Dalian Travel Guide: Things to Do in Dalian, China

Welcome to Dalian, a vibrant coastal city located in northeastern China. Known as the “Pearl of Northern China,” Dalian is a captivating blend of natural beauty, modernity, and rich history. With its stunning beaches, lush parks, impressive architecture, and thriving culinary scene, Dalian offers a diverse range of experiences for travelers.

As you explore Dalian, you’ll be enchanted by its picturesque coastal landscapes, including the famous Xinghai Square, a seaside promenade that stretches along the city’s shoreline. Immerse yourself in the beauty of Dalian’s beaches, such as Tiger Beach and Golden Pebble Beach, where you can relax, soak up the sun, and enjoy various water activities.

Beyond its natural allure, Dalian boasts a fascinating history. Discover the remnants of the city’s colonial past in the Russian and Japanese architectural influences found in areas like Zhongshan Square and the Russian Street. Explore the majestic Dalian Port and visit the Dalian Modern Museum to delve into the city’s maritime heritage.

Dalian is also a hub of cultural attractions, including the Dalian Discoveryland Theme Park, the Dalian Aquarium, and the Dalian Forest Zoo, where you can encounter diverse wildlife. Don’t miss the chance to savor Dalian’s delectable seafood cuisine, renowned for its freshness and exquisite flavors.

With its efficient public transportation system, including a modern metro network and extensive bus routes, getting around Dalian is convenient and accessible. Whether you’re strolling through the city’s vibrant shopping districts, exploring its many parks and gardens, or delving into its art and cultural scene, Dalian offers something for every traveler.

This travel guide will provide you with essential information, insider tips, and suggested itineraries to help you make the most of your visit to Dalian. Get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey filled with stunning coastal vistas, cultural discoveries, and memorable experiences in this captivating city.

Dalian Travel Guide: Things to do in Dalian, China

Dalian City Guide: A Brief History Of Dalian, China

Dalian, situated on the Liaodong Peninsula in northeastern China, has a rich and fascinating history that spans centuries. For travelers interested in exploring the city’s historical roots, here’s a brief history of Dalian:

Early History: Dalian’s history dates back to ancient times when it was inhabited by various indigenous tribes. The region’s strategic coastal location made it an important trading hub, attracting settlers from different cultures.

Colonial Era: In the late 19th century, Dalian came under the control of foreign powers. The city experienced significant development during the late Qing Dynasty when it was occupied by the Russians. The Russians built infrastructure, established industries, and left a lasting architectural legacy in areas like Zhongshan Square and the Russian Street.

In the early 20th century, the Japanese took over Dalian during the Russo-Japanese War and established the Kwantung Leased Territory. Under Japanese rule, Dalian underwent rapid modernization, transforming into a major port city and an industrial center.

Post-World War II: After World War II, Dalian was returned to Chinese sovereignty, and the city went through a period of reconstruction and growth. It became an important industrial and shipping center, attracting investment and businesses from around the country.

Modern Dalian: In recent decades, Dalian has undergone significant development and transformation. The city has emerged as a major economic and technological hub, known for its high-tech industries, financial sector, and flourishing tourism.

Dalian’s coastal beauty, modern infrastructure, and vibrant cityscape have made it a popular tourist destination, attracting both domestic and international visitors. The city has hosted numerous international events, including the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions.

Today, Dalian stands as a testament to its multicultural past, with a blend of architectural styles and a diverse population. Travelers can explore the city’s historical sites, stroll along its seaside promenades, and experience the unique blend of cultures that have shaped Dalian over the centuries.

As you journey through Dalian, you’ll discover the layers of history that have contributed to its present-day charm, making it a captivating destination for history enthusiasts and curious travelers alike.

Dalian Top Attractions and Best Places to Visit in China

Dalian, despite its young history (it was only founded in 1899), it enjoys considerable popularity with domestic tourists for its beaches and for being a past possession of Russia and Japan. Its museums explore its culture and its role in two significant wars, its beaches host scores of sunbathers, and its cherry farms will put a (red-toothed) smile on your face.

While Dalian is home to plenty of fun and interesting attractions, start your visit on a sombre note by paying your respects to past prisoners of war at the Japan-Russia Prison Site of Port Arthur. Built by Russia in 1902 to house detainees during the Japan-Russia War, it later came into the possession of the Japanese, who expanded the facility and used it for the same purpose during the Second World War.

The implements of torture found within will shock and horrify you, as will the hanging room where prisoners were executed. Other aspects of this facility include the dining hall and tiny cells which held upwards of eight inmates at any given time.

Brush up on the culture produced in the Dalian area by spending time exploring the Lushun Museum. Opened in 1917, it contains 30,000 relics from as far back as the Han Dynasty (3rd century BC), including the fascinating Xinjiang mummy exhibit.

Apart from this, its pottery, Buddhist artwork, paintings, and calligraphy will hold your interest throughout the duration of your visit here. Don’t miss the double dragon basin, as this bronze treasure will dazzle even the most jaded of travellers.

When life in the city starts to get to you as it often does in China, follow the locals up to the Grand Black Mountain of Dalian. Perched high above the hustle and bustle of this urban area, the greenery and fresh air will be just what the doctor ordered.

The vistas and the hikes available up here is worth the trip alone, but locally, this place is known for its cherries. Home to several U-Pick farms, you can pay 30 RMB to pick as many of this juicy fruit as you can take home with you, so take advantage if you are living and working in the area.

Combine all this with a number of peaceful temples, and you have a local gem you won’t want to miss.

Want to cool off on a hot day in Dalian? Spend an entire afternoon sitting by the sea within the Jinshitan Scenic Area. Situated 50 kilometres from the heart of the city, the ocean is cleaner than you would expect, and the beach, while not sandy, is made of fine pebbles which are easier to walk upon than you think.

