Shutterstock / QinJin

Nanjing

Many visitors only pass through handsome Nanjing (南京, Nánjīng; literally 'Southern Capital') when traveling from Shanghai to Beijing (or vice versa), but the capital of Jiangsu, lying on the lower stretches of the Yangzi River, boasts a rich and impressive historical heritage. It's also one of the best-looking cities in China.

The major attractions are the echoes of the city’s brief, former glory as the nation’s capital during its Ming dynasty apogee and then as the capital of the Republic of China. A magnificent city wall still encloses most of Nanjing, and elegant republican-era buildings dot the centre.

The famous university town's atmosphere is both cultured and relaxed, with wide, tree-lined boulevards and excellent museums, in a fine landscape of lakes, forested parks and rivers. The countless wutong trees afford glorious shade on sunny days and lend the city a very leafy complexion, although summer temperatures can be suffocating.

Explore Nanjing

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Nanjing.

Guidebooks

Learn more about Nanjing

Uncover the heart of travel and be inspired to see new sights with one of Lonely Planet’s in-depth, award-winning guidebooks.