Cruise to Rotterdam

Trade and transport are synonymous with Rotterdam. This architecture-loving city, situated on the banks of the Nieuwe Maas river, has long been an active international port. Founded in 1270, Rotterdam has been at the forefront of trade to other parts of Europe and beyond, heralding the formation of the Dutch East India Co. and seafaring exploration.

Today, the city of 615,000 is a vibrant confluence of cultures—European, Asian and Middle Eastern—with more than 170 different nationalities calling it home. Thus, you'll spy Thai restaurants next to kabob houses and traditional Dutch restaurants.

The city center was nearly decimated during the Second World War from German bombardment but that just made the locals more innovative and gutsy, creating a modern Mecca for architecture and interior design. Rotterdam may be the redheaded stepsister of beatific Amsterdam, but the former gives you a taste of true Dutch culture and innovation.