Beijing city experiences the winter season from late November and it lasts for about a 100 days. Beautiful snow scenes are created when snow falls on the cityscapes and nearby mountains.
Some of the things to do on a Beijing winter tour are enjoying snow scenery, skiing and other winter sports, hot spring bathing, the Longqingxia Ice Lantern Festival, and the Spring Festival (late January or February).
Here are the top 12 places to enjoy snow scenes and activities in Beijing.
Yanqing (延庆) is a crowded place during winter because of the fascinating snow covered landscape. You can take a walk during the day to enjoy the snowy scenery on both sides of the valley (recommended for kids). Also enjoy colorful ice lanterns during the night. Longqing Gorge also hosts the Ice and Snow Festival from January to February every year.
Take bus 919 from Deshengmen to Yanqing County Town, then bus 875 to Longqingxia. You can also travel by train from Beijing North Railway Station to Yanqing and then board bus number 875 at the Yanqing Railway Station bus stop.
The Great Wall is still a place not to miss while on a China winter tour, when the sections at Gubeikou, Mutianyu, etc. and the surrounding mountains are covered with snow. Hiking may be restricted to the most accessible sections after heavy snow.
At Gubeikou see the beautiful snow-covered landscapes of Wohu Mountain (卧虎山) and Panlong Mountain (蟠龙山). You will have a chance to take nice and captivating photographs on a snowy day on this historical wall or have an snow sports experience.
Other sections famous with skiing nearby during winter include Badaling (see below) and Mutianyu, which offers the easiest climbing in wintry conditions.
At Taoyuan Xiangu you can play interesting ice games. Taoyuan Xiangu has the best-developed site for ice climbing, which is climbing up an ice wall made by a frozen waterfall. You are provided with ice-climbing clothes and equipment. Ice climbing is easy compared with other ice activities, and it is very adventurous and thrilling.
Take bus 980 or 987 from Dongzhimen Bus Station to Miyun, and then a small bus to Taoyuan Xiangu, Shicheng Village, Miyun County. 90 kilometers from Beijing, the valley covers an area of 16 square kilometers.
Jingshan Park features an artificial hill with five peaks. The hill was made from soil excavated from the Forbidden City. Each of the peaks has a restored pavilion from which you can have a bird's eye view of the Forbidden City.
Take bus 58, 60, or 111 and alight at Jingshan Dongjie (Jingshan East Street) and walk to the park. Alternatively, take bus 5 to Jingshan Xijie (Jingshan West Street).
Beijing does not attract as much tourists during winter, and so you will enjoy a peaceful walk inside the snowy Forbidden City. You will witness beautiful snowy landscapes at the Meridian Gate Square, and the Southeast Corner Tower out from Donghuamen (东华门).
Take the subway to Tian'anmen East or West station, or take bus 101, 103, or 109.
The old hutong buildings covered by snow behind Houhai (Shichahai) are more special in winter than any other times. The now rarer snow scenery offers a real taste of old Beijing. Enjoy a Beijing Hot Pot in the hutongs after a cold stay outside. Having a drink while chatting with friends in the Bar Street in Houhai is also a good way to spend your winter leisure time.
Shichahai is north of Beihai Park. Take bus 5, 60, 107, or 111 to the Drum Tower or North Gate of Beihai Park. Walk along the Qianhai area to the hutongs.
The Summer Palace has some of the best snow views in Beijing city. The largest traditional Chinese garden in the world is an all-year attraction, but it's particularly pretty in winter, when artificial Longevity Hill, bridges, pavilions and the frozen waters of Kunming Lake are covered with snow. The park gates are open from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and the attractions are open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Take subway line 4 to Beigongmen (北宫门 'North Palace Gate') or Xiyuan (西苑 'West Garden'), and walk west along Tongqing Street (同庆街) for 500 meters to Donggongmen (东宫门 'East Palace Gate').
The Southeast Corner Watchtower is an ancient fortified stone structure that was built during the Qing Dynasty as an addition to the Ming city wall. It acts as a wonderful viewing platform, especially when covered with snow during winter. It is 500 meters from the Beijing Ancient Observatory.
Walk for 15 or 20 minutes east along the Ming City Wall from Chongwenmen subway station on the Circle Line. From Jianguomen subway station, walk south for 15 minutes under the railway bridge.
Being the nearest ski resort to the city, Snow World Ski Resort hosts motorized, dog-drawn, and horse-drawn sleighs. It is certainly a nice place to go with kids to enjoy the snow. We also suggest you visit nearby Jiuhua Spa Resort where you can bathe in a hot spring.
Take bus 345 from Deshengmen to China University of Political Science and Law, or bus 919 or 925 to Xiguan Huandao in Changping District, and then board minibus 3 to the ski resort.
Nanshan Ski Resort occupies 267 hectares and features 11 slopes. It is a good choice for beginners and advanced-level skiing lovers. Besides, you will see some beautiful scenery during winter.
Take bus 980 from Dongzhimen Bus Terminal to West Bridge in Miyun, and a taxi to Nanshan Ski Village. Alternatively, take a shuttle coach from Sanyuan Bridge or Wundaokou subway station at 8:30 a.m.
Badaling Ski Resort is only 2 kilometers from Badaling's Great Wall Section, and thus you can visit the two in a day. The Longqing George Ice Lantern Arts Festival (see above) is also nearby. Skiers can rent equipment and enjoy the four ski trails even during the night. If you are not a fan of skiing, you could enjoy the dog sleighs and snow tubes among other activities.
Take bus 919 from Dongzhimen Bus Station.
Although Huaibei Resort is a renowned skiing destination, it triples as a nice snow-viewing location and a place to enjoy a variety of snow activities (snowmobile rides, archery on the snow, and horse-drawn sled rides). It features beginner, medium, and advanced level slopes.
Go to the Oriental Ginza building parking lot, near Exit B of Dongzhimen station on subway line 2, for the Ski Resort Shuttle Bus at 8:10 a.m., returning at 4:30 pm. Alternatively, take bus 936 at Dongzhimen Bus Terminal.
China Highlights is the way to go if you want a private tour customized to your needs, especially for skiing lovers and those interested in snowy sightseeing.
If you are planning a Beijing tour to appreciate the snow scenery, please tell us your interests and requirements and we will create your own personalized tour.