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Top 8 Best Sections of Great Wall to Visit 2020/2021

Actually, the Great Wall of China isn’t really a single great wall. During its more than 2300 years' history, there were about 13170 miles' walls constructed by many ancient dynasties one after another. Nowadays, there are only 5,500 miles' walls still existing, and most of them were constructed during Ming Dynasty (A.D. 1368-1644). Among all the provinces and cities that the Geat Wall spanning through, Heibei and Beijing are two major "hosts" who possess most of the "Great Wall Super Stars", such as Mutianyu, Badalinlg, Jinshanling, Simatai, etc. Currently, downtown Beijing is the best gateway to most sections of Great Wall with flexible choices of transportations. Below is the 8 Best Sections of Great Wall to Visit. All of them can be reached within 3 hours from downtown Beijing.

Top 8 Best Sections of Great Wall to Visit

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Which Section of Geat Wall to Visit - Mutianyu Great Wall

No. 1: Mutianyu Great Wall - most popular section among foreign travellers

Being much less crowded than Badaling, Mutianyu section of the Great Wall is most popular among foreign travellers. It is only 75km away from Beijing downtown, and offers great landscape of well-preserved walls and towers as well as beautiful surrounding greenery. Its road steps are also well paved. Mutianyu’s tourists facilities rank only second to Badaling, and overmach all other sections of Great Wall.

Location: 75 kilometers (46 miles) from Beijing, aprox 1.5 hours' drive.

Recommended Length of Visit: 2-3 hours

Suitable travellers: families with kids, seniors, photographers

Which Section of Geat Wall to Visit - Jinshanling Great Wall

No. 2: Jinshanling Great Wall – most beautiful section of Great Wall ideal for hiking

Jinshanling Great Wall is believed as the most beautiful among all sections of Great Wall. It is one of the best-preserved sections of Great Wall either, featuring in steep stairs, ornate and dense towers which afford sweeping views of the Wall as it snakes into the horizon. Jinshanling is well away from the crowds as well as Beijing’s possible smog. Tourists can enjoy a delighted hiking experience along the walls where blue skies meet a green rolling landscape. A medium level of fitness isdemanded for Jinshanling Great Wall. Cable car is optional if you just want a leisure sightseeing.

Location: 160 kilometers (100 miles) from Beijing, aprox 2.5~3 hours' drive.

Recommended Length of Visit: half day

Suitable travellers: families, hikers, photographers

Which Section of Geat Wall to Visit - Simatai Great Wall

No. 3: Simatai Great Wall – combining the features of all of other sections of Great Wall

Though considerably farther away from Beijing, Simatai definitely deserves a full day exploration if you are a hiker or seeking for an adventure (not recommended for older tourists and travelers with small kids). A 2 days’ hike from Simatai Great Wall to Jinshanling Great Wall is very popular recent years. You can even camp in a tower for overnight. Simatai Great Wall is also open in evening with beautiful night views.

Location: 150 kilometers (94 miles) from Beijing, aprox 2.5~3 hours' drive.

Recommended Length of Visit: half day

Suitable travellers: hikers, photographers

Which Section of Geat Wall to Visit - Jiankou Great Wall

No. 4: Jiankou Great Wall – the wildest and steepest section of Great Wall

Jiankou Great Wall is the wildest section (completely unrestored) of the great wall with broken towers and walls snaking on high ridges of steep and tall mountains. Some walls are inclined to 90-degree. You are strongly advised to hike a local experienced hiking guide to lead you the right and safe trails if you are planning a hike to Jiankou section of Great Wall. The hike from Jiankou section to Mutianyu section (9km/4hrs) is the most popular hiking route, which can be done in a day from Beijing.

Location: 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Beijing, aprox 2.5 hours' drive.

