Le Destinazioni

Guide pratiche e dettagliatissime su Paesi, città e destinazioni. Cosa vedere, quanto stare, in quale quartiere prenotare l'albergo, come spostarsi, che tempo fa. I miei suggerimenti su come organizzarti e tanti links utili dove cercare info aggiornate. Da stampare e portare in viaggio.


Guida ai Migliori Alberghi del Mondo

Le mie recensioni ragionate sugli alberghi più belli da prenotare in viaggio, non necessariamente gli hotels più lussuosi ma quelli meglio situati e con il miglior rapporto qualità/prezzo. Con la descrizione dettagliata e tutti i pro ed i contro di ogni albergo, per stare bene cercando di contenere il più possibile i costi.


Posti da Urlo: i Posti Più Belli del Mondo

Quali sono i posti più eccezionali del pianeta? Quei posti da urlo assolutamente da non perdere? Una serie di articoli, sintetici e veloci da leggere, con la descrizione delle attrazioni più belle, quei posti speciali che non devi mancare durante il tuo viaggio. Con le cose da sapere ed i miei consigli su perché andare a visitarle, dove si trovano, come arrivare e quanto tempo dedicare a ciascuna attrazione.


I Grandi Viaggi

Veri e propri programmi di viaggio spiegati in dettaglio, giorno per giorno, con tutte le informazioni ed i links che occorrono per poter prenotare, da solo e sul web, alberghi, trasferimenti e voli interni.


Quando Andare

Il tempo che potresti trovare, Paese per Paese, regione per regione, quasi mese per mese. Quando è meglio andare e quando è più saggio starsene a casa. I links dove controllare forecasts ed averages di temperatura e piovosità.


La salute e le malattie in viaggio.

Sei in partenza per un viaggio? Sei preoccupato per malaria, febbre gialla e dengue e cerchi informazioni su vaccinazioni e profilassi? L’attenzione sulla malattie e sulla salute in viaggio e di conseguenza l’informazione aggiornata sulla situazione sanitaria nel Paese che si intende visitare è un vero e proprio must per qualsiasi viaggiatore.


Passaporti e visti

Le informazioni su passaporti e visti, formalità valutarie e doganali, ambasciate e consolati, l'ESTA, il Timatic Web e gli ultimi avvisi per il viaggiatore

The Best Guided Tours in Xian

The Best Terracotta Warriors Tours and Guided Tours in Xian

What are the best guided tours in Xi’an? What is the best tour you can book to visit the Terracotta Warriors and the greatest attractions in the ancient city along the Silk Road? A comparison and detailed description of the 4 best guided tours in Xi’an, almost all by private car with a personal guide, to visit the Terracotta Army Museum, the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, the imposing City Walls and the Old Muslim Quarter with the oldest mosque in China. Options of cheaper group tours, excursions that include transportation and entrance tickets but not a guide, and tours that include a guide but not a car, travelling around Xi’an like a local using public transport and taxis. There are my considerations, some suggestions, all the pros and cons and the most important things you need to know before choosing. With direct links to check prices and book online by credit card.

Xian Guided City Tour to the imposing City Walls

Xian Guided City Tour to the imposing City Walls

Photo Credit: Colin Capelle

What are the Best Terracotta Warriors and Xi’an Guided Tours?

The 4 Best Guided Tours in Xian

Would you like to visit Xi’an? The famous city along the Silk Road and one of the not to be missed places of any journey to China? Do you want to see the famous Terracotta Warriors with your own eyes? Do you want to explore the heart of Xi’an, its colorful pagodas, the Great Mosque, the Muslim Quarter and its imposing City Wall which is to this day perfectly preserved? Are you looking for a private car and personal guide? Are you travelling alone and want to keep costs down by joining a cheaper group tour?

