Qingdao

Explore the 24 Best Things to Do in Qingdao in 2024

Qingdao, a coastal gem where history meets modernity, and natural beauty dazzles at every turn. As you step into this vibrant city, you’re greeted by the scent of sea breeze and the warmth of its people.

Qingdao is known for its impression of “red-tiled roofs, green trees, blue sea, and sky.” This guide will introduce several classic must-visit routes and the 24 best things to do in Qingdao. If you are visiting Qingdao for the first time, you may want to save this guide and experience the beauty of this city.

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🌟Qingdao Travel Planning Guide

Considering a last-minute trip to Qingdao?

🇨🇳 Top Activities and Tours in Qingdao:

1. Qingdao Private Tour: City Highlights and Laoshan Mountain with Lunch+Cable Car
2. Qingdao Highlights Two-day Private Guided Tour


🏨Top Hotels in Qingdao:

Kaiyue Hotel Qingdao
InterContinental Qingdao
Shangri-La Qingdao

🌐Make sure to install ExpressVPN in advance for unrestricted internet access during your stay in China!

🌏 Where is Qingdao Located

Qingdao is located in the eastern part of China, specifically in the Shandong province. It sits on the coast of the Yellow Sea, facing Korea and Japan across the sea. Qingdao is known for its beautiful coastal scenery, with beaches and hills blending into the urban landscape. As a major seaport and industrial city, Qingdao plays a significant role in the region’s economy and trade. Its history as a former German colony is evident in its architecture and cultural heritage, making it a unique destination in China.

👑 Top Must-Visit Places in Qingdao

The attractions in Qingdao are mainly concentrated in the urban area, except for Laoshan Mountain Scenic Area, which is a bit far. The urban attractions can be visited in 2-3 days, while Laoshan Mountain will require a day for each.

Route 1 | Stroll in the Old City
Overview: Zhongshan Road → Catholic Church → Christ Church → Xinhao Mountain → Qingdao Beer Museum → Museum of Former German Governor’s House → Daxue Road → Little Fish Hill Park
Estimated Time: Approximately 5 hours for the entire tour.

1. Zhongshan Road (中山路)

Qingdao’s Zhongshan Road is like Shanghai’s Nanjing Road and Harbin’s Central Street, preserving distinct marks left by colonizers from the last century while also showcasing a modern face.

Walking along Zhongshan Road, you can see many modern German and Japanese buildings.

Zhongshan Road is also the only old commercial street in Qingdao, once bustling with activity. Although its heyday has passed, there are still several good shops worth exploring.

For example, the Red Ruby Cake Shop, which has been loved by locals for 30 years. Their chestnut cake and fresh milk squares are definitely worth a try!

🚗How to get there: Take Metro Line 1 to Zhongshan Road Station and leave from Exit A.

2. Pichai Yuan (劈柴院)

Pichai Yuan is the oldest and most traditional food street in Qingdao. When you visit Pichai Yuan, you can not only see the ancient and picturesque buildings but also taste the characteristic delicacies.

The most common food sold in Pichai Yuan is seafood.

The various seafood stalls look quite fresh and are mostly used as barbecue ingredients. The North Street sells cooked meat, including Dezhou braised chicken, Fushan roasted chicken, and sauce liver. In terms of snacks, the most famous and popular ones here are the Guobing 锅饼(pot biscuit), wontons, and bean curd jelly.

🚗How to get there: Take Metro Line 1 to Zhongshan Road Station and leave from Exit A.

3. Catholic Church (St. Emil Church)

This church, designed by a German architect in a combination of Gothic and Romanesque styles, is the largest Gothic building in Qingdao and the only consecrated church in China.

With its two towering symmetrical bell towers, massive rose windows above the entrance, and stained glass, topped with a red-tiled roof, St. Michael’s Church stands out as a prime example of Gothic architecture.

Don’t just linger outside; the interior of the church is equally impressive. Adorned with Renaissance art decorations, the spacious and bright hall boasts seven large chandeliers. Above the altar, the dome is adorned with mural paintings of saints, creating a solemn and beautiful atmosphere.

At night, the Catholic church is bathed in vibrant multicolored lights, making it a breathtaking sight whether observing or photographing from the square.

🎫Admission ticket: CNY 10
⏰Opening hours: 8:30 – 17:00
🚗How to get there: Take Metro Line 3 to Qingdao Sation.

4. Christian Church

In Qingdao, there are two churches with great fame, one is the Catholic Church and the other is the Christian Church.

Unlike the Catholic Church mentioned earlier, the Christian Church is a typical German castle-style building. Its creamy yellow walls, red roof tiles, and the green top of the bell tower are so bright and colorful that you can’t help but take a closer look.

The church is divided into two parts: the bell tower and the hall.

The bell tower is 39 meters high and you can climb up to see the structure and operation of the clock, as well as enjoy a distant view of the sea. What’s impressive is that the mechanical structure of the clock on the bell tower is still the original component from a hundred years ago, and it still keeps accurate time.

