Qingdao travel guide

Qingdao Tourism | Qingdao Guide

You're Going to Love Qingdao

Qingdao is one of the largest cities in Shandong Province and has a population of 3.5 million. Situated on the shores of Jiaozhou Bay, it is renowned as one of the cleanest and most beautiful cities in China. The city has a rich colonial history and, unusually, many buildings built in the German style from a period occupation in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Qingdao

1. The Beaches

Qingdao has a number of good bathing beaches and the locals are keen swimmers. Join in and enjoy the great atmosphere.

2. The Food

Head over to Yunxiao Road for the best Chinese restaurants in town. You will find the well-known Cantonese and Sichuan styles of cooking, along with the local Shandong cuisine.

3. Zhan Qiao Pier

This is the pier that features on the Tsingtao beer bottles. It's the symbol of Qingdao and a popular tourist site.

4. The Parks

Qingdao is famous for its green spaces, and parks like Xiao Qingdao Park and Xiaoyushan Park are great places to relax.

5. Museums

The city has lots of museums, from the excellent Qingdao Municipal Museum, where you can learn all about the history of the city, to the Naval Museum, which focuses on the Chinese navy.

What to do in Qingdao

1. Wave Goodbye To City Center Hustle And Bustle

One of the great things about Qingdao is its proximity to Shilaoren, which surely qualifies as China's finest city beach. Stretching for a mile and a half, the beach is ideal for sunbathing and swimming, but just as good for bodyboarding thanks to its impressive waves. And it's not even that busy. On most days, you'll have plenty of space to stretch out and watch the waves lap the Chinese shore, all within half an hour of the center of town.

2. Ancient Glories With A Fortunate Back Story

One of the finest historical museums in China, the Han Dynasty Brick Museum came about thanks to a fortuitous find. In the 1980s, construction workers building roads in rural Henan found that the bricks they were working contained beautiful carvings. It turned out that the granite being used for the road was actually a treasure trove of 2,000 year old Han era masterpieces, most of which have been preserved and can be seen in this sumptuous setting. Largely depicting everyday life, they are incredibly rare windows onto ancient Chinese life.

3. The Center's Peaceful Getaway

Another bonus about Qingdao is the amount of peaceful green space inside the city limits, and the finest park of all is Zhōngshān. Occupying 69 hectares of prime real estate, the park is studded with fountains and flower gardens, but it also houses Zhanshan - the city's primary Buddhist temple. Don't miss the gold-leaf covered sandalwood Buddhas on display there, and be sure to take the cablecar up the slopes of Taiping Hill, which rises on the northern side of the park, and offers some stunning views across the city.

4. Raise A Glass To The City's Famous Brew

Across the world, the city of Qingdao is probably most famous for the success of Tsingtao Beer. A staple of Chinese restaurants from Sydney to San Francisco, this light, intensely drinkable lager was started by German residents in the 1900s, which probably accounts for its distinctly Germanic characteristics. The Beer Museum has been set up on the site of Tsingtao's original brewery (they've since moved onto bigger things). Inside, you'll learn how Chinese beer got a heads up from German experts, and - of course - sample the product itself.

5. An Idyllic Escape With Gorgeous Views

Hopelessly picturesque, Little Qīngdǎo is an unmissable spot, and was built on a spit of land that juts out into the bay. Supposedly shaped like a lute (or "Qin" in Han Chinese) the peninsula was chosen by the Germans as the site of a lighthouse, which you can visit and climb for exceptional views. But the main appeal is the ambiance. With its thick trees, coastal paths, and scenic vistas, Little Qīngdǎo is a sublime place to picnic and take some vacation photos. As a bonus, the Naval Museum is just across the water, and maritime buffs won't want to miss that either.

1. Wave Goodbye To City Center Hustle And Bustle

One of the great things about Qingdao is its proximity to Shilaoren, which surely qualifies as China's finest city beach. Stretching for a mile and a half, the beach is ideal for sunbathing and swimming, but just as good for bodyboarding thanks to its impressive waves. And it's not even that busy. On most days, you'll have plenty of space to stretch out and watch the waves lap the Chinese shore, all within half an hour of the center of town.

2. Ancient Glories With A Fortunate Back Story

One of the finest historical museums in China, the Han Dynasty Brick Museum came about thanks to a fortuitous find. In the 1980s, construction workers building roads in rural Henan found that the bricks they were working contained beautiful carvings. It turned out that the granite being used for the road was actually a treasure trove of 2,000 year old Han era masterpieces, most of which have been preserved and can be seen in this sumptuous setting. Largely depicting everyday life, they are incredibly rare windows onto ancient Chinese life.

3. The Center's Peaceful Getaway

Another bonus about Qingdao is the amount of peaceful green space inside the city limits, and the finest park of all is Zhōngshān. Occupying 69 hectares of prime real estate, the park is studded with fountains and flower gardens, but it also houses Zhanshan - the city's primary Buddhist temple. Don't miss the gold-leaf covered sandalwood Buddhas on display there, and be sure to take the cablecar up the slopes of Taiping Hill, which rises on the northern side of the park, and offers some stunning views across the city.

