Broken Bridge is one of Hangzhou’s premier attractions. The bridge is picturesque and provides spectacular views of the West Lake. The area is also steeped in legend, which helps attract the crowds of admirers that can be found here any day of the week.

Some say Broken Bridge should be called the “Broken Hearted Bridge.” An ancient tale tells of a white snake living in the lake. It transformed into a young woman who fell in love with a handsome man she met on the bridge. They lived happily together for many years but a Buddhist monk turned the woman back into a snake and she disappeared near the bridge where they first met.

Broken Bridge is frequented by lovers and newlyweds who come to have their photo taken. If you want to avoid the crowds, arrive early in the morning or later at night when the bridge is softly lit by lamps.

Take photos of the bridge from the shoreline before setting across. When the weather is clear, the bridge is reflected in the waters of the West Lake with the trees either side of it. At the end of winter, snow on the sunny side of the bridge melts first, while snow on the shady side lingers. In its reflection in the water, the bridge appears to be broken.

Cross the bridge from the mainland, taking in the views of the serene waters of West Lake. On the other side, arrive at the largest island on the lake. Wander around parks and nature trails and visit some of the small museums based here. Eat at one of the restaurants serving Hangzhou-style cuisine.

Broken Bridge is situated at the eastern end of the Bai Causeway. The bridge is accessible any time of the day and night, but opening times for the amenities on the island vary. The closest Metro station to West Lake is Longxiang Qiao, a short walk from the bridge.