Beijing has a long list of must-sees, from the Forbidden City to the Summer Palace and the Great Wall, but China's capital is more than the sum of its attractions. Seek out its beautiful traditional alleyways, dazzling markets and exciting contemporary art in the Dashanzi art district.
The Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square form the traditional centre of this sprawling city, with the Summer Palace at least a 45-minute taxi ride to the north-west and the Temple of Heaven 20 minutes south. To the immediate north are Beihai and Houhai Lakes, surrounded by bars and beautiful hutong traditional alleyways. Most of the restaurants, bars and clubs are clustered in the east around Sanlitun and the Worker's Stadium.
Gaze at panoramic views across Beijing from the hill-top pagoda in Jingshan Park, close to the back of the Forbidden City. After a stroll through China's imperial history at the Forbidden City, arrive at the vast Tiananmen Square and visit Mao's Mausoleum. Leave a day for trips to both the Great Wall and the Summer Palace, surrounded by lakes and rolling hills. At sundown, stroll along the Liulichang Culture Street or eat crispy Beijing duck in a traditional courtyard restaurant.
Head to Houhai Lake for traditional Chinese dishes whilst watching either ice skating or paddle boating on the lake. Afterwards, go east to wander the area's traditional hutong alleyways. Take a trip to the Dashanzi art district to see China' most exciting modern art, or stroll around Panjiayuan market for a vast array of beautiful faux-antiques, propaganda posters and kitsch curios. Finish your day with a cheap but luxurious massage and a trip to the bars and restaurants around Sanlitun.
The futuristic Beijing Capital International Airport is located to the north east of the city, around 26km (16 miles) from Tiananmen Square. It is China's biggest and busiest airport, transporting more than 55 million passengers annually. The airport was refurbished in 1999 and a third terminal opened in 2008.