Located on China's north-east coast, Qingdao is a far cry from the country's smog-choked cities. Instead, pristine sandy beaches fringe the coastline, while yachts, boats and ships bob along the busy harbour. Visitors can expect a vibrant, colourful city home to a rich and complex history.

One of the first things that strikes visitors is the city-wide synergy between old and new. Qingdao began as a small fishing village at the edge of the Yellow Sea, with Germany and Japan occupying it in the early 20th century. Qingdao has become a trade and commercial hub since then, and millions now live in this fascinating seaside city of cobbled streets, Tudor-style buildings that stand shoulder to shoulder with imposing glass-walled skyscrapers. Taiping Hill offers the best views, serving as the starting point of a cable car ride that stretches across the city and transports visitors over lush green forest.

Renowned for its culinary delights, Qingdao is home to Shandong cuisine: one of the 'Four Great Cuisines'. Travellers looking to experience Qingdao's best street food should head to Pi Chai Yuan, a bustling market of food stalls that sells everything from chewy steamed buns and spicy clams to fried starfish. Indeed, Qingdao is said to be China's seafood capital.

Thanks to its one-time German occupants, Qingdao's most famous product is beer. Travellers can visit the Tsingtao brewery for a tour and afterwards experience the city's nightlife in one of its open-air bars.

As for sightseeing opportunities, visitors should take a walk down Da Xue Lu. The historic tree-lined road runs through the old town, which is full of German colonial buildings, thrift stores and cafes, while Zhanqiao Pier is a great place to watch the sunset at the end of a stroll. Qingdao is also fashioning itself as a creative hub that offers enclaves for artists, writers and musicians. Visitors are welcome and can learn skills such as traditional paper-making.

All in all, Qingdao is an interesting insight into a curious period of China's history. The German influence remains evident while its reputation as China's go-to city for delicious seafood is enough to tempt foodies the world over.

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