iReport: My favorite Hangzhou travel photo

iReport: My favorite Hangzhou travel photo

Two iReporters share their best shots of Hangzhou and what they miss about the city

Legend has it that when Marco Polo visited Hangzhou in the 13th century, the Venetian traveler described the lakeside town as “the City of Heaven" and "the most beautiful and magnificent in the world."

Most likely, it was views similar to these that drove the pioneering merchant to such heights of rapture.

My favorite Hangzhou travel photoA popular tourist destination in Hangzhou, Thousand Island Lake features -- can you guess? -- dozens of contrasting little islands.

iReporter Angela Corrias took this photo of Thousand Island Lake (千岛湖) during her two-day trip to Hangzhou in November, 2010.

“I was hopping on and off the islands of Qian Dao Hu (Thousand Island Lake) and was stunned by the landscape,” says the Italian traveler who has just returned to Sardinia after a yearlong Mandarin course in Shanghai.

“I find the picture has some kind of mysterious 'mood’ that adds to the charm of the place,” Corrias adds.

As a freelance journalist, she recommends any first-time travelers experience Qian Dao Hu, which is roughly three hours away from downtown Hangzhou by bus. See traffic directions and cost. 

“The best way to enjoy the lake is to rent a boat and cruise around the islands,” notes Corrias.

She also suggests travelers hop off the boat and visit some of the big islands, where they can find a good range of museums and natural parks.

My favorite Hangzhou travel photoThe boat passenger's bright umbrella against the gray water inspired iReporter Adam Amir Smith to snap this shot.

UK-based iReporter Adam Amir Smith was enthralled with the West Lake on his trip to Hangzhou in July 2011.

“I love the contrasting colors of this shot,” Smith says.

“[The photo was] taken on a smoggy day on the iconic West Lake. The gray water and sky help to bring the colors in the boat alive,” he adds.

According to Smith, a good way to admire West Lake is to climb up one of the surrounding hills on a clear day and marvel at the waters, the city itself and the distant mountains.

Corrias also reckons West Lake is an absolute must-see, but recommends travelers wander down the small streets around the lake to appreciate Chinese-style architecture and the nearby pagodas.

More on CNNGo: 

These photos were submitted to CNNGo as part of an iReport assignment asking for Hangzhou travel pictures. Interested in submitting your own stories, photos and videos? Visit our iReport page.