. The fact that Brussels remains compact enough to explore on foot makes it ideal for a leisurely overnight visit with more than enough time to explore the galleries and markets and gorge yourself on the famous chocolate, mussels and frites. Though perhaps not all at once.
Fly: United flies to from multiple cities in the U.S. toAmsterdam and Brussels
Train: Amsterdam to Brussels: 2 hours, 4 minutes
Milan and Zurich
The longest journey on our itinerary is worth going the extra mile—or in this case the extra 175 miles. While Rome enjoys capital status, many believe Milan is Italy's actual heart, where fashion, food, art and architecture mix with effortless ease. From your early morning espresso to Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper, plus a hundred experiences in between, Milan has enough to warrant never leaving the city. But given Zurich's proximity, that would be wasteful.
Make the short journey north, and you'll discover a beautiful city sat astride the Limmat River and overlooking a vast, crystal-clear lake. Zurich's steep cobbled streets house more than 50 museums and twice as many art galleries, while a thriving café culture gives way as night falls to some of Europe's liveliest bars and clubs. The temptation might be to give the Swiss city a night and then head straight back to Milan. When you reach Zurich, however, you may well change your mind.
Fly: United flies to from multiple cities in the U.S. toMilan and Zurich
Train: Milan to Zurich: 3 hours 26 minutes
Malmö and Copenhagen
Separated by just 27 miles and a single stretch of water—the Øresund strait—the fact that Malmö was once part of Denmark hints at how close these two cities are. Visiting both on a single vacation could not be any easier, nor should you need any persuading to do so, with Malmö one of Europe's unsung stars and Copenhagen currently the most popular culinary city on earth. It also helps that both are compact enough to explore on foot.
Perhaps the best part about visiting both cities in a single vacation is the opportunity to experience the journey between the two. Heading from Malmö to Copenhagen takes you across the 10 mile-long Øresund Bridge, at the halfway point of which makes a plunge underground. Finally, you arrive, emerging from darkness into light, and from Sweden into Denmark.
Fly: United's partners flies from multiple cities in the U.S. to Copenhagen
Train or Drive: Malmö to Copenhagen: 35 or 55 minutes
Right now, around the world, brave members of America's armed forces are on duty, defending our freedom and upholding our values.
When not laser-focused on the mission at hand, they're looking forward to the day when their service to our nation is fulfilled and they can reunite with their families.
They are also imagining how they can use their hard-earned skills to build an exciting, rewarding and important career when they return home.
I want them to look no further than United Airlines.
That's why we are focused on recruiting, developing and championing veterans across our company, demonstrating to our returning women and men in uniform that United is the best possible place for them to put their training, knowledge, discipline and character to the noblest use.
They've developed their knowledge and skills in some of the worst of times. We hope they will use those skills to keep United performing at our best, all of the time.
That's why we are accelerating our efforts to onboard the best and the brightest, and substantially increasing our overall recruitment numbers each year.
We recently launched a new sponsorship program to support onboarding veterans into United and a new care package program to support deployed employees. It's one more reason why United continues to rank high - and rise higher - as a top workplace for veterans. In fact, we jumped 21 spots this year on Indeed.com's list of the top U.S workplaces for veterans. This is a testament to our increased recruiting efforts, as well as our efforts to create a culture where veterans feel valued and supported.
We use the special reach and resources of our global operations to partner with outstanding organizations. This is our way of stepping up and going the extra mile for all those who've stepped forward to answer our nation's call.
We do this year-round, and the month of November is no exception; however, it is exceptional, especially as we mark Veterans Day.
As we pay tribute to all Americans who have served in uniform and carried our flag into battle throughout our history, let's also keep our thoughts with the women and men who are serving around the world, now. They belong to a generation of post-9/11 veterans who've taken part in the longest sustained period of conflict in our history.
Never has so much been asked by so many of so few.... for so long. These heroes represent every color and creed. They are drawn from across the country and many immigrated to our shores.
They then freely choose to serve in the most distant and dangerous regions of the world, to protect democracy in its moments of maximum danger.
Wherever they serve - however they serve - whether they put on a uniform each day, or serve in ways which may never be fully known, these Americans wake up each morning willing to offer the "last full measure of devotion" on our behalf.
Every time they do so, they provide a stunning rebuke to the kinds of voices around the world who doubt freedom and democracy's ability to defend itself.
Unfortunately, we know there are those who seem to not understand – or say they do not - what it is that inspires a free people to step forward, willing to lay down their lives so that their country and fellow citizens might live.
But, we – who are both the wards and stewards of the democracy which has been preserved and handed down to us by veterans throughout our history – do understand.
