Top 10 Attractions To See On Your Beijing Private Tour
- On June 13, 2019
- By Sarah Bauder
- In General
As the capital city of China, Beijing is one of the most important cultural and historic cities on Earth. It has a rich history that spans over 3,000 years. Likewise, many of its numerous attractions have been deemed UNESCO World Heritage Sites, because of their cultural significance. Beijing is an international city that offers a multicultural melting pot, scenic spots at every turn, and is a fascinating combination of the modern and historical. It is a destination that never disappoints. Here are the top 10 attractions to see on your Beijing private tour.
No visit to Beijing would ever be complete without going to Tiananmen Square. Situated in the heart of the city, it is considered the very essence of Beijing. The square was constructed during the Ming dynasty in 1415 CE. In 1950, constructed began that quadrupled the size of the square. Today, Tiananmen Square covers a whopping 440,000 square meters. Without a doubt, Tiananmen Square is one of the most important historical and cultural attractions that cannot be missed when visiting the fascinating city of Beijing.
The Forbidden City is one of the three most renowned palaces in China. As one of the most revered attractions in the country, millions visit it each year. The Forbidden City gets its name because, it literally was forbidden to enter save for royalty, royal officials, and servants. Construction commenced during the Ming dynasty from 1406 to its completion in 1420 CE. More than a million laborers were involved in the construction process, making it the largest construction project in Chinese history, although with the Great Wall. The Forbidden City served as a palace abode for emperors and their families through to the early 20th century. Because of its central location and profound cultural and historical significance, the Forbidden City is a must-see attraction for any Beijing private tour.
Beijing is a bustling international capital, full of innumerable sights, sounds, and experiences. Located on the outskirts of the city, is the world-famous Summer Palace. This was a cherished destination for emperors and their families to escape the bustle of Beijing and enjoy respite in the tranquility of this exquisite. complex.
Deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998, the Summer Palace offers a stunning natural oasis of vast gardens, lakes, and palaces. Construction on the complex began in the Jin dynasty in 1153 CE and by the Qing dynasty (1636-1912 CE, it was an imperial garden. With several main attractions including Kunming Lake and Longevity Hill, the Summer Palace offers visitors awe-inspiring beauty and cannot be missed.
Temple of Heaven
Situated in the southern portion of Beijing, is the spectacular Temple of Heaven. Regarding as one of the most popular tourist destinations, the Temple of Heaven is a must-see attraction when on your private tour of the capital. Built during the Ming dynasty between 1406 CE and 1420 CE, this temple is one of the best examples of Ming architecture in all of Beijing. During the Ming dynasty, emperors used the complex as the site of the “Heaven Worship Ceremony”, where they would personally pray for good harvests for the upcoming year. As an excellent example of China’s imperial history, the Temple of Heaven is a wonderful example of Chinese religious culture and architecture.
The Great Wall of China
No single attraction symbolizes Beijing, or China for that matter, better than the Great Wall of China. As the country’s most renowned attraction, the Great Wall of China receives over 10 million visitors each year. Snaking its way across 13,171 miles of the country, a visit to this attraction is a highlight of any private tour of Beijing.
The Great Wall of China has a history that spans nearly 3,000 years. Construction first began in 771 BCE with fortifications. Numerous dynasties over the centuries and millennia contributed to the construction and expansion of the attraction. Although some sections of the wall have fallen into disrepair over the centuries, areas close to Beijing have been well maintained and are popular spots for visitors to experience this sensational example of human ingenuity. In 1987, UNESCO deemed the Great Wall of China, a World Heritage Site.
Prince Gong Mansion
This treasured mansion in the largest and best preserved of its kind in Beijing. Also known as “Gong Wu Fu”, Prince Gong Mansion is an excellent example of Chinese feudal history and culture. Covering 14.9 acres, the property has a storied history and was first built around 1777. It was constructed as a traditional courtyard mansion, which was a style popularized during imperial Beijing. Over half of Prince Gong Mansion is reserved as a residence, while the remainder is made up of sprawling gardens. The living quarters contain three sets of courtyards. The gardens on the property are world-renowned for their exceptional design, which even feature artificial mountains and 20 different scenic spots. With so much cultural and historical significance, Prince Gong Mansion is a must-see attraction on your private Beijing tour.
The Ming Tombs
Situated less than 50 km (31 miles) from Beijing is the extraordinary collection of ancient Ming tombs that date to the early 15th century. Also referred to as the “Thirteen Tombs of the Ming Dynasty”, the attraction is the imperial cemetery of 13 Ming emperors and 23 empresses. The most famous of the mausoleums on the expansive 120 square km (46.3 sq mi) is the Changling Ming Tomb, which was constructed in 1409 CE. In 2003, UNESCO deemed the Ming Tombs a World Heritage Site, citing that it was the largest and most-preserved imperial burial ground, containing the largest number of emperors buried within the site. This astounding attraction cannot be missed on your private tour in Beijing.
Once an imperial park, Beihai Park is a fantastic place for respite from the hustle and bustle of Beijing. First constructed in the 11th century, Beihai Park offers wonderful natural beauty and tranquility in the heart of the city. It is one of the oldest and largest imperial parks in all of China. Comprised of 171 acres, over half of Beihai park is covered by water. As an amazing example of ancient Chinese garden design, the gardens are meant to imitate certain famous structures found throughout China. Beihai Park is an incredible place to enjoy a tranquil walk and soak up the history and culture of this world-renowned attraction in Beijing.
One of the newer attractions that can be found in the phenomenal city of Beijing is the Water Cube. Constructed betwixt 2003 and 2008, the Water Cube was the official site of the 2008 Olympic swimming, diving, and synchronized swimming competitions. This exceptional piece of modern architecture is also known as the National Aquatics Center.
The Water Cube, which resembles a humungous cube with soapsuds, was constructed with an ethylene-tetrafluoroethylene copolymer membrane as its insulation. This membrane is made up of over 3,000 bubble-like cushions. It was a joint construction project between China and Australia. The Water Cube is a fascinating example of modern architecture and engineering and makes for an incredible photo-op at night.
No private tour of Beijing would be complete without exploring the exquisite Beijing Hutongs. This labyrinthine neighborhood of ancient alleyways and traditional residences is a must-see attraction in the capital. There are roughly a thousand alleys remaining in the Beijing Hutong. The longest is about 6.5 km, while the shortest measures only 10 meters long.
The first Hutongs were built in Beijing as residential neighborhoods during the Yuan dynasty, between 1206 and 1341 CE. Today, only a small portion of Hutongs remain with a few centuries-old structures that can be found. Some of the existing Hutongs in Beijing have embraced a younger, modern vibe, offering the likes of craft beer establishments, coffee shops, and cocktail lounges.
Recommended Hangzhou Tours
Want to see more tours? View our Beijing Tours page.