Hualien is the meeting point of the Central Cross-Island Highway, Suao-Hualien Highway, and highways leading south to Taitung.
Hualien County is home to several world-class scenic attractions. In 1590, Portuguese sailors passed by the eastern coast of Taiwan and were so moved by the grandeur of what they saw that they named this land “Formosa,” the beautiful island. Since that time, the majestic views of Hualien have come to represent Taiwan.
Formerly known as Qilai, Hualien’s current name derives from the phrase “huilan”(eddying water), a reference to the swirling currents of the Hualien River where it meets the sea.
Hualien is Taiwan’s biggest county, with an area of about 4,628 square kilometers and a population of 350,000. The county borders the Pacific Ocean to the east and is hemmed in by the Central Range to the west. With its towering peaks, azure skies, vast seas, scenic valleys, cultural diversity, and friendly kindhearted people, Hualien has become one of Taiwan’s first-choice travel destinations for local and international visitors alike.
With all of its natural beauty, most of Hualien is a national scenic area. Visitors to the county can enjoy the impressive gorges at Taroko National Park, the magnificence of Yushan National Park, the stunning natural landscapes of the East Coast National Scenic Area, and the rustic charms of the East Rift Valley National Scenic Area. Wherever you go in Hualien, nature is there to greet you. (Info from eng.taiwan.net.tw)