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3-Day Nanjing Itinerary – Walk on China’s Other Great Wall

Things to do in Nanjing: Discover the hidden gems of China with our 3-day Nanjing itinerary. Explore ancient walls, vibrant districts, and cultural landmarks in this unforgettable journey.

Your Nanjing itinerary begins in a city that captivates with its rich tapestry of history and modern energy. Nestled in Jiangsu Province, Nanjing shines as a beacon of China’s imperial past and contemporary dynamism. Once the throne of empires along the Yangtze River, it has seen epochs unfold. Today, the “Southern Capital” vibrates with the rhythm of daily life while embracing its role as a custodian of cultural treasures. From ancient Ming relics to the buzz of urban innovation, Nanjing invites travelers to a feast of traditional festivals, culinary adventures, and architectural marvels.

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Where to Stay in Nanjing

When planning your Nanjing itinerary, choosing the suitable accommodation enhances your experience. For budget-savvy travelers, Zunjing Boutique Hotel Nanjing Confucius Temple offers comfort, a friendly atmosphere, and easy access to top sights. Those looking for more luxury without breaking the bank should consider Jinling Hotel. This medium-priced hotel combines modern amenities with a touch of Nanjing’s rich history, and its central location makes it accessible and easy to explore the city’s treasures.

Things to do in Nanjing
Things to do in Nanjing

When Traveling in China

When traveling in China as part of your Nanjing itinerary, consider a few essentials to smooth your journey. To access major websites and email, secure a VPN before you arrive. For connectivity, skip the long process of obtaining a local SIM card. Instead, opt for Airalo, an eSIM service that simplifies connecting without a physical card. For accommodations, turn to It outshines others like Agoda or Booking by offering a wider selection of hostels and hotels, making it a reliable choice for finding the perfect stay. These tips will ensure your trip is as seamless as it is memorable.

3-Day Nanjing Itinerary - Where You Find China's Other Great Wall (Xiaoling Mausoleum / Ming Dynasty)
3-Day Nanjing Itinerary – Where You Find China’s Other Great Wall (Xiaoling Mausoleum / Ming Dynasty)Screenshot

Getting Around Nanjing

Navigating Nanjing during your itinerary is a breeze with its efficient transport options. The metro system connects major attractions quickly and affordably. Buses offer wider coverage, reaching even the most hidden gems. For a more personal touch, bike rentals allow you to explore at your own pace. Taxis are readily available, offering a direct route to your destination. Also, download the DiDi app, a cab-hailing service, for convenience. 

3-Day Nanjing Itinerary

Set out your first day of adventure at the majestic Purple Mountain. This sprawling natural wonder is a sight to behold with its unique blend of history and nature. Each step you take here is a journey through time, with every view offering a glimpse into the past. I highly recommend starting your exploration here, as the sheer size of the mountain and the variety of its attractions will keep you captivated all day.

If you prefer to do a Nanjing City Highlights Tour, visit this site for specific tours to join. 

Morning Journey: Start at Xiaoling Mausoleum

Commence your Nanjing adventure at the Xiaoling Mausoleum, a UNESCO-listed Heritage Site built during the Ming Dynasty. Take the metro Line 2 to Muxuyuan Station early and delve into the grandeur of this heritage. This first stop is not just a site; it’s a journey through time, where every corner has a story. Take your time, as there’s a wealth of history to explore.

3-Day Nanjing Itinerary - Where You Find China's Other Great Wall (Sun Yat-Sen Mausoleum)
3-Day Nanjing Itinerary – Where You Find China’s Other Great Wall (Sun Yat-Sen Mausoleum)

Midday Exploration: Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Mausoleum

After immersing yourself in the ancient vibes, proceed to the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Mausoleum. Here, history and reverence intertwine. Climbing its steps is a physical act and a symbolic tribute to China’s revolutionary past. The effort to reach the summit is rewarded with awe-inspiring views, a moment of introspection, and a profound emotional connection to Nanjing’s spirit.