If you have no interest in going into the water, there are numerous interesting rock formations to look at, and an outstanding golf course which pairs well with the seaside scenery it is built alongside.

Other Cultural Attractions: Trip to Dalian, China

Travelling as a family in Northeastern China? Make time in your schedule to check out the Dalian Forest Zoo. A sizable facility spanning 7.2 square kilometres, there are six separate sections housing over 1,000 animals representing 130 species, giving you and your children a chance to check out a wide variety of our four-legged friends from around the world.

Don’t miss the chance to ride a cable car to the top of West Hill, where you can get a dramatic view over the zoo from above.

Still looking for things to do with your kids while in Dalian? Take them to Pole Aquarium. Situated at Tiger Beach Park, you will find animals like dolphins, penguins, and polar bears within its bounds. The highlight is certainly the dolphin show, as these intelligent creatures interact with their trainers in a way few other animals do, so don’t miss it.

Outside, don’t forget to scope out the massive Six Tiger Sculpture, and grab a bite to eat at one of many food vendors who park in the plaza opposite this artwork.

After a long day exploring the city core of Dalian, unwind from its inherent busyness by spending some downtime in Xinghai Square. You’ll have plenty of room to unwind, as it is the largest public square in the world at 1.1 square metres – that’s about four times the size of Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

Shaped like a star, it contains a series of bronze sculptures, as well as a stone pillar known as the Nine Dragons Sculpture. Those things don’t interest you much? No problem – it is flanked by an amusement park, water park, and a Shell Museum which contains specimens from around the globe.

Want to check out the beauty of the coast in the Dalian area? Rent a car and set out along the Binhai Road. Initially built in the 1970s for military use, it was re-purposed in the 1980s as a tourist route at the urging of the president after visiting it.

Along its 32 kilometres, the rocky coast, mountains, beaches, and flowering trees (in spring) will cause you to stop multiple times along the way, so don’t think this will be a quick trip despite its short overall length.

source: China Culture on YouTube

Top 22 Things To Do in Dalian, China For Visitors

Here are the top things to do in Dalian:

  1. Explore Xinghai Square: Take a leisurely stroll along Xinghai Square, the world’s largest city square, with its vibrant atmosphere, beautiful coastal views, fountains, and sculptures. Enjoy the lively street performances and indulge in local street food.
  2. Visit Tiger Beach: Spend a day at Tiger Beach, one of Dalian’s most popular beaches. Relax on the sandy shores, swim in the clear waters, and participate in water activities such as jet skiing, banana boating, or beach volleyball.
  3. Discover Dalian Forest Zoo: Explore the Dalian Forest Zoo, home to a wide variety of animals from around the world. Get up close to pandas, tigers, giraffes, elephants, and more. Don’t miss the animal shows and feeding sessions.
  4. Explore Xinghai Park: Wander through Xinghai Park, a beautiful coastal park with lush greenery, a tranquil lake, and scenic walking paths. Enjoy a picnic, rent a paddleboat, or simply relax in the peaceful surroundings.
  5. Marvel at the Dalian Zhongshan Square: Admire the European-style architecture and historic landmarks in Dalian’s Zhongshan Square. Visit the Dalian Grand Theatre, Dalian City Hall, and the Victory Square Monument.
  6. Visit the Dalian Modern Museum: Immerse yourself in Dalian’s history and culture at the Dalian Modern Museum. Learn about the city’s development, maritime heritage, and explore the interactive exhibits and artifacts on display.
  7. Explore Russian Street: Experience the Russian influence in Dalian by strolling along Russian Street. Admire the Russian-style buildings, browse through unique shops selling Russian souvenirs, and indulge in Russian cuisine at local restaurants.
  8. Enjoy Jinshitan Scenic Area: Head to Jinshitan Scenic Area, a coastal resort with stunning cliffs, sandy beaches, and scenic hiking trails. Take in the panoramic views from the Jinshitan Lighthouse and enjoy water sports such as windsurfing and kitesurfing.
  9. Discover Dalian Natural History Museum: Learn about the region’s natural history and biodiversity at the Dalian Natural History Museum. Marvel at the impressive dinosaur fossils, explore the interactive exhibits, and discover the rich flora and fauna of the area.
  10. Take a Cable Car to Dalian Discoveryland Theme Park: Enjoy a thrilling day at Dalian Discoveryland Theme Park, accessible via a scenic cable car ride. Experience exciting rides, entertaining shows, and explore themed zones like the Water Park and Space World.
  11. Visit Bangchuidao Scenic Area: Explore the picturesque Bangchuidao Scenic Area, known for its rocky coastline, charming lighthouse, and breathtaking views of the sea. Take a boat ride around the island and enjoy fresh seafood at the local restaurants.
  12. Ascend Baiyun Mountain: Hike or take a cable car to the top of Baiyun Mountain, offering breathtaking vistas of Dalian and the surrounding landscapes. Explore the scenic trails, visit temples and pagodas, and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.
  13. Wander through Fujiazhuang Beach: Escape the city and unwind at Fujiazhuang Beach, a secluded spot perfect for a leisurely day by the sea. Relax on the soft sand, swim in the calm waters, and savor local seafood at beachfront restaurants.
  14. Explore Dalian Maritime University Museum: Gain insights into maritime education and history at the Dalian Maritime University Museum. Discover ship models, navigation instruments, and interactive exhibits that showcase Dalian’s maritime heritage.
  15. Visit the Dalian Shell Museum: Immerse yourself in the fascinating world of seashells at the Dalian Shell Museum. Marvel at the extensive collection of seashells from around the world, featuring intricate and rare specimens.
  1. Enjoy Dalian People’s Square: Join locals in Dalian People’s Square, a vibrant public space surrounded by shopping malls, restaurants, and scenic gardens. Take a leisurely stroll, watch street performances, and relax in the peaceful atmosphere.
  2. Discover Lushun (Port Arthur): Take a day trip to Lushun, also known as Port Arthur, a historic naval base with a rich military heritage. Explore the fortresses, visit the Port Arthur Museum, and admire the panoramic views from the Lushun Naval Base Memorial Hall.
  3. Shop at Hongqi Road Shopping District: Indulge in retail therapy at Hongqi Road Shopping District, a bustling area with a wide range of shops, boutiques, department stores, and local markets. Discover fashion, electronics, souvenirs, and traditional Chinese products.
  4. Taste Dalian Seafood: Dalian is renowned for its fresh and delicious seafood. Head to one of the seafood restaurants along the coast or in local markets to savor local specialties such as steamed scallops, grilled squid, seafood hotpot, and spicy prawns.
  5. Experience Dalian Beer Festival: If you visit during the summer months, don’t miss the Dalian Beer Festival. Join the lively festivities, enjoy live music performances, sample a variety of local and international beers, and indulge in tasty snacks.
  6. Discover Dalian World Expo Square: Explore the Dalian World Expo Square, a modern complex hosting various events, exhibitions, and concerts. Wander through the beautifully landscaped gardens, admire the sculptures and art installations, and attend cultural performances.
  7. Attend a performance at Dalian Grand Theatre: Immerse yourself in the arts by attending a performance at the Dalian Grand Theatre. From ballet and opera to symphony concerts and theater productions, experience the vibrant cultural scene of Dalian.