The hall can accommodate up to a thousand people. There is a round stained glass window on the front wall of the hall, in front of which is a large cross, making the whole structure clear at a glance.

Religious activities here are quite active, with gatherings every week. Occasionally, you might even come across a wedding here. And there are often groups of students coming here to sketch.

🔥 Please note: Overall, if you’re interested in churches, it’s worth a visit. However, if you’re just hoping to see magnificent, grand, and luxurious architecture, you might want to skip this place.

🎫Admission ticket: CNY 10
⏰Opening hours: 8:30 – 16:30 (11:30 – 16:30 on Sunday)
🚗How to get there: Take bus 1, 214, 217, 228 or 367 to Qingda Fuyuan Jiangsu Road Sation.

5. Xinhao Mountain (信号山)

Xinhao Mountain is the highest point in Qingdao City, offering a commanding view of the cityscape below. From this vantage point, you can see the red-brick houses of the old city and the lush greenery that surrounds them.

Due to its elevated position, the hill was once used by the Germans to signal the entry of ships into the harbor. After Qingdao was reclaimed in 1922, it was renamed Xinhao Mountain, or Signal Hill.

At the top of Xinhao Mountain is an observation deck consisting of three small red-roofed buildings. Two of these buildings are not open to the public, and access to the largest one requires a ticket.

From the observation deck, you can enjoy panoramic views of Qingdao. The deck rotates automatically and provides some seats for visitors, although getting a seat might require some waiting due to the crowds.

Xinhao Mountain is not very high, and there are plenty of trees providing shade along the way, making the climb relatively easy. The scenery along the way is also beautiful, offering multiple viewpoints to appreciate Qingdao’s vast coastline. It’s definitely worth a visit.

🎫Admission ticket: CNY 10
⏰Opening hours: 6:00 – 20:00
🚗How to get there: Take bus 214, 220, 221 or 411 to Xinhaoshan Park Sation.

6. Qingdao Beer Museum (Tsingtao Brewery)

This is the world’s only museum dedicated to beer as its main theme, chronicling the ups and downs of the legendary Qingdao Beer company. A visit here gives you a comprehensive understanding of how Qingdao transformed into the city of beer.

The Qingdao Beer Museum is divided into three areas: A, B, and C. Area A primarily showcases the cultural and historical evolution of Qingdao Beer, while Area B provides a live demonstration of Qingdao Beer’s brewing process over the past century. After exploring Areas A and B, which usually takes about 1-2 hours, visitors can head to Area C and enjoy a drink at the museum’s own 1903 Bar to complete the experience.

Visitors can receive a glass of the freshest and most authentic Qingdao Beer straight from the brewery in Area B. The taste of this unfiltered beer is quite different from the bottled Qingdao Beer typically consumed, and it’s even comparable to craft beer, with a smooth texture and no bitterness or cloudiness as it goes down the throat.

The regular admission ticket is CNY 60, but it’s highly recommended to purchase the tasting ticket for CNY 95. With the tasting ticket, you’ll receive an additional six drinks, meaning you can enjoy eight drinks in total for just CNY 95.

This doesn’t seem like a museum visit at all; it’s more like a drinking spree.

🎫Admission ticket: Jul. – Sep.: CNY 60;Oct. – Jun.: CNY 50
⏰Opening hours: Jul. – Sep.: 8:00 – 18:00;Oct. – Jun.: 8:30 – 17:30
🚗How to get there: Take Bus 205, 217, 221, 604, or Sightseeing Bus 12 to Qingdao Pijiu Bowuguan (Qingdao Beer Museum).

7. Museum of Former German Governor’s House

If you were to choose the “most German” old building in Qingdao, then this building, with its late 19th-century German Wilhelmian-style architecture, would certainly be among the top five.

The Former German Governor’s House was built in 1905 and served as the official residence for the German governor, the Japanese commander of the garrison in Qingdao, and the mayor of the Kuomintang in Qingdao. It could be said that it is “a governor’s mansion, half of Qingdao’s history.”

Today, it is used as a museum, showcasing restored rooms such as the governor’s official residence, storage rooms, entertainment rooms, and even the glass sunroom, nursery, and children’s playroom.

Visitors can follow the museum’s planned route to explore the study, reception room, living spaces, wine cellar, and more, experiencing firsthand the changes in Qingdao’s history over the past century.

Although this was just a residence for a governor, its design and architecture from over 100 years ago can be considered first-class! It is definitely worth a visit.

🔥 Please note: Photography inside the Museum of the Former German Governor’s House is prohibited except in the small garden, so please remember to adhere to this rule.

⏰Opening hours: 9:00 – 17:00 (closed on Monday)
🎫Admission ticket: Apr. – Oct.: CNY 20; Nov. – Mar.: CNY 13.
🚗How to get there: Take Bus 214, 211 to Longlou Road Station.

