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Yantai, China Luxury Cruises

One of China's finest ports, yet lacking the crowds and fast pace of a metropolis like Beijing or Shanghai, Yantai is a fantastic hub from which to explore the intriguing delights of the Far East. Situated in the north-east of the Shandong province and bordered by the Yellow Sea and the Bohai Sea, Yantai faces toward South Korea and Japan and is a jewel in the crown of the Chinese coast.  Known for its rolling hills, lapping waves and a dynasty city which is estimated to have existed as long as 10,000 years ago, Yantai has a special grandeur.

Unlike other settlements on the north coast of China, Yantai has sweeping monsoons that regulate its temperature, meaning that the port is balmy and warm all year round. As a result, the landscape is fertile as well as beautiful. Perhaps this is why Yantai is the largest producer of wine in all of Asia, with a 100-year history of producing high quality staples such as Zhangyu Red Wine, known the world over.

Sightseeing in Yantai

Yantai has gone through immense changes throughout its history. In the past, this idyllic seaside settlement has been a shore stronghold against piracy during the rule of the Dynasty emperors, a treaty port under British rule in the century, and then eventually handed over to the Japanese from its German occupiers just after the First World War. As a result, the city's architecture is a sight to behold, a pleasant blend of colonial European and Asian styles that you are unlikely to find married together anywhere else. Aside from the architecture, there is still a wealth to explore:

Yantai Museum

Originally built to be used as a guild hall by local ship owners and lucrative foreign merchants during the Qing dynasty, the Yantai Museum is now one of the most striking buildings in the entire city. Its sloping roofs are curved outward at an extreme angle into sweeping horns, giving it the appearance of being a warlord's stronghold rather than home to some of China's finest relics.

From the moment you step into the museum, you can get a grasp of how astounding ancient craftsmanship has preserved the beauty of this architectural marvel. The entrance hall is decorated with thousands of stone and wood carvings, all depicting folk heroes and fables from ages past. Make sure to visit the Hall of the Heavenly Goddess, situated in lush gardens and impressive, colourful entranceways.

Yantai Hill Park

This sprawling park is both a leafy retreat and a perfect showcase of Yantai's architecture. Travellers can take winding stone paths which tour such historical highlights as the Former American Consulate Building, with some of its original features, the former British Consulate, an austere masterpiece of European grandiose design, on the edge of the park overlooking the bay and the Consulate Annexe, which overlooks a traditional, not to mention verdant English garden.

A particular highlight though, is the Yantai Stone Lighthouse, which has become an enduring icon of the city since the days it was first used to spot pirates on the horizon. Visitors can climb the lighthouse steps 53 metres to the very top and get a fantastic view of the surrounding mountains, bustling cityscape and the gorgeous expanse of the sea for their efforts.

Changyu Wine Culture Museum

This important heritage site documents the history of Yantai's fertile wine industry from the 18th century right up the present. It is the only specialized wine museum in China and as such, is a vital experience for those with a palate for Claret. The museum contains a hundred-year old underground cellar, as well as numerous exhibition halls showcasing the storied history of the Yantai wine industry through ancient objects and paintings, such as three oak barrels, specially designed in France in 1908, which hold up to 15,000 litres of wine each.

Shopping in Yantai

Three Stations market is a vital spot to find unique goods from all over the Asian continent. Its markets sell a range beyond your wildest expectations, including authentic calligraphy sets, silk paintings, sculptures, antiques, and exotic spices from across China. If you're looking for great technology at discount prices, the markets are also home to some of the most extensive computed outlets in the world.

Eating out in Yantai

For an atmosphere of the Old World styling that blends all over the city while you dine, head to the Rodem Restaurant, on Xiangshan Road. Filled with pristine antiques, dazzling chandeliers and service defined by class and quality, the French cuisine is a cut above, but with a flavoursome twist of local herbs and spices.

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