The Great Wall in China
The largest building in the world isn't a skyscraper, pyramid, or a bridge - it's a wall. The greatest wall in world history, built to protect one of the most incredible empires ever seen. The Great Wall of China will boggle your mind with its sheer scale, and it's a must-see on your holiday to China.
Often mistaken for one long unbroken rampart, the Great Wall is actually made up of hundreds of smaller sections. This makes it easier to visit, as you can pick a location near your holiday resort.
Built over hundreds of years, it was added to and repaired by the different dynasties ruling Imperial China. You'll be able to see this first-hand if you get a chance to visit a few of the different sites, as some of the oldest look completely different to the most recent.
Over the centuries, the Great Wall of China grew from miles of stone and clay to thousands, before eventually reaching its current size. Some estimates put the total length of the wall at 6,000 miles (9,650km), while others guess at over double that, around 13,000 miles (20,900km). However large this vast boundary is, it's a sight to behold, and one you shouldn't miss on your Chinese holiday.
You'll discover the wall snakes across mountains, curls round hills and bridges rivers. If you visit one of its best-preserved parts, you'll be taken aback by how imposing it still looks today. Stepped sections rise up steep cliffs, with bricks that are thousands of years old mixing with those that are centuries old.
With towers and fortresses punctuating the wall every several hundred metres, you get the sense that the whole country is surrounded by a gigantic fortification. Because of how large it is, there isn't just one place to head to for the best view.
The most common destination though is Badaling, close to Beijing. You'll find it's one of the easiest ways to see the wall, as it's undergone major rebuilding over the last century. You can enjoy a fantastic view of the area as this section of the wall overlooks a huge gorge. Badaling is ideal if you're looking for a day trip, with its easy accessibility, wheelchair ramps, lifts, cable cars and on-site toilets.
The sections at Jinshanling are also really popular, as the wall here is preserved in its authentic, original glory.
Mutianyu is the most restored section and number one for hiking. Walk along one of the oldest sections of the wall and admire its impressive watchtowers. And it's simple to access, thanks to a chairlift and gondola ride from the foothills.
You'll find what many consider to be the most beautiful stretch of the Great Wall of China at steep and perilous Jiankou. It's the most iconic part of the wall and often printed on postcards. You'll recognise the way it rolls across hills with a seemingly-unending line of bricks and mortar.
With China's vast size and varied climate, there's no specific 'best' time of year to visit. It just depends on what weather you're happy with, as the Wall spans deserts and snow-capped mountains. But we advise you stick to the summer if you're thinking of an extended visit or a trip to multiple sites.
Whatever the time of year though, experiencing the majesty of the Great Wall is a must on any holiday to China.
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