The seaside city of Qingdao is one of the most popular tourist destinations in China, especially around this time of year when the short, cold winter days give way to long hours of sunshine and blue skies, warm temperatures, and pleasant sea breezes. Qingdao is also famous for its mouth-watering, fresh seafood and locally brewed beer, so is it any surprise that so many tourists, domestic and foreign, flock to this once foreign occupied city? Qingdao’s charm is inescapable in the summer months, especially for those wishing to soak up the beach life in China without travelling all the way to the expensive resorts on Hainan in the south. Now that the sun is back, the bomber jackets are hidden from sight and flip flops are trendy again, its time to kick off the summer and visit the beach. Here’s a list of Qingdao’s best beaches.
Number One Bathing Beach 第一海水浴场 View In Map
Number One Bathing Beach is the most popular beach in Qingdao, its 800 metre long stretch of golden sand a magnet for tourists in the summer months. Unfortunately, the downside of having such a beautiful, long, sandy beach is that it gets crowded very quickly. Don’t expect to have a large patch of the beach to yourself, not in Qingdao, nor anywhere in China for that matter. However, on the up side, this beach is usually one of the locations of the Qingdao International Beer Festival, the biggest beer festival in China which usually takes place in the second week of August. During the festival, the beach transforms into a huge party zone. Surrounded by hotels and entertainment complexes, the beach is the place to be if you like to be surrounded by the buzzing of life. If the crowds get too much then Number One Bathing Beach has some good escape options like Zhongshan Park (中山公园), the biggest in the city and home to several specialised gardens or Little Fish Hill (小鱼山) which provides excellent views of Qingdao city.
Add: 9 Nanhai Lu, Qingdao 青岛市南海路9号
Getting there: The closest stop is Haishui Yuchang (海水浴场) and the following buses stop there: 6, 15, 26, 31, 202, 206, 214, 219, 223, 228, 231, 302, 304, 306, 311, 312, 316, 317, 321, 501, 604, 605 and 801
Shilaoren 石老人 View In Map
Shilaoren is by far the biggest and perhaps most impressive beach in Qingdao. Shilaoren, which literally means “old stone man”, is named after a rock formation jutting out from the peninsula which is said to resemble an old fisherman perpetually waiting for his daughter’s return. As romantic as the name sounds, much of the beach’s mellow vibes are washed away by the amusement rides and bustling seaside activities. For this reason, the beach is best for combining lazy bouts of sun-bathing and boardwalk strolls with fun activities like speed boat rides, jet skiing and rollercoaster rides.
Add: Haikou Lu, Laoshan District, Qingdao 青岛市海口路
Getting there: Take Bus No. 104, 230, 301, 304, 311, 313, 321 or 362 to Jinjialing (金家岭)
Number Two Bathing Beach 第二海水浴场View In Map
This beach was once the favourite of Chairman Mao and other political figures. Tucked away in a small cove in the historic Badaguan neighbourhood, it’s easy to see how this beach is considered one of Qingdao’s most charming bathing spots. Number Two Bathing Beach is demarcated by red boulders and is the only one that charges an entrance fee (2 RMB in previous years).
Add: 6 Shanhaiguan Lu, Qingdao青岛市山海关路6号
Admission: 2 RMB in summer, free the rest of the year
Getting there: Take Bus No. 26, 31, 202, 206, 214, 223, 228, 231, 304, 316, 317, 321, 501, 604 or 801 to Wushengguan (武胜关)
Jinshatan Beach a.k.a. Golden Sand Beach 金沙滩
Golden Sand Beach is located in the southeast of Phoenix Island ( Xue Jia Dao薛家岛) and requires a ferry from Qingdao Ferry Terminal coupled with a bus ride to get there. However, the extra effort is definitely worth it. 3,500 metres long and 300 metres wide, the beach boasts soft golden sands stretching from east to west in a crescent shape. Whether you believe it or not, it is claimed to be the “No.1 beach in Asia”, while the more modest claim it’s the most beautiful beach in China at the very least. The beach is divided into several zones such as special bathing areas, children’s land, sports area, shopping area and so on. Visitors can enjoy a bunch of fun activities such as yachting, speed boating, volley ball and football, as well as sunbathing under the azure skies of course.
Add: Phoenix Island, Qingdao青岛薛家岛金沙滩
Getting there: Take the ferry from Qingdao Ferry Terminal to Phoenix Island (10-12 RMB), and then take Bus No.2 to Zerun Jinrong Guangchang (泽润金融广场), walk across the street and take Bus No.1 directly to Jinshatan (金沙滩)
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