  • I have selected tens of guided tours of Xi’an organised by locally based travel suppliers and sold online, and have chosen 4 different tours. These are not the only ones you can book but in my opinion they are among the best and most complete guided day tours available on the market.  
  • In addition you can find my picks of other tours of Xi’an, these are variations to the main 4 excursions, in order you can get an idea of all the many available options.
  • All tours are described below, in a very detailed way, with full descriptions, my considerations, some suggestions, all the pros and all the cons and all the important things you need to know before choosing. Have a look and see if there is a tour you like.
  • You can book all these tours easily by credit card through Get Your Guide and Viator, the two biggest travel companies specialising in selling tours and activities online. For the great majority of tours you get instant confirmation, while for some, tour confirmation is subject to availability and will be given within 48 hours of your booking.
Terracotta Warriors, Terracotta Army Museum Guided Tour, Xian

Terracotta Warriors, Terracotta Army Museum Guided Tour, Xian

Photo Credit: Colin Capelle

Full Day Xian City Tour

The best complete tour to visit all the key attractions inside the city of Xi’an, in the right way and at the right pace, all in one day. But what will you see and where will you go? You leave your hotel in the morning, first you explore the evocative, massive Xi’an City Walls that circle the original old city, then you take a walk through the charming Muslim Quarter to reach the Xi’an Great Mosque, one of the biggest and oldest mosques in China. In the afternoon you go south of the center outside the Walls to visit first the interesting Shaanxi History Museum, with thousands of ancient artifacts including 40 terracotta statues from the tomb of Liu Bang, the first emperor of the Han Dynasty. After that you cross the big square full of fountains on foot to reach the magnificent 64,5 meter high Big Wild Goose Pagoda, built in 652 AD and usually climb the stairs to the 7th floor to get a great 360 degrees view of Xi’an. Lunch is included, you will visit a local family home and taste authentic home-made food for lunch. Should you be interested in cooking, the host will teach you how to make Chinese home-cooked dishes. This is a private tour so you can customize it according to what you are more interested in. Speak about this to your guide when you meet at your hotel in the morning.

  • Pick-up and drop-off: at your hotel in Xi’an.
  • Duration: about 8 hours, departure around 9am, back at the hotel at 5pm.
  • Guide: driver plus English speaking guide.
  • Features: this is a fully private tour with car, driver and guide only for you and your party.
  • Price: is per person and depends on the number of participants, includes transportation, lunch, guide and entrance tickets to Xi’an Ancient Walls, Great Mosque, Shaanxi History Museum and Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Insert the number of people and date to get the correct cost.
  • Pros: in one day you get to see all the stellar attractions inside the city of Xi’an. Then on another day or half day you could go and see the Terracotta Warriors.
  • Cons: the cost is high but you have to consider that you have a car plus 2 people at your disposal for a full day.
  • Recommended: the perfect tour if you want somebody to shows you the best of Xi’an without having to study what to see, where to go and how to move from one point to another on your own beforehand.
  • Video: Xi’an City Walls, Great Mosque and Big Wild Goose Pagoda in these wonderful images by Amazing Places on Our Planet:

Terracotta Warriors Plus Xian City Center in One Day

Do you have only one day in Xi’an and have to make choices? Well, this tour is not bad, it allows you visit with one single excursion, on one single day both the Terracotta Warriors, almost 40 km from the city center, and some of the most important sights inside Xi’an. A full morning is dedicated to the Terracotta Army Museum, 1 hour to get there, 2 hours for the visit and 1 hour to get back to the city center. In the afternoon you have one and half hours to explore on foot (or bike if you prefer) the fascinating Xi’an City Walls that circle the once old city, before visiting the attractions of the Muslim Quarter and having a look at the Bell Tower and the Drum Tower with your guide. This is a private tour, you can personalized it according to your wishes. The local supplier is Lily’s Private Tours, one of the very best local agencies in Xi’an, at the update of this post TripAdvisor reviews are really excellent.

