As a tourism destination, Hefei is not notable comparing to Hanzhou, Beijing etc. However, countless historic sites and stunning natural scenery here make a visit to this area worthwhile. Thanks to the water surrounding it, the city is proud of its enticing natural scenery.
Stepping into Hefei, you’ll feel it is a beautiful city with good surroundings - the Huaihe River flows to its north, to its south is Yangtze River, and to its south- east lies the Chaohu Lake with its expansive blue waters. The well-known Chao Lake is located in the city and is one of the five largest fresh-water lakes in China covering an area of about 800 square kilometers (about 309 square miles). There is an abundance of aquatic produce in the lake, amongst which the whitebait, the shrimp and the crab are known as the three treasures of Chaohu Lake.
The lake is embraced by surrounding green mountains - layer upon layer of ridges and peaks. The 'moonlit night of the Chaohu Lake' and the 'morning glow of the four peaks' are two of the ancient eight top scenic spots in Hefei.
With the assiduous support of the Parks' Horticulture Department, there are many parks built around the City including Xiaoyaojin Park, Shushan Forest Park, Wild Animal Park, Arboretum and Huancheng Park which is the biggest among these parks covering an area of 137.6 hectares (about 340 acres). This open park connects six scenic areas which form a beautiful image of a 'Jade Necklace'. These six scenic areas are Baohe Scenic Area featuring the culture of Lord Bao; Yinhe Scenic Area featuring a waterscape; Xishan Scenic Area featuring animal sculptures; Hupotan Scenic Area featuring entertainment items, Huanbei Scenic Area featuring natural environment and wildlife and Huandong Scenic Area with a visitors' service area to enhance the garden visit.
All the scenic areas contribute to the city ranking as one of the three 'National Park Cities' along with Beijing and Zhuhai. So, a visit to the city is a must - a wonderful experience resembling visiting a pleasance.
If cultural scenery is more appealing to you, then a visit to the historical and cultural landscapes of the city beckons. The ancient Hefei City, with a long history of over 2,000 years, boasts countless historical relics too. The most famous one is undoubtedly the Memorial Temple of Lord Bao.
Located in south of the city center in Baohe Park, Memorial Temple of Lord Bao is built to the memory of Bao Zheng, a well-known honorable officer of the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). It is a typical architectural complex built in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Another cultural destination worth a visit is 'Xiaoyaojin (Leisure Ford)' a famous battlefield of the Three Kingdom Period (220 - 280) and can best elaborate its strategic importance. In this scenic area there is the Xiaoyao Lake, the Bridge of the Flying Cavalier, the Three Isles in the lake, and the Cangyou Garden. The Former Residence of Li Hongzhang is another cultural destination which is a well preserved former home in the city. It is a typical residence of the south during the Qing Dynasty.
Also, to better understanding the ingrained culture of the city, you have to watch the performances of the Lu Opera. Lu Opera is a popular local opera which originated in this area. It became an independent style of opera in the era of Emperor Jiaqing of the Qing Dynasty and evolved from many artistic forms such as folk songs and folk dances. The arias are rich and various, and the performance is vivid.
'Natural and simple' is what makes Lu Opera a popular drama appreciated by all. It is really a highlight you should never miss when visiting this city.