No longer “forbidden”, Beijing is a city mixing ancient traditions with the economic boom of modern China. Formally known as Peking, Beijing is home to nearly 22 million people and has been China’s centre of political and Imperial power for almost 800 years.

The Imperial Palace, known as the Forbidden City, is Beijing’s most famous landmark. Consisting of around 900 buildings ringed by defensive walls and moats, it takes several days to explore fully. Head through Tiananmen Square and on to the Gates of Supreme Harmony before going in to the Three Great Halls if you only have time for highlights. These are the biggest buildings in the Forbidden City and contain treasures such as the ornate Dragon Throne.

Although not in Beijing itself, several sections of the Great Wall of China are accessible in a day trip. Badaling is busy but you can get there and back in half a day by train. Go early in the morning to catch the morning light avoid the crowds. Alternatively try Jinshanling for a more authentic experience but you’ll need to be fairly fit to manage the steep hike.

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Read more on Beijing below with flight options, current weather, maps, and activities to try while you are there.

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