Throughout the year, Hangzhou and its surrounding areas offer some great, seasonal getaways. On its WeChat account, the Hangzhou government recently recommended the best destinations for each month of the year. Open your calendars, take a look at our list and start planning your seasonal trips in and around Hangzhou.
In addition to waterfalls, gorgeous forests, striking rock formations, valleys and creeks, Daming Mountain in southwest Hangzhou is considered one of the best skiing areas in Zhejiang Province.
The skiing zone covers an area of 20,000 square meters — enough for up to 1,000 skiers at a time. Artificial snow-blowers are used to create better slopes.
Skis and other winter sports equipment is available for rent. Visitors can take chair lifts to the top of the skiing slopes while restaurants dish up delicacies and hotels offer cozy rooms to stay.
How to get there: Shanghai-Kunming Expressway — Hangzhou-Ningbo Expressway — Hangzhou-Ruili Expressway — Hebai Road — Dada Road
February: Tangqi Town
Tangqi is a great example of a traditional watertown in the lower reaches of south Yangtze River thanks to its black-roofed folk houses. In ancient times, the canal and tributary that still run through the town split Tangqi into several parts.
During Spring Festival, throngs of Hangzhou locals flock to Tangqi to experience centuries-old Chinese New Year customs. Local residents make handmade glutinous rice cakes and dumplings and hold temple fairs.
What is the most popular specialty among visitors is Tangqi’s traditional pastry, which was deemed “delicious” even by Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty who once traveled through Tangqi on an inspection trip to the south.
Bean crunch candy, walnut slices, sesame cake — also known as “starvation cake” — and loquat candy are among the best-selling delicacies.
How to get there: Desheng Road — Qiushi Road — 320 National Road — Yunhe Road — Renmin Road
March: Baoshi Hill
Climbing mountains in spring is almost a tradition for Hangzhou natives. Among the mountains that surround Hangzhou, Baoshi Hill is the most popular since it offers a panorama view of the West Lake.
Lights are installed along a path up the hill, making it safe to hike there until 10:30pm on weekends. The Baochu Pagoda, about half-way up the path, is lit until 9:30pm every day.
How to get there: Take Bus No. Y10 and get off at Geling Station.
April: Banshan Village
Banshan Village in Fuyang County is noted for its lush peach blossoms in April. A peach blossom festival is held in a local park where more than 266 hectares of peach trees are in bloom.
The village is not only a place to see flowers but also to sample local food specialties made of peaches or inspired by the fruit.
How to get there: Hangzhou-Ruili Expressway — 102 National Road — 205 National Road — 05 National Road
May: Qiandao Lake
Qiandao Lake, or Thousand Islands Lake, named with a nod to the 1,078 islands spread over the large, artificial body of water, is a great location to explore the nature and breath some fresh air.
A cycling path was paved around the most scenic area, which attracts biking aficionados from across the country. Every May, when the weather gets warmer, people start touring the lake by bicycle.
How to get there: Changchun-Shenzhen Expressway — Hangzhou-Xin’anjiang-Jingdezhen Expressway — Huanhu Road N.
June: Suoqian Town
The crimson to dark purple waxberry fruit is popular with locals.
Usually, people prefer sampling freshly picked fruit rather than preserved plum candy or waxberry wine. When they get ripe in June, Suoqian Town in Xiaoshan District turns into the El Dorado waxberry lovers as the area is known for growing particularly big pulps with a small pit and succulent flesh.
The city also holds a waxberry festival in June, where visitors can pick fruits from the orchards and buy them at a lower price compared to the markets. Family-run guesthouses serve authentic local food and cozy accommodation.
How to get there: Hangzhou-Ningbo Expressway — Shanghai-Kunming Expressway — 104 National Road
July: Tianmu Mountain
As temperatures soar in the summer, the cooler heights of Tianmu Mountain are alluring to many visitors. The mountain boasts an average temperature of below 22 degrees Celsius due to its geography and forest cover.
More than 99 percent of this more than 1,000-hectare protected region is covered by vegetation. The region became part of the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Program in 1996. Since then, multiple measures have been introduced to enrich biodiversity and expand vegetation cover.
In addition to being a natural reserve, Tianmu Mountain is also a cultural epicenter where an abundance of Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian relics can be found.
How to get there: Hangzhou-Rui’an Expressway — 313 National Road
August: Yaolin Xianjing
Yaolin Xianjing is considered one of the most extraordinary caves in China. The name literally means “fairyland.” Yaolin features wonderful stalactites and stalagmites, which were formed millions of years ago and take on colorful shades when lights are cast on the walls.
A clear stream runs through the cave and porcelains and pottery are scattered around, likely dating back to the Eastern Han Dynasty (AD 25-220).
The cave was noted as early as the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and was recorded in “The Historic Record of Tonglu.” In 1991, it was officially selected as “one of the 40 best tourist sites in China.”
How to get there: Changchun-Shenzhen Expressway — 208 Provincial Road
September: Qianjiang tide
As the tide rushes into the mouth of Qianjiang River from Hangzhou Bay, it creates the world’s largest tidal bore, a natural phenomenon that sees the bore rise to a height of up to 9 meters.
The tide of Qiantang River allures thousands of visitors and is best viewed in September, as the tide hits highest due to astronomical constellations. Viewing the tide has been a tradition for centuries and could date as far back as to the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) when Hangzhou was the empire’s capital.
In addition to the tide, visitors can also see the nearby temple, which was built to commemorate Wu Zixu, a statesman in the Wu Kingdom during the Southern Song Dynasty. Wu was seen as the incarnation of tides since he dredged rivers and built dams to help reduce floods and stimulate local development.
How to get there: Desheng Road — Jiangdong Avenue — Guanshiwu Road
October: Persimmon Festival at Xixi Wetland
Persimmon is a favorite with Hangzhou locals, who say that the juiciest persimmons are found at the Xixi Wetland National Park. In October, the fiery fruits hang from the trees, adding a colorful light to the yellow autumn.
Xixi boasts more than 4,000 persimmon trees that were cultivated 100 years ago. Every year, when they get ripe, parent-child activities are held to allure visitors to pick the fruit.
In addition, the park is crisscrossed by water courses and dubbed “the lungs of Hangzhou,” visitors can paddle a boat to go through the wetland and view flowers that are still in bloom.
How to get there: Wensan Road — Gucui Road — Tianmushan Road — Zijingang Road
November: Changle Forestry Farm
The forestry farm was established in 1910 and was turned into a pilot project to plant imported tree species since the 1950s. A large variety of trees now stretch over the 400-hectare-large area.
During fall, the fiery red, vibrant yellow and orange leaves are a big draw for tourists.
How to get there: Wenyi Road — Yunxi Road — 207 Provincial Road
December: Broken Bridge
Broken Bridge covered with snow is one of the 10 best views at the West Lake. Due to the romantic legend of the Madam White Snake, the bridge always attracts a large crowd of tourists on snowy days.
As the legend goes, a scholar named Xu Xian from Hangzhou met a beautiful woman by the Broken Bridge. The lady was in fact a 1,000-year-old white snake that had taken on human form. They fell in love and got married, but were later separated by a monk who said that the laws of nature forbid a human and a spirit to fall in love.
How to get there: Take bus No. 7 and then get off at Children’s Palace stop.