Stretching out across the Shandong Peninsula, Qingdao is a major seaport, naval base and industrial center of China’s Shandong Province. Translated as “Green Island,” Qingdao is a place with splendid sea views, fresh breezes and great seafood.

Generally, 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.

If you need a relaxed holiday, Qingdao is an option for you to explore. You will definitely be impressed by the mild weather, beautiful beaches and picturesque mountain views. What’s even better, is that many attractions across the city are free to visit.

Let’s have a look at the top 10 attractions in Qingdao, China.

10) Shilaoren Beach(石老人浴场)

Shilaoren Beach,

Shilaoren Beach

 

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. Lying on the beach, enjoying the sunshine, having a few beers, swimming in the sea, driving a speed boat or taking a walk along the beach are all at your disposal. This is an ideal place to spend an afternoon or warm summer evening.

Admission:Free

 9)Qingdao Protestant Church and St. Emil Church(青岛基督教堂及天主教圣弥厄尔大教堂)

Qingdao Protestant Church and St. Emil Church,

Qingdao Protestant Church and St. Emil Church

 

The Qingdao Protestant Church, built in 1910, is situated on a small hill, east of Xinhaoshan Park. Although recently renovated, this church still retains most of its original style and charm. Covering 1,000 square meters, it is a typical German castle structure composed of an 18-meter-high main hall and a 39.10-meter- tall bell tower. Visitors can have a birds-eye view of city’s sea scenery from the top of the tower.

St. Emil Church, also known as the Qingdao Catholic Church, is the largest Gothic-style building in the city. It was designed by a German architect, based on the characteristics of Gothic and Roman architecture. 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.

Admission to Qingdao Protestant Church:7 yuan (US$1.14)/ person

Admission to St. Emil Church:8 yuan (US$1.3)/ person

 8)May 4th Square(五四广场)

May 4th Square,

May 4th Square 

 

As a symbol of Qingdao, the May 4th Square got its name in memory of China’s historical May 4th Movement. Located between the municipal government building and Fushan Bay, it covers an area of 10 hectares. 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.

Admission:Free

 7)Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center(青岛奥帆中心)

Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center,

Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center 

 

The Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center, or the Qingdao International Sailing Center, is a sailing marina located on the former site of the Beihai Shipyard by Qingdao’s Fushan Bay in Shandong Province. The center was constructed for the 2008 Summer Olympics and has hosted multiple Olympic and Paralympic Sailing competitions. Wind conditions here vary greatly, from very light winds to +15knots. At night, a laser light show from the main breakwater lighthouse is on display from early evening to midnight.

Admission:Free

 6)Small Qingdao Island(小青岛)

Small Qingdao Island,

Small Qingdao Island [File photo]

 

Located to the southeast of Zhanqiao Bridge, Small Qingdao Island is a pleasant little peninsular. From the sky, the island looks as if shaped like an ancient lute and hence has earned its nickname Lute Island. The island features a little park, a few small cafes and a white lighthouse. It is dotted with black pines and flowers such as oriental cherries, green peaches, pomegranates and roses of Sharon. 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. Weather-permitting, visitors can see the nearby Yellow Island (Huangdao) nestled in the mist.

Admission:15 yuan / person (US$2.45) (high season)

10 yuan / person (US$1.63) (low season)

5) Qingdao Polar Ocean World(青岛极地海洋世界)

Qingdao Polar Ocean World,

Qingdao Polar Ocean World 

 

Qingdao Polar Ocean World is a compound park where you can go 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, have a drink or a meal along the Bars and Catering Street and stay there over-night to take in some extra views the next day. The Polar Ocean World looks like a sail stretching up to a height of 31 meters. 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.”

Admission:150 yuan (US$24.5)/ person

 4)No.1 Bathing Beach(青岛第一海水浴场)

No.1 Bathing Beach,

No.1 Bathing Beach [File photo]

 

The No.1 Bathing Beach is located at Huiquan Bay, a fascinating location in Qingdao. Sitting on a beautiful coastline, the beach is 580 meters long and 40 meters wide. 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.

Admission:free

 3)Zhanqiao Pier(栈桥)

Zhanqiao Pier,

Zhanqiao Pier [File photo]

In addition to the May 4th Square, Zhanqiao Pier is yet another historic symbol of Qingdao. It was built in 1893 and used as a port when Qingdao was still a small village. Since it is very close to the Qingdao railway station, it is the most visited spot in Qingdao. It is 400 meters long with a pavilion called the Huilange Pavilion at its tail-end. The Huilange Pavilion sometimes hosts exhibitions, but most of time it simply sells various kinds of sea products and ornaments. There’s a beach called “the sixth bathing beach” just underneath Zhanqiao Pier where you can enjoy the sunshine and go for a swim.

Admission:Free (general admission)

4 yuan (US$0.65) / person for the Huilange Pavilion

2) Badaguan (Eight Passes)(八大关)

Badaguan,

Badaguan 

 

Badaguan, or the “Eight Passes,” is a historical street district in the southeast of Qingdao, Shandong Province. The street is famous for combining the architectural styles of different countries.

The name “Eight Passes” stems from China’s eight famous strategic passes: Jiayuguan, Juyongguan, Wushengguan, Ningwuguan, Shanhaiguan, Shaoguan, Zhengyangguan and Zijingguan. There are now 10 roads running across the district which crisscross to form a scenic area.

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 the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the area was home to many foreign consulates and, because of the unique and varied architectural styles in the area, Badaguan is known as the “World’s Architecture Museum.”

Badaguan remains special to this day for its unique blend of Eastern and Western influences. As a symbol of Qingdao, Badaguan has proved attractive to many film producers and directors, as well as visitors from all over the world.

Admission:free

1) Mount Laoshan(崂山)

Mount Laoshan,

Mount Laoshan 

 

With its highest peak rising up to 1,133 meters above sea level, Mount Laoshan is situated in Qingdao, on the southeastern Shangdong Peninsula. Facing the Yellow Sea, it is one of China’s major scenic resorts and has long held the reputation as China’s most famous mountain overlooking the sea.

The mountain is known for its oddly shaped rocks, ancient trees and crystal-clear springs. The entire mountain covers 446 square kilometers (44,600 hectares) and features 218 places of interest, both large and small. There is neither intense heat in summer nor is there severe cold in winter.

Mount Laoshan is a famous Taoist mountain boasting both mountain and coastal sceneries. Among all the well-known mountains across China, it is the only one located on the coastline. It has a coastline of 87.3 kilometers (54.25 miles), including 13 bays and 18 islets.

At the peak of Taoism in China, there were nine palaces, eight Taoist temples, and 72 nunneries, housing nearly 1,000 Taoist priests and nuns on the mountain. The Taiqing Palace is now the largest and oldest among the preserved Taoist establishments.

Admission:160 yuan (US$26.13)/person