We know that inciting fear and hatred of others is a source of weakness, not strength. And such divisive rhetoric can never inspire solidarity or sacrifice like love for others and love of country can.
It is this quality of devotion that we most honor in our veterans - those who have served, do serve and will serve.
On behalf of a grateful family of 96,000, thank you for your service.
Each year around Veterans Day, Indeed, one of the world's largest job search engines, rates companies based on actual employee reviews to identify which ones offer the best opportunities and benefits for current and former U.S. military members. Our dramatic improvement in the rankings this year reflects a stronger commitment than ever before to actively recruiting, developing and nurturing veteran talent.
"We've spent a lot of time over the past 12 months looking for ways to better connect with our employees who served and attract new employees from the military ranks," said Global Catering Operations and Logistics Managing Director Ryan Melby, a U.S. Army veteran and the president of our United for Veterans business resource group.
"Our group is launching a mentorship program, for instance, where we'll assign existing employee-veterans to work with new hires who come to us from the armed forces. Having a friend and an ally like that, someone who can help you translate the skills you picked up in the military to what we do as a civilian company, is invaluable. That initiative is still in its infancy, but I'm really optimistic about what it can do for United and for our veteran population here."
Impressively, we were the only one of our industry peers to move up on the list, further evidence that we're on a good track as a company.
The question of where David Ferrari was had haunted retired U.S. Army Sergeant Major Vincent Salceto for the better part of 66 years.
Rarely did a week go by that Salceto didn't think about his old friend. Often, he relived their last moments together in a recurring nightmare. In it, it's once again 1953 and Salceto and Ferrari are patrolling a valley in what is now North Korea. Suddenly, explosions shatter the silence and flares light up the night sky.
Crouching under a barrage of bullets, Salceto, the squad's leader, drags two of his men to safety, then he sees Ferrari lying face down on the ground. He runs out to help him, but he's too late. And that's when he always wakes up.
Italian Americans from opposite coasts – Salceto from Philadelphia, Ferrari from San Francisco – the two became close, almost like brothers, after being assigned to the same unit during the Korean War. When Ferrari died, it hit Salceto hard.
"After that, I never let anyone get close to me like I did with Dave," he says. "I couldn't; I didn't want to go through that again."
When the war ended, Salceto wanted to tell Ferrari's family how brave their son and brother had been in battle. Most of all, he wanted to salute his friend at his gravesite and give him a proper farewell.
For decades, though, Salceto had no luck finding his final resting place or locating any of his relatives. Then, in June of this year, he uncovered a clue that led him to the Italian Cemetary in Colma, California, where Ferrari is buried.
Within days, Salceto, who lives in Franklinville, New Jersey, was packed and sitting aboard United Flight 731 from Philadelphia to San Francisco with his wife, Amy, and daughter, Donna Decker, on his way to Colma. For such a meaningful trip, he even wore his Army dress uniform.
That's how San Francisco-based flight attendant Noreen Baldwin spotted him as he walked down the jet bridge to get on the plane.
"I saw him and said to the other crew members, 'Oh my goodness, look at this guy,'" she says. "I knew there had to be a story."
The two struck up a conversation and Salceto told Baldwin why he was traveling. She got emotional listening to him talk and made a point of fussing over him, making sure he and his family had everything they needed.
About halfway through the flight, Baldwin had an idea. She and her fellow crew members would write messages of encouragement to Salceto and invite his fellow passengers to do the same.
"We did it discreetly," says Baldwin. "I asked the customers if they saw the man in uniform, which most had, and asked them if they wanted to write a few words for him on a cocktail napkin. A lot of people did; families did it together, parents got their kids to write something. After the first few rows, I was so choked up that I could barely talk."
When Baldwin surprised Salceto with dozens of hand-written notes, he, too, was speechless. He laid the stack on his lap and read each one. At the same time, the pilots made an announcement about the veteran over the loud speaker, after which the customers on board burst into applause.
"It seems contrived, and I hate using the word organic, but that's what it was; it just happened," Baldwin says. "Mr. Salceto was so loveable and humble, and what he was doing was so incredible, it felt like the right thing to do. And you could tell he was touched."
On June 27, Salceto finally stood before Ferrari's grave and said that long-awaited goodbye. As a trumpeter played "Taps," he unpinned a medal from his jacket and laid it reverently on the headstone.
"I had gotten a Bronze Star for my actions [the night Ferrari died] with a 'V' for valor, and that was the medal I put on Dave's grave," says Salceto, pausing to fight back tears. "I thought he was more deserving of it than I was."
For the first time in years, Salceto felt at peace. His mission was accomplished.