Once a busy hub of local industry, Dortmund has transformed many of its factories into arts centres and hipster bars. This city in northern Germany is also known worldwide for its breweries, some of which have been making ales for 600 years – there's even a museum dedicated to the craft. To blend in with the locals, sip a pint in the marketplace and watch a Borussia Dortmund match. Even better, visit the hallowed grounds of the club's Signal Iduna Park. The city is so passionate about football that it now houses the German Football Museum.
For a fun stay, book a Dortmund hostel with a mini bowling alley and table tennis. Here you can relax in your own private room (complete with an en-suite bathroom) or soak up the friendly atmosphere of a communal dorm. Many hostels in Dortmund have large on-site bars and outdoor terraces where you can unwind with a local beer in hand. Get to know your fellow travellers over a free breakfast each morning or challenge them to a game of pool in a hostel common room.
Dortmund's centre is the medieval heart of the city. This is where you'll find the bustling Alter Markt, Dortmund's main market square, and the pedestrianised shopping street Westenhellweg. For cosy pubs and cafés, head to Hafenviertel: a dockside neighbourhood to the north east of the centre. The Kaiserviertel area to the east has become known for Moltkestrasse, which each spring becomes a photo-worthy corridor of cherry blossom.
Dortmund is full of hidden cultural gems, like the massive Dortmunder U just east of the city centre. This repurposed brewery is now a culture and arts centre housing the Museum am Ostwall modern art gallery (on the 4th and 5th floors) and an art-house cinema. To embrace Dortmund's love of football, have a kick-around in Westfalenpark: a 70-acre area with grassy lawns, a rose garden and the Florianturm, a 220m-high tower that you can climb for views over the city.
With an international airport only 12km to the east, Dortmund is easy to get to. Once you've arrived, take the hourly AirportExpress bus to Dortmund's main station (the journey is about half an hour), which is on the edge of the city's pedestrianised centre. This is also where you'll arrive if you travel by train. To get around, you can use Dortmund's buses, trams and metro services or simply explore the city by foot.