There are a few different places outside Beijing where you can see the Great Wall of China.
The Badaling part is the closest to Beijing, just over 60 kilometres (37 miles) north of the city. It is the most well-preserved section of the Great Wall but also the most commercialised. Some agencies might offer you a visit to the Ming Tombs as they are close to this part of Great Wall but I don’t recommend them – they are usually busy with Chinese people looking at the Emperors Tombs.
Badaling Great Wall, Entry Ticket: RMB 45 ($7); Opening hours: 7.30 a.m.-5.30 p.m.
Mutiyunu Great Wall is very distinctive as it boasts the most towers. It’s only 80km from Beijing and there is a cable car to take you to the top. Until recently it was a less crowed part of the Great Wall of China but people are now moving from the Badaling portion toward Mutiyunu. It’s the same distance from Beijing as the Badaling Great Wall of China – 60 kilometres (37 miles).
Mutianyu Great Wall, Entry Ticket: RMB 45 ($7); Opening hours: 8 a.m.-4.30 p.m.
The Gubekoi Great Wall is located 110 km ( 68 miles) north east from Beijing. The total length is 21km and there is no cable car to get you to the top of the wall.
Gubekoi Great Wall, Entry Ticket: RMB25 ($3.90)
The Jinshaling Great Wall of China is situated 110 km ( 68 miles) from Beijing and it’s a great place if you wish to hike. The total length is 11 km ( 8.6 miles) and wall is about 7- 8 m high and 5-6 m wide. There are around 100 watch towers on this part and the most important one is Beijing Tower from which you are able to see Beijing, weather permitting.
Jinshaling Great Wall, Entry Ticket: 50 ($7.50); Opening hours: 7.30 a.m.-5.30 p.m
The best preserved Great Wall of China is at Simatai, 110 km ( 68 miles) from Beijing. Some parts are very steep and narrow so extra caution is needed and it’s not for the faint-harted.
Simatai Great Wall, Entry Ticket: 40 ($6.50); Opening hours: 7.30 a.m.-5.30 p.m 6 a.m.-9 a.m.
There are four other places to visit the great wall but they are mainly used for hiking and can be very rough so you would need to be reasonably fit.
From my experience the best way to see the Great Wall of China is to hike from Jinshaling to Simatai. You don’t have to be in great shape, it doesn’t take a long time ( 4 hours) and the photo opportunities are great .