Recommended Length of Visit: half day

Suitable travellers: experienced hikers, photographers

Which Section of Geat Wall to Visit - Huanghuacheng Great Wall

No. 5: Huanghuacheng Great Wall – unique lakeside Great Wall

Huanghuacheng is much unlike other sections of other sections of Great Wall because some parts of it are submerged by a big beautiful lake, which make the Great wall look like paddling in the water. It is consists of restored part with stunning lake scenery and unrestored part with wonderful hiking experience. Do not miss the Chestnut Garden. Its chestnut trees were planted 500 years ago by solders of Ming Empire who guarded the Great Wall. Spring months (March, April, May) is the best time to visit Huanghuacheng when the countryside is surrounded by a carpet of yellow wildflowers. Multiple activities can be organized here, including boating, biking, BBQ, etc.

Location: 75 kilometers (46 miles) from Beijing, aprox 1.5 hours' drive.

Recommended Length of Visit: half day

Suitable travellers: families with kids, seniors, photographers

Which Section of Geat Wall to Visit - Gubeikou Great Wall

No. 6: Gubeikou - the site of over 130 ancient battles

Gubekou is one of the strategic sections of Great Wall. It was constructed to protect Beijing from northern Mongol tribes’ invasions and guard an important pass into Beijing. There were over 130 battles taken place here in the ancient time. Currently its walls and towers are wild and unrestored, which is a nice contrast if you have already seen Mutianyu, Juyongguan or Badaling. It is recommended to visit this section of Great Wall with an experienced local guide who will lead you to the right path and explain the stories of old battles to you. There is also a great hike from Gubeikou to Jinshanling section of Great Wall which can be done in a half day.

Location: 145 kilometers (90 miles) from Beijing, aprox 3 hours' drive.

Recommended Length of Visit: half day

Suitable travellers: hikers, photographers

Which Section of Geat Wall to Visit - Junyongguan Great Wall

No. 7: Junyongguan - the closest section of the wall to visit from Beijing

Juyongguan section of Great Wall played important role protecting Beijing from the northwest as this area is much like a strategic bottleneck barrier if Beijing is a bottle. It is the closest section of the Wall from Beijing. Unlike most of other sections of Great Wall which are just walls and towers, Juyongguan has an impressive fortress which used to controlled the access to Beijing for centuries, looking like a huge castle wedged between towering peaks on either side. Usually the buses to Badaling also make middle stops at the foot of the Great Wall.

Location: 60 kilometers (37 miles) from Beijing, aprox 1.5 hours' drive.

Recommended Length of Visit: 2-3 hours

Suitable travellers: families with kids, seniors, photographers

Which Section of Geat Wall to Visit - Badaling Grat Wall

No. 8: Badaling – the most famous as well as most crowded section of Great Wall

Badaling was open to tourism in 1957. Currently it is the most visited section of the Great Wall as well as the most commercialized section. The walls and towers are elaborately restored to allow all ages of tourists to walk the Great Wall easily. Cable car is also available. The big groups of Chinese tourists usually visit Badaling, which make it very crowded especially during summer days.

Location: 72 kilometers (45 miles) from Beijing, aprox 1.5 hours' drive

Recommended Length of Visit: 2-3 hours

Suitable travellers: families with kids, seniors, photographers

How to Choose Right Section of the Great Wall to Vist - Useful Tips

Below is a comparison chart of the 8 most popular sections of Great Wall in and near Beijing city.

Great Wall SectionsRestored/WildLandscapeHiking DifficultyCrowdednessDistance from DowntownCable CarTime Needed
MutianyuRestoredLess crowded74km(46mi)YesHalf day
JinshanlingHalf Restored/Half WildLess crowded154km(96mi)YesHalf day
SimataiWildNot crowded140km(87mi)YesA day
JiankouWildNot crowded72km(45mi)NoA day
HuanghuachengHalf Restored/Half WildNot crowded80km(50mi)NoA day
GubeikouWildNot crowded144km(89mi)NoA day
JuyongguanRestoredCrowded56km(35mi)YesHalf day
BadalingRestoredVery crowded75km(47mi)YesHalf day
  • ① Which sections of Great Wall I can visit if I have a half day?

    - Mutianyu, Juyongguan and Badaling. Only need 1~1.5 hours to reach, and visit for 2~3 hours. You'd better depart early in peak seasons (Jul~Oct).
  • ② Which sections of Great Wall I can visit if I have a full day?

