Best for historians
Hugged by the mountains of Mentougou district, Lingshui became famous in the days of imperial China for producing an impressive 22 scholars. To this day, the whole village annually celebrates them.
Best for historical exploration
Follow in the footsteps of long-gone merchants as you tread the cobblestones of Beijing’s ‘Ancient Road to the West’ (京西古道), which weaves its way out of the village across the mountainside.
Best for kids
In 2009, Diaowo was selected by Beijing’s state media as one of the area’s top villages, and was consequently turned into a first-degree tourist trap.
Best for healthy food and water
Far away in the mountains of Miyun district is the sleepy little village of Zhuanshanzi; untouched by commercial pressures, it’s packed with a rural charm that could calm even the most frenetic urban spirit.
Best for explorers
Despite being located behind an ugly quarry pass, Shuiyu is, without a doubt, the most captivatingly lovely of Beijing’s villages. While the east side is peppered with signs of modernity, the west is a gorgeous labyrinth of stone cottages.
Best for archaeologists
Up in the mountains of Yanqing district is something that even Indiana Jones would puzzle over: Guyaju is an abandoned mountain village of unknown origin that is rumoured to have once been occupied by dwarves.