8. Daxue Road (大学路)

Daxue Road is not considered a tourist attraction, but there is a corner located at the intersection of Daxue Road and Yushan Road that has become popular online.

It features a red wall with an artistic atmosphere and saturated retro colors, attracting many people to come specifically for photos.

Daxue Road was the first asphalt road built by German colonists in Qingdao. The surrounding area boasts many Western-style houses from the German and Japanese occupation periods, as well as villas built during the Republic of China era. Many of these courtyards were once the residences of celebrities and masters.

There are also many artistic cafes along Daxue Road and Yushan Road, often reconstructed from original German-style buildings, which are very stylish and perfect for a leisurely afternoon to enjoy the beauty of the island city.

🚗How to get there: Take Metro 4 to Renmin Huitang Station.

9. Little Fish Hill Park (小鱼山)

Little Fish Hill Park and Signal Hill are two places where you can overlook the entire city of Qingdao. When traveling to Qingdao, it’s recommended to visit at least one of them.

Despite not being very high, Little Fish Hill offers panoramic views. From the top, you can see landmarks such as Zhan Bridge, Small Qingdao Island, the Badaguan Scenic Area, and the former German Governor’s House.

The entrance to Little Fish Hill (North Gate) is on Fushan Branch Road. You can climb all the way up to the highest point, Lanchao and Yongcui Pavilions, in just 5 minutes!

Looking north, you can see Signal Hill and the entire old city area of Qingdao, with its neatly arranged European-style buildings. To the west, you’ll see a golden sandy beach nearby and the sea meeting the sky in the distance, with red-tiled roofs and green trees contrasting against the blue sea and sky.

Although not as high as Signal Hill, Little Fish Hill offers a 360-degree view of the sea and the city, making it well worth a visit.

🎫Admission ticket: free
⏰Opening hours: 8:00 – 17:00
🚗How to get there: Take Bus 220 to Xiaoyushan Station.


Route 2 | Walking Along the Coastline
Overview: Zhanqiao Bridge → Taiping Road → Germany Prison Museum Site → Small Qingdao Island → Qingdao Number One Bathing Beach
Estimated Time: 1 day

10. Zhan Bridge (栈桥)

Every city boasts a defining landmark, and Zhan Bridge stands as Qingdao’s quintessential symbol. This steel and concrete structure bridge, extending into the bay, was built in the late Qing Dynasty and was originally the earliest military-dedicated artificial dock in Qingdao.

At the southern end stands the two-story octagonal Huilan Pavilion, with ethnic characteristics, which is the first impression most people have of Qingdao. This impression is further ingrained by the widespread popularity of Qingdao beer, with Zhan Bridge serving as its iconic logo, etched deeply in the minds of many.

Standing on Zhan Bridge and looking around, one can take in the beautiful scenery of the front sea of the island city, both during the day and at night, which is very charming.

During the summer, at Zhan Bridge, nearby beaches often see many locals digging clams and catching razor clams when the tide recedes; whereas in winter, it becomes a place for seagulls to spend the winter.

🔥 Top Tip: Zhan Bridge is the most important attraction in Qingdao, so it is often crowded during peak seasons. It is recommended to come early, preferably around 7 o’clock, as by 8 o’clock many people have already started to arrive for sightseeing.

⏰Opening hours: all day
🚗How to get there: Take Metro Line 3 to Qingdao Railway Station and leave from Exit G.

11. Germany Prison Museum Site

Walking east along Taiping Road, you’ll come across a German castle-style building, which is the Germany Prison Museum Site. The exterior of the prison is characterized by thick red brick walls and a pointed tower, giving it a mysterious appearance.

This building, used as a “European Prison” during the German occupation, is currently the most intact and earliest preserved colonial prison in China. Inside, visitors can explore the architecture and view restored scenes such as the guard duty room, prison cells, and dungeons.

However, once inside, it can indeed feel quite eerie and terrifying. Particularly unsettling are the water dungeons and various torture devices added during the Japanese occupation. The entire basement lacks any lighting, adding to the eerie atmosphere. Bloodstains from the past can still be seen on the pillars of the water dungeons.

Interestingly, one spiral staircase inside has unexpectedly become a favorite among visitors, with many even coming specifically to see it!

⏰Opening hours: 8:00 – 17:00
🎫Admission ticket: CNY 25
🚗How to get there: Take Metro Line 3 to Renmin Huitang Station.

12. Small Qingdao Island (小青岛)

Small Qingdao Island, from which the name “Qingdao” originates, was named by the German occupiers of Jiaozhou Bay as “Qingdao” based on this island.

Originally a small isolated island in the bay, Small Qingdao Island is now connected to the mainland by a long seawall. With the sea surrounding it on three sides, it offers an unbeatable location for enjoying the panoramic views of the bay.

