Frequently voted China’s most livable city, the Shandong province city of Qingdao has plenty to recommend besides its eponymous Tsingtao beer. The seaside city has a comfortable, temperate climate with average summer temperatures of 25°C, which makes it a perfect summer getaway from the heat and humidity of Beijing or south China.
Occupied by Germany in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Qingdao’s architecture has a distinctly European flair. German architects designed many of the city’s buildings, such as St Michael’s Cathedral and Jiaozhou Governor’s Hall. One area in particular, the Badaguan Scenic area, was originally home to people from all over Europe, America, and Japan. The architecture of the buildings in Badaguan reflect the unique styles of the different nationalities that settled there. Nowadays, the quiet tree lined streets make it the perfect place to cool down and unwind after a morning on the beach.
The beaches in Qingdao are vast, and in the height of summer do get a little busy. Little Qingdao Island is one of the best places to go to enjoy a stroll by the sea and take in the view of Qingdao’s coastline without the crowds.
Being a seaside city, Qingdao is also a great place to sample some seafood. Shellfish such as shrimp, scallops, and mussels are regional specialties, and are often cooked with shallots and garlic. Of course, all that seafood is great washed down with a few ice cold Tsingtao beers, and you can even tour the Tsingtao brewery and sample some of their rarer brews.
Qingdao is served by both bullet trains and sleeper trains from Beijing, the former taking just four and a half hours. The airport receives flights from all over China. Qingdao is also a major port city, with ferries departing for South Korea and Japan on a daily basis.