For most sightseeing venues in China, autumn is the most suitable time to visit, and spring is a good second choice. The Great Wall is no exception. The Great Wall sections mentioned here, mainly refer to those near Beijing, since travelers visit them more often than the others.
During these two seasons, the weather is generally warm and comfortable compared with chilly winters and sweltering summers experienced in Beijing.
Spring (March to May) – Warm and Comfortable
Weather: Generally, the climate starts to warm up from the end of March, with occasional chilly days. By April and May, there should be warm and comfortable weather that makes spring one of the most suitable seasons to visit the Great Wall, with an average daytime temperature of 11°–24°C (52°–75°F).
Scenery: Spring is full of vigor, as everything comes to life. Trees and plants turn green, while flowers come into full bloom. The Wall will thus be surrounded by abundant flora and fauna, presenting lively views to its visitors.
Better take a light jacket or sweater with you due to an obvious temperature gap between days and nights during this period.
Remember to avoid the first week of May, which is a popular time for Chinese people to go on holiday, so there will be more crowds on the Great Wall. You may also encounter troublesome traffic jams and higher-priced hotels in that week.
Summer (June to August) – Sweltering and Wet
Weather: Temperatures in this season increase swiftly from June, and reach their peak in July and August, with an average temperature of 30°C (86°F). The Great Wall, however, is far away from the central city, and visitors will feel cooler as they ascend higher.
Alongside its sweltering temperatures, Beijing’s summer also brings most of the annual precipitation, due to the influence of the southeast humid monsoon winds.
Scenery: Under the bright sunshine, the wall looks like a glittering dragon winding up and down the hillsides, surrounded by lush forests and wild flowers. Visitors who climb to the top of the fortification will enjoy a splendid view, with cool breezes to caress their faces.
With the arrival of the summer holidays, a great number of domestic tourists make the Great Wall their target destination, so summer is a peak tourist season. Thus it is highly recommended that you make your bookings early.
Remember to bring an umbrella with you, to cope with frequent rainfall and ultraviolet radiation from the scorching sunshine.
Autumn (September to November) – Cool and Clear
Weather: With average temperatures ranging from 8°C (46°F) to 18°C (64°F), autumn in Beijing is generally cool and dry, which makes this season the best time for travel. The weather, however, tends to be changeable, with occasional rainy days and sudden cold snaps.
Scenery: When autumn arrives, trees start to dress themselves in colorful new clothes, and whole mountain ranges surrounding the wall are thus carpeted in red, gold, yellow and brown.
It is a wonderful time of year for travelers to admire the magnificent feat of engineering, meandering across deserts, grasslands, plateaus and mountains, below a blue sky and white clouds.
Try to avoid the first week of October, when the National Day of China is celebrated.
Check the weather forecasts before your trip to see whether it will be misty (as it often is in this season), as this may affect your plans, especially plans to take photos.
Winter (December to February) – Cold and Windy
Weather: Most days during Beijing’s winter are chilly and windy, with sudden cold snaps often hitting the city, lowering the temperatures to below freezing. There may be some snowfall.
Scenery: A layer of snow may cover the Great Wall and surrounding mountains, providing a spectacular snowy scene. With fewer tourists in this season, the panoramic view of this splendid giant dragon may feel exclusive to you.
Winter is an off-peak tourist season due to the chilly weather. However, remember to avoid the Chinese New Year period, about 15 days either in late January, or February).
Bring clothes such as down coats, sweaters, gloves, thick pants and warm shoes, to keep warm and to avoid catching cold.
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