Shaped like a “qin”, an ancient Chinese musical instrument, the island earned its local name of “Qin Island” because when the waves crash against the shore, the sound resembles the playing of the instrument.

Besides enjoying the sea views, Small Qingdao Island also features several small attractions worth exploring.

At the top of the island stands a white lighthouse, particularly enchanting when lit up at night, complementing the lights of Zhan Bridge. Additionally, upon entering Small Qingdao Island, on the right-hand side, there’s a small track that was used during the Japanese occupation to transport torpedoes.

⏰Opening hours: Apr. – Oct.: 7:30 – 19:30; Nov. – Mar.: 7:30 – 17:30
🎫Admission ticket: Apr. – Oct.: CNY 15; Nov. – Mar.: CNY 10.
🚗How to get there: Take Bus 6, 26, 26 Express, 202, 214, 223, 228, 228 Express, 231, or 504 to Luxun Gongyuan (Luxun Park)

13. Qingdao Number One Bathing Beach

Qingdao locals love “sea bathing,” and this is the most popular beach in Qingdao. Every summer, the golden beach is occupied by swimmers wearing colorful swimsuits.

Qingdao Number One Bathing Beach has a nice scenery, surrounded by mountains on three sides, lush greenery, and a clever combination of modern high-rise buildings and traditional villa architecture.

The bay has clear and calm waters, a gentle slope, and fine, soft sand. With exceptionally convenient transportation, it’s no wonder it has become the top choice for Qingdao locals to bathe in the sea.

The beach is generally open from July 1st to September 25th each year. During this period, the beach provides services such as changing rooms, showers, luggage storage, and lifeguard services. There is no admission fee to visit during the opening period, but there is a fee for using the changing rooms and showers.

While not suitable for swimming in the spring and autumn, Qingdao Number One Bathing Beach is a great place for seaside walks and enjoying the scenery.

⏰Opening hours: all day
🚗How to get there: Take Metro Line 3 to Huiquan Guangchang and leave from Exit C.

14. Badaguan Scenic Area (八大关)

This is one of the must-visit attractions in Qingdao, and you can easily reach it by taking a bus and getting off at Wushengguan Road.

The term “Badaguan”, meaning Eight Great Passes, actually refers to eight (now expanded to ten) streets named after Great Wall passes, hence the name.

Known as the “Museum of International Architecture,” this area is home to over 200 different styles of old villas from more than 20 countries like Europe, America, and Japan. The most famous ones include Chiang Kai-shek’s former residence, Huashi Villa, the Princess Villa with its Nordic style and sky-blue walls, and the Butterfly House, a charming pink building.

Furthermore, across from the Princess Villa, there is a building styled after the Iberian Peninsula called the “Spanish Folklore Pavilion.” If you’re interested in Spanish history and culture, it’s worth a visit.

🔥 Top Tip: Entry to the Badaguan Scenic Area is free, but some venues may charge admission fees. As Huashi Villa and the Princess Villa tend to be quite crowded, it’s advisable to arrive early to avoid long queues and ensure a better visiting and photography experience.

⏰Opening hours: all day
🚗How to get there: Take Metro Line 3 to Zhongshan Gongyuan and leave from Exit C.

15. Qingdao Number Two Bathing Beach

Located to the south of the Badaguan Scenic Area, Qingdao Number Two Bathing Beach is much less crowded than Qingdao Number One Bathing Beach. While it may lack the bustling atmosphere of the first beach, it offers a better seaside experience. The second beach features both sandy areas and rocky areas, allowing visitors to play in the water and take photos.

One of the most attractive features of Qingdao Number Two Bathing Beach is the popular “cave exploration.”

There are four caves in total, divided by a dam, with two on each side. From east to west, they are: Zhangya Wuzhua Cave, Hengsuozi Cave, Primitive Cave, and Yixiantian Cave. While they may not look impressive from the outside, the view from the inside looking out is truly breathtaking.

It’s important to note that the Primitive Cave and Yixiantian Cave can only be entered at low tide, while the other two can be entered at any time. The best time for photography is on a sunny morning, so it’s best to avoid going on rainy days.

🚗How to get there: Take bus 317 to Wushengguan Road Sation.


Route 3 | Fushan Bay Coastal Route
Overview: Yan’erdao Mountain Park Qingdao → Number Three Bathing Beach → May Fourth Square → Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center
Estimated Time: 1 day

16. Yan’erdao Mountain Park (燕儿岛公园)

Yan’erdao Mountain Park is actually a coastal city park in Qingdao.

With its stunning sea views, long stone steps, and peculiar rocky coastline, Yan’erdao Mountain Park has become popular on various social media platforms in recent years.

The seaside wooden plank walkways are connected by stairs, which are quite long. On one side is the sea, on the other is a cliff, and there are flowers under the cliff, creating a unique beauty.

Describing Yan’erdao Park as a scenic spot is a bit exaggerated, but it can indeed be seen as a popular spot for taking photos, as the sea here is truly unique.

