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Best Tours of Beijing

Visit Beijing and take some of the excursions or activities that will allow you to get to know Chinese culture in depth.

Nicolas Reffray

Nicolas Reffray

10 min read

Best Tours of Beijing

Temple | ©Zhang Kaiyv

Traveling to Beijing is always a surprising adventure. From our western vision, the east is a mystery to us, with its millenary traditions, its language, so different from ours, and its culture. In this opportunity I invite you to visit the main highlights of the capital of China with its best tours, to get in touch with the epicenter city of the Eastern world.

There is truly a lot to see and do in Beijing, from walks and tours to taste its delicious cuisine, tours of the Great Wall, the hutongs or ancient alleys, discover the Forbidden City and even visit the loving panda bears, Beijing has everything to spend an unforgettable stay. In this article, I have selected for you those experiences that you cannot miss in your visit to this wonderful city.

1. Traditional oriental horse-drawn carriage tour through the hutongs

Streets of Beijing| ©Pierre Metivier
Streets of Beijing| ©Pierre Metivier

What could be better than touring the tiny streets of Beijing aboard a traditional oriental rickshaw? The rickshaw is a very traditional transport of Chinese origin, where a man or a small motorcycle (sometimes also a bicycle) carries 2 or even 3 passengers. Today the rickshaw ride has become a tourist attraction.

It runs through these little streets, which are known as hutongs. In its zigzagging route you will discover all the charm of ancient China. Your driver and guide will take you to some of the most emblematic corners of the old town. Afterwards, you can enjoy a visit to an old tea house.

The tour is perfect to meet the most traditional aspect of the city, plus you can climb the Drum Tower, from which you can enjoy incredible panoramic views of the whole of Beijing. This is one of the best hutong tours in Beijing, where, in addition to exploring the streets you can enjoy a ride on a traditional and picturesque transport.

Details of interest

  • Price: from 49 euros per person.
  • Duration: about 3 hours in total.
  • Means of transport: traditional oriental rickshaw.
  • Advantages of this option: pick up and return to the hotel is included.
  • Disadvantages of this option: food and drinks are not included.

2. 2-day private tour to the Forbidden City and the Great Wall

View of the Chinese wall| ©Dennis Jarvis
View of the Chinese wall| ©Dennis Jarvis

This is one of the best tours in Beijing. With 2 full days you will see the main highlights of the city, from Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, the Great Wall, Jingshan Hill or the Summer Palace. A very complete option.

This tour is perfect, as you will not have to take care of anything, since all the entrance fees to the different attractions are included, as well as lunch. In addition, your guide will pick you up at your hotel and take you through the past and present of one of the most incredible cities in the world. You will ride the cable car, from which you can see the city from a different perspective, and enjoy a dinner with traditional Peking duck and an acrobatic or kung fu show, among other things.

Details of interest

  • Price: from 385 euros per person.
  • Duration: 2 days.
  • Means of transportation: you will be driven in a private air-conditioned vehicle.
  • Advantages of this option: entrance fees to the attractions, lunch and dinner are included, as well as bottled water during the tour.
  • Disadvantages of this option: due to the length of the tour, it is not recommended to do it with small children.

Book the Great Wall of China, Forbidden City and Tiananmen Tour

3. Gastronomic tour: Traditional Beijing Dinner

Beijing Food Trolley| ©Enrique RG
Beijing Food Trolley| ©Enrique RG

A trip to Beijing cannot be complete without taking one of the best food tours in Beijing, as food is one of the most representative forms of Chinese culture, and one of the must-do's of your trip. Getting lost in the gastronomic markets of Beijing is a unique experience; its colors, flavors and aromas will transport you and you will feel part of that world so different from ours.

On this tour, you will also enjoy a traditional Beijing dinner. You will see how here the colors, textures, flavors and presentation have a place of great importance. You will also visit a wine shop specialized in rice wine (mijiu), where you can taste up to 6 different types of rice wine. A truly unique experience not to be missed.

