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China: Hong Kong to Beijing 2 weeks itinerary help needed

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Hello,

I will be travelling to China in mid October for 2 weeks. I am arriving in Hong Kong and will be leaving from Beijing. Quite a few itinerary suggestions seem to include Guilin/Yangshuo, and then going to Shanghai, Xi'an and Beijing. However, I feel like this would be a bit rushed in such short time. For now, what I am thinking is to skip Guilin and Yangshuo, and instead fly from Hong Kong to Shanghai. I'm mostly interested in architecture (modern and ancient), history and culture, although I'd love to throw in a bit of nature (maybe hiking?).

I was wondering if you would have any suggestions on great places to visit based on my interests, ideally along some kind of Shanghai to Beijing route. I'm thinking that Xi'an might not be worth it for me as I have little interest in the Terracotta Warriors (although I very well might be wrong about that). I'd love to hike a mountain, I've been looking more particularly at Mt. Huangshan or Mt. Hua.

Considering I'll probably need 2 full days in Hong Kong and 4 full days in Beijing, that'd leave 7 days free. I'm thinking maybe 3 days in Shanghai, a day trip to a water town, one on Mt. Huangshan, a few days in Pingyao? Or would skipping either Xi'an or Yangshuo be a huge mistake?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

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