🚗How to get there: Take bus 225 to Zhuhai Zhilu Sation.

17. Qingdao Number Three Bathing Beach

Heading east along the coastal boardwalk, you’ll reach Qingdao Number Three Bathing Beach. Compared to the first and second beaches, the water here is clearer, with the new city skyline to the east and the old city with lush trees to the west.

The waves here are calmer than at the second beach, making it popular for swimming in the summer. The beach is wide and the sand is fine. Even if you don’t swim, it’s pleasant to take off your shoes and walk in the water.

There is no entrance fee to Qingdao Number Three Bathing Beach, but the fees for fresh water showers and clothes storage are relatively high, costing around CNY 20-30 per person.

There are many water entertainment activities available here, such as jet skiing and parasailing, but these activities come at a high price.

The area around the beach is lined with seafood stalls, which become lively in the evening during the tourist season. It’s a great place to enjoy seafood after a day at the beach.

🚗How to get there: Take bus 317 to Taipingjiao Park Sation.

18. May Fourth Square (五四广场)

Qingdao’s most iconic central square is the May Fourth Square. It’s conveniently located with plenty of dining and accommodation options nearby, making it very convenient. Even during the tourist season, May Fourth Square is not overly crowded.

The square is large and spacious, with a beautiful view of the sea from its edge, overlooking the buildings along the coast.

There are many elements on the square, with the most iconic being a huge red tornado-shaped sculpture. There are also many sculptures and bronze statues related to music, all of which are very unique. Even the ground is designed with musical notes.

Visiting May Fourth Square at night is better than during the day, as you can see the dazzling light displays, with the high-rise buildings along the coast all lit up.

🔥 Insider Tip: Constructed in 1997, the May Fourth Square commemorates Qingdao City’s role in the 1919 May Fourth Movement, led by students against imperialism and feudalism.

⏰Opening hours: all day
🎫Admission ticket: free
🚗How to get there: Take Metro Line 2 or Line 3 to Wusi Guangchang (May 4th Square).

19. Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center

Next to the May Fourth Square is the Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center. Qingdao is known as the “Sailing Capital,” and sailing competitions are held here every year.

The entire area is open to the public and does not require an entrance fee. It is quite spacious, primarily serving as a harbor for sailboats and yachts, with long piers where many small boats can dock. Even if you don’t take a boat, strolling along the coastal promenade is very pleasant.

You can walk all the way to the lighthouse at Lover Dam on the south side of the Olympic Sailing Center, where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Qingdao seascape at night, which is breathtaking. Below Lover Dam, there are mostly bars, offering a glimpse of Qingdao’s nightlife.

If you visit the Olympic Sailing Center and don’t just want to walk around and enjoy the sea view, you can also choose to take a boat trip to admire the beauty of Qingdao from the sea.

Boat trips are available on cruise ships and sailboats during the day and at night, offering a different perspective to appreciate the charm of the island city.

🔥 Note: There are many on-site vendors at the Olympic Sailing Center trying to sell tours. Regardless of how low their prices are or how attractive their offerings seem, it is advisable not to take their services to avoid being deceived.

⏰Opening hours: 5:30 – 22:00
🎫Admission ticket: free
🚗How to get there: Take bus 225 to Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center Sation.


Route 4 | Laoshan Mountain Route
Overview: Laoshan Mountain → Qingshan Fishing Village
Estimated Time: 1 day

20. Laoshan Mountain (崂山)

When it comes to Qingdao, one cannot miss the sacred place—Laoshan Mountain. Laoshan Mountain is reputed as the “No. 1 Coastal Mountain” for its beautiful seascape and peculiar peaks, and it is also the birthplace of Chinese Taoism Quanzhen School.

Laoshan Mountain is a large scenic area composed of several tourist areas, located over 40 kilometers from the city center. While a fleeting glance can certainly capture its magnificence, spending at least a whole day, or even staying overnight, is a better way to explore Laoshan Mountain.

The scenic area of Laoshan Mountain is divided into several areas, with most tourists choosing the Taiqing Scenic Spot, Yangkou Scenic Spot, and Jufeng Scenic Spot. There are also several types of tickets available for different combinations of areas.

The Taiqing Scenic Spot is the core of Taoist culture. Visitors can explore Taoist culture, cultural relics, and various Taoist architectural buildings here. If you are interested in Taoist culture, this is the area to visit.

The Yangkou Scenic Spot features the Taiping Palace and the beach. It is considered the most enjoyable area, offering both sea views and mountain climbing opportunities.

There are two ways to climb the mountain in the Yangkou Scenic Spot: by cable car and walking, or walking all the way. The cable car is an open cable car with beautiful scenery, costing CNY60 per person for a round trip, which is worth considering. The walk starts at the cable car terminal.

Mitian Cave is a relatively narrow cave where only one person can pass at a time. It is rugged but offers unique scenery, especially when you climb to the top and enjoy the panoramic view of the mountains and the sea in the distance.

