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The story of Portugal is a tale of two cities — the bustling capital and the northern jewel. Lisbon and Porto are two of Europe's most historic, romantic and often overlooked destinations. Smaller and more easily explored on foot than many of their European counterparts, both are essential stops on any itinerary.

And given they are just a minute flight apart, visiting both in a single vacation is not only possible, but highly recommended. To make the most out of your trip, here are the bare essentials to see and do in both cities. A city built on seven mighty hills, Lisbon looks down on the River Tagus and combines rambling cobbled streets with ancient ruins and some of Europe's most striking architecture. But here's what we'd suggest. Head over to Baixa Pombalina , known simply as Baixa, the city's historic heart, and commercial center. Notably, in a city of hills, this area is remarkably flat. While you're in Baixa, seek out Livraria Bertrand, the oldest continuously running bookshop in the world.

Baixa is also home to the Elevador de Santa Justa, a wrought-iron elevator lift that has been transporting visitors from Baixa to the Largo do Carmo and the ruins of the Carmo church for more than a century. A rail vehicle better known as a tram is an integral part of Lisbon life as is the historic yellow Remodelado carrying passengers up and down the city.

The castle is open to visitors, and its views over the city and the River Tagus will soon be filling your phone. Known as the city's most ancient district, Alfama is also home to many of Lisbon's best souvenir shops and myriad tiny streets lined with bars and restaurants.

In the most traditional of them, you'll hear and experience Fado , Portugal's soulful national soundtrack that is known as 'Lisbon's song'. It's hard to know which is more impressive: the vast collection of artworks considered 'national treasures', or the magnificent gardens and restaurant overlooking the River Tagus.

For those with an extra day and looking to get outside the city, a short drive northwest brings you to the picturesque town of Sintra. This small town is the perfect day trip, offering beautiful scenery, historic monuments and sweet treats exclusive to Sintra.

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One of the best neighborhoods to explore is Barrio Alto, sleepy by day but alive as night falls. However, to sample Lisbon's specialties, head to a pastelerias and order the ubiquitous pastel de nata custard tart. One of Lisbon's most beloved drinks is ginjinha , a sweet cherry liqueur that originated in the city. The Ginjinha Espinheira is one of the city's most historic ginja bars, but by no means the only one.

Portugal's second city is one of Europe's oldest, a hillside agglomeration overlooking the River Douro. Famed for its river and its port wine, the city is a maze of steep and narrow cobbled streets, picture-perfect plazas, grand cathedrals and churches. Smaller and even more manageable than Lisbon, your time here will pass in the blink of an eye. To make the most of your first visit, prioritize the following….

One of the neighborhood's prized gems and most visited bookstores in the world is Livraria Lello which is more like a grand library and was also an influence on J. Rowling, who wrote the first few chapters of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone here, at the time when she lived in the city. Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art is also well worth visiting.


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It's home to around 4, works from the late 20th and 21st century, plus it's blessed with one of the city's most serene gardens. From the city center, jump aboard Tram 1 for a rickety ride down to the seafront in Foz do Douro in minutes. From there, take a boat tour on the Douro to see the city from a new angle —the Rabelo flatboats you ride on were once used to transport barrels of Porto wine and are now a symbol of the city.

As confirmed by the ever-present tourist crowds, climbing the bridge to photograph the city is an essential stop. As you're heading across the river, drop in on Caves Ferreira, one of the oldest Port wine cellars in the city.

Drink in the history with a glass of the city's signature drink. Porto is a food lover's paradise with everything your taste buds desire. From food stalls to Michelin-starred restaurants, much of it with a strong emphasis on seafood. This thick stew of tripe, sausage, white beans and spices is said to symbolize the famed generosity of the city.

We also will begin flying seasonally to Porto beginning May from Newark. For full details and to book , visit United. Direct flights between the two cities are available through our Star Alliances partners with flight time approximately 50 minutes. S hare your story with MyUnitedJourney.

