We've chosen the must-see highlights of this fantastic city.
Coffee Street by Yundang Lake is the trendiest street in town. It's 500 metres long and lined with dozens of European-style villas that house coffee shops, each with its own speciality. Blue Mountain coffee, gelato and Hong Kong-style desserts are popular picks. Arrive in the early evening to catch the sunset spilling onto the lake. After your coffee, take a stroll along the lakeside towards Bailuzhou Park. At night, clubs in the area are buzzing with late-night revellers. If there's a place where visitors can get a real taste of local life in Xiamen, this is it.
Yundang Road, Xiamen
In the mid-19th century, Xiamen became an international trading port, and many foreigners settled on the island of Gulangyu, leading to the construction of a variety of European-style villas and foreign consulates. The return of affluent locals from abroad added more residence styles to the mix. Most distinctive is the red-roofed Eight Diagrams Tower, built in 1907 by Lin Heshou, then one of the richest men in Taiwan. It combines the styles of Jerusalem mosques, ancient Greek temples and classical Chinese architecture, and houses the Organ Museum, which has a six-metre-long Norman & Beard pipe organ.
Organ Museum at Eight Diagrams Tower, Guxin Road, Gulangyu
On Gulangyu island, thanks to a local law banning vehicles, the only noise you will hear occasionally is the faint sound of a piano. Xiamen has nurtured world-class piano talents, including famous musicians such as Yin Chengzong and Yang Ming. The Piano Museum inside Shuzhuang Garden houses about 100 pianos, including a rare gold-plated piano and the world's oldest square grand piano.
Measuring more than 3,000 square metres, this store is part of the large Sumgo Tea company and is the biggest teaware shop in southern Fujian. The showroom houses a vast array of teaware made of red sandalwood, rosewood, ceramic and porcelain, coming from different parts of China. Items available for order include ceramic teaware of well-known brands and trays made of jade or stone. Also available are "tea pets", figurines of animals that decorate the trays.