Jufeng Scenic Spot is the highest-altitude area in the Laoshan Mountain scenic area. The Jufeng peak is steep and challenging, providing a great hiking experience. Visitors can take a bus to the cable car center and then either hike or take the cable car up the mountain.

At an altitude of 800-900 meters around Jufeng Peak, there is a mountain tour road where you can enjoy views of the sea and the sky from many vantage points.

⏰Opening hours: 7:00 – 17:30
🎫Admission ticket: Apr. – Dec.: CNY 90; Jan. – Mar.: CNY 60.
🚗How to get there: Take Bus 109, 110, 371, 383, 615, 616, 618, 620, 627, 635, 926, Tourist Bus 6 or Sightseeing Bus 4 to Yangkou.

21. Qingshan Fishing Village (青山渔村)

At the foot of Laoshan Mountain, there is a truly seaside ancient village called Qingshan Fishing Village. Nestled between mountains and water, Qingshan Fishing Village is a picturesque scene of green mountains, terraced fields, tea gardens, and fishing harbors complementing each other.

As the sun sets, the stacked and staggered red-tiled houses, built according to the terrain, contrast sharply with the blue sea and the green tea mountains. From a bird’s-eye view, it feels like a “mountain and sea paradise.”

To this day, the villagers maintain their traditional way of life, fishing and growing tea. The simplicity of life is evident as villagers go about their activities quietly, with fishing nets and scallop shells scattered around.

The fishing village is very small, encircling a small bay by the sea, and it won’t take long to walk around it.

If you’re not in a hurry, it’s worth taking a leisurely stroll or even staying overnight to experience the local way of life firsthand.

🚗How to get there: it is better to take a taxi.


22. Xiaomaidao Park (小麦岛公园)

Xiaomaidao Park is a small park built in Qingdao in recent years. From Maidao, it extends southward to form a small artificial land, connected to the land by a boardwalk, hence the name Xiaomaidao. It has become quite popular among young people in the past few years.

The island is covered with flowers and plants, with paths and a coastal boardwalk laid out for strolling. Walking along them, you can see the waves crashing against the bottom of the reef. Whether taking photos or gazing out at the sea, it’s very pleasant!

The most picturesque spot is near the south side lighthouse, where the rocks are also very impressive, and the waves are strong, creating a striking scene. There is no path down to the rocks, but bold people sometimes venture down to take photos or fish.

🚗How to get there: Take Bus 317 to Donghai Zhonglu Maidao Road Station.

23. Drinking Bagging Beer

A cold beer is a must-have on a summer night in the island city, and when it comes to Qingdao beer, how can you not try some fresh bagging beer?

Bagging beer, as the name suggests, is bulk beer packaged in plastic bags.

Bulk beer is delivered directly from the brewery to various sales points, ensuring a rich and fresh taste. With its unique packaging, it has almost become an intangible cultural heritage of Qingdao. If you want to taste this beer, you don’t need to look for a specific store. You can easily find it at small shops with silver beer barrels by the roadside!

Of course, you can’t miss the Qingdao Beer Museum when it comes to beer! The museum is located in the old brewery of Qingdao Beer, which was founded a century ago. Visiting the museum not only allows you to learn about the history of Qingdao Beer, its brewing process, and admire the old buildings but also, most importantly, to enjoy some beer!

24. Eating Seafood

As people of the sea, Qingdao locals’ dining tables are always graced with gifts from the ocean. When traveling to Qingdao, how can you not indulge in the various fresh seafood offerings?

Seafood in Qingdao can be divided into large and small categories. Large seafood refers to premium seafood such as sea cucumber, abalone, crab, scallop, conch, hairtail, and yellow croaker. Small seafood refers to more affordable common seafood, as well as shellfish such as squid, shrimp, razor clam, clams, and oysters.

Eating seafood in Qingdao also depends on the seasons. Scallops and yellow croakers are most delicious in spring, the aroma of grilled squid can be smelled on the streets in summer, autumn is the best season for crabs and oysters, and in winter, you must not miss sea cucumber, abalone, and conch. Clams, as representatives of Qingdao seafood, can be enjoyed all year round.

As for where to eat, Pichai Yuan on Zhongshan Road near the train station, the Yunxiao Road food street not far from May Fourth Square, and Maidao are all convenient options. However, there are often reports of price gouging or various scams, so if you plan to go, it’s advisable to carefully select a restaurant after checking reviews.

🛫 How Do I Travel to Qingdao

By Plane

Currently, major cities in China have direct flights to Qingdao, with flights landing at Jiaodong International Airport.

Airport to City Transportation

  • Subway: Take Subway Line 8 to Qingdao North Station, then transfer to Line 3 to enter the city center.
  • Airport Shuttle Bus: During the daytime, there are 5 airport bus routes to and from the city center; at night (02:00-05:00), there are 3 routes to and from the city center, but they do not use highways, so the journey takes about 2 hours.
  • Taxi: Qingdao taxis are divided into “standard” (starting at CNY 10) and “deluxe” (starting at CNY 12) types, and staff on-site will arrange taxis in the order of the queue.