With this comprehensive list of things to do in Dalian, you can create an exciting itinerary that showcases the city’s natural beauty, historical landmarks, cultural attractions, and culinary delights. Enjoy your exploration of this captivating coastal city.

What To Eat and Drink in Dalian, China

Dalian, known for its coastal location, offers a wide array of delectable dishes and beverages. Here are some must-try foods and drinks in Dalian, China:

  1. Seafood: Being a coastal city, Dalian is famous for its fresh and succulent seafood. Indulge in dishes like steamed scallops, grilled squid, stir-fried clams, spicy prawns, and braised sea cucumber. Visit local seafood markets and restaurants for the freshest catch.
  2. Guotie (Potstickers): Guotie, also known as potstickers, are a popular street food in Dalian. These pan-fried dumplings are filled with a mixture of meat (usually pork) and vegetables. They have a crispy bottom and a juicy, flavorful filling.
  3. Lüda Bing (Lüda Pancake): Lüda Bing is a Dalian specialty resembling a stuffed pancake. It consists of a thin, crispy pancake filled with various ingredients such as minced meat, vegetables, and a savory sauce. It’s a delicious and satisfying snack.
  4. Lazi Ji (Spicy Chicken): Lazi Ji is a spicy and flavorful dish made with diced chicken, dried chili peppers, Sichuan peppercorns, and other aromatic spices. The chicken is stir-fried until crispy and coated in a spicy sauce that packs a punch of flavor.
  5. Xiaolongbao: Though Xiaolongbao is a Shanghainese specialty, it has gained popularity in Dalian. These delicate steamed soup dumplings are filled with a savory meat and broth mixture. Be sure to savor the burst of flavorful soup as you bite into each dumpling.
  6. Dalian-style Grilled Sausages: Found at street food stalls, Dalian-style grilled sausages are a local favorite. The sausages are typically marinated in a blend of spices and then grilled to perfection, resulting in a juicy and smoky flavor.
  7. Bingsheng: Bingsheng is a traditional Dalian snack that resembles a pancake made with wheat flour, eggs, and various fillings. Common fillings include minced meat, green onions, and vegetables. It’s a satisfying option for breakfast or a quick snack.
  8. Dalian Beer: Dalian has a long history of brewing beer, and it’s known for its local breweries. Enjoy a glass of Dalian beer, known for its refreshing taste and high quality. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a seafood feast or a relaxing evening.
  9. Sea Buckthorn Juice: Sea buckthorn is a local fruit abundant in Dalian. Its juice is known for its tangy and refreshing flavor, packed with vitamins and antioxidants. Sip on a glass of sea buckthorn juice to cool down and invigorate yourself.
  10. Dalian Milk Tea: To satisfy your sweet tooth, try Dalian’s unique take on milk tea. It’s a blend of tea, milk, and sweeteners, offering a creamy and comforting beverage that can be customized with different flavors and toppings.

While exploring Dalian, don’t miss the opportunity to savor these local specialties and experience the diverse flavors that the city has to offer. Whether you’re a seafood lover or an adventurous foodie, Dalian’s culinary scene is sure to delight your taste buds.

Top Restaurants In Dalian, China

Dalian is renowned for its vibrant food scene, offering a wide range of dining options to suit every palate. Here are some top restaurants in Dalian that are highly recommended for their delicious cuisine and unique dining experiences:

  1. Shanshui Renjia (山水人家): This upscale restaurant specializes in authentic Dalian and Northeastern Chinese cuisine. Known for its fresh seafood dishes and local delicacies, Shanshui Renjia offers a refined dining atmosphere with elegant interiors.
  2. Wanbao Seafood Market (万宝海鲜市场): Located near Xinghai Square, Wanbao Seafood Market is a must-visit for seafood lovers. Choose your fresh seafood from the market and have it cooked to perfection at one of the surrounding restaurants. This bustling market allows you to enjoy a wide variety of seafood dishes at affordable prices.
  3. Jin Feng Braised Pork (金峰酱肉): Jin Feng is famous for its mouthwatering braised pork belly. The tender and flavorful pork is served with steamed buns, creating a perfect combination of textures and flavors. Be prepared for long queues, as this small eatery is extremely popular among locals and tourists.
  4. Xiangcun Ji (乡村鸡): For those seeking authentic Northeastern Chinese cuisine, Xiangcun Ji is a fantastic choice. Their specialty is “country-style” chicken dishes, cooked with a blend of local herbs and spices. The rustic ambiance adds to the charm of the dining experience.
  5. Hongji Shun (鸿记顺): Known for its traditional Dalian-style cuisine, Hongji Shun offers a wide selection of dishes that reflect the local flavors and culinary traditions. From stir-fried seafood to Dalian-style hot pot, you can expect high-quality ingredients and delicious flavors.
  6. Yi Fang Yuan (一方园): Yi Fang Yuan is a popular restaurant that specializes in hot pot. Enjoy a variety of fresh ingredients, including a wide selection of meats, seafood, and vegetables, while dipping them in flavorful broths. The restaurant offers a comfortable and cozy setting for an enjoyable dining experience.
  7. Nanshan Guoyan (南山锅研): If you’re looking for a unique dining experience, Nanshan Guoyan offers innovative hot pot dishes and interactive cooking experiences. Choose from a range of broths and enjoy a wide selection of ingredients, including premium meats, fresh vegetables, and handmade noodles.
  8. Dongbei Renjia (东北人家): Dongbei Renjia offers authentic Northeastern Chinese cuisine in a cozy and welcoming setting. The menu features hearty dishes like dumplings, braised meat, and stir-fried vegetables, showcasing the rich flavors of the region.
  9. Yijinglou (一经楼): Yijinglou is a popular restaurant that specializes in traditional Dalian-style banquet dishes. Known for its elegant ambiance and meticulous presentation, this restaurant offers a memorable dining experience, perfect for special occasions or celebrating with friends and family.
  10. Maixiangyuan Dumplings (麦香园饺子馆): If you’re craving dumplings, Maixiangyuan Dumplings is the place to go. This local favorite offers a wide variety of dumplings, including both traditional and innovative flavors. Don’t miss the opportunity to try their specialty dumplings, such as seafood and mushroom dumplings.

These are just a few of the top restaurants in Dalian, showcasing the city’s diverse culinary landscape. Whether you’re seeking fresh seafood, traditional Dalian cuisine, or Northeastern Chinese flavors, these establishments will provide memorable dining experiences during your visit to Dalian.

Tours For Visitors To Dalian, China

When visiting Dalian, China, there are several tours available that can enhance your experience and help you explore the city’s highlights. Here are some popular tours for visitors to Dalian:

  1. City Sightseeing Tour: Join a guided city sightseeing tour to discover the main attractions of Dalian. These tours typically include visits to landmarks such as Xinghai Square, Tiger Beach, Zhongshan Square, and the Russian Street. You’ll learn about the city’s history, culture, and architecture while enjoying the convenience of a guided tour.
  2. Lüshun (Port Arthur) Day Trip: Take a day trip to Lüshun, also known as Port Arthur, a historic naval base near Dalian. Explore the remnants of the Russo-Japanese War, visit the Port Arthur Museum, and witness the strategic importance of this coastal fortress. Guided tours provide insights into the military history and significance of the area.
  3. Golden Pebble Beach Scenic Area Tour: Embark on a tour of the Golden Pebble Beach Scenic Area, a coastal resort located outside of Dalian. Marvel at the stunning coastal landscapes, visit the Golden Pebble Beach National Resort Park, and explore attractions such as the Discoveryland Theme Park and the Binhai Road Skywalk.
  4. Dalian Modern Museum Tour: Discover the art and history of Dalian by joining a tour of the Dalian Modern Museum. Led by knowledgeable guides, you’ll explore the museum’s exhibits, which showcase the city’s development, maritime heritage, and cultural achievements.
  5. Dalian Forest Zoo Tour: If you’re a wildlife enthusiast, consider a tour of the Dalian Forest Zoo. A guided tour will allow you to learn about the zoo’s conservation efforts, encounter a variety of animals, and enjoy educational animal shows and feeding sessions.
  6. Jinshitan Scenic Area Excursion: Explore the natural beauty of Jinshitan Scenic Area with a guided tour. Experience the stunning coastal scenery, visit the Jinshitan Lighthouse, and engage in outdoor activities such as hiking, beachcombing, and water sports. Guided tours provide informative commentary and ensure you don’t miss the area’s highlights.
  7. Food and Market Tours: Immerse yourself in Dalian’s culinary scene with a food and market tour. These guided tours take you to local markets, where you can sample fresh seafood, local snacks, and regional specialties. You’ll learn about Dalian’s gastronomic culture, try various dishes, and gain insights into the city’s culinary traditions.
  8. Customized Private Tours: If you prefer a personalized experience, consider booking a customized private tour. You can tailor the itinerary to your interests and preferences, whether it’s exploring specific attractions, engaging in outdoor activities, or immersing yourself in local culture. Private tours offer flexibility and a more personalized experience.

When booking a tour, ensure that the tour operator is reputable and provides knowledgeable guides who speak your preferred language. Consider the duration, inclusions, and reviews of the tour before making your choice. Exploring Dalian through a guided tour can provide valuable insights, convenience, and an opportunity to make the most of your time in the city.

Dalian Accommodations Guide: Hotels, Guesthouses and Hostels

When it comes to accommodations in Dalian, there are various options to suit different preferences and budgets. Here’s a guide to help you choose the right accommodation for your stay:

  1. Luxury Hotels: Dalian boasts several luxury hotels that offer top-notch amenities, exceptional service, and stunning views. These hotels often feature spacious rooms or suites, multiple dining options, spa and wellness facilities, swimming pools, and convenient access to major attractions. Examples include The Castle Hotel, Shangri-La Hotel Dalian, and InterContinental Dalian.
  2. Mid-Range Hotels: For those seeking comfortable accommodations with modern amenities at a more affordable price, mid-range hotels are a great option. These hotels typically offer well-appointed rooms, on-site restaurants, fitness centers, and sometimes swimming pools. Popular mid-range hotel chains in Dalian include Hilton Garden Inn, Holiday Inn, and Ramada.
  3. Boutique Hotels: Dalian has a growing number of boutique hotels that provide a unique and personalized experience. These hotels often have stylish and individually designed rooms, cozy common areas, and a focus on attentive service. Some boutique hotels in Dalian include The Castle Hotel Boutique, Dalian Swish Hotel, and Furama Hotel Dalian.
  4. Guesthouses and Homestays: For a more intimate and local experience, consider staying in guesthouses or homestays. These accommodations offer a cozy atmosphere and the chance to interact with local hosts. You can find guesthouses and homestays in areas like Dalian Old Town or near the beach areas. Websites and platforms like Airbnb and Booking.com can help you find suitable options.
  5. Serviced Apartments: If you prefer more space and the convenience of a kitchenette or cooking facilities, serviced apartments are worth considering. These accommodations offer separate living areas, fully equipped kitchens, and the amenities of a hotel, such as housekeeping and 24-hour reception. Oakwood Residence Dalian and Citadines Gugeng Dalian are popular choices for serviced apartments.
  6. Budget Hotels and Hostels: Budget travelers will find a range of affordable hotels and hostels in Dalian. These accommodations offer basic amenities, clean rooms, and a comfortable stay at a budget-friendly price. Some budget hotel options include Hanting Express, Jinjiang Inn, and Home Inn. Hostels like Dalian Lazybones Hostel are also available for backpackers or those seeking a more social atmosphere.

When choosing your accommodation, consider factors such as location, proximity to attractions, transportation options, and the facilities that are important to you. It’s also recommended to read reviews from previous guests to get an idea of the quality and service provided by each establishment. Booking in advance, especially during peak travel seasons, is advisable to secure your preferred accommodation in Dalian.

Day Trips From Dalian, China

Dalian serves as an excellent base for exploring the surrounding areas, which offer diverse attractions and natural beauty. Here are some enticing day trip options from Dalian:

  1. Lüshun (Port Arthur): Venture to Lüshun, a historic port city located southwest of Dalian. Explore the remnants of the Russo-Japanese War, visit the Port Arthur Museum, and walk along the Lüshun Railway Station. Enjoy the scenic views and learn about the strategic significance of this coastal fortress.
  2. Bingyu Valley: Head to Bingyu Valley, nestled in the mountains about 80 kilometers northeast of Dalian. This picturesque valley offers pristine forests, gushing waterfalls, and crystal-clear streams. Immerse yourself in nature as you hike the trails, visit the scenic spots, and breathe in the fresh mountain air.
  3. Golden Pebble Beach National Resort: Visit the Golden Pebble Beach National Resort, located about 40 kilometers northeast of Dalian. Enjoy the stunning coastal scenery, sandy beaches, and unique rock formations. Explore attractions such as the Discoveryland Theme Park, Binhai Road Skywalk, and Jinshitan Scenic Area.
  4. Lvshunkou District: Take a trip to Lvshunkou District, situated on the southern outskirts of Dalian. This scenic area offers breathtaking landscapes, including mountains, forests, and coastal views. Visit attractions like Longwangtang Cherry Blossom Park, the Lvshun Railway Station Museum, and enjoy fresh seafood at local restaurants.
  5. Jinzhou Ancient City: Explore the ancient city of Jinzhou, located about 30 kilometers north of Dalian. Discover the history and culture of this well-preserved city, which dates back over 2,000 years. Walk along the city walls, visit the ancient temples, and learn about the region’s historical significance.
  6. Dalian Forest Zoo: Embark on a day trip to the Dalian Forest Zoo, located within the city limits. This expansive zoo is home to a diverse range of animals, including pandas, tigers, giraffes, and more. Enjoy animal shows, feedings, and learn about wildlife conservation efforts.
  7. Jinshitan Scenic Area: Spend a day at Jinshitan Scenic Area, located about 50 kilometers northeast of Dalian. This coastal resort area offers beautiful sandy beaches, rugged cliffs, and stunning views. Take a leisurely walk along the coastline, enjoy water sports, and soak up the natural beauty of the area.
  8. Dalian Discoveryland Theme Park: Have a fun-filled day at Dalian Discoveryland Theme Park, situated on the outskirts of the city. Enjoy thrilling rides, entertainment shows, and explore themed zones such as Water Park, Space World, and Adventure Island.

Remember to plan your day trips accordingly, considering travel time, opening hours of attractions, and any necessary permits or reservations. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or amusement parks, these day trips from Dalian offer a range of experiences to enhance your visit to the region.

Dalian Transportation Guide

Navigating Dalian’s transportation system is relatively easy, thanks to its well-developed infrastructure. Here’s a transportation guide to help you get around Dalian:

  1. Metro: Dalian has a modern and efficient metro system that connects major areas of the city. The Dalian Metro currently consists of three lines: Line 1 (north-south), Line 2 (east-west), and Line 3 (north-south). The metro is a convenient and cost-effective way to travel between different districts and major attractions in the city.
  2. Bus: Dalian has an extensive bus network that covers the entire city. Buses are an affordable option for getting around, and routes are well-planned, making it easy to reach various destinations. Look for bus route maps and schedules at bus stops or use online resources for route planning.
  3. Taxis: Taxis are readily available in Dalian and are a convenient mode of transportation, especially for shorter distances or when you prefer door-to-door service. Taxis can be hailed on the street or found at designated taxi stands. Make sure the taxi uses a meter or negotiate the fare in advance.
  4. Didi: Didi Chuxing is a popular ride-hailing service in China, similar to Uber. Download the Didi app on your smartphone to book a ride conveniently. Didi offers various options, including regular taxis, private cars, and luxury vehicles.
  5. Bicycle Rental: Dalian has a public bicycle rental system known as “Dalian Bicycle.” Look for designated bicycle rental stations throughout the city. You can rent a bicycle by scanning a QR code with a mobile payment app, such as WeChat or Alipay. This is a great option for short trips or exploring areas with dedicated bicycle lanes.
  6. Ferries: Dalian has a well-connected ferry system that offers transportation to nearby islands and coastal areas. Ferries operate to places like Xiaoping Island, Baiyushan Island, and Lushun (Port Arthur). Check the ferry schedules and ticket information at the ferry terminals or online.
  7. Rental Cars: If you prefer the flexibility of having your own vehicle, rental cars are available in Dalian. Major car rental companies have branches in the city, and you’ll need a valid driver’s license and passport to rent a car. However, be aware that traffic conditions and parking can be challenging in busy areas.
  8. Airport: Dalian Zhoushuizi International Airport (DLC) is the main airport serving the city. It is well-connected to domestic and international destinations. You can reach the city center from the airport by airport shuttle buses, taxis, or Didi ride-hailing services.

