Suzhou in Pictures: China’s Most Romantic City

A long weekend in Suzhou will prove to you why this city outside of Shanghai is considered one of the country’s most romantic spots… and also known as the Venice of China.

China may not spring to mind when thinking of romantic places to go in the world. And to be honest, it didn’t for us either. Until we went there and saw just how beautiful the water town of Suzhou truly is. Aptly nicknamed the Venice of China, this city of about 10 million people, two to three hours outside of Shanghai, really does pull on the heartstrings. Tree-lined canals with gondolas, lush and intricately groomed gardens, temples and bridges that have ties to history and ancient love stories, traditional opera houses… a peek at our few days in Suzhou through pictures will definitely get you thinking that this city could be the perfect spot for lovers.

Start your weekend in the city known as the Venice of China with a visit to one of the most beautiful gardens in the whole country. The Humble Administrator Garden (which is also a UNESCO heritage site) dates back to 1513 and also happens to be the largest garden in Suzhou. With hanging flowers, droopy trees and ponds, it’s not hard to see why this is considered one of the most romantic gardens in Southern China.

As a juxtapose to the ethereal beauty of the garden, right next door is the Suzhou Museum, designed by Suzhou-born famed architect I.M. Pei… they same man behind the Louvre in Paris. Appreciating the lines and structure of the building is one thing, but the inside also houses some of the oldest artefacts of the city, giving you a thorough history lesson.

A quick visit to the Old City part of Suzhou means you’ll be in the perfect spot for some temple viewing.

The Hanshan temple also known as the “Cold Mountain Temple” is a Buddhist temple believed to date back to the Tianjian era 502–519. Once you’re clown away by it’s age, take in the incredible architecture.

Stroll down Pingjiang Road to get a real sense of the ancient city of Suzhou… running along the Pingjiang River, this narrow walking street is lined with cultural wonders of Suzhou. From local opera houses (a traditional opera and tea is a must for you when visiting), bookshops, food stalls, traditional clothing stores and more.

Suzhou is world famous for their noodles, are we dare you to try and not eat them at every single meal (they even love them for breakfast). Tong de Xing Noodle Restaurant has some of the most authentic and best you’ll slurp in the city.

Hop on a gondola for a romantic canal ride (remind you of Venice again yet?).

To understand why Suzhou is dubbed the Venice of China, you’ll need to explore the water town of Tongli. Tree-lined canals wind through the town, with restaurants and shops along the edge that will have you thinking for a split second you’ve been transported to the canals of Venice.

You’ll see how the river is used by the locals, pass by people enjoying tea and drinks along the edge and pass under bridges that hold traditions for the Suzhou people (bringing luck, wealth and happiness).

Post canal ride, walking the town of Tongli provides lots of shopping options and food from street vendors (it will be hard to pass by all the dumplings!).

On a final day in Suzhou, head outside of the city centre into the country… where you’ll be able to visit tea plantations and appreciate the art of not only growing and picking green tea, but the delicate way in which to drink and savour the beverage of choice in Suzhou.