Qingdao, a picturesque coastal city featuring “red tiled buildings and green trees, azure sea and blue sky”, is located at the southern tip of the Shandong Peninsula and borders on the Yellow Sea in the southeast.
Generally speaking, the best travel activities in Qingdao are cited as follows: swimming in the sea, having a Tsingtao Beer, eating fried clams and climbing Mt. Laoshan. You will definitely be impressed by its mild weather, beautiful beaches and picturesque mountain views. What’s even better is that many attractions across the city are free to visit.
Mount Laoshan lies about 30km east of the downtown Qingdao and faces the Yellow Sea. Among all the well-known mountains across China, it is the only one located on the coastline and reputed as the “No.1 Mountain on the Sea”. Mount Laoshan is a famous Taoist mountain. The Taiqing Palace is now the largest and oldest among the preserved Taoist establishments. With its highest peak rising 1,133 meters above sea level, Mount Laoshan is characterized by the imposing canyon, undulating peaks, clear streams and waterfalls, and mystery mist.
Ba Da Guan (Eight Great Passes)
Each of the eight intersecting roads in this area is named after one of the eight great passes of the Great Wall, hence the name Ba Da Guan (Eight Great Passes). The area is home to several unique flora, including many varieties of trees such as peach, pine and gingko trees. In addition, there are more than 200 villas in the exotic architectural style of more than 20 countries, including Russia, UK, U.S., France, Germany, Denmark, Greece, Spain, Switzerland and Japan. Before 1949, the area was home to many foreign consulates and, because of the unique and varied architectural styles in the area, Ba Da Guan is known as the “World Architecture Museum”.
Zhanqiao Pier is the symbol of Qingdao. It is 400 meters long with a pavilion at its tail-end, acclaimed as “a long rainbow on the sea”. Walking on it towards the southern end, you feel as if you were entering the sea. There’s a beach called “the sixth bathing beach” just underneath Zhanqiao Pier where you can enjoy the sunshine and go for a swim.
No.1 Bathing Beach
Located at Huiquan Bay, the No.1 Bathing Beach is 580 meters long and 40 meters wide, with flat surface and no submerged rock and spire. It used to be the largest beach in all of Asia. The gentle slopes, fine sands, crystal waters and soft waves are the four main features of the beach. The blue skies, shimmering ocean, red coral reefs and green trees make for a fantastic holiday picture.
Qingdao Polar Ocean World
Qingdao Polar Ocean World, looking like a sail stretching up to a height of 31 meters, is a compound park where you can go to see some precious animal species at the Polar Ocean Animals Museum, learn about oceanic life at the Ocean Technology Museum, take a stroll around the souvenir shops, and have a drink or a meal along the Bars and Catering Street. It has a large ocean theater which can accommodate 2,800 spectators. Whales, dolphins, sea lions and walruses give their best performances there every day. A lot of animals are participating in their so-called animal “Olympic Games.”
Small Qingdao Island
Located to the southeast of Zhanqiao Bridge, Small Qingdao Island is a pleasant little peninsular, featuring a little park, a few small cafes and a white lighthouse. From the sky, the island looks as if shaped like an ancient lute and hence has earned its nickname Lute Island. It is a good area to go for a brief stroll, providing a good view of the Huilange Pavilion and a spectacular night view when the lights are all lit after dusk.
Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center (Qingdao International Sailing Center)
The Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center, or the Qingdao International Sailing Center, is a sailing marina constructed for the 2008 Summer Olympics. It has hosted multiple Olympic and Paralympic Sailing competitions. At night, a laser light show from the main breakwater lighthouse is on display from early evening to midnight.
May 4th Square
The May 4th Square got its name in memory of China’s historical May 4th Movement. The most remarkable structure, located in the center of the square, is the spiral sculpture entitled “Wind of May.” All sorts of fountains are scattered across the square, providing it with some magnificent decoration. The nighttime views here are excellent. With the moist air and soft sea breeze, it is a wonderful place to go for a walk after dinner.
Qingdao Lutheran Church (the Gospel Church)
The Lutheran Church in Qingdao, formally called the Gospel Church, is situated on a small hill, with beautiful Signal Mountain Park nearby to the east. Built in 1910, the church is a magnificent building of western medieval castle style, composed of an 18-meter-high main hall and a 39.10-meter- tall bell tower. The church as a whole appeared respectfully in harmonious color. The roof is covered with red ceramic tiles while the top of the bell tower is in green, and yellow walls have wave lines decorated with granite in mushroom form.
St. Michael’s Cathedral (Qingdao Catholic Church)
St. Michael’s Cathedral, also known as the Qingdao Catholic Church, is the largest Gothic-style building in the city with strong German presence. The church is composed of an 18-meter-high nave which can hold nearly 1,000 people, and two 56-meter-high towering clock towers with elegant red spires topped by two gigantic Latin crosses. Built between 1932 and 1934, the church is considered an outstanding masterpiece of 20th century Christian architecture.
Shilaoren Beach is one of Qingdao’s largest beaches. It was named after a prominent rock shaped like an old man extending into the sea, measuring 17 meters in height. It is said to resemble an old fisherman waiting for his daughter to return from beneath the waves. This is an ideal place to spend an afternoon or warm summer evening, where you can lie on the beach, enjoy the sunshine, have a few beers, swim in the sea, drive a speed boat or take a walk along the beach.