Known as the Netherlands' second city, Rotterdam is brimming with cutting-edge architecture. One of its most striking facades is the De Rotterdam tower, right on the water – the work of famed architect Rem Koolhaas. Not just for design fans, the buzzing urban centre also attracts coffee lovers, with a bunch of excellent roasteries to choose from. Pick up a latte and stroll along peaceful waterways and over sleek bridges as you make your way to the city's museums and markets.
There are some Cube House hostels in Rotterdam to choose from, which are slanted, space-saving buildings which have their own dedicated museum, Kijk-Kubus. Or go for a classic Hollywood-inspired stay with individual rooms and an on-site café and bar. For easy city access, there's a centrally located Rotterdam hostel with a vegetable garden and a resident cat. Most include free Wi-Fi, and many throw in a free breakfast. You'll also find Rotterdam hostels with female dorms and en-suite bathrooms with rain showers.
Rotterdam's main centre is the City Triangle (Stadsdriehoek) – foodies should visit Markthal, an indoor market with more than 100 food stalls, plus shops and lots of restaurants. The Maritime Quarter (Scheepvaartkwartier) is full of historic architecture. Adventurers can stroll to nearby Het Park and the 180-metre Euromast observation tower to book an abseiling session. For a taste of Rotterdam's culture past and present, Delfshaven is the place to go. Dating from 1389, it's packed with art galleries, old buildings and pubs.
Witte de Withstraat is known for its delicious food and fun festivals. You'll find eateries with global cuisine from Vietnamese to Italian and boutiques bursting with artisan-designed clothes and shoes. Architecture buffs who are short on time can simply visit the city's top viewing spots to take it all in. As well as Euromast, you could try Laurenskerk (a medieval church) and the rooftop bar on the Groothandelsgebouw.
From Schiphol International Airport, it's a 25 to 45-minute train ride into Rotterdam Centraal Station. Once you're settled in, hop on a tram or metro to get around the city. Travelling to Rotterdam from another European city? Eurolines coaches will bring you to an interchange to the west of Centraal Station. From Rotterdam The Hague Airport, it's about a 20-minute bus ride to the centre.