12 Best Places to Visit near Beijing

As an ancient capital, Beijing has numerous well-known tourism attractions in the urban area like the Forbidden City. There are also many worthy places to visit near Beijing, like the world-famous Great Wall in the suburb, the summer resort Beidaihe Scenic Area in Qinhuangdao and Grass Skyline in Zhangjiakou. An excursion to the neighborhood of Beijing will give you a completely different experience. Here are the 12 best things to do near Beijing.

Mutianyu Great Wall with long history is definitely one of the best places to visit in China near Beijing. It is about 80 kilometers (50 miles) away from Beijing downtown. As the essence of the Great Wall in Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644), this well-preserved section will make tourists feel the charm of this ancient military defense system through the architectures like the Zhengguan Terrace composed of three watchtowers, Big Corner Tower, Eagles Flying Face Up and many other densely distributed watchtowers. The vegetation coverage there is over 90%, so tourists are able to see splendid natural scenery in each season, such as blooming flowers in spring, luxuriant green plants in summer, red leaves covering the mountains in autumn and the pure snow scenery in winter. Equipped with cable cars and slide way, it is suitable for both elders and youths to travel.
If you are interested in hiking or photography, you cannot miss 10.5 kilometers (6.5 miles) long Jinshanling Great Wall, which is 130 kilometers (80 miles) away from Beijing. There are 5 passes, 67 watchtowers and 3 beacon towers along this section of the Great Wall. Specially, every 50 or 100 meters (55 to 110 yards) stands a watchtower and every tower is different from each other in materials, number of storey and the roofs. The main scenic spots are General Tower, Small & Big Jinshan Tower, and Bricks with Characters.
Ming Tombs, also called Thirteen Tombs of Ming Dynasty, is a mausoleum architectural complex where 13 emperors of Ming Dynasty are buried. It is located 50 kilometers (31 miles) north to Beijing with an area of more than 120 sq. km (46 sq. mi). This magnificent well-preserved architecture complex has opened Changling Tomb, Dingling Tomb, Zhaoling Tomb and Sacred Way for sightseeing. First built in 1409, Changling Tomb is the largest, earliest and best-preserved one. Lingsi Hall for sacrificial ceremony built with precious gold Phoebe is regarded as the masterpiece of ancient architecture. Dingling Tomb is an underground palace where has unearthed about 3,000 rare collections like gold and silver wares and clothing of the emperors and empress. Zhaoling Tomb buries the twelfth emperor in Ming Dynasty and his three empresses. It is composed of Blessing and Grace Palace and sides halls where exhibit the materials about this royal family and the tomb. The Sacred Way starts from the Memorial Archway. Along the Sacred Way, there are many vivid stone sculptures of animals and people guarding the tomb.
Do you want to have a close contact with the nature and enjoy an idyllic life? Touring Lingshan Mountain is quite a suitable thing to do near Beijing. Lingshan Mountain, 130 kilometers (80 miles) from downtown Beijing, is the highest peak in Beijing area with a height of 2,303 meters (7,555 feet). The plants varies according to its height, so you will see the vegetation both in warm temperature and cold region of Siberia. The most special is the alpine meadow over 1,900 meters (2,633 feet). It is the only natural breeding farm for Xinjiang fine wool sheep, Ili Horse and Tibetan Yak in Beijing. You may also have the chance to see the rare brown-eared pheasant. Besides, you can appreciate the cloud sea, sunrise, and high altitude forests at the peak.
Renowned as the Small Lijiang River in Beijing, Longqing Gorge with a distance of 95 kilometers (59 miles) to Beijing city center is one of the best places to visit near Beijing which has combined the magnificence of northern landscape and the elegance of the southern scenery. You can sail a boat to watch the Comb Hill, Immortal Taoist Temple, Flowers Cave and Jingang Temple along the valley. In Flowers Cave, there are 1,650 species of artificial plants themed on Blooming Flowers, Northern Scenery, Tropical Forest, etc. After the leisurely sightseeing, you can experience the exciting Bungee jumping, ziptrek and slideway. If you travel there in winter, the Ice and Snow Festival will be unforgettable when you can see the natural ice waterfalls, ice sculptures and ice lanterns.
Marco Polo Bridge stretching over the Lugou River is only about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from downtown area. It is the existing most ancient stone arch bridge in Beijing with a length of 266.5 meters (291.5 yards) and a width of 7.5 meters (8.2 yards). The bridge deck is paved with natural granite, while the others are built with natural quartzite and marble. At the top of each baluster stands a big stone lion and a little one in different postures. They are vivid and different one from another. And there are two big stone lions at the east end of the bridge and two stone elephants at the west. Through years of repair, these lions have combined the artistic styles of various dynasties. Lugouqiao Historical Museum fully displays its history and influence.
As China’s Bird-watching Mecca, Beidihe Scenic Area has flocks of migratory birds flying over the sky every spring and autumn such as red-crowned crane and white stork. It is also reputed as one of Top 4 Summer Resorts in China. The scenic area is mainly composed of Dove Nest Park, Lianfeng Mountain Park, Tiger Stone Park and Safari Park. Dove Nest Park is the best place to watch the sunrise and play with the pigeons. If you want to swim and enjoy a sunbath or sand bath, go to the beach in Tiger Stone Park. Besides, you can stroll in the Lianfeng Mountain to see the lush pine forests and overlook the sea at the top. In Safari Park, you will see many rare animals like Siberian tigers, African lions, giraffes, zebras, brown bears, and black swans. With splendid natural scenery, various recreational activities and a distance of 290 kilometers (180 miles) to Beijing, Beidaihe Scenic Area enables Qinhuangdao to be one of the best cities near Beijing to visit.

