If you’re wondering where to go in South Korea, here’s a list of best places to visit in South Korea, ranging from the well-known to the lesser-known, from rural villages to vast Buddhist temples and palaces to historic fortifications and high-tech metropolitan centers.
South Korea, an enigmatic and fascinating place, welcomes every tourist and backpacker to come and see its numerous charms. When it comes to deciding where to go in South Korea, you’ll be spoiled for choice, with such a diverse selection of undiscovered natural wonders and urban delights.
Traditional peasant villages and posh towns, beautiful islands, and spectacular natural vistas may all be found here. An intriguing truth is that most people only know about Seoul, the capital city of South Korea, and believe that it is the only site worth visiting in the nation. That is not the case, though. Here is a list of the most incredible spots to visit and discover in South Korea.
1. Seoul, the Glittering Capital
With its dizzying combination of modern architecture, party vibes, pop culture, stunning parks, and shimmering promenades, the bright capital city will astound you, making it one of the most renowned destinations in South Korea and one of the greatest towns to visit in South Korea. Seoul is not only a bustling metropolis, but it is also steeped in history and culture. Seoul is appealing in every aspect, with its beautiful palaces, trendy restaurants, and fashionable stores. On your reasons to