When using public transportation, consider using mobile apps for navigation, such as Baidu Maps or Amap, which provide real-time directions and information about public transit options.

Remember to carry the necessary transportation cards, such as the Dalian Public Transport Card, for convenient payment on buses and the metro. These cards can be topped up at metro stations and selected convenience stores.

Dalian’s transportation system offers a range of options to suit your needs and budget, allowing you to explore the city and its surroundings with ease.

Dalian 1 Day Travel Itinerary

Dalian 1-Day Travel Itinerary:


  • Begin your day with a leisurely stroll along the waterfront promenade of Xinghai Square, enjoying the scenic views and sculptures.
  • Visit the Dalian Modern Museum to explore exhibits showcasing the city’s development, maritime history, and cultural achievements.


  • Head to Russian Street and indulge in a variety of cuisines, including Russian and international dishes, while immersing yourself in the unique atmosphere of this historic district.


  • Marvel at the European-style architecture in Zhongshan Square, and visit landmarks such as the Dalian Grand Theatre and City Hall.
  • Discover a diverse collection of animals at the Dalian Forest Zoo, and enjoy animal shows and feeding sessions.
  • Relax on the sandy beaches and soak in the coastal views of Jinshitan Scenic Area. Optionally, visit the Jinshitan Lighthouse for panoramic vistas.


  • Treat yourself to a delicious seafood dinner at a local restaurant, savoring the city’s renowned fresh seafood specialties.


  • If you have time, explore the shopping opportunities at Hongqi Road Shopping District.
  • Experience the vibrant nightlife at Xi’an Road’s bar street.

Note: Consider transportation and opening hours when planning your day. Dalian’s compact layout and efficient public transportation system make it easy to explore the city’s highlights in one day.

Dalian 3-4 Days Travel Itinerary

Here’s a suggested 3-4 day travel itinerary to help you make the most of your time in Dalian:

Day 1:


  • Start your day by visiting Xinghai Square, taking a leisurely stroll along the waterfront promenade, and enjoying the scenic views.
  • Explore the Dalian Modern Museum to learn about the city’s development, maritime history, and cultural achievements.


  • Visit the Dalian Forest Zoo and spend time observing the diverse collection of animals, attending animal shows, and enjoying interactive experiences.
  • Head to Zhongshan Square to admire the European-style architecture and landmarks like the Dalian Grand Theatre and City Hall.


  • Enjoy a seafood dinner at a local restaurant, savoring the city’s fresh seafood specialties.

Day 2:


  • Take a day trip to Lüshun (Port Arthur), a historic naval base. Explore the remnants of the Russo-Japanese War, visit the Port Arthur Museum, and learn about the area’s military history.
  • Enjoy a scenic walk along the coastline and visit the Lüshun Railway Station for a glimpse into the past.


  • Return to Dalian and explore Russian Street, immersing yourself in the unique atmosphere and trying out Russian and international cuisines.
  • Visit the Dalian Shell Museum to marvel at an extensive collection of seashells from around the world.


  • Wander around Hongqi Road Shopping District for shopping or indulge in the vibrant nightlife at Xi’an Road’s bar street.

Day 3:


  • Head to Jinshitan Scenic Area and spend the morning relaxing on the sandy beaches, enjoying the coastal views, and exploring the Jinshitan Lighthouse.


  • Visit the Golden Pebble Beach National Resort and explore its attractions, such as the Discoveryland Theme Park or Binhai Road Skywalk.
  • Take a cable car ride for a bird’s-eye view of the scenic area.


  • Enjoy a leisurely walk along the beach or indulge in a seafood dinner at one of the restaurants overlooking the sea.

Day 4 (optional):


  • Explore the historic city of Jinzhou, located north of Dalian. Walk along the ancient city walls, visit temples, and learn about the region’s history and cultural heritage.


  • Venture to Bingyu Valley, a scenic area known for its pristine forests, waterfalls, and streams. Take a hike, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and immerse yourself in nature.


  • Return to Dalian and spend your last evening exploring the city at your own pace. You can revisit your favorite spots, go shopping, or simply relax and enjoy the local ambiance.

Note: This itinerary can be adjusted based on your interests, preferences, and the amount of time you have. Consider transportation time between attractions and check opening hours. Dalian offers a mix of cultural, historical, and natural attractions, ensuring an enjoyable and diverse experience.

Dalian 1 Week Travel Itinerary

A one-week itinerary in Dalian allows you to delve deeper into the city’s attractions and also explore the surrounding areas. Here’s a suggested 7-day travel itinerary for Dalian:

Day 1:

  • Start your journey by exploring the city center. Visit Xinghai Square, Dalian Modern Museum, and Zhongshan Square. Enjoy the waterfront views, learn about the city’s history, and admire the architectural landmarks.

Day 2:

  • Take a day trip to Lüshun (Port Arthur). Explore the fortresses, visit the Port Arthur Museum, and walk along the coastline. Immerse yourself in the area’s military history and enjoy the scenic views.

