The Chinese capital of Beijing is rushing toward the future, but there is plenty of the past still to see here. Beijing is home to top tourist spots: from the Forbidden City to mandatory must-see, the Great Wall of China. Brimming with both ancient cultural treasures and examples of contemporary China, the problem you’ll encounter on your visit to Beijing is: how can you fit it all in?
Unsurprisingly, there is an endless number of day tours of Beijing available, with almost all of them passing through the Great Wall. Filtering through them is overwhelming in itself, so we’ve done the hard work for you to present the top five based on things like activities, price and previous guest reviews.
BEIJING MINI GROUP DAY TOUR
FROM: £80/per person
A popular tour is this small group option, where numbers are limited to six people. Over ten hours, you’ll navigate three of Beijing’s must-see attractions: hike the Great Wall of China at Mutianyu, visit the iconic Tiananmen Square and explore the Forbidden City. This tour is for those keen to see as much of the city as possible without any hassle, as it includes queue skips at busy tourist locations as well as entrance fees to attractions. When you reach the Great Wall, there will also be the option to take the cable car, rather than hike, for an extra fee. Other stops include the Niaochao National Stadium, known as the birds’ nest, used for the 2008 Olympics and the bustling area Nanluoguxiang Hutong. Guests can depart the tour here and explore at their own pace or return to the drop-off point with the tour.
GREAT WALL HIKING: SMALL GROUP
From £110/ per person
One thing on many visitors’ to-do lists is a visit to the Great Wall. If this is a priority to you, then select this tour to spend a day hiking the wall, rather than a brief stop on a day tour. This small-group tour is limited to just eight people, hiking from Simatai West to Jinshanling. The route snakes along mountains ridges, it covers both original and restored sections as well as showcasing less-visited parts of the Great Wall and its ancient watchtowers. Naturally, this tour is quite physically exerting and it might not be ideal for pregnant women or anyone with mobility concerns.
Ming Tombs Underground Palace & Mutianyu Great Wall Bus Tour
From £30/ per person
On this full-day tour, combine a visit to the Great Wall with the exploration of the famous tombs of the Ming Dynasty. Stop off at the Changling Tomb, the resting place of one of the 13 tombs of the Ming Dynasty emperors, Emperor Yongle and his Empress Xu. From here, the tour will stop for a traditional lunch before visiting a jade carving shop and heading to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, which is widely considered to be one of the best-preserved sections of this modern wonder. For an additional fee, guests can opt to take the cable car to the highest point of the Wall. Finish off this packed tour learning about Chinese silk culture at a local silk museum.
Beijing City: Private Full-Day or Half-Day Tour by Car
From £130/ per person
Get to know Beijing at your own pace on this private tour, which offers either a full or half-day experience to groups of up to six people. This flexible tour allows you to select the attractions you want to visit, meaning you’re not on anyone else’s schedule but your own. Interested in architecture? You can opt to head to the Beijing National Stadium or the Beijing National Aquatics Center. But if you want to discover more about local culture, you might pick to explore the hutongs of the old town area. A professional guide will dive into the history of its ancient emperors, share stories about the citizens of the Chinese capital and, most importantly, show you what interests you! Given the variety on offer with this excursion, any entrance fees to attractions are not included in the price.
Mutianyu Great Wall Tour with Forbidden City & Tiananmen, Private Day Trip
From £79/ per person
This 10-hour tour caters to private groups of up to 15 people as well as individuals and couples, with prices varying depending on the size of the group. Starting at the impressive Tiananmen Square, you’ll discover the city’s important landmarks: the Monument to the People’s Heroes, the Great Hall of the People and the Memorial Hall of Chairman Mao, before heading to the incredible Forbidden City. From here, you’ll explore the Great Wall, with the option to hike or take the cable car. This day of discovery includes a personnel guide to help navigate the areas and provide expert insight. With so much ground to cover, it’s recommended to wear comfy shoes!