Snaking along lush mountains and valleys, the Great Wall of China is an epic piece of Chinese history that dates back 2,000 years and stretches for a staggering 8,800km. Our Great Wall of China tour takes you on an unforgettable journey into East Asia’s past, along quieter sections that are rarely walked by tourists.
On our guided group tours, not only will you see some of the best-preserved parts of the Great Wall, declared one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007, but you’ll also witness the most astounding scenery in the world. Mutianyu is one of the best sections of the Wall and used to serve as the northern barrier, defending the capital and the Imperial tombs against Mongol raiders.
Another magnificent section of the wall is the Jiankou, which lies on the edge of a precipitous peak. You can marvel at the ancient towers that teeter on ridges and climb to the summit of the Sanshibadeng (dubbed the ‘Spiderman Wall’) for panoramic views, although these head-spinning heights aren’t for the faint-hearted.
Our Great Wall trips to China are led by expert guides who teach you all about the history and traditional rural life as you meet with village locals along the way. You’ll also have the opportunity to explore the vibrant city of Beijing and its captivating contrasts of old and new with guided tours of the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and the ‘hutongs’.
Top 5 Sections to See on a Great Wall of China Tour
Mutianyu: Almost 80km northeast of Beijing, the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall connects the Juyongguan Pass and Gubeikou and plays an important role in the history and culture of China. Dating back to 550, Mutianyu is one of the best-preserved parts of the wall and remains relatively untouched. Surprisingly, it sees fewer tourists than other sections, yet it’s one of the most spectacular. From the top of the walls, views roll uninterrupted across the countryside which is peppered with orchards and pine forests. Along the wall, you’ll come across crenellated parapets that were once used to defend against the enemies.
Jinshanling: Another well-preserved section you’ll walk along during our Great Wall trips is Jinshanling. This was built in the Ming Dynasty era and towers seven metres high, featuring five passes, two beacon towers and an astonishing 67 watchtowers. You’ll also find various structures that would have been used as bedrooms and to store soldiers’ weapons. With the mountains of Luanping County as its backdrop, Jinshanling is one of the most scenic and impressive parts of the Great Wall. Spring and autumn are great times to walk here as the temperatures are pleasant and the landscapes are drenched with colour.
Jiankou: Jiankou is a notorious section of the Great Wall, owing to its wild and dangerous ridges hugged by towers but it’s the mountain scenery enveloping it that makes it one of the most beautiful too. This part of the wall was made using white dolomite and runs via the Beijing Knot which connects Mutianyu and Huanghuacheng. Other famous parts of the wall include the Nine-Eye Tower, Sky Stair, Zhengbei Tower, and the Eagle Flies Facing Upward, which was given its name because of the distinctive shape that’s formed by the watchtower and mountains. For those with a head for heights, there’s an optional climb up to Sanshibadeng for 360-degree panoramic views.
Huanghuacheng: This is one of the most rural and lesser-explored sections of the Great Wall of China and its lakeside setting is spellbinding. Meaning ‘yellow flower city’, Huanghuacheng is a beautiful sight in the summer when the mountains are covered in a sea of yellow wildflowers. While sections of this walk can be challenging at times, you’re rewarded with the most captivating scenery. But what makes Huanghuacheng really stand out is that it’s the only part of the wall where some of its sections are hidden beneath the water. Visitors can take an optional boat trip here to view the wall from a totally unique perspective.
Panlongshan: The Panlongshan Great Wall runs between Jinshanling and Gubeikou and has remained untouched since the Ming Dynasty. While some sections of the wall are intact, other parts have deteriorated throughout the centuries. This gives you a wonderful insight into the original structure of the wall and lets you take a step back in time to uncover its fascinating history. You’ll be wowed by both the scenery and architecture of structures such as the watchtowers and the triple-tiered 24-Eyes Tower.
Walking the Great Wall of China
Walk with Exodus along one of the Seven Wonders of the World visiting the most remote sections of the Great Wall of China.
The Great Wall is even more mind-blowing than in your imagination and doing this fantastic trip at the end of October is a great time to see it. We had beautiful autumn colours, with pleasant, warm days and slightly cooler mornings and evenings, and it’s not crowded with visitors. It’s suitable for people who are fit and enjoy walking, but it’s most definitely not a trek, so if that’s your thing you may not enjoy it as much as we did.
You get to visit different parts of the wall – from the restored and more touristy, to completely wild and unrestored and we appreciated seeing these different facets. The toboggan at Mutianyou is a hoot so it’s well worth giving yourself time to fit that in.
The food was good quality and varied (though see below if you’re veggie).The hotel in Beijing (Golden Sun Commercial Hotel) was very nice; a little away from the city centre but we enjoyed wandering the local hutongs, parks and temples and we easily got into town via the subway (Guang’anmennei station is an easy walk from the hotel).