4. Raise A Glass To The City's Famous Brew

Across the world, the city of Qingdao is probably most famous for the success of Tsingtao Beer. A staple of Chinese restaurants from Sydney to San Francisco, this light, intensely drinkable lager was started by German residents in the 1900s, which probably accounts for its distinctly Germanic characteristics. The Beer Museum has been set up on the site of Tsingtao's original brewery (they've since moved onto bigger things). Inside, you'll learn how Chinese beer got a heads up from German experts, and - of course - sample the product itself.

5. An Idyllic Escape With Gorgeous Views

Hopelessly picturesque, Little Qīngdǎo is an unmissable spot, and was built on a spit of land that juts out into the bay. Supposedly shaped like a lute (or "Qin" in Han Chinese) the peninsula was chosen by the Germans as the site of a lighthouse, which you can visit and climb for exceptional views. But the main appeal is the ambiance. With its thick trees, coastal paths, and scenic vistas, Little Qīngdǎo is a sublime place to picnic and take some vacation photos. As a bonus, the Naval Museum is just across the water, and maritime buffs won't want to miss that either.

Where to Eat in Qingdao

Sanheyuan on Ningxia Road does great local dumplings, with dishes from ¥25. Haidao Seafood Restaurant on Yunxiao Road, meanwhile, offers superb seafood from ¥80.

When to visit Qingdao

Qingdao in November
Estimated hotel price
$20
1 night at 3-star hotel
Qingdao in November
Estimated hotel price
$20
1 night at 3-star hotel

Qingdao's summer can get very hot but late spring and early summer is pleasantly warm.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Fahrenheit (°F)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Qingdao

Plane

Qingdao Liuting International Airport has frequent connections with Beijing and Shanghai and international services from Germany, Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan. The 20 mile taxi ride into the city center will cost around ¥130 and the airport shuttle bus is ¥20.

Train

Qingdao has a great high-speed rail service to other Chinese cities. The fare from Beijing is around ¥275 and Shanghai is ¥550.

Car

Qingdao is well served by excellent modern highways, with the G20/G25 taking you north to Beijing and the G15 running south along the coast to Shanghai.

Bus

The city has excellent bus links across Shandong Province and good services from other major cities. The fare from Beijing is around ¥231.

Airports near Qingdao

Airlines serving Qingdao

United Airlines
Good (2,945 reviews)
Lufthansa
Good (2,372 reviews)
KLM
Good (358 reviews)
Air France
Good (436 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (3,163 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (1,076 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (1,662 reviews)
Singapore Airlines
Good (389 reviews)
Finnair
Good (735 reviews)
Scandinavian Airlines
Good (460 reviews)
Cathay Pacific
Good (80 reviews)
ANA
Excellent (175 reviews)
Korean Air
Excellent (285 reviews)
Asiana Airlines
Excellent (96 reviews)
China Airlines
Excellent (90 reviews)
Qantas Airways
Good (194 reviews)
Scoot
Good (91 reviews)
Air New Zealand
Excellent (100 reviews)
China Southern
Excellent (9 reviews)
China Eastern
Excellent (10 reviews)
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Where to stay in Qingdao

Shinan District - is the core downtown area, with many hotels, city attractions and some good beaches.

Popular Neighborhoods in Qingdao

Shibei District District - is just to the north. It has good shopping and is home to the Old Town.

Laoshan District - is to the Southeast of the city center and is home to the picturesque Laoshan Mountain as well as some of the city's best beaches.

Most popular hotel in Qingdao by neighborhood

Where to stay in popular areas of Qingdao

Most booked hotels in Qingdao

Shangri-La Qingdao
Excellent (8.6, 107 reviews)
$113+
Hilton Qingdao Golden Beach
Excellent (8.4, 50 reviews)
$94+
Hyatt Regency Qingdao
Excellent (8.2, 84 reviews)
$88+
The Westin Qingdao
Excellent (8, 66 reviews)
$104+
Grand Madison Qingdao Harbour View Central
Excellent (9, 2 reviews)
$60+
Crowne Plaza Qingdao Ocean Spring Resort
Okay (5.8, 7 reviews)
$62+
See all hotels

How to Get Around Qingdao

Public Transportation

Qingdao has a modern metro network and good local buses. Fares are from ¥1.

Taxi

Taxis are plentiful most of the year but can be scarcer in peak summer months. Flagfall is ¥12 and then you will pay around ¥4 per mile.

Car

Qingdao is a large city and traffic can be heavy during morning and evening rush hours. Car rental is from around ¥140 per day.

The Cost of Living in Qingdao

Shopping Streets

Taidong Pedestrian Street sells everything from souvenirs to fashion, while Central Hong Kong Road is better for groceries.

Groceries and Other

A quart of milk in Qingdao will cost around ¥10 and a dozen eggs costs about ¥7.50.

Cheap meal
$2.90
A pair of jeans
$58.06
Single public transport ticket
$0.15
Cappuccino
$4.50
Other popular cities in Shandong