Fresh air, gorgeous beaches and a more moderate climate than some parts of China have made Qingdao one of the most sought after living destinations for expats and Chinese alike. It’s close proximity to both Beijing and Shanghai as well as its chic seaside beauty puts this vibrant, colorful city high on the list of hot destinations for tourist from all over the world.
Tours and activities in Qingdao
With plenty of activities and things to do in Qingdao, you could spend a month here and still not see it all. Chances are you don’t have a month, so you’ll need to plan your time here carefully. Booking a local guide to take you on a day trip can avoid wasted time puzzling over bus timetables or trying to find legitimate taxis.
Our tour packages can be as long or as short as you want and can help you get the most out of Qingdao’s main attractions, museums, and surrounding areas. Book a day trip to trek the Lao Shan area, or a guided tour of the municipal museum.
Aside from attractions, our tour guides can help you secure tickets for events, performances, festivals and more. Browse our selection of packages below, or get in touch for more support and advice.
Best time to visit
Its coastal location makes Qingdao’s climate less stifling in the summer and not as cold in the winter than many other cities in China. August averages a pleasant 26 degrees, and winter temperatures rarely drop below -3. If you’re after the beach, March to May and September to October will see pleasant temperatures and plenty of sunshine. The height of summer is a popular visiting time too, but do bring your poncho as monsoon-like rains are not uncommon in July and August.
Top Attractions in Qingdao
Qingdao is known as China’s Sailing City, and up until 1949, was under lease to Germany, much of which is reflected in its architecture, colorful roofs, and cobbled streets. Expect a bit of ‘Bavaria-on-sea’ from this city, where local beer has a distinctly German flavor, and bratwurst is sold from street vendors along the beach. Here’s what you should be doing to get the most out of Qingdao.
Getting here and getting around
Qingdao is served by the Qingdao Liuting International Airport, which links it frequently with Shanghai and Beijing, as well as international destinations such as Tokyo, Seoul, Frankfurt and more. The airport is around 32km from the city, and the transfer can be made easily via the airport shuttle bus (¥20) or local taxis (¥120 – 150).
Arrival can also be made by trains from many major Chinese cities, including Beijing (4-5 hours), Shanghai (6-7 hours), Tianjin (10 hours) and Nanjing (5-6 hours). The city is a major seaport too and can be reached by ferry from Incheon, South Korea, as well as Shimonoseki, Japan.
Getting around the city is easy by taxi, with most starting at ¥9 or ¥12 for larger vehicles. Be aware that if you need to take the Qingyin expressway, there will be a ¥10 surcharge on top of the meter price. There is also a metro system under construction which currently operates across 22 stations on one line (line 3). Further lines and stops will be added as time goes on, but at this stage, its usefulness is relatively limited.
The bus service is very well put together, and once you’ve figured out which lines go where, it can be a fast and inexpensive way of getting around. Trips around the middle of the city cost just ¥1 or ¥2 for an air-conditioned ride, and often have their own dedicated lanes which can make it much more efficient at rush hour time.
Eating and drinking
The local food in Qingdao has many distinctive flavours and is predictably heavy on the seafood. Yunxiao Road is widely known as Qingdao’s restaurant street and offers Chinese food of all kinds of varieties, form the local Shandong style to Sichuan, Cantonese and more. Nearby Minjiang Road houses more of the top end restaurants, many of which cater to cuisines from all around the world.
If you’re looking for something filling yet cheap, do try the local dumpling restaurants which can be found all over the city. Da Niang Dumplings are a popular fast food dumpling restaurant, and you’ll find a branch conveniently located on Hong Kong Middle Road. Look out for hotpot restaurants and dim sum eateries for budget-friendly dining.
If you’re keen to try the local specialties, don’t miss the chili sautéed clams, which are served at just as many street food stalls as high-end restaurants. Roasted squid is popular here too, as is agar jelly vermicelli covered in spicy, sweet or salty sauces. Whatever you eat, all Qingdao locals will agree that it is best served washed down with a cold bag of Tsingtao beer or two!
Getting a good night's sleep
There are plenty of hotels of all classes within Qingdao. If you prefer to stick to familiar brands, you’ll find a Copthorne, a Shangri-La, a Crowne Plaza and other western chains present in the city. Lower budget travelers will be pleased to discover an Ibis and a Holiday Inn conveniently located for the city’s attractions too.
The top end hotel in Qingdao is the Seaview Garden Hotel, which faces the beach and sits in beautifully landscaped gardens. Expect to pay upwards of ¥900 per night for this lavish location though. At the other end of the scale, several city center hostels and inns offer comfortable beds from upwards of ¥80 a night.