Interesting details

  • Price: from 75 euros per person.
  • Duration: about 3 hours approximately.
  • Means of transport: you will walk through markets, a wine shop and a traditional Peking restaurant.
  • Advantages of this option: food and drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) are included.
  • Disadvantages of this option: pick up and drop off at your accommodation is not included.

Book a gastronomic tuk tuk tour

4. Forbidden City Tour

Forbidden City| ©cattan2011
Forbidden City| ©cattan2011

And if we are talking about unmissable visits, touring the former residence of the emperor is one of those that cannot be left for another trip. In this guided tour you will walk through Tiananmen Square, one of the traditional entrance gates to the Forbidden City and the place where the National Museum of China is currently located.

You will visit the Hall of Supreme Harmony (Taihe Dian), the place where the emperor himself decided matters of state, the emperor's bedroom, the Hall of Mental Cultivation and the imperial gardens.

This is a very complete tour, ideal for those who wish to learn more about the history of China. If this is your case, be sure to sign up for this tour.

Interesting details

  • Price: from 69 euros per traveler.
  • Duration: about 4 hours in total.
  • Means of transportation: you will be driven aboard a comfortable air-conditioned minivan.
  • Advantages of this option: pick up from your accommodation is included. The tour is conducted in Spanish.
  • Disadvantages of this option: return to your lodging and entrance to the museum are not included.

Book the Great Wall of China, Forbidden City and Tiananmen Tour

5. Beijing Historical Tour: Summer Palace, Lama Temple and Panda Garden

Summer Palace| ©Benjamin Linh VU
Summer Palace| ©Benjamin Linh VU

Spend the day on this amazing tour where you will see two of Beijing's most famous historical sites: the Lama Temple (Yonghegong) and the beautiful Summer Palace. Marvel at the richness of one of China's most traditional temples, with its gold and silver details and dragon figures adorning its pagodas.

Thanks to your experienced local guide you will get to know all the details of these places. The Summer Palace was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the most visited sites in the Chinese capital. This tour will also allow you to sample some of the delights of the local cuisine, as you will stop for a lunch of traditional dishes before continuing your journey. While you relax, you will be able to listen to your guide's stories about each of the sites you will visit.

Finally, end your tour with a visit to the giant pandas at the Beijing Zoo. There is no species more representative of Chinese culture than the panda bear. An undisputed favorite of adults and children alike, the pandas welcome hundreds of thousands of travelers from all over the world to have their picture taken with them. Of course, at the zoo you can also see other species native to China and other parts of the world.

Interesting details

  • Price: from 82 euros per person.
  • Duration: about 7 hours in total.
  • Means of transportation: you will be taken in a luxury air-conditioned minivan.
  • Advantages of this option: pick up and drop off at the lodge is included.
  • Disadvantages of this option: no English speaking guide, only English speaking.

Book the Summer Palace, Lama Temple and Panda Garden Tour

6. One day private tour to the Great Wall in Mutianyu and Ming Tombs

Ming Tombs| ©Álvaro Arribas
Ming Tombs| ©Álvaro Arribas

This tour will take you to see one of the most beautiful portions of the Great Wall, Mutianyu. Here you will see the imposing battle towers that are still preserved along the wall, amidst greenery and colorful scenery. The tour begins when your guide picks you up at your accommodation, you will be driven in a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle to travel along the Chinese roads until you reach the Huairou district, where Mutianyu is located.

There you can also take the cable car to see the winding stone structure of the Great Wall of China disappear into the horizon. Another stop on this tour is the tomb of Emperor Yongle at Chang Ling, one of the best preserved tombs in China. It belongs to the Ming Dynasty, along with 12 others. On this full day private tour you will see the Ming Tombs, one of the most interesting traces of China's history.

Details of interest

  • Price: from 107 euros per person.
  • Duration: about 8 hours in total.
  • Means of transport: you will be driven in a comfortable air-conditioned minivan.
  • Advantages of this option: pick up and drop off at the lodge is included.
  • Disadvantages of this option: the cable car ticket is not included.

