St Michael's Catholic Church
This magnificent church was designed by German architect Pepieruch in a Gothic and Roman style. It was built in 1934 and features two 60-metre high bell towers at the front which contain four large bronze bells. During the Cultural Revolution, the church was seriously damaged and was re-opened after many years of repair in April 1981.
Shandong province has a long, rich history (before the First Empire it was the state of Qi; it was also the birthplace of Confucius,) but Qingdao, with a population of 6.6 million, is almost a century old and surprisingly European. A picturesque city surrounded on three sides by the Yellow Sea, it was a German possession for 16 years after 1898, and still features startling examples of Bavarian style architecture, particularly the railway station, the twin-spired Catholic Church and the former German Governor's residence. Another colonial legacy is the famous brewery, which produces beer labelled with the city's former name, Tsingtao. Qingdao's visitor attractions include six sandy beaches and some excellent museums. The weather is generally mild with four distinct seasons, the most pleasant being spring and autumn.
Only about 30km east of the city, this spectacular range is well within day-trip distance. Many organized tours are available. climbing the 1,113-meter main peak requires some stamina, but the views of Qingdao and the surrounding countryside from the top are more than memorable.
Established at the turn of the century, the brewery is open to visitors and regular tours take place. Through several other beers are sold in China, Tsingtao takes up by far the largest portion of the market, and it is well-known and appreciated throughout the world for its crisp flavour.
Though Qingdao weather does not permit ocean swimmimg all year round, the warmer months are perfect for sunning and splashing at any of half a dozen excellent city beaches, located along the southeastern coast. All the beaches have golden sand, refreshment outlets and changing facilities.
Qingdao Art Museum
Originally built by wealthy Qingdao merchants as a welfare institution for the city's poor, this fine building now houses a superb and extensive collection of Yuan, Ming and Wing Dynasty paintings, and an archaeological exhibit illustrating Shandong's colourful history.
Huilan (Rebounding Wave) Pavilion
This centrally-sited showcase is a landmark on the city's harbourfront, located right at the end of prominent Zhangqiao Pier. Within, two floors of exhibition space display paintings, carvings and other examples of contemporary Shandong arts and crafts, much of it destined for export.
Lu Xun Park
One of the most popular gathering spots for Qingdao residents, this restful oasis in the city is named for on of the most famous authors of modern China. Lovely winding pathways lead through botanical gardens, and there's a marine products museum displaying rare and protected marine species.
This operation is at the leading edge of China's plam to become a wine-producing country. Established in 1986, it produces the only varietal vintage wine in the country, and the only wine to win medals in European competitions. Free tours, tastings (and transport, for groups)are available.
The Germans built a lighthouse on this tiny island in 1900, and it was a restricted military area until 1987. These days it's open to visitors, and tours include the lighthouse as well as botanical gardens that feature the rare Qingdao White Lily, which grows only in southern Shandong.