One of Europe's largest ports, Rotterdam is an outward-looking cultural hotspot with a flair for design, architecture, and art that few cities of its size can match.
Rotterdam has plenty of world-class museums. Visit the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen for art, and the Wereldmuseum for excellent ethnography collections.
With the North Sea Jazz Festival attracting thousands of acts in July and top house DJs at the Kroon Festival in April, music lovers have plenty of reasons to head to Rotterdam.
From the innovative Cube Houses to the swan-like Erasmusbrug, the city is full of modern architectural masterpieces.
Head to the Fenix Food Factory for all of the gouda, cakes, and Dutch beer you can handle, or check out the World Food Festival, which attracts chefs from all over the globe.
Don't miss the Maritime Museum to get a sense of how the city's port has developed, and take a boat cruise in the harbor to see the sights.
Rotterdam is a year-round destination. Sightseeing is a little bit more pleasant in the summer, from late June to early September, but the art, food, and architecture can be enjoyed whenever you feel like visiting.
Rotterdam The Hague Airport (RTM) is just 4 miles north of the town center. From there, catch Bus 50 or 33 into town (EUR0.89 with an OV-chipkaart). Taxis will cost around EUR20.
Rotterdam Centraal has rail links to Amsterdam, France, and Belgium, and is right at the heart of the city.
To drive from Amsterdam, take the A4 straight to Rotterdam, and from Brussels, take the E19, then the A16 when you cross the Dutch border.
Intercity buses run from most northern European cities and are run by Eurolines and Megabus.
Popular upscale hotels in the center of town include the Hilton Rotterdam, the Bilderberg Parkhotel, and Hotel New York in the docklands area.
Centrum - where most of Rotterdam's attractions are based, Centrum is home to the Boijmans Museum and a huge array of eateries and bars.
Dijkzigt - Dijkzigt is home to the Kunsthal, Rotterdam's other major gallery as well as the Natural History Museum, and it's a good place to base yourself.
Kop van Zuid - Kop van Zuid is a regenerated docklands neighborhood with soaring towers and upmarket hotels (as well as fantastic harbor views).
RET provides buses, trams, water buses, and trains. It's a good idea to pick up an OV-chipkaart, which can be recharged as required (the card costs EUR7.50).
Taxis in Rotterdam charge a meter drop of EUR2.50, then around EUR3 per mile, so they aren't the cheapest way to get around.
You can rent a car of your own from branches of Europcar or Hertz, and rates tend to be around EUR15 per day, so it's a cost-effective alternative to taxis.
Shopping fans should head to Hoogstraat and Lijnbaan - two pedestrianized zones featuring hundreds of stores.
Rotterdam hosts supermarkets like Aldi, SPAR, and Jumbo, where prices aren't too high. Expect a gallon of milk to cost around EUR3.50.
Oude Haven is a good area to head for a meal, where great options include Restaurant Soit, which offers Dutch cuisine, as well as excellent Italian eateries like Restaurant Amarone. Meals should cost between EUR12 and EUR25 at mid-range places.