Puti Island 

Located 285 kilometers (177 miles) to Beijing in Bohai Bay, Puti Island has both natural landscape and Buddhism relics. It is named so because hundreds of Bodhi tress, called Puti trees in Chinese, are planted there. It is the largest island in North China where natural vegetation coverage is over 98% with about 260 species of plants. And due to its abundant food and less dwellers, more than 400 kinds of birds will fly here to inhabit and multiply every year. Also, there are Buddhist Temples like Chaoyin Temple and Chaoyang Temple on the island.

Liyuan Bookstore

Situated at a small town in Huairou District which is about 90 kilometers (56 miles) away from Beijing, Liyuan Bookstore was once rated as one of the world’s 18 most beautiful libraries. Faced to the water and backed by the mountain, the atmosphere there is very quiet and comfortable. The water, plank road, and cobbles in front of the bookstore and the fence made of the branches make it seemingly a part of the nature. In the bookstore, it is composed of a main reading area in the middle with shelves under big steps and two relatively independent space on each side for discussion. It offers the books and space free of charge for the villagers and tourists to read. For readers, visiting it is surely one of the leisure things to do around Beijing.
Kangxi Grassland with an area more than 2,200 hectares (5,436 acres) is a great summer resort located 80 kilometers (50 miles) to Beijing urban area. At daytime, tourists can ride a horse or take a carriage to see the yurts and herds of cows or sheep dotted in the vast grassland. At night, take part in the bonfire party to taste the authentic roast whole lamb and hand-crabbed rice or dance and sing with the locals. Or you can lie down on the grass to appreciate the starry sky and bright moon. It is one of the top places to visit near Beijing to experience the Mongolian life.
Tianmo Desert is the nearest desert to Beijing downtown with a distance of 90 kilometers (98.5 miles). Although it is not large and surrounded by the farmland, tourist are able to experience the skimboard on the sand slope or take a dune buggy to explore the desert. Standing there, you can see the clear Guanting Lake in the north and the relics of the beacon towers of Great Wall in Warring State at the foot of Jundu Mountain in the south. In the evening, tourist can set off fireworks for fun.

Grass Skyline Road

With a total length of 132.7 kilometers (145 miles), Grass Skyline Road looks like a dragon winding on the gentle mountain slopes covered by endless grass. It is on the edge of Xilingol Grassland, about 240 kilometers (150 miles) away from Beijing. There are various scenic spots along the road such as ancient Great Wall, Huapi Ridge, Badger Ridge, Zhangbei Grassland, etc. It is easy to take beautiful pictures of the windmills, colorful wildflowers, green forests and wide farmlands along the way. You can pull over at the parking lots specially set at different sections and take pictures. Driving or wondering along the Grass Skyline is quite leisurely, making it one of the wonderful places to visit outside Beijing.
- Last updated on Apr. 14, 2023 by Catherine He -
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