Day 3:

  • Spend the day at Jinshitan Scenic Area. Relax on the beaches, stroll along the coastline, and visit the Jinshitan Lighthouse. Take in the natural beauty and enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking or biking.

Day 4:

  • Explore the Golden Pebble Beach National Resort. Visit attractions like Discoveryland Theme Park, Binhai Road Skywalk, and the scenic spots within the resort. Enjoy thrilling rides, panoramic views, and leisurely walks.

Day 5:

  • Embark on a cultural day exploring Dalian. Visit Russian Street, the Dalian Shell Museum, and Dalian Forest Zoo. Immerse yourself in the unique atmosphere, admire seashell collections, and discover a variety of animals.

Day 6:

  • Take a day trip to Bingyu Valley. Enjoy the lush forests, gushing waterfalls, and serene streams. Take a hike, enjoy picnic spots, and immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature.

Day 7:

  • Spend your last day discovering nearby attractions. Visit the historic city of Jinzhou, walk along the ancient city walls, and explore temples and cultural sites. In the evening, take a leisurely stroll or enjoy shopping in Dalian.

Note: This itinerary provides a mix of city exploration, cultural experiences, and natural beauty. You can adjust the days based on your preferences and interests. Plan transportation between locations and consider the opening hours of attractions. Dalian offers a variety of experiences that will make your week-long trip memorable.

Is Dalian A Safe City To Visit?

Dalian is generally considered a safe city to visit. Like any other destination, it is important to take normal precautions and be aware of your surroundings to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are some points to consider:

  1. Low Crime Rate: Dalian has a relatively low crime rate compared to other major cities in China. Violent crimes and theft are not commonly reported. However, it is always advisable to take precautions to protect your belongings and avoid isolated or poorly lit areas at night.
  2. Safe Transportation: Dalian has a well-developed transportation system that includes the metro, buses, taxis, and ride-hailing services. Public transportation is generally considered safe, but it is recommended to use licensed taxis or reputable ride-hailing services. Exercise caution when crossing busy roads and follow traffic rules.
  3. Tourist Areas: Popular tourist areas in Dalian, such as Xinghai Square, Zhongshan Square, and the beaches, are generally safe for visitors. However, be mindful of your belongings and avoid displaying valuable items to minimize the risk of theft.
  4. Health and Hygiene: Dalian maintains a good standard of health and hygiene. It is advisable to drink bottled water and follow basic hygiene practices like handwashing to avoid any health issues. In case of emergencies, Dalian has reliable medical facilities to provide assistance.
  5. Language Barrier: English may not be widely spoken in Dalian, particularly among the local population. However, in tourist areas, hotels, and major establishments, you may find staff who can communicate in basic English. It is helpful to have key phrases or a translation app to bridge any language barriers.
  6. Local Customs and Laws: Familiarize yourself with local customs and laws to ensure respectful behavior. Respect cultural norms, dress modestly when visiting religious sites, and be aware of any restrictions or guidelines in public spaces.

As with any travel destination, it is recommended to stay informed about the current travel advisories and guidelines issued by your home country’s government and follow any safety precautions or travel recommendations they provide.

By exercising common sense, being aware of your surroundings, and following basic safety practices, you can enjoy a safe and memorable visit to Dalian.

When Is The Best Time To Visit Dalian?

The best time to visit Dalian is during the late spring (May to June) and early autumn (September to October) when the weather is pleasant and mild. During these months, Dalian experiences comfortable temperatures, with average highs ranging from 18°C to 25°C (64°F to 77°F), making it ideal for outdoor activities and exploration.

Late spring (May to June): This period offers pleasant weather with blooming flowers and green landscapes. It’s a great time to visit parks and gardens, such as Xinghai Park and Forest Zoo, where you can enjoy the beauty of nature.

Early autumn (September to October): The weather is cool and comfortable, making it suitable for outdoor sightseeing and activities. The city’s coastal areas are particularly enjoyable during this time, with fewer crowds and refreshing breezes.

Avoiding the peak summer months of July and August is recommended, as Dalian experiences high humidity and hot temperatures, with occasional heavy rainfall. However, if you don’t mind the heat and enjoy beach activities, these months can still be enjoyable.

Winter in Dalian (December to February) can be cold and windy, with temperatures dropping to freezing levels. However, if you’re interested in winter activities like ice skating or visiting the snow festival, it can still be an appealing time to visit.

Overall, the late spring and early autumn months offer the most comfortable weather and pleasant conditions for exploring Dalian’s attractions and enjoying outdoor activities. Plan your visit accordingly, considering your preferences and the specific activities you wish to engage in during your trip.

Where To Visit After Your Trip To Dalian?

