Beijing is one of the most traditional cities in China, with its popular hutongs, public squares, temples and imperial palaces, but it also has a modern area, which began to be built to host the 2008 Olympic Games and revolves around the Olympic Village, which is the complex that contains some of the most outstanding sites in the city.
Among the best things to see and do in Beijing to discover all the attractions of the Olympic Village are visiting the observatory of the Olympic Tower, walking through the Olympic Park to see the Bird's Nest and the Water Cube, taking a night tour to see the lights of the city and taking a tour that combines tours of the old and new parts of Beijing to discover its contrasts.
1. Excursion to the Olympic Village with tickets to the Tower observation deck
On these tours you will be able to visit one of the main sites of the city, which was built to house the athletes who participated in the 2008 Olympic Games. Arriving at the Olympic Park you will appreciate the eclectic architecture of the Village, which combines traditional Chinese elements with modern and futuristic designs.
Among the highlights of the Olympic Village are the National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest, the National Aquatics Center, known as the Water Cube, and the Olympic Tower, which is 258 meters high and offers some of the most comprehensive panoramic views of the city, so these excursions are often included in the list of the best tours of Beijing.
The tower's observatory is open from morning until late in the evening, so if you visit the observation deck in the afternoon you'll be able to catch the sunset, one of the most beautiful scenes in the city, especially if you plan to visit Beijing in July when the weather is mild. Just be sure to make the excursion on a clear day, as summer is very humid in the Chinese capital.
Details of interest
- Price: these tours have an initial cost of approximately 38 euros per person.
- Duration: approximately 2 to 3 hours.
- Advantages of these tours: you will be able to see some of the best views of the city from the observatory of the tower.
- Disadvantages of these tours: if you visit the city in winter, autumn or during the rainy days of summer, you will probably not be able to get ample views, so it is a perfect tour for clear days, although Beijing is a very humid city.
2. Olympic Village walking tour with tickets to the National Stadium and the Water Cube
If you really want to see the main attractions of the Olympic Village, you can't miss a visit inside the National Stadium, nicknamed the Bird's Nest, and the Water Cube, the aquatic center that was used during the 2008 Olympics for the swimming events and now houses one of the largest public swimming pools in Beijing.
During the tour, you will experience the thrill of walking through one of the most iconic sites of the modern Olympics. In addition, you will see sites with state-of-the-art sports facilities and beautiful scenery, as the park is built on one of the highest areas of the city.
In addition to visiting the interior of the Bird's Nest, you can also marvel at the Water Cube, so named for its glass design. It is an excellent opportunity to appreciate modern Chinese architecture and enjoy the panoramic view, which anyway is not as interesting as the one offered by the Olympic Tower, which is usually not included in these tours.
Details of interest
- Price: these tours have an initial cost of approximately 75 euros per person.
- Duration: approximately 4 hours.
- Advantages of these tours: You will be able to get to know in depth the main sites of the Olympic Village.
- Disadvantages of these excursions: they do not include a visit to the Olympic Tower, which is one of the main attractions of the Olympic Park.
3. Beijing night tour with a tour of the Olympic Village lights
If you are planning to do an excursion in Beijing during the night, then these tours with transfer can be the perfect solution. You will start at Tiananmen Square, one of the largest squares in the world, where you will discover the bright lights that highlight its buildings and monuments creating a magical atmosphere.
You will also tour the Forbidden City, the largest imperial palace in the world. The complex of ancient buildings is located in the center of Beijing and is a must-see at night. The night lighting transforms this attraction into a spectacle in itself, making it one of the best places to take pictures at night.
Finally, the tour will take you to Olympic Park, which features some of the city's most iconic buildings, such as the Bird's Nest and the Water Cube. At night, the lighting on these high-rise buildings marks the epicenter of the modern part of the Chinese capital in contrast to the old part, which is characterized by Beijing's finest temples. In addition, you can walk through the gardens and enjoy the park's nighttime scenery.
Details of interest
- Price: these tours have an initial cost of approximately 61 euros per person.
- Duration: approximately 4 hours.
- Advantages of these tours: you will get to know the city at night, which is characterized by its striking lights and illuminated buildings.
- Disadvantages of these tours: the walk through the Olympic Park, because of the time, does not coincide with the opening hours of the observatory of the tower, which marks one of the highest points of the city.
4. Full day excursion to Old Beijing with visit to the National Stadium
Beijing is a popular tourist destination known for its rich history and culture, so if you are interested in a unique experience, a full-day excursion to the old part of the city with a visit to the National Stadium is an excellent choice to discover Beijing's contrasts and beauty.
In the center of Beijing you will be able to contemplate the majestic architecture of the Forbidden City, the ancient Chinese imperial palace that served as the residence of the emperors for over 500 years. After walking through the site's courtyards and gardens, you will head to the Temple of Heaven, a place of worship where Ming and Qing dynasty emperors offered sacrifices to heaven. You can also visit the picturesque Tiananmen Square.
In the old part, you can also try typical Chinese dishes and visit bars and restaurants that are often included in the best food tours of Beijing.
After exploring these historical monuments, you will visit the National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest for its distinctive architectural design. The site was built for the 2008 Olympic Games and is considered one of China's modern architectural marvels, with a capacity for 80,000 spectators and stages that have been used for numerous music concerts and art festivals.
