A seaside city with a beautiful crescent-shaped harbor opening onto the Yellow Sea, Qingdao has long been one of the top Chinese getaways—with a twist. Thanks to the fact that Qingdao was annexed as a German territory in 1897, the old city seems to have been transported from Germany, with baroque facades, soaring church spires, a castlelike governor's mansion facing the harbor, and the world-famous Tsingtao Brewery.

Located about 400 mi/640 km southeast of Beijing, Qingdao emerged from hidden-treasure status when it hosted the sailing events for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

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