The most populous nation in the world, the vast territory of China brings together various peoples and places within its borders — all with their own unique cultures, customs and ways of life. As such, its cities perfectly highlight this rich cultural diversity, and one could spend a lifetime exploring all of the country’s attractions. With beautiful temples, palaces and gardens in China’s finest cities, there are plenty of unique monuments to visit, not to mention two of the biggest tourist attractions — the Great Wall of China and the Terracotta Army. This article presents the most beautiful cities in China and their attractions.
This former summer home of the early Qing emperors, with pagodas, palaces and lakes, is still a great place to relax. Of particular interest is the amazing complex of the Eight Outer Temples, which is a must-see in Chengde. The mountain resort here is simply divine, with incredible architecture and manicured gardens that only add to the beauty of the overall scene.
A popular place to visit, Dali City is a great walking destination surrounded by the beautiful Cangshan Mountains. The main attractions here are the beautiful city gates, along with magnificent scenery and untouched nature. Many tourists go to the mountains to walk along their winding paths, enjoying the peaceful atmosphere and fresh air. A great walk on a trail called “Road to the Clouds” takes you up to 2500 meters.
Located on the old Silk Road, Kashgar is located in the westernmost part of China. Visitors to this beautiful city need to cross a vast desert to get here. Its remote location makes Kashgar an interesting place to visit. The city remains an important trading post to this day, offering an amazing mix of cultures and peoples that have moved here over the centuries. The old city, with its Uyghur architecture and lively bazaars, is especially worth visiting and offers a variety of cuisines. The beautiful Muslim mosque Id-Kah is a visible reminder of the past. Before leaving, be sure to visit the Sunday market — here a huge number of people from all over Central Asia come to trade. These days, the city has a lively and noisy atmosphere.
With its relaxed atmosphere, clean streets and leafy avenues, Nanjing is one of the most beautiful cities in China. Many visitors stop here on their way between Beijing and Shanghai. Situated on the famous Yangtze River, Nanjing was once the capital of China and although it is often overlooked, there are many good places to visit. A great way to see many of its sights in one go is to head to the Qin Huai River and sail past the mesmerizing Confucius Temple and the huge China Gate on a boat. With many tombs and mausoleums in and around Nanjing, many visitors spend most of their time exploring these spectacular sites. In addition, you can experience the charm of China’s small towns in a separate selection.
Known for its incredible ice festival, the city of Harbin is located in the far north of China, so it can get very cold here. Due to its proximity to Russia, there is a lot of Russian influence in terms of culture and architecture, and this makes Harbin a unique place to visit in China, where St. Sophia Cathedral stands out in particular. For two months, from December to February, you will definitely want to make your trip here during the ice festival, as it is an impressive extravaganza in which everything is carved out of ice and beautifully illuminated by lights.
Suzhou is located in eastern China and its proximity to Shanghai makes it a popular day trip destination. This beautiful Chinese city is famous for its beautiful gardens and traditional buildings that line the canals. Locals and foreigners alike flock to Suzhou as it is the most famous water city in China. It is pleasant to sail along its picturesque canals by boat, crossing small footbridges. Although it has undergone significant modernization in recent decades, the city has retained its historical charm. Formerly the capital of the Kingdom of Wu, Suzhou was one of the largest cities in the world. Since the days of the Silk Road, the city has attracted merchants and artisans to its streets due to its legendary silk production and location in the Yangtze River Delta.
Located in the south of the country, the “City of Eternal Spring” is a great place to go and explore the charms of the beautiful Yunnan province. In Kunming itself, the impressive Yuantong Temple dates back to the eighth century and is famous for its stone carvings. Tanhua Temple is becoming more and more popular because of the beautiful scenery it offers.
A very popular tourist destination, Hangzhou is known for its stunning natural beauty, with the idyllic West Lake and the romantic Broken Bridge drawing crowds. A boat trip on its calm waters is a paradise where you can stay on different islands, each with its own personality. A number of temples and pagodas are scattered throughout the area, with the water shimmering behind them. There are many beautiful views awaiting you, and Lingyin Temple is one of the most famous places in the country. The most beautiful cities in China pale in comparison to Hangzhou.