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Toggle Main Menu Search Hub. All Newsroom. Search Hub. Close window. Related articles 7 family-friendly activities to celebrate fall. Three Perfect Days: Los Angeles. By Nick Harper.

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Keep reading. Local knowledge Fail to prepare and prepare to… walk around aimlessly wondering what to do and why you can't buy tickets to see the things you really want to see, as the old adage almost goes. Money matters There are several ways to ensure your dollar goes far on vacation.

Language and lingo If traveling to a foreign country where they speak a different language, it may help to learn a few of the key phrases before you go. Tech troubles Everything we carry with us nowadays needs plugging in and charging.


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  6. Survival guide No matter where you are going, it's always a good idea to take the necessary precautions ahead of time so that if an emergency were to happen, you'll be prepared. If you go Wherever you travel, visit united. Show less. United Journey. Flying to London: How my UnitedJourney took off.

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    Wilson , June 19, And when it's time for leavin', I hope you'll understand, That I was born a ramblin' man. Share your MyUnitedJourney It's easy Explore down under: Travel guide to Sydney. By Bob Cooper. Keep reading Search flights. Destination: Sydney, Australia Australia's largest city is one of the world's leading travel destinations. Bays and beaches Bays, beaches and the world's largest natural harbor define Sydney. City center sights The iconic Sydney Opera House , which hosts tours and a variety of events in addition to opera, is just one of several popular attractions in the heart of walkable central Sydney surrounding the main harbor.

    Eat, drink, Sydney Sydney's location in the South Pacific is a boon for the city's restaurants, where fresh lobster, prawns, salmon and abalone are on many menus. Gateway to Australia Sydney International Airport is by far the nation's busiest, the gateway for most travelers who come to witness Australia's wonders. Getting around Negotiating Greater Sydney is easiest without a car because the network of light-rail trains, buses and ferries is extensive. If you go Flights from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Sydney depart daily, with the addition of flights from Houston planning to take off in January Show less Search flights.

    Day 1 Morning Pack comfortable shoes and prepare to wander the streets, for a stroll through the Old Town is an essential experience for any first-time visitor. Evening Back on solid ground, it's time to eat again. Day 2 Morning Don't forget to eat breakfast, for on the morning of day two you will climb a mountain. If you go United Airlines flies in and out of Zurich Airport, located just 10km and 15 minutes from the city's main train station.

    Buenos Aires in 9 essential experiences. Prioritize Palermo Of the 48 official barrios —neighborhoods—that make up Buenos Aires, it's inevitable that at some point you'll end up in Palermo. Tango a milonga When the sun sets on BA, the city comes alive to a tango soundtrack. Seek out steak Argentina's passion for beef is well celebrated. Meet the Mataderos For reasons unknown, BA is not a great city for street markets. Drink until the early hours In a city that doesn't appear to get much, if any sleep, and the night doesn't begin before 1am, finding a great bar is easy.

    If you go United offers service to Buenos Aires from many U. Lisbon A city built on seven mighty hills, Lisbon looks down on the River Tagus and combines rambling cobbled streets with ancient ruins and some of Europe's most striking architecture. What to see Head over to Baixa Pombalina , known simply as Baixa, the city's historic heart, and commercial center. Porto Portugal's second city is one of Europe's oldest, a hillside agglomeration overlooking the River Douro. MyUnitedJourney Image of.

    1. Local knowledge

    This way you can re-use the same bottle thousands of times, and never pay for expensive, wasteful bottled water again! My first backpack was 70 liters packed full, my current bag is only 40 liters. As a full-time vagabond, everything I own fits in my travel backpack. Obtaining visas for certain countries can be a real pain, and some can require multiple passport sized photos.

    7 Things You Must Do Before Your Next International Trip

    Have you ever tried to find a place that shoots passport photos in Tajikistan? Before you leave your home country, get a bunch of passports sized photos 10?


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    It will save you a lot of time and hassle in the long-run. Flying can often be one of the most expensive parts of an international trip. But with practice, you can learn how to book super cheap flights and save tons of money.