Best time to visit China
China's spectacular scenery is flecked with seasonal shades, from the pink azaleas in spring to the crimson leaves of autumn trees.
Spring (March-May) and autumn (September and October) are the best times to visit China, thanks to the more comfortable climate. August is a popular time of year to visit China for families; prepare for hot, sticky weather and crowded viewpoints. Although the seasons in China are defined, it’s a big country with a climate that varies from region to region. You can travel year-round but be prepared for what the seasons might throw at you. The south is subtropical with sweltering summers, the north bears the brunt of harsh winters, and central China takes a bit of both. A handy rule of thumb is to travel from south to north in spring and from north to south in summer.
Best time to visit the Great Wall of ChinaThe best time to visit the Great Wall of China is as personal a choice as how you take your tea – in theory, you can access it year-round, but in practice, not so. Winter (November-February) can get bitingly cold - we're talking -20°C - and though sections of the Wall become a snow-capped photographer’s dream, that also makes them pretty precarious for walkers. On the flipside, June, July and August bring heat, storms, crowds and inflated prices. Spring (March-May) is a great time to visit because it’s off-season for local tourists and temperatures are cool.
When to go to China, month by month guide
Beijing Weather Chart
Our China Holidays
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Olly Pemberton from our holiday specialists Exodus shares his opinion on when is the best time to visit China: “Spring is a great time to visit China because it’s off-season for local tourists and the temperature is warmer; in the wintertime Beijing can get very, very cold with temperatures dropping to -20C. If you want to visit the Great Wall, for example, it gets covered in snow in December, which may make it a photographer’s dream, but also makes it quite dangerous to walk on. I think the height of summer is best avoided because temperatures can soar and likewise the beginning of October is ‘Golden Week’, which is when the whole of the country is on holiday and it’s a nightmare to get around. I was there during that time and visited the Forbidden Palace in Beijing and I literally could not move for people; it’s easy to forget that China is huge and a lot of the Chinese have never been to Beijing, so we were all tourists together.”
Festivals & events in China
Duanwu Jie or The Dragon Boat Festival is a traditional Taoist celebration held on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month (sometime in May or June). Dragon boat races in long canoes painted with bright colours and powered by up to 80 rowers take centre stage, their crew fuelled by zongzi (filled and steamed glutinous rice balls) and xiong huang (a herby rice wine with protective powers).
More about China
Our China travel guide features everything from advice on food and shopping to a brief history of China.
Our China highlights include an interactive map, as well as a list of classic itineraries and travel times.
From Beijing to Chengdu, Shanghai to Xi'an, its cities offer insights into China's past, present and future.
A brief history of China's terracotta army, and the best way to visit the terracotta warriors from Xi'an.
Read our guide to learn how to visit the Great Wall of China, and why the quieter bits speak loudest.
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Train travel in China is not only an easy option, but also a fantastic way to get to know the country.
The best way to get the most from the Forbidden City is a tour with a knowledgeable local guide.
Tours to rural China let you stay in local communities, to see a side of China that most visitors don’t.
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From cycling to walking, exploring Yunnan or the Great Wall, our China travel guides are an indispensable resource.