The otherworldly landscapes that can be found in and around Guilin make the city an impressive place to visit. A boat trip along the Li River is a magical experience with impressive landscapes on both sides. Shrouded in mist, they look mysterious right in the heart of breathtaking Yangshuo, where you will find caves and grottoes in the thickets. Guilin is an incredibly beautiful city in China, and many of its visitors head to the Sun Pagoda, which offers great views of the surroundings.
Guangzhou has been on the Silk Road for more than two thousand years, and boasts ancient historical sites due to the diverse influence of merchants on the city. The mixture of architectural styles in China’s third largest city can be seen everywhere. Guangzhou is a hectic and chaotic city, and its sheer size can be overwhelming. Hidden among the endless concrete jungle, however, are some of the country’s oldest temples, such as the Liurong Temple, as well as the beautiful Huaishen Mosque from 627 AD. With its mixture of cultures, Guangzhou is a crazy but interesting place to see cosmopolitan China. Taking a night boat ride past glittering skyscrapers will keep your trip to China in your memory for a long time. There is also something for gourmets in this beautiful city.
The capital of Tibet, Lhasa, is an exciting city to visit. It is located in a beautiful mountainous area in the Himalayas. The Potala Palace is the main attraction — the incredible building looks absolutely stunning. The Jokhang Palace is also memorable and is home to Tibet’s most prized possession — an ancient and admirable Buddha statue. Lhasa is very different from the rest of China. Head here to experience the rich Tibetan culture.
With many historical sites throughout the city, it’s not easy to see everything in one day in Xi’an. The Terracotta Warriors Army is China’s most famous landmark after the Great Wall. In addition to this, you should also visit the city’s ancient city walls that protected Xi’an and allowed it to develop into a ruling seat of the Ming Dynasty. In fact, seventy-three emperors ruled from here for over a thousand years, and Xi’an was the capital of thirteen dynasties. It is well known that Chinese civilization spread from this influential city, and while rampant modernization has changed the face of Xi’an, you can still find numerous sites that testify to its former glory.
As the largest city in China, Shanghai is a thriving place with many attractions and activities. The towering skyscrapers on the banks of the Huangpu River make for an impressive sight, and it is somewhat surprising that there are many Art Deco buildings among them. Most tourists head straight for the Bund, which sits along the riverbank and has an eclectic mix of colonial-era buildings. Often referred to as a “museum of buildings”, the Bund is a relic of the foreign imperial powers that once ruled the city. Due to Shanghai’s rapid growth over the past century, the city is an eclectic mix of different architectural styles and as a commercial hub, ideal for shopping. For a glimpse of old Shanghai, head to the Old City and the beautiful walls of Yuyuan Gardens.
This city of skyscrapers lies on Victoria Bay, and the beautiful backdrop of forested mountains in the background only adds to the dramatic scenery. The nearby Victoria Peak is a great place to see sparkling Hong Kong in all its glory. Another fantastic way to see the panorama is to look at the skyscrapers from the water side. Cosmopolitan Hong Kong is a mixture of cultures and peoples, and this is part of what makes it so attractive. The bustling markets of Hong Kong are a shopper’s paradise! Neighboring Lantau Island is a great place for nature lovers looking to get out of the city.
More than twenty million people live in the capital of the country. Beijing is a bustling and sprawling city with many attractions for tourists to enjoy. As their first stop, many head to the huge Tiananmen Square, which borders the Forbidden City, which once housed the imperial court. With over a hundred museums throughout the city, as well as a number of palaces, temples and archaeological sites interspersed with modern buildings, there is certainly something to see in Beijing. Be sure to hit the streets and try as much delicious food as you can! It takes just under an hour from Beijing to visit some of the most beautiful parts of the Great Wall of China. The most beautiful cities in China are waiting for you — pack your bags and boldly go on a trip.