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Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is the greatest symbol of ancient Chinese engineering and one of the world's most famous structures. Its name in Chinese means 'Long Fortress', and it was built to protect the northern edge of the Chinese empire against invasions from Mongolian nomads. 

All up, the Great Wall, including trenches and natural defensive features such as rivers, stretches 8,850km (5,500mi). It was begun in the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) on a very simple scale, and was expanded and fortified in the Ming Dynasty. Truth to tell, the Wall was never that effective against Mongol invasion, but eventually the threat abated anyway as the Mongol nomads were converted and assimilated.

A wander on the Great Wall these days takes you back to the Ming empire as well as affording you sweeping views of the surrounding countryside.

Practical Info

Much of the Great Wall is now in disrepair, but certain sections are maintained for visitors. One of the most popular is Badaling, close to Beijing; this section is often crammed with tourists.

The Mutianyu section offers a quieter alternative, also close to Beijing, This section features an optional cable car ride, or an opportunity to climb more than 1,400 steps to the top.

Tours & Tickets

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Great Wall of China at Badaling and Ming Tombs Day Tour from Beijing

4.5 star rating: Recommended 182 Reviews

See two of China's most popular destinations, the Great Wall of China and the Ming Tombs on one unforgettable guided day trip from Beijing. You'll visit the ...  Read more

Location: Beijing, China
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $72.99

Viator VIP: Beijing's Forbidden City with Special Viewing of Treasure Gallery and the Great Wall Ruins at Badaling

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 7 Reviews

Enjoy a VIP tour of two UNESCO World Heritage Sites from Beijing – the Forbidden City and Badaling Great Wall Ruins. With your expert guide, gain special ...  Read more

Location: Beijing, China
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

From USD $195.90

11-Day Splendors of China: Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai and Chongqing with Yangtze River Cruise

Experience the splendors of China over 11 fantastic days! Highlights include the Great Wall and Forbidden City in Beijing, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed ...  Read more

Location: Beijing, China
Duration: 11 days, 10 nights

From USD $1,754.11

Private Beijing Day Trip by Air from Guangzhou

Take in the highlights of Beijing, including the Great Wall, on this private day trip with flight from Guangzhou. Amble around the restored Mutianyu section of ...  Read more

Location: Guangzhou, China
Duration: 16 hours (approx.)

From USD $855.00

Beijing Essential Full-Day Tour including Great Wall at Badaling, Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square

4.5 star rating: Recommended 114 Reviews

If your time in Beijing is short, take this full-day tour to see all the essential sights: Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Badaling section of ...  Read more

Location: Beijing, China
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

From USD $86.99

Beijing in One Day: Day Trip from Shanghai by Air

4.5 star rating: Recommended 8 Reviews

If you’re spending time in Shanghai, take a day trip to Beijing by air to make your visit to China complete. While you’re in China’s ancient capital, visit the ...  Read more

Location: Shanghai, China
Duration: 14 hours (approx.)

From USD $810.00

Great Wall of China at Mutianyu Full Day Tour including Lunch from Beijing

4.5 star rating: Recommended 100 Reviews

This full-day Beijing sightseeing tour to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China provides an opportunity to experience steeper sections of the ...  Read more

Location: Beijing, China
Duration: 6-7 hours

From USD $64.99

Private Custom Tour: Beijing in One Day

4.5 star rating: Recommended 70 Reviews

A privately guided tour, customized to your needs for a full day touring in Beijing. Some highlights include the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, visiting the ...  Read more

Location: Beijing, China
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $15.99

Great Wall of China Small Group Day Trip from Beijing

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 43 Reviews

Discover the Great Wall of China on this small group tour from Beijing. Travel to the restored Mutianyu section and climb the Ming Dynasty watchtowers for ...  Read more

Location: Beijing, China
Duration: 8-9 hours

From USD $124.95

3-Day Private Tour of Xi'an and Beijing from Shanghai by Air

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 2 Reviews

Make the most of your time in China on a three-day private tour of Xi'an's and Beijing’s highlights from Shanghai. See Xi'an's fabled Terracotta Army with your ...  Read more

Location: Shanghai, China
Duration: 3 days, 2 nights

From USD $1,530.00

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