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The top five sections of The Great Wall of China you must see

The top five sections of The Great Wall of China you must see

The Great Wall of China is always fascinating for visitors, and rightfully so. It offers a pinnacle of authentic ancient architecture combined with beautiful scenery. The Great Wall is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, with Great Pyramid of Giza, The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, The Statue of Zeus at Olympia, Colossus of Rhodes, The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, and The Lighthouse of Alexandria. The Great Wall is more than 2000 years old and is about 21,196 kilometers in length. 

The Great Wall of China offers more than ten magnificent places to see, and picking the right one for you defines half of your success. In this article, you will learn about the perfect places Great Wall has to offer its visitors.

To help visitors pick the perfect spot, we put together 5 TOP places Great Wall has to offer. 

1. Mutianyu (Mù tián yù – “Admire Fields and Valleys”)

Mutianyu is definitely the most popular section of Great Wall. It is best-known, best-preserved, and the most beautiful part of the wall. In addition to this, it is conveniently located and recommended for family trips.
Architecture-wise there are lots of things to see as well. Some of the watchtowers are quite rare, even unique. A good example is # 1 Watchtower, which is also called Big Corner Tower because you can see only one corner from 3 different angles. 

Infrastructure is one of the great advantages of modern sightseeing. You have up/down cable cars that make moving along the wall quite pleasant. There is also some restaurants and a small souvenir market at the entrance that will offer you traditional Chinese products. And if you are adventurous, you can use a very fast and fun way down: the roller coaster carts. 

Distance from the city: 73 km, 1.5-2 hr. by car 

Special perks: sometimes you can spot a celebrity there – recently Mutianyu was visited by Tom Cruise, Matt Damon, and even first lady Michelle Obama. 

2. Huanghuacheng (Huánghuā chéng – “Yellow Flowers City”)

Huanghuacheng section of the Great Wall is famous for spectacular scenery and its unique ancient architecture. This section of the wall goes underwater, and you can still see the glimpse of it from the dam. There is a 500-year-old chestnut orchard that was planted during the Ming Dynasty at the foot of the Wall that is definitely worth seeing. Another “must visit” place is Yaoziyu Castle. It was built in Ming times and has an ancient Chinese scholar tree inside. Legend says that touching this tree will bring you blessing and excellent health. 

Huanghuacheng is also a great place for camping, especially from May to September. 

Distance from the city: 75 km, 1.5-2 hr. by car

Special perks: cruise boats available to enjoy the water scenery. 

3. Simatai (“Commander’s Horse Platform”)

The Simatai part is famous because it is the most “wild” section of Great Wall. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987 and was ranked first in the list of the 'World's Top 25 Scenic Spots' by the Times in 2012. That is why you should definitely see it with your own eyes.

The landscape is spectacular. You can see the surrounding areas for miles, because of the steep mountains, deep valleys, and the truly breathtaking two most significant Beijing freshwater reservoirs – Miyun (in the South) and Simatai, (in the East).  

The architecture deserves particular attention because it is a heaven for those who are truly inspired by history. Visiting Simatai you will feel like you were taken down a time tunnel because almost nothing was restored and renovated. 

Distance from the city: 120 km, 2-3 hr. by car

Special perks: cruise boats on the reservoir, apricot trees with friendly squirrels along the Wall.

4. Jinshanling (“Gold Mountain Chain”)

The Jinshanling section of the Great Wall is the most popular hiking route from Jinshanling to Simatai. This section is also called “the photographer’s heaven,” because of great views and fascinating landscapes. The wall is half restored and half wild in these parts so you have to be careful. 

Distance from the city: 154 km, 2–3 hr. by car

Special perks: half restored and half wild, really quiet, with fabulous views of the wall snaking up and down

5. Shanhaiguan (“Mountain-Sea Pass”) 

Shanhaiguan section is also very popular, even though it is one or the furthest parts of Great Wall that is available to visitors. This section of the wall is also this is where the Great Wall meets the sea. 

Shanhaiguan was built about 600 years ago by Ming Dynasty’s General Xu Da, and it became the most important pass of the Great Wall because it was protecting the corridor between China and the Manchu. This place is perfect for those who love spectacular seaside sceneries and history, especially the military one.   

Distance from the city:  300km, 3.5 hr. by car (Qinhuangdao City, Hebei Province)

Special perks: mind-blowing views on a sea, several “must-see” attractions, very well-preserved and family-friendly.  

Photo credit: Popsugar, China-tour, China-mike, Listofwonders, White House, Chinaescapade, Chinahighlights, Runsociety, Beijing-Great-Wall, Chinatourguide, Wildgreatwall, Toshihito Kobayashi

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