  • Pick-up and drop-off: at your hotel in Xi’an.
  • Duration: about 8 hours, departure around 9am, back at the hotel at 5pm.
  • Guide: driver plus English speaking guide.
  • Features: private tour with car, driver and guide exclusively for you.
  • Price: the real cost depends of the number of participants and is lower than many other similar full day excursions; you get immediate confirmation at the time of booking. The price includes all entrances & tickets excluding the eventual bike rental upon the City Walls; insert the date and number of adults and children to get the correct cost. If by chance you select one of the previous tours remove it from the shopping cart to empty it.
  • Pros: to visit both the Terracotta Warriors and the city of Xi’an in one single day.
  • Cons: it lacks Big Wild Goose Pagoda, probably the most beautiful in Xi’an, but time is limited so it’s impossible to include everything and you cannot expect to see all the sights in only one day; lunch is not included, your guide can suggest a good restaurant where you can have lunch spending little money.
  • Recommended: if you are staying in Xi’an for only one day and in addition to the Terracotta Warriors you would like to get a good idea of some of most famous attractions inside the city.
  • The option with the Tomb of Emperor Jingdi: this is an interesting tour if you are not in a hurry, once again the local supplier is Lily’s Private Tours; after visiting the celebrated Terracotta Army Museum instead of driving to the city center you go and see Yangling Mausoleum, or rather the Tomb of Emperor Jingdi located inside a hill North of Xi’an and rarely seen in classical tourist itineraries; despite not having the grandeur of the Terracotta Warriors this place has its own magic and visiting it has been appreciated by more than a few tourists; all entrance fees and tickets are included, here is the link to check prices and book Viator | Private Xi’an Tour: Terracotta Warriors, Hanyangling Museum, Cave Homes
  • Half-day options with Terracotta Warriors only: if you want to see all the attractions inside the city on your own on foot and by subway but wish to have a private car and guide to go to the Terracotta Army Museum these tours are a good solution. The price is not exaggerated and you basically solve all logistic problems in reaching the Terracotta Warriors located about 40 km north-east of Xi’an; the links to investigate are GetYourGuide | Xi’an Terracotta Warriors Walking Tour with Transfer Options and Viator | Private Half-Day Tour of Xi’an Terracotta Warriors, the excursion lasts about 5 hours and includes pick-up and drop-off at your hotel, transportation by a private car, assistance of an English speaking guide and museum entrance ticket.
  • The group option: if you travel alone, wish to see the Warriors with a guide and need to keep costs down, check out GetYourGuide | Xi’an: Terracotta Warriors and Banpo Museum Coach Tour; in addition to hotel pick-up and drop-off and the Terracotta Army Museum, the tour includes the visit to Banpo Museum. It lasts from 8 to 9 hours and as it is a shared tour with other participants the cost is very reasonable. The only con is the possible time wasted picking up and dropping people off from other hotels, the typical downside of all group tours. Please take note this tour does not always operate.
  • Video: the images of Terracotta Army Museum in this nice video by Amazing Places on Our Planet:

All Xian in 2 Days

A very interesting proposal: a car plus a guide at your disposal for two full days to discover the best of Xi’an, taking your time and without missing out on any sights. Here is the detailed day by day program. First day: a big start with the Terracotta Army Museum, you will visit one of the greatest attractions in all China for the full morning, then back to Xi’an in the afternoon for a detailed visit of the ancient City Walls. You can decide to walk or with the help of your guide rent a bike and circumnavigate the full loop of the Walls with great views of Xi’an from the top. Second day: in the morning visit Yangling Mausoleum located north of the city. It is the tomb of Emperor Jingdi and one of less visited sights in Xi’an, many tourists appreciate the more intimate atmosphere of this place compared to the crowded Terracotta Army Museum; in the afternoon there is the Big Wild Goose Pagoda and the grand finale with the Muslim Quarter and the Great Mosque. You will spend some time in the city center of Xi’an and have a look at the Bell Tower and the Drum Tower. Like the previous tour, the local supplier is Lily’s Private Tours, absolutely one of the best local agencies in Xi’an.

  • Pick-up and drop-off: door-to-door round-trip private transfers from/to your hotel on both days.
  • Duration: about 8 hours each day, departure around 9am and return between 5 and 6pm.
  • Guide: driver plus English speaking guide.
  • Features: tour on a private basis with car and guide at sole use.
  • Price: the real cost depends on the number of people, it includes all entrance tickets, confirmation is at the time of booking. Bike rentals on the City Walls (if you want to bike of course) and lunches are not included, but you have the option to add both lunches at a very reasonable price if you wish.
  • Pros: you can take your time; you have more flexibility and this tour is tailor made according to what you are interested in, speak to your guide when you meet her/him at your hotel on the first day.
  • Cons: none, except the cost which is not so cheap.
  • Recommended: if you are staying in Xi’an for two full days and wish to discover the city with the undeniable comfort of a car and a guide that comes and picks you up and drops you back at your hotel on both days.
Xian Guided Tour visiting Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, Xian