    Jinshanling, Simatai, Gubeikou, Jiankou and Huanghuacheng.
  • ③ Which sections of Great Wall I can visit if I have 2 full days?

    Jinshanling + Simatai, Gubeikou + Jinshanling or Mutianyu + Huanghuacheng.
  • ④ I love hiking, which section of Great Wall I should go?

    Jinshanling section is most recommended for a Grat Wall hike. You can also hike Jinshanling with Simatai or Gubeikou as 2 days in-depth hiking experience. The hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu is also very popular and recommended if you are looking for a day hike.
  • ⑤ Which section of Great Wall I can camp for overnight?

    You can only camp on the wild section of Great Wall, including Jiankou, Gubeikou, Huanghuacheng.
  • ⑥ I love photography, which section of Great Wall I should go?

    Jinshanling (sunset, sunrise), Mutianyu (panoramic surrounding), Jiankou (steep walls and ruins) and Simatai (various towers).
  • ⑦ I am travelling with my Kids, which section of Great Wall we should go?

    You'd better visit the sections of Great Wall - not too far away from Beijing, cable cars available, such as Mutianyu and Huanghuacheng.
  • ⑧ I am travelling alone. Is it safe to hike the wild sections of Great Wall?

    You'd better not hike the wild section of Great Wall alone. It is easy to get lost, and uneasy to call for a rescue if you have an accident.
  • ⑨ Which section of Great I can visit without a tour guide?

    You can visit Mutianyu, Badaling, Juyongguan without a tour guide. These sections have better tourist facilities, including tourist buses, English direction signs, etc. If you want to visit Jinshanling, Simatai and Huanghuacheng, please just visit the restored section if you are alone.
  • ⑩ I have a layover at the airport, which section of Great Wall I can visit?

    If you want to take a layover tour to the Great Wall, you have to have at least 8 hours to spend. You are suggested to nearer sections to the airport, such as Mutianyu, Badaling, Juyongguan.

6 Most Recommended Great Wall Tour Packages

No matter it is your first, or the second or the third trip to the Great Wall, you will find a suitable tour package. Following are some best Great Wall tour packages with more days which have covered the most visit-worthy sections of the Great Wall, such as Mutianyu, Jinshanling, Jiankou, Simatai, etc. If you still have no idea where to start, you can design a tailor-made Great Wall trip here.

  • Jinshanling Great Wall

    2 Days Great Walls Adventure Hiking

    Experience the contrasts of Great Wall during your well-paced hiking from Jiankou Great Wall to Mutianyu Great Wall, and enjoy the tranquility of Huanghuacheng Lakeside Great Wall

  • Simatai Great Wall

    2 Days Wild Great Wall Hiking

    Jinshanling and Simatai still keep a lot of wild features. Enjoy the great fun of hiking on these two brilliant walls with fabulous sightseeing while burning your energy with your feet.

  • 2 Days Beijing Stopover Highlights

    Take cable car up to Mutianyu Great Wall and enjoy a leisure hike on the Great Wall, also roam in the imperial Forbidden City, Summer Palace and Temple of Heaven.

  • Jinshanling Great Wall

    3 Days Visa-free Beijing Essential

    Specially designed for travelers who meet the Visa-free Transit Policy in Beijing. Hike the less-crowded Mutianyu section of Great Wall with other famous Beijing attractions.

  • Simatai Great Wall

    4 Days Beijing Great Wall Night Tour

    Hike the most beautiful section of Great Wall - Jinshanling, and take in the peaceful and beautiful night view of Simatai Great Wall with round-trip cable cars included.

  • 4 Days Beijing Jiankou Great Wall Tour

    Get away from the crowds as you walk the wild great wall sections from Jiankou to Mutianyu, also hop on a Hutong rickshaw to get an interesting feel of the old Beijing life style.

Start planning your tailor-made holiday to China by contacting one of our specialists. Once enquired, you’ll get a response within 0.5~23.5 hours.

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[Important] Travel News for Expats: China travel is reopening now! Travel with China Discovery and learn about where to visit & requirements for each destination! Read Details >