Must see attractions in Shandong

  • Top ChoiceSights in Qingdao

    Tsingtao Beer Museum

    For a self-serving introduction to China’s iconic beer, head to the original and still-operating brewery. On view are old photos, preserved brewery equipment and statistics, and there are also a few fascinating glimpses of the modern factory line. The aroma of hops is everywhere. And you get to sample brews along the way (how much depends on which ticket you buy). If you want to keep drinking, Tsingtao IPA and yuan jiang are both on tap in 1903 Cafe (8am to 6pm), the brewery's own little pub, located by the ticket office. To get here, take bus 2 or 205 from Zhongshan Lu and get off at Tai Dong bus stop. Tai Dong will have its own metro station soon too.

  • Sights in Qingdao

    St Michael’s Cathedral

    Up a hill off Zhongshan Lu looms this grand Gothic- and Roman-style edifice. Completed in 1934, the church spires were supposed to be clock towers, but Chancellor Hitler cut funding of overseas projects and the plans were scrapped. The church was badly damaged during the Cultural Revolution and the crosses capping its twin spires were torn off. Devout locals buried the crosses for safe keeping. In 2005 workers uncovered them while repairing pipes in the hills, and they have since been restored.

  • Sights in Qingdao

    Zhongshan Park

    Within central Qingdao, Zhongshan Park is a vast 69 hectares of lakes, gardens and walking paths; it's an amusement park for kids and also the venue of lively festivals in the spring and summer. In the park’s northeast rises Taiping Hill with a cable car to the TV Tower at the top. Also within the park is Qingdao’s largest temple, Zhanshan Temple, an active Buddhist sanctuary. When you get off the cable car at the temple, look for a round concrete dome on the right. This is the entrance to a bunker, which the Germans used as a wine cellar, and today houses a wine bar.

  • Sights in Qingdao

    Governor’s House Museum

    This museum is one of Qingdao’s best examples of concession-era architecture – the former German governor’s residence constructed in the style of a German palace. The building’s interior is characteristic of Jugendstil, the German arm of art nouveau, with some German and Chinese furnishings of the era. It was built in 1903 at a cost of 2,450,000 taels of silver by an indulgent governor, whom Kaiser Wilhelm II immediately sacked when he saw the bill. In 1957 Chairman Mao stayed here with his wife and kids on holiday. So did defence minister Lin Biao, who would later attempt to assassinate Mao.

  • Sights in Qingdao

    Tianhou Temple

    This small restored temple dedicated to Tiānhòu (天后), the patron of seafarers, has stood by the shore since 1467. The main hall contains a colourful statue of the goddess, flanked by fearsome guardians. There is also Dragon King Hall (龙王殿, Lóngwáng Diàn), where a splayed pig lies before the ruler of oceans and king of the rains, and a shrine to the God of Wealth. A temple fair is held here annually during the Spring Festival.

  • Sights in Qingdao

    Little Qingdao

    In the shape of a qín (a stringed instrument) jutting into Qingdao Bay, this former island – which lends its name to the city – was connected to the mainland in the 1940s. The Germans built the white lighthouse in 1900 on the leafy promontory. It is an excellent spot for watching the city come to life in the morning; entry is free from 6am to 7.30am and from 6.30pm to 8pm.

  • Sights in Qingdao

    Shilaoren Beach

    On the far eastern side of town in Lao Shan district, and now with its own metro station, this 2.5km-long strip of clean sand is Qingdao’s largest and has the highest waves in town (decent for bodyboarding); it can be very quiet in the morning too. The ‘Old Stone Man’ from which the beach gets its name is the rocky outcrop to the east.

  • Sights in Qingdao

    Taiping Hill

    Rising up on the northeast side of Zhongshan Park, Taiping Hill hosts Qingdao TV Tower at its summit, connected to the base by a scenic cable car (one-way/return ¥70/120, 8.30am to 5.30pm).