Xian Guided Tour visiting Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, Xian

Photo Credit: travelourplanet.com

Xian Fully Custom Tour

I really love this kind of tour. There’s no car, instead there is a guide who comes to your hotel and together you plan where to go and what to visit. You explain what you are interested in seeing, your guide accompanies you while you travel throughout the city and tells you about the history and attractions of Xi’an. You move about using public transport and, if necessary, taxis. In the city centre you go on foot, you get to see and understand more and even feel like a local. Doing without a car means a drastic reduction in costs compared to all other traditional excursions arranged using a private car, so the price of this tour is really attractive. But what is the sightseeing program? The fact that you don’t have a car means that the best of this tour comes if you stay inside Xi’an city limits. You can ask your guide to take you to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda located a little bit out of the center but reachable by subway, then go back to the heart of Xi’an and visit the Muslim Quarter, Xi’an Great Mosque, take a look at the Bell Tower and the Drum Tower from the outside and for mid afternoon climb up and walk along the super fascinating Xian Ancient Walls. Entrance tickets, transportation and lunch are not included for both you and your guide, so ask your guide for suggestions about where to eat genuine Chinese food at a super cheap price.

  • Pick-up and drop-off: your guide comes and picks you up and brings you back to your hotel in Xi’an.
  • Duration: about 8 hours. When you book, in addition to the name and full address of the hotel, please write your preferred departure time.
  • Guide: professional English speaking guide.
  • Features: personalized and customised tour with a private guide at full disposal.
  • Price: includes the assistance of a guide, as per the majority of all other excursions in this post the real cost depends of the number of participants; the more people the less the tour costs per person. Confirmation will be received at time of booking.
  • Pros: an unconventional way of exploring the city, perfect for knowing and learning something more about local habits and customs, this is your chance to ask your guide questions about China that could only be asked travelling with a local; in addition your guide will give you good suggestions for restaurants and what to do in Xian in the evening.
  • Cons: public transport tickets and taxis are not included as well as lunch, but transportation inside the city is not expensive and eating in China is cheap too, both will not affect your budget; the total cost of this tour will remain far below the cost of any other tour arranged with a private car.
  • Recommended: if you wish to explore Xi’an like a local visiting what you want, when you want and at your own pace.
  • Video: the images of Xi’an from above in this video courtesy of Bronze Goblet:


  • Before booking read the full description of the tour you like in the official page of Viator and GetYourGuide carefully, please check what is included and what is not, meeting points, times of departure and cancellation policies. After booking, if you have any queries or doubts, immediately contact Viator Customer Care or GetYourGuide Customer Service in order to receive assistance.
  • And, most importantly, the day before the tour, please reconfirm the pick-up time with the local supplier. You receive phone and email of local supplier of the tour immediately after your booking.
  • Read the reviews. If the majority of the reviews are positive that’s a good thing. And always check all the info you read here in the official page of each tour, things change and the official site provides the latest updates.
  • Does your travel plan take you to other cities of China? Are you looking for a guided tour? Hopefully you might be interested in reading my technical reviews of the most complete and value for money day-trips and excursions in Beijing and Shanghai. The post The Best Guided Tours in Beijing invites you to explore the greatest attractions of the capital of China including the Forbidden City, Tian’anmen Square, the Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace. The Best Great Wall Guided Day-Trips from Beijing include very detailed descriptions and pros and cons of both group and private day-tours to the Mutianyu Great Wall, Badaling and the Great Wall of Jinshanling and Simatai, leaving Beijing in the morning and coming back in the afternoon. For last, The Best Shanghai Guided Tours and Day-Trips offers you some idea of the better excursions to discover the biggest metropolis of China, the UNESCO listed traditional chinese gardens of Suzhou and the ancient and charming watertowns of Zhujiajiao, Zhouzhuang, Tongli e Xitang.

Last Update: March 21st 2021

Creative Commons 2.0 GenericFront cover photo credit: Bell Tower and Drum Tower, Xian, China by Eugene Lim, a big thanks for this great shot! Photos come from Flickr: Creative Commons Attribution Licensed Photos. Please read here the Summary of the Legal Code. Terms of license are valid at the time of publishing this post.