P.S. The taxi stand is located outside Gate 3 of the L1 level of the terminal. Please follow the airport signs to the stand to queue for a ride.

By Train

Qingdao currently has two main train stations: Qingdao North Station and Qingdao Station. Most tourists arriving in Qingdao will disembark at Qingdao Station.

Qingdao Station is located in the city center, very close to the main attractions, making transportation extremely convenient.

If arriving at Qingdao North Station, you can take Subway Line 3 to the city’s attractions.

🚖 How to Get Around Qingdao

Metro

Qingdao currently has 6 subway lines: Line 1, Line 2, Line 3, Line 8, Line 11, and Line 13. Among them, the attractions along Lines 2 and 3 are the most concentrated. Qingdao Station and Qingdao North Station are connected by Line 1, which is very convenient.

Bus

Qingdao has a well-developed bus system. Although the Qingdao subway is very convenient and most of the attractions in the city are within walking distance, if you want to travel more easily by bus or reach distant attractions more economically, taking the “Urban Sightseeing” bus might be a good choice.

Qingdao has 4 urban sightseeing bus routes. Among them, Urban Sightseeing Bus Route 1 runs along the coast, connecting major attractions from the train station to Laoshan Mountain Scenic Area, including Zhan Bridge, Badaguan Scenic Area, May Fourth Square, and Olympic Sailing Center.

Taxi

Qingdao taxis are divided into regular and luxury types, with starting fares of CNY 10 and CNY 12 respectively. The metered fare is charged per kilometer. After exceeding the initial mileage, the regular taxi fare is CNY 2 per kilometer, and the luxury taxi fare is CNY 2.50 per kilometer.

☀️ Best Time to Visit Qingdao

May-October is the best time to travel to Qingdao, and spring is also a great time to enjoy the flowers.

After May Day, the sea water warms up, and July-August is the golden season for swimming and wading. This is also the best time to experience the local culture of Qingdao because the Qingdao International Beer Festival opens in August, attracting many tourists to Qingdao to drink and celebrate with the locals. September is the beginning of autumn and the best season for seafood, with crabs, shrimps, and other delicacies in season, tempting people to indulge.

March-April

In spring, Qingdao is still cold, with strong winds by the sea, but it has become a sea of flowers, with cherry blossoms, azaleas, rapeseed flowers, tulips, and others blooming one after another; Zhongshan Park will also hold an annual cherry blossom festival.

November-February

Qingdao enters winter, with cold weather. Swimming in the sea and eating seafood are not the best choices at this time. However, winter in Qingdao has its own charm. You can avoid the crowds of summer and see the winter sea, visit Laoshan Mountain to see the ice waterfall, and experience a different kind of leisure. In winter, pay attention to windproof and keeping warm. Down jackets, thick coats, sweaters, etc., are indispensable.

Recommended length of stay

3-5 days. The attractions in Qingdao are concentrated mainly along the coast, with the area from Zhan Bridge to May Fourth Square being the most concentrated. If the itinerary is tight, you can visit the main attractions within 3 days. If you plan to visit suburban areas like Laoshan Mountain, you will need at least 1 day each. If you come to participate in the beer festival in August, you can also stay an extra day to experience the festival atmosphere.

🏨 Where to Stay in Qingdao

Qingdao’s attractions have two main features: they are relatively concentrated in the old city area and along the coast, and the subway can meet most transportation needs, whether going to attractions, Qingdao Railway Station, or Qingdao North Station. Therefore, when choosing accommodation areas, the following two points can be summarized:

  • Stay along Metro Lines 2 and 3

Most of the must-visit attractions are located along the operational routes of Metro Lines 2 and 3.

Therefore, staying at any station along Lines 2 and 3 within the city area is convenient. For Line 2, avoid going beyond Yan’erdao Road Station to the east and May Fourth Square Station to the west; for Line 3, do not go beyond Jiangxi Road Station.

  • Stay in areas within walking distance to attractions

Since the attractions are relatively concentrated, you can choose to stay near them to improve your travel efficiency. For example, the Zhan Bridge-Zhongshan Road area allows easy access to the old city area and is not far from the coastal Zhan Bridge and bathing beaches.

You can also choose to stay in the May Fourth Square-Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center area, which is part of the eastern new district. On one hand, May Fourth Square is a transfer station for Metro Lines 2 and 3, making transportation convenient.

Additionally, many large shopping malls are concentrated here, such as Haixin (Hisense) Plaza and New Sunshine Plaza. Hotels in this area generally have better and more updated facilities (but are relatively more expensive), with many high-end five-star hotels located in the high-rise buildings here (such as The Westin and Intercontinental). Consider choosing a room with a sea view.

