Qingdao is a pleasant seaside town located at the foot of Laoshan Mountain and by the Yellow Sea. Its mild climate, picturesque scenery, and many charming coves make it an ideal vacation spot for your trip to China.

It was a colony of Germany and Japan before1949. Thus, the architecture of the city as a whole is an uplifting combination of European, Japanese and Chinese styles. This architecture, a vestige of the colonial past, gives a unique character to the city. In the western part of the city, there are many old buildings with red roofs where famous people in Chinese history once lived.

The red tiles, the abundant nature, the azure blue sea, and the sky reflected in it, represent the atmosphere of Qingdao beautifully. Its reefs and golden beaches make up its magnificent landscape, while its turbulent history, indigenous customs, and festivals make it a cultural hotspot.

Useful information

Population: 10.7 million (2020).
Area: 11293 km²
Location: in southeastern Shandong Province
Administrative division: 7 districts and 3 county-level cities

What to visit in Qingdao?

Qingdao is a superb coastal city where you can enjoy a pleasant seaside stay during your trip to China. It is not difficult to find stretches of sand to relax and swim. Shilaoren Beach is popular as it is the largest, while Number 6 Beach is the closest to the Old Town. The latter is a great place to come in the early evening when the buildings around the bay area illuminated.

In the city center, Zhongshan Park is a vast space made up of lakes, gardens, and walking paths. To the northeast of the park rises Taiping Hill giving a splendid panorama of the surroundings. The place is also home to the grand Zhanshan Temple which is an active Buddhist shrine.

For a local and authentic experience in the heart of the old town, discover the Huangdao market. This long-standing street market is full of vendors selling all manner of trinkets and food. Come evening, sidewalk restaurants will prepare seafood to enjoy for affordable prices.

The area around Bada Guan, near beach no.2 is the former German residential area, whose name means “eight forts”. Walking through the streets, one observes beautiful Western-style period houses.

Then go to the Tsingtao Beer Museum. This original museum brewery is still in operation, you can see German colonial period photos and well-preserved beer equipment. The local beer is a staple in the city. With a history of over 100 years, it is considered a symbol of the city. During the Qingdao International Beer Festival which is held on the second weekend of August and usually lasts 16 days, you could attend many festivities.

In 1891, Qing Dynasty’s soldiers began construction of Zhanqiao Pier which jutted 200m into the sea. At the end of the pier is the Huilan pavilion with a magnificent view of the ocean. It is a great opportunity for a walk to enjoy the sea air. Locals like to go to the beach at low tide to pick up shells.

If you want to learn more about Chinese history, visit the Governor’s House Museum. This building is one of the best examples of Qingdao’s colonial-era architecture. The interior of the building is characteristic of the German Art Nouveau movement, with some German and Chinese furniture of the period. In 1957, Chairman Mao stayed here with his wife and children on vacation.

Continue with a visit to Saint Michael’s Cathedral, located in the former German quarter of Zhejiang Street. This grand Gothic-Roman building was completed in 1934, the church steeples were meant to be clock towers, but Chancellor Hitler cut off funding for overseas projects, and the plans were shelved.

Not far from the cathedral is a Protestant church, built in 1910, which was the first German church in the city. This elegant building is topped with a red tiled roof and a green tower. To the north of this church, Signal Hill is where signals were given to ships. Climb this hill for a nice view of the coast.

Finally, for a scenic discovery, take a walk to the small lighthouse of Qingdao. The Germans built this small building in 1900 on a verdant promontory. This is a great place to watch the city come alive in the morning. Admission is free from 6 to 7:30 in the morning and from 18:30 to 20 in the evening.

If your stay lasts several days, you can consider a visit to the Laoshan Mountains 60 km from the city center. They are famous for their splendid panorama overlooking the Yellow Sea. The hike to reach the summit is particularly pleasant as the landscapes are changing: original rocky mounds, trees with beautiful colors, engraving, stairs… you will not be bored!

Where is Qingdao Located?

Qingdao is located southeast of the Shandong Peninsula in northern China. The city is adjacent to the Yellow Sea to the east and south, about 220 km from the city of Yantai to the northeast, 160 km from the city of Weifang to the west, and 365 km from Jinan, the capital of Shandong province.

How to get to Qingdao?

On August 12, 2021, Qingdao opened a new airport, Qingdao Jiaodong International Airport, and at the same time, closed its old airport, Qingdao Liuting International Airport.

Besides, there are a dozen train stations in Qingdao. But the two most important are Qingdao Center Station and North Station. They both operate high-speed trains and normal trains between most major cities in China.

When to go to Qingdao?

Qingdao has a cool spring, wet summer, and dry winter. It is cold in winter and early spring, but very hot weather is rare. Even in August, the hottest month, its average temperature is around 25°C.

It is pleasant to visit Qingdao all year round, but the best time remains from March to November, especially in August when the sea water is fresh and the Qingdao International Beer Festival is held.

Qingdao cuisine has a long and distinguished history, backed by its coastline, and it features quirky seafood such as sea cucumber, scallop, abalone, and whelk. In addition, farm products such as some vegetables and mushrooms are grown on Laoshan Mountain.

On the drink side, you can enjoy the local Tsingtao beer and Laoshan mineral water.

Shawn Tren’s Restaurant
Housed in a former electrical office building dating back to 1909, this great little restaurant offers delicious yet affordable food from its small open kitchen. There is a good selection of noodles and the English menu makes ordering Qingdao’s famous seafood much easier than in other places.

You will find more detailed information on Chinese gastronomy on the page: Popular Chinese dishes.

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