Capital of the People’s Republic, Beijing is China’s political, economic and cultural centre. Established in 1045 BC, Beijing has served as the capital for several dynasties and has experienced a long, illustrious and notorious history spanning three millennia. Numerous relics of this fascinating past stand in remarkable condition across the city but the Beijing of today is something very different with sprawling freeways, towering high-rises and innovative modern architecture propelling the city towards the future.
Beijing is home to an impressive six UNESCO World Heritage Sites including the vast imperial palace complex of the Forbidden City, the elegant Summer Palace and the iconic Temple of Heaven. At the heart of the city is Tiananmen Square, one of the world's largest public squares that has been witness to many of modern China's most defining moments from Mao's proclamation of the new People's Republic in 1949 to the violent student-led protests 40 years later. More recently Beijing has made its presence felt on the world stage hosting the 2008 Summer Olympics with many of the world's top architects invited to design astonishing architectural creations, most recognisable among them the striking 'Bird's Nest' and 'Water Cube'.
As well as imperial wonders and striking modern architecture, Beijing has plenty else to enthrall visitors. It's a foodie's paradise with an outstanding culinary wealth that utilises China's numerous styles of cuisine with standouts including Mongolian hotpot and Peking duck. Beijing is also a thriving centre of creativity with many of the country's best artists represented in prestigious galleries and lesser-known artists making a name for themselves in studio-based collectives.
To get you started with planning your holiday to Beijing, we have showcased below some popular itineraries requested by our clients which we hope will inspire your visit to China