Fodor's Expert Review West Lake
With arched bridges stretching over the water, West Lake is the heart of Hangzhou. Originally a bay, the area has been built up gradually throughout the years by a combination of natural changes and human shaping of the land. The photogenic shores are enhanced by meandering paths, artificial islands, and countless pavilions with upturned roofs. Two pedestrian causeways cross the lake: Bai in the north and Su in the west. They are named for two poet–governors from different eras who invested in landscaping and developing the lake. Ideal for strolling or biking, both walkways are lined with willow and peach trees, crossed by bridges, and dotted with benches where you can pause to admire the views. The lake's pathways are jam-packed on weekends and during holidays, particularly Golden Week (first week of October).