These tours last approximately 8 to 9 hours, so they may not be compatible with a short stay in the city. If that is your case, here is a list of activities you can do to get to know Beijing in 1 day.
Details of interest
- Price: these tours have an initial cost of approximately 65 euros per person.
- Duration: approximately 8 to 9 hours.
- Advantages of these tours: you will get to know the contrasts of Beijing, especially in the architectural destinations.
- Disadvantages of these tours: they are somewhat long tours, so they may not be compatible with a short trip.
5. Tour of Beijing past and present with visit to the Olympic Village and hutongs walking tour
Another way to contrast the city's past with the futuristic constructions of the Olympic Village is to combine a visit to the National Stadium and the Water Cube with a walk through the hutongs of downtown Beijing, which are narrow traditional streets where you can find commercial stalls and family homes. These sites are not accessible by car, so they are ideal for a walking or cycling tour.
At the Olympic Village, which will be the first stop on your tour, you will see the iconic buildings that were built for the Olympic Games, such as the Bird's Nest and the Water Cube, but also the rooms where the athletes slept and you can learn about the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics, which went down in history for their level of detail and staging.
After leaving the village, you can walk through the popular hutongs, which are Beijing's traditional neighborhoods. These winding alleys are full of history and culture, and are a reminder of life in ancient China. Here you will see traditional houses with inner courtyards and Ming Dynasty architecture, dating back more than 500 years.
Walking through the hutongs, you will learn about the daily life of the local people, who still maintain their traditions and customs. You can visit small souvenir stores and street markets and buy souvenirs at very convenient prices, cheaper than in the Silk Market or other famous shopping places.
- Price: these tours have an initial cost of approximately 130 euros per person.
- Duration: approximately 7 hours.
- Advantages of these tours: You will get to see the modern architecture of Beijing as well as the older sites, giving you an insight into the progress of the country.
- Disadvantages of these tours: they are experiences that can be expensive.
How to book an excursion to the Beijing Olympic Village?
If you want to visit the Olympic Village during an excursion, the best alternative is to book the tour in advance online. This way, you will be able to freeze the price, secure your place and then organize the itinerary of your tour of the Chinese capital. In addition, you will save money and also time, as you will not be delayed at the ticket office on the day of your visit.
You can also book a tour once you are in the city, but if you plan to visit Beijing during the summer or during the high season months you may experience last minute increases or be left out of tours on your chosen date, which could be cumbersome if you are planning a short stay in the city.
What will I see on these tours?
The answer will depend on the chosen excursion, but in general you will be able to see the main buildings and monuments of the Olympic Village, including the famous National Stadium, nicknamed Bird's Nest for its architecture, and the Water Cube, which will catch your attention for its exterior design.
In addition, you will also have the opportunity to combine your tour of the village with other more traditional attractions of the Chinese capital, such as the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, the Summer Palace and the traditional hutongs. Some tours even include a tour of the Great Wall of China, although these are usually multi-day experiences.
Tips for an excursion to the Beijing Olympic Village
If you are planning a trip to the Beijing Olympic Village, you can follow some tips that will make your visit easier and allow you to get the most out of one of the most interesting sites in the city:
- Plan your visit in advance: make sure you know the opening and closing time of the Olympic Village and the places you want to visit inside the complex, regardless of whether you opt for a guided tour. Also, before booking, check the closing days, as some stadiums may be closed on specific days.
- Wear comfortable clothes and shoes: the Olympic Village is a very large place with many places to visit, so be sure to wear comfortable clothes and shoes suitable for walking. Also, in summer, the weather in Beijing can be very hot, so it is advisable to wear light clothing.
- Bring cash: be sure to bring enough cash to buy your tickets, food and souvenirs. Some places inside the village may not accept credit or debit cards, so it is advisable to bring cash.
- Learn about the history of the Olympic Village: if you want to get the most out of your experience, research the history and details of the places you will visit within the complex before your visit. This will allow you to better understand the importance and significance of the site in the Chinese capital.
Why is it advisable to take a trip to the Beijing Olympic Village?
The Olympic Village is an iconic site that represents an important milestone in the history of sport and China. The 2008 Olympic Games were the country's opportunity to show the world its capacity to organize major events and a demonstration of its progress and development.
In addition, the architecture of the Village is very interesting. The buildings and stadiums, designed by some of the world's leading architects, present a perfect combination of style and functionality. When visiting the Olympic Village, you can admire the majesty of the Bird's Nest and the Water Cube.
Please note that the Olympic Village also serves a cultural and educational function and features exhibits and displays, which are considered among the best museums in Beijing, showing the history of the Olympics and the values they represent.
What are the advantages of taking a guided tour vs. visiting the Beijing Olympic Village on my own?
Taking a guided tour of the Olympic Village has several advantages over visiting on your own. First of all, a tour guide can provide you with detailed information about China's history and its relationship to the Olympics, plus you will have access to some facts that you may not find on your own.
A guided tour, too, can save you time and effort. The guides know the best times and places to visit and can help you avoid the crowds and long lines. Also, if you do not speak Chinese, a tour guide can help you communicate with the locals and better understand Chinese culture and customs.
Another advantage of a guided tour is comfort and safety. The villa is located on the outskirts of the city and with these tours you will not have to worry about transfers, but can relax and enjoy the experience.