Book a tour to the Great Wall and the Ming Tombs

7. Private night tour of Beijing

Beijing by night| ©Eneko Bidegain
Beijing by night| ©Eneko Bidegain

If you are one of those who enjoy nightlife, this tour will delight you. You will be able to explore the city of Beijing, its iconic hutongs, its street food, and some of its most beautiful buildings and monuments, as the sun goes down and the city begins to light up little by little. You will see how everything is completely transformed, from its narrow streets to the Olympic Park.

You will stroll along Wangfujing, known as the snack street. There you will have the opportunity to taste some snacks. You will also be taken to the Imperial Garden and the Bell Tower and Drum Tower, ending the evening with a traditional Peking duck dinner.

This tour is one of the top 10 things to do at night in Beijing, full of surprises, flavors and history. Thanks to your experienced local guide, you will learn about traditional Chinese architecture, the different dynasties, the emperors who have ruled the republic and much more - not to be missed!

Details of interest

  • Price: from 184 euros per person.
  • Duration: about 3 hours in total, approximately.
  • Means of transport: this is a guided walking tour.
  • Advantages of this option: Peking duck dinner is included.
  • Disadvantages of this option: there is no English speaking guide option, only English speaking.

8. Beijing Night Bike Tour

Bicycling in Beijing| ©YOMELAN
Bicycling in Beijing| ©YOMELAN

A tour for bike fanatics and for those who like nightlife. Cycle through the city on a modern bicycle, accompanied by your professional guide. You will see the hutongs, night markets and all the beauty of the capital of China on this, one of the best bike tours in Beijing.

Your guide will take you to see the main highlights of the city, such as the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Jingshan Park and Nanluoguxiang Alley, a place where you can enjoy fashion, restaurants and a great atmosphere. You will also see the Drum Tower, built under the rule of Kublai Khan, one of the greatest Kans of the Mongol Empire, and the Shichahai district, which is a picturesque area located in the north of the city. Here you can see its three lakes: Qianhai, Xihai and Houhai.

Details of interest

  • Price: from 194 euros per person.
  • Duration: about 3 hours in total.
  • Means of transport: bike.
  • Advantages of this option: all necessary equipment and bottled water are included.
  • Disadvantages of this option: pick up and return to the lodge is not included.

9. Kung Fu show with dinner included and tour of the Temple of Heaven, Hongqiao Market

Temple of Heaven| ©m w
Temple of Heaven| ©m w

On this private tour you will get to know two of Beijing's highlights and savor a delicious Beijing dinner while witnessing a unique show. This is a night tour, perfect for lovers of ancient traditions. You will be able to visit places like the Temple of Heaven, the traditional Hongqiao pearl market, where you can buy some souvenirs, and the Red Theater.

After being taken by your guide through these amazing places, you will dine on a traditional Beijing roast duck, the most representative food of the local cuisine, and marvel at the "Legend of Kung Fu", a show with an amazing display of acrobatics and mastery. This is undoubtedly one of the best kung fu shows in Beijing, so you can't miss it.

Details of interest

  • Price: from 318 euros per person.
  • Duration: about 6 to 7 hours in total.
  • Means of transportation: you will be taken from your hotel or accommodation in a comfortable air-conditioned minivan.
  • Advantages of this option: includes pick up at your accommodation.
  • Disadvantages of this option: it does not include return to the hotel after the show.

10. Olympic Village Tour

Bird's Nest Stadium| ©Enrique RG
Bird's Nest Stadium| ©Enrique RG

In 2008, Beijing hosted the Olympic Games. For this purpose, an impressive Olympic Village was built, with stadiums and works of art that have given the city a new luster. Today, many of these buildings are used for other purposes. Visiting the Olympic Village on a guided tour is one of the best ways to get to know this place.

You will be able to visit, among others, the stadium known as the Bird's Nest and, thanks to your guide, you will learn all the details about its curious structure. The Olympic Village or Park is located in the Chaoyang district, in the north of the city, and is one of the must-see sites for architecture lovers.

Interesting details

  • Price: from 36 euros per person.
  • Duration: about 4 hours in total.
  • Means of transport: you will be driven aboard an air-conditioned minivan.
  • Advantages of this option: entrance to the Nido de Pájaro stadium is included.
  • Disadvantages of this option: not suitable for people with mobility problems.