Afternoon Adventure: Linggu Temple-A Sanctuary of Serenity

Remember, planning your visit to Purple Mountain’s attractions within their opening hours is crucial, which usually concludes by late afternoon. This thoughtful planning allows you to fully immerse yourself in each site without rushing, ensuring a day rich in history and natural beauty and a visit that is both enjoyable and fulfilling. Download the Tourist Sightseeing Map of the Purple Mountain here.

3-Day Nanjing Itinerary - Where You Find China's Other Great Wall (Nanjing Wall)
3-Day Nanjing Itinerary – Where You Find China’s Other Great Wall (Nanjing Wall)Screenshot

Morning: A Stroll Through History

Start your day at Dongshui Guan Gate, the majestic entry to Nanjing’s historic wall. As you walk towards Xuanwumen Gate, let the ancient stones beneath your feet narrate tales of yore. This hour-long journey offers panoramic views of the city, blending the past and the present. Arrive at Xuanwumen Gate, and then it’s a short walk to Jiming Temple. Immerse yourself in tranquility and light incense, and marvel at the temple’s intricate architecture here. It’s a perfect reflection spot amidst your Nanjing itinerary.

Afternoon to Evening: Quintessential Qinhuai District

Next, dive into the heart of Nanjing’s culture in the Qinhuai District. This area buzzes with life, history, and flavors. Take advantage of the Confucius Temple area, where history, shopping, and street food create a vibrant tapestry of local life. As evening falls, the district transforms under lantern lights, offering a picturesque scene from a painting. For dinner, try the renowned Lao Mendong restaurant. Here, savor local delicacies that perfectly round off your day. Qinhuai district experience makes it a highlight of any Nanjing itinerary.

3-Day Nanjing Itinerary - Where You Find China's Other Great Wall (View from Xuanwumen Gate)
3-Day Nanjing Itinerary – Where You Find China’s Other Great Wall (View from Xuanwumen Gate)

Morning: The Nanjing Massacre Memorial

Begin your day with a visit to the Nanjing Massacre Memorial. This poignant site honors the memory of those lost, offering deep insight into one of history’s darkest chapters. It’s a place for reflection, understanding, and peace. The memorial’s powerful exhibits ensure a moving experience, grounding you in the gravity of history before exploring the city’s vibrant life.

Afternoon and Evening: The Pulse of Gulou District

Shift your Nanjing itinerary to the lively Gulou District. Start at the historic Nanjing Drum Tower, a Ming dynasty landmark with stunning views. Nearby, Gulou Park offers a slice of local life, perfect for a leisurely break. Then, immerse yourself in the shopping paradise of Xinjiekou, where fashion and tradition meet. Visit the Jiangsu Provincial Art Museum for a cultural touch, blending art and history.

Explore the food stalls for authentic local flavors, tasting iconic dishes like spicy duck blood soup. As evening approaches, 1912 Bar Street beckons with its vibrant nightlife in historical settings. Cap your day with a stroll through Nanjing University, a beautiful blend of Eastern and Western architecture.

3-Day Nanjing Itinerary - Where You Find China's Other Great Wall (Jiming Temple)
3-Day Nanjing Itinerary – Where You Find China’s Other Great Wall (Jiming Temple)Screenshot

Goodbye, Nanjing!

Wrapping up your 3-day Nanjing itinerary, you’ve traversed the path less taken to discover China’s other Great Wall. From the historic grandeur of Purple Mountain to the vibrant streets of Qinhuai District and the dynamic pulse of Gulou, Nanjing has unfolded its treasures. Each day brought new adventures, flavors, and stories, enriching your travel tapestry. This journey through Nanjing dives deep into the heart of China’s rich heritage and modern-day marvels. Carry these memories as you continue exploring, knowing you’ve experienced a unique slice of China.

Onward to Other Destinations in China

After soaking up the wonders of your Nanjing itinerary, why not venture further? Shanghai awaits just a 1.5-hour train ride away, offering a blend of modernity and tradition. For a deeper dive into history, Beijing is about 4 hours away, where ancient marvels meet bustling city life. Or, find tranquility in Hangzhou, just an hour’s journey, known for its picturesque West Lake. Buying train tickets on this website is your best bet for seamless travel. It dodges the queue at the station and overcomes any language barriers, making your journey to these iconic Chinese cities as smooth as silk.

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