12 Best Sights in Qingdao, Beijing to Shanghai

Eight Passes

Named after the Great Wall's eight strategic passes, this scenic area lies in-between Taiping and the Huiquan Cape. Sometimes referred to as "Little Switzerland," the grounds of more than 200 European-style villas are landscaped with pine, ginkgo, and peach trees. The serene No. 2 bathing beach and Granite Mansion are also here.

Juyongguan Lu, Qingdao, Shandong Sheng, China

German Governor's Residence

The cookie dough–colored German Governor's Residence, transformed into a museum in 1996, was where the mustachioed governor and his aristocratic entourage wined, dined, and held sway over Qingdao for their short but influential tenure. Built in 1906 on a commanding perch over the Old City, the interior resembles a Bavarian hunting lodge, with wood paneling, glazed-tile fireplaces, colored-glass chandeliers, and quirky grandfather clocks. Notable Chinese guests since include Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, and Deng Xiaoping. English audio guides are available.

26 Longshan Lu, Qingdao, Shandong Sheng, 266000, China
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Rate Includes: Y20, Daily 8:30–4:30

Granite Mansion

After the German Governor's Residence, the 1903 Granite Mansion is Qingdao's most famous example of concession-era German architecture. This miniature castle was built as a villa for a Russian aristocrat but soon became a fishing retreat for the governor.

18 Huanghai Lu, Qingdao, Shandong Sheng, 266071, China
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Rate Includes: Y9, Daily 8–5

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Huadong Winery

Near Laoshan is Huadong Winery, Shandong's premier vinous brand made from vines imported from France back in the 1980s. Although not as famous as the province's brewery, the 30 or so wines produced here have won a string of prizes. The wines are available for tasting and purchase by the case; call to arrange a visit—they speak English. The beautiful scenery alone makes this a worthwhile side trip from Qingdao.

Lu Xun Park

Built in 1929, this park named for the distinguished Chinese writer and revolutionary sits on the rocky coastline of Huiquan Bay. It's a lovely park, with tree-shaded paths, elegant pavilions, and rugged reefs, making for attractive sea vistas.

26 Qinyu Lu, Qingdao, Shandong Sheng, 266071, China
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Rate Includes: Free, Daily 7:30–6:30

Mount Lao

Rising to a height of more than 3,280 feet, Mount Lao (Lao Shan) is just as scenic—though not as famous—as Shandong neighbor Mount Tai. A place of pilgrimage for centuries, the craggy slopes of Laoshan once boasted nine palaces, eight temples, and 72 convents. Most have been lost over the years, but those remaining are worth seeking out for their elegant architecture and stirring sea views. With sheer cliffs and cascading waterfalls, Laoshan is the source of the country's best-known mineral water (a vital ingredient in the local brew, Tsingtao). It's possible to see the mountain's sights as a day trip. Tourist buses to Laoshan leave from the main pier in Qingdao, or hop on to public Bus 304. Mount Lao is 40 km (25 miles) east of Qingdao.

266105, China
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Rate Includes: Y90, Daily 7–5

Navy Museum

A short walk from the west entrance of Lu Xun Park is the Navy Museum, with an arsenal of archaic weaponry, Russian-made fighter planes, and several rusting naval vessels moored in the harbor. You can see much of it—and skip the entrance fee—by walking along the seawall to the Little Qingdao Isle with its charming lighthouse and excellent café.

8 Lai Yang Lu, Qingdao, Shandong Sheng, 266071, China
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Rate Includes: Y50, Daily 8:30–5

Protestant Church

Qingdao's charming Protestant Church is easy to spot: look for the ostentatious green spire resembling a medieval castle. It was built in 1910 at the southwest entrance of Xinhao Hill Park. Puff up the steps to the bell tower for sea views and to marvel at the German-engineered clock mechanism.

15 Jiangsu Lu, Qingdao, Shandong Sheng, 266071, China
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Rate Includes: From 3Y, Daily 8:30–4:30

St. Michael's Cathedral

With its towering 200-foot twin steeples and red-tile roof, St Michael's is probably Qingdao's most recognizable landmark. The classic Gothic Revival structure was built by the Germans in 1934 but was badly damaged during the Cultural Revolution. The surrounding area is worth a stroll, the streets a mix of sturdy concession buildings and contrastingly shabby modern architecture. The square in front of the cathedral is the most popular spot in town for wedding photos; an enormous "wedding banquet restaurant" is conveniently located opposite.

15 Zhejiang Lu, Qingdao, Shandong Sheng, 266071, China
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Rate Includes: Y8, Mon.–Sat. 8–5, Sun. 10–5

Sun Yat-sen Park

The largest of the city's parks is inland from Huiquan Bay and has a number of attractions, including a small zoo, a botanical garden, and the Zhanshan Buddhist Temple. Qingdao's TV tower, a city landmark, offers striking views from its observation deck. Originally planted by the Japanese in 1915, the park contains some 20,000 cherry trees. The annual Cherry Blossom Festival is held at the end of May.

28 Wendeng Lu, Qingdao, Shandong Sheng, 266071, China
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Rate Includes: Free (attractions inside cost extra), Until nightfall

Tsingtao Beer Museum

Beer fans should make a pilgrimage to the Tsingtao Beer Museum on Dengzhou Lu, also known as Pijiu Jie (Beer Street). The Germans established China's most famous brewery more than a century ago, and a few of the original brick buildings still remain, alongside a modern bottling plant. The old photographs, beer labels, and dioramas are of middling interest; best of all are the beer samples you can enjoy along the way. The surrounding area is lined with bars, eateries, and bottle-shape benches where weary revelers can rest.

56 Dengzhou Lu, Qingdao, Shandong Sheng, 266071, China
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Rate Includes: Y60, Daily 8:30–4:30

Underwater World

Located near No. 1 Beach, this family-friendly attraction features a moving platform with 360-degree views of the surrounding marine life. Four underground levels, interactive video displays, and tacky marine shows entertain the kids for hours.

2 Laiyang Lu, Qingdao, Shandong Sheng, 266071, China
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Rate Includes: Y130, Daily 8–5:30