China plays host to one of the oldest civilizations in the world and has a fascinating history spanning many influential dynasties. In fact, some of the best cities to visit in China have at some point been the capital and seat of power for the myriad of ancient Chinese dynasties.
This vast country is now home to over 1.4 billion people (a number which keeps changing) and has one of the worlds’ most dominant economies.
A trip to China can be truly varied – you can visit the world’s largest city of Guangzhou or walk along the Great Wall of China and watch Giant Pandas – every province has something different to offer and a new adventure is waiting at every corner.
Here are the 11 best cities to visit in China.
As the capital of China, Beijing is a must-visit and offers a superb mix of tradition and modernism. This sprawling metropolis is without a doubt of the best cities to visit in China and is home to some rather beautiful and brilliant sites sites.
For many across the world, Beijing is considered the cultural centre of China and one of the best places to visit if you want to see the famous Great Wall of China.
If you want to experience ancient Chinese history, a visit to the Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven is a must.
Also, don’t forget to visit the iconic Tiananmen Square and the modernist National Centre for the Performing Arts.
Shanghai is another epic city that boasts some wonderful attractions and sits easily at the amongst the top cities to visit in China – it is one of the most popular after all. 😀
This coastal city boasts one of the busiest ports in the world and has an iconic skyline that contains some legendary buildings such as the Oriental Pearl Tower and the Shanghai Tower.
Aside from its skyline, Shanghai also has some awesome shopping districts such as the renowned Nanjing Road – come here if you want to experience the bustling nightlife and high-end designer shops!
Xi’an offers something completely different to Shanghai and Beijing and is one of the oldest cities in the country.
Due to its immense age and history, Xi’an is packed full of iconic structures including the Ming Dynasty City Wall, the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, and the Drum Tower – ergo why it’s is one of the top cities to visit in China.
Furthermore, a must-see attraction is the unbelievable Terracotta Army museum – here you can see thousands of Terracotta soldiers that were hand-crafted to guard the first Emperor of China.
Located on the Li River, Guilin is immensely popular due to its epic karst landscapes and cave systems. This beautiful city is surrounded by gorgeous countryside and it is possible to see traditional rice fields here and their farmers.
Notable destinations include the Silver and Reed Flute Caves, Cuiping Village, and the Pagodas of Fir Lake.
5.) Hong Kong
Hong Kong Island is an absolute must-visit when touring China – this autonomous region (which is technically not part of China – depending on who you speak to) has its own culture and history and contains some superb attractions.
This island has a fantastic mix of sites – from the colourful and bright Hong Kong Disneyland to the awe-inspiring views offered at “The peak” there is something for everyone.
Don’t forget to view the huge Tian Tan Buddha or the historic Clock Tower next to Kowloon Station.
Chengdu is rightly known as the home of the iconic Giant Pandas and it is possible to see these magnificent animals at the Chengdu Research Base and the Sichuan Wolong Giant Panda Reserve. It’s pretty easy to understand why this is one of the best cities to visit in China for animal lovers.
Aside from the Pandas, Chengdu has a great deal to offer and notable sites include the trendy Chunxi Road, the ancient Wenshu Monastery and the ruins of Jinsha.
Lhasa is a captivating destination and serves as the capital of Tibet – this city is one of the highest in the world and sits on the Tibetan Plateau.
As part of Tibet, Lhasa has a unique culture and heritage and has some superb attractions. Consider visiting Jokhang Square, Potala Palace, the Wheel of Dharma and Norbulingka Monastery.
Located on the banks of the Yangtze River, Suzhou is another large Chinese city and was influential during the Song and Min dynasties.
Today, the city has a plethora of pagodas, canals, and gardens. If you love nature; the Classical gardens of Cangland Pavilion, Lion Grove garden and the Humble Administrator’s Garden will amaze and inspire.
In addition to this, the Yunyan and Beisi Pagodas are marvels of ancient architecture worth visiting.
Although not a town or city as such, the Huangshan region is hugely popular due to its dramatic mountainous landscapes and features a series of cable car systems that allow visitors access to some gorgeous panoramic viewing points.
With over 140 different sections open to the public, you could spend days and weeks exploring this region. The views are jaw-dropping, the hiking opportunities are endless, and the landscape is second to none.
You may have heard of the term “Alpha Global City” – this name is typified by Guangzhou due to its unbelievable size, population, and growth.
When entering the city, you will not believe its size and scale – it is like stepping into a different world. Notable sites include the iconic Canton Tower, the Chigang Pagoda, Yuexiu Park and the Sacred Heart Cathedral.
Once upon a time, more specifically during the Southern Son dynasty, Hangzhou used to be the capital of China and till date is still home to some stunning buildings and artefact dating back centuries.
One of the biggest reasons to visit Hangzhou, and a key reason why it’s one of the best cities to visit in China, is its amazing food! The city is home to some pretty spectacular restaurants so be prepared to eat your way through the city.
When you’re here be sure to visit the impressive Lingyin Temple, sail over the West Lake, take a fishing boat through the XiXi Wetlands and explore the historic Hefang Street.
Also, for a rather impressive look at ancient Chinese architecture, visit Hu Xueyan’s former residence, one of the most impressive spots in all of Hangzhou.