  • Sights in Qingdao

    Protestant Church

    On a street of German buildings, this copper-capped beauty was designed by Curt Rothkegel and built in 1908. The interior is simple and Lutheran in its sparseness, apart from some carvings on the pillar cornices. You can climb up to inspect the clock mechanism (from Bockenem, dated 1909).

  • Sights in Qingdao

    Huilan Pavilion

    Lit up at night, this graceful pavilion decorates the end of Zhan Bridge poking into Qingdao Bay. If it looks familiar, that’s because it’s on every Tsingtao beer label.

  • Sights in Qingdao

    Golden Sand Beach

    For wide-open spaces of sand, sea and sky, there’s Golden Sand Beach on the western peninsula of Huangdao district (团岛区, Huángdǎo Qū). An undersea tunnel linking Huangdao and the district of Shinan (市南, Shìnán) puts it within easy reach of Old Town. Take tunnel bus 7 (隧道7; ¥2, 30 minutes) from Jiaozhou Lu or the train station and get off at the second stop after the tunnel; from here, walk back, then turn right. A taxi costs around ¥70 including toll.

  • Sights in Qingdao

    Huashi Lou

    This granite and marble villa built in 1930 was first the home of a Russian aristocrat, and later the German governor’s hunting lodge. It is also known as the ‘Chiang Kaishek Building’, as the generalissimo secretly stayed here in 1947. While most of the rooms are closed, you can clamber up two narrow stairwells to the turret for a great view. It's at the east end of No 2 Bathing Beach at the southern tip of Zijingguan Lu in Badaguan district.

  • Sights in Qingdao

    No 6 Bathing Beach

    This is the closest beach to the Old Town, and a great spot come early evening, when the buildings around the bay are illuminated. No 6 Bathing Beach is a short strip of sand and tide pools, next to Zhan Bridge, the pier that reaches into the bay. At the tip of the pier, the eight-sided Huilan Pavilion is a graceful sight, though it's often packed to the rafters.

  • Sights in Qingdao

    Qingdao Municipal Museum

    This massive collection of relics anchors the budding cultural zone in Lao Shan district. It has the usual broad span of exhibits expected in a big-city museum, ranging from the prehistoric to the industrial age. Collections of folk-art woodcuts and intriguing coins pressed with Kyrgyz script stand out. From Miaoling Rd metro station, walk south down Shenzhen Lu and take the first left.

  • Sights in Qingdao

    Chinese Navy Museum

    Beside the entrance to Little Qingdao lighthouse, this museum’s main attractions are the rusty submarine and destroyer anchored in the harbour, for which you need to buy the ¥100 ticket. The ¥30 ticket will get you into the complex, allowing to see all the other boats and naval equipment on show, as well as displays on Chinese naval history.

  • Sights in Qingdao

    Qingdao City Art Museum

    Contemporary works are on display in this compact museum housed in its own architectural masterpiece, a 1930s structure reflecting an eclectic mix of architectural styles from deco to Byzantine, Islamic and imperial Chinese.

  • Sights in Qingdao

    Zhanshan Temple

    Within Zhongshan Park is Qingdao's largest temple, Zhanshan Temple, an active Buddhist monastery. The temple has a number of dramatic sandalwood Buddhas covered in gold foil.

  • Sights in Qingdao

    No 1 Bathing Beach

    South of the tree-lined area known as Badaguan (八大关, Bādàguān), No 1 Bathing Beach is a very popular spot, perhaps for its snack stalls and children's toy selection, but more likely for its muscle beach.

  • Sights in Qingdao

    No 2 Bathing Beach

    Once reserved only for the likes of Mao and other state leaders, this sheltered cove just east of Badaguan has calm waters good for a swim. It's a short walk from Taipingjiao Park metro station.

  • Sights in Qingdao

    Qingdao TV Tower

    This 232m-tall television tower sits atop Taiping Hill, with a revolving restaurant at the top and an observation platform for long views.