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Great Wall of China
Great Wall of China

Great Wall of China

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Northwest of the District, Mentougou District, China

The Basics

There are several ways to explore the multiple sections of the Great Wall of China from Beijing—with or without a guide; on a private, small-group, or multi-day tour; in combination with other top attractions such as the Ming Tombs and Forbidden City.

Badaling is the most popular section, while Juyongguan and Mutianyu are quieter but just as impressive. However, lots of visitors prefer to tackle the day hike from Jinshanling to Simatai. The Huangyaguan Pass, Huanghuacheng, Jiankou, and Gubeikou sections are less frequented still.

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Things to Know Before You Go

  • Summers tend to be hot and wet, while winters can get icy; dress accordingly.

  • While the Badaling section has some wheelchair accessibility, flatter, less-visited areas such as Shanhaiguan on the east coast and Jiayuguan in the western desert are best for wheelchair users.

  • The Mutianyu section is recommended for seniors and kids, as the wall's watchtowers can be accessed via cable car.

  • Upgrade to a private tour for a more intimate experience, or book a tour with a local guide to get an insider's perspective.

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How to Get There

Although bus and train lines run close to the Great Wall, the easiest way to arrive is via guided tour or chartered taxi from downtown Beijing. Public transportation options can get hectic and confuse travelers with little knowledge of the local language. Visitors coming from Shanghai or Hong Kong can maximize their time by taking a flight or traveling by train.

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Trip ideas

Exploring the Hutongs of Beijing

Exploring the Hutongs of Beijing


When to Get There

No matter where you visit along the wall, crowds will be thicker on holidays, particularly at the portions closer to Beijing. The peak season runs roughly from April through November. Tours in the early morning are generally less crowded, and as a bonus, these options offer the chance to see the sunrise from the wall.

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Debunking Great Wall of China Myths

There are many myths swirling about the Great Wall of China, which is actually made up of walls, plural. Firstly, it's not as old as you think—in fact, it dates back just 500 years. It's also thought to be much longer than it seems, anywhere up to 13,000 miles (21,000 kilometers) per the Chinese authorities' archaeological investigations. And no, you can't see it from the moon, nor are there human remains buried within the walls.

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Great Wall of China