If you’re looking to continue your exploration of China after your trip to Dalian, there are several fascinating destinations nearby that offer diverse experiences. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Beijing: The capital city of China, Beijing, is a must-visit destination known for its rich history, iconic landmarks, and vibrant culture. Explore the magnificent Great Wall of China, visit the Forbidden City, wander through the historic hutongs, and immerse yourself in the bustling atmosphere of Tiananmen Square.
  2. Shanghai: As one of China’s most dynamic and cosmopolitan cities, Shanghai offers a blend of modernity and tradition. Explore the historic Bund, admire the futuristic skyline, visit iconic landmarks like the Oriental Pearl Tower, and wander through the traditional neighborhoods of Old Town.
  3. Xi’an: Famous for the Terracotta Warriors, Xi’an is an ancient city with a profound historical heritage. Marvel at the life-sized terracotta army, explore the ancient city walls, visit the Muslim Quarter, and discover the rich cultural heritage of the city.
  4. Chengdu: If you’re interested in wildlife and culinary delights, Chengdu is an excellent choice. Visit the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding to see adorable pandas, explore the serene gardens of the Wenshu Monastery, and savor spicy Sichuan cuisine.
  5. Guilin: Known for its stunning karst landscapes and picturesque scenery, Guilin is a haven for nature lovers. Take a cruise along the Li River, explore the mesmerizing Reed Flute Cave, and visit the idyllic Yangshuo County for cycling or hiking adventures.
  6. Hangzhou: Famous for its picturesque West Lake, Hangzhou offers a tranquil and scenic experience. Enjoy a boat ride on the lake, visit ancient temples and pagodas, and sample the renowned Longjing tea.
  7. Suzhou: Known as the “Venice of the East,” Suzhou is famous for its classical gardens, canals, and traditional architecture. Explore the meticulously designed gardens like the Humble Administrator’s Garden and Lingering Garden, visit historic water towns like Zhouzhuang or Tongli, and immerse yourself in the charming atmosphere of this ancient city.
  8. Guilin and Yangshuo: Experience the breathtaking beauty of Guilin’s karst landscapes and the peaceful countryside of Yangshuo. Take a cruise along the Li River, hike or bike through the picturesque countryside, and soak in the serene atmosphere of the region. Don’t miss the opportunity to witness the impressive cormorant fishing demonstrations.
  9. Zhangjiajie: If you’re a nature enthusiast, a visit to Zhangjiajie is highly recommended. Explore the otherworldly landscapes of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, where towering sandstone pillars inspired the scenery in the movie “Avatar.” Take a thrilling ride on the glass-bottomed Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Skywalk for a unique experience.
  10. Chengdu and Leshan: Extend your trip to Chengdu and visit the Leshan Giant Buddha, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Marvel at the colossal statue carved into the cliffside and explore the surrounding area. While in Chengdu, savor authentic Sichuan cuisine, visit the serene Wenshu Monastery, and immerse yourself in the laid-back atmosphere of the city.
  11. Hong Kong: Experience the bustling metropolis of Hong Kong, a vibrant fusion of Eastern and Western cultures. Explore the city’s impressive skyline, visit bustling markets like Temple Street Night Market, enjoy panoramic views from Victoria Peak, and indulge in world-class shopping and dining experiences.
  12. Harbin: If you’re visiting during winter, consider a trip to Harbin, known for its spectacular ice and snow sculptures. Explore the Harbin Ice and Snow World, visit the historic Saint Sophia Cathedral, and enjoy winter activities like ice skating and snowboarding.
  13. Hainan Island: If you’re seeking a tropical getaway, Hainan Island is an excellent choice. Relax on pristine beaches, explore the scenic Sanya region, indulge in water sports activities, and immerse yourself in the island’s unique culture and cuisine.
  14. Huangshan: Journey to Huangshan, often referred to as the Yellow Mountains, for a breathtaking mountainous experience. Take a cable car to the mountaintop, hike through stunning landscapes of granite peaks, visit ancient villages like Hongcun and Xidi, and witness the enchanting sea of clouds.

These are just a few examples of the many destinations you can visit after your trip to Dalian. China is a vast and diverse country with a rich cultural heritage and natural beauty, offering countless opportunities for exploration and discovery. Consider your interests, travel preferences, and the time you have available to create an itinerary that suits your needs.

Dalian bay covered in snow overlooking a giant bridge in China

Dalian Travel Guide: Final Thoughts

In conclusion, Dalian is a captivating city that offers a blend of history, natural beauty, and modern attractions. With its scenic coastlines, well-preserved architecture, and vibrant cultural scene, Dalian has much to offer travelers. Whether you’re exploring the city’s landmarks, indulging in delicious seafood, or venturing into the surrounding areas for day trips, Dalian promises an enriching experience.

To make the most of your visit, consider the best time to travel, such as the pleasant spring and autumn months, and plan your itinerary accordingly. Take advantage of the city’s efficient transportation system, including the metro, buses, and taxis, to navigate its attractions conveniently.

Dalian’s highlights include Xinghai Square, Zhongshan Square, Dalian Forest Zoo, and the nearby Jinshitan Scenic Area. Don’t miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture, sample the city’s renowned seafood, and explore the historic Russian Street.

As with any travel destination, it’s important to prioritize your safety by staying aware of your surroundings, following basic safety precautions, and respecting local customs and laws. Engaging with the friendly locals and immersing yourself in the city’s vibrant atmosphere will make your experience in Dalian even more memorable.

Whether you have a day, a week, or more to explore Dalian, the city’s rich history, natural beauty, and cultural offerings are sure to captivate you. Enjoy your time in Dalian and create lasting memories of this enchanting destination.

In Dalian’s embrace, travelers find delight, Where sea and sky merge in a breathtaking sight. A city of contrasts, both old and new, With tales of history and dreams anew.

Xinghai Square, where waves gently crash, A promenade of serenity, a soulful splash. Zhongshan Square, where grandeur stands tall, European architecture, enchanting all.

Explore the Modern Museum, a treasure trove, Dalian’s story, beautifully woven and wove. In Forest Zoo, wildlife dances and plays, Pandas and tigers in nature’s loving embrace.

Jinshitan beckons with sandy shores, Where tranquility and beauty endlessly pours. Golden Pebble Beach, a haven of fun, Adventure and amusement under the sun.

Russian Street whispers of a bygone era, With culture and cuisine that forever linger. Taste the seafood, a feast for the senses, Delights from the ocean, flavors so intense.

Lushun’s history, a fortress by the sea, Port Arthur’s tales unfold, revealing bravery. Day trips to Bingyu Valley, nature’s retreat, Waterfalls and forests, a paradise complete.

Dalian, a gem on China’s northeastern shore, With sights and experiences to truly adore. From dawn till dusk, let wanderlust unfurl, In Dalian’s embrace, let your spirit twirl.

So, travel to Dalian, let your heart explore, Discover its wonders, let your senses soar. In this vibrant city, find beauty and grace, Dalian, a destination, time can’t erase.

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