Kaiyue Hotel Qingdao, located in the heart of the old city center, was converted from a Christian church built in 1928 and has a history of nearly a hundred years. The hostel’s stone steps, mahogany stairs, and plane trees blend perfectly with the surrounding old city, and its convenient location allows you to easily walk to attractions such as the Zhan Bridge, Catholic Church, Christian Church, and Xinhao Mountain, all within about 10 minutes. The breakfast options include English, American, and French styles, and are very hearty.

The InterContinental Qingdao Hotel is located on the east side of the Olympic Sailing Center, overlooking the panoramic view of the Fushan Bay, making it the perfect location for enjoying the sea view. Executive room guests have access to the 21st-floor Executive Lounge. During the nightly Happy Hour from 6 to 8 p.m., guests can enjoy red and white wines, champagne, beer, coffee, tea, and various soft drinks. Guests can also try their hand at mixing their own cocktails while enjoying the unbeatable night view.

Shangri-La Qingdao is the first international five-star hotel on the city, located in the prime downtown area with easy access to major attractions. The rooms offer unbeatable views of the sea and the city. The hotel boasts three restaurants offering a variety of cuisines including seafood, Qingdao beer, Huaiyang cuisine, Cantonese cuisine, Sichuan cuisine, Western cuisine, Japanese and Korean cuisine, and even Mediterranean dishes. One of the highlights is the Qingdao-themed spa treatments, which blend ingredients from Qingdao beer into the therapy, a unique experience worth trying.


I hope this guide on the best things to do in Qingdao has been helpful! 😃

China Travel Planning Guide&FAQ

🎫Do I need a visa for China?

Yes. Most visitors to China will need a visa to enter the country. The type of visa you need will depend on the purpose and duration of your trip, as well as your nationality. If you are a resident of the US, you must apply for a Chinese visa at the Consular Office in the country. On the other hand, inhabitants of countries like Japan, Canada, and the UK can request a visa through the Chinese Visa Application Service Center.

🤔Why is it necessary to install a VPN in China?

In China, the government has strict regulations on internet access, leading to the blocking of popular websites and social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, and YouTube. To access these sites, a VPN is suggested as a means of bypassing the restrictions. It is important to choose a reputable VPN provider and use caution while doing so. ExpressVPN has been historically deemed the most reliable VPN for this purpose, despite being heavily targeted by China’s censors. Nevertheless, it is still a widely preferred option owing to its ease of installation and user-friendliness.

📲Is it necessary to have a Chinese SIM card while in China?

Yes. It is crucial to acknowledge that accessing the internet in China may pose limitations due to certain websites being prohibited or filtered. To ensure uninterrupted connectivity while staying in China, purchasing a local SIM card is advisable. For optimum results, acquiring SIM cards from either China Unicom or China Mobile is recommended. While China Mobile has the most comprehensive coverage in China and is a market leader, China Unicom is more compatible with foreign phones, enabling 3G and 4G services. Or you can purchase a SIM card online.

🔮Should I buy China travel insurance?

Yes. Although China is generally a safe country for travel, it is still possible to encounter accidents or other unexpected occurrences. Therefore, obtaining travel insurance can provide a sense of security and financial protection. In my research, I have found that World Nomads is a reputable travel insurance provider that covers a wide range of activities and is recommended for the average traveler. Nevertheless, I advise you to compare insurance quotes from various providers before making a decision.

🚙Can you rent a car in China?

Unfeasible. Obtaining a Chinese driver’s license to rent a car and self-drive may seem like an option, but it is not a practical choice for most foreigners. Therefore, many prefer to opt for a driver or public transportation when navigating China, as it proves to be more convenient.

✈️What’s the best site to purchase flight tickets for China?

I suggest using Trip for affordable flights to China. As a China-based company, they often offer lower prices compared to foreign companies. Additionally, they offer English-speaking phone support in case of any issues.

🏡What is the best way to book hotels in China?

Not only does Trip offer a wider range of flight options, but it also provides a greater selection of hotels to choose from. Moreover, Agoda is a reliable resource for hotels throughout Asia.

🎒What do I pack for China?

Travel adapter and converter: China uses a different electrical system than many other countries, so it’s important to bring a travel adapter and converter if you plan to use electronic devices such as phones, cameras, and laptops.  
Sunscreen: The UV index in China can be high, particularly during the summer months, and prolonged exposure to the sun without protection can cause skin damage and increase the risk of skin cancer.
Deodorant: It should be noted that finding deodorant in China may not be a simple task.

📚Can a guidebook for traveling to China be useful?

Yes. If you’re planning to travel to China for the first time, a travel guidebook can be a valuable resource, and Lonely Planet is one of the most reputable guides available globally. Its comprehensive itineraries and recommendations take into account your personal preferences and can save you both time and money. The insider tips are also extremely helpful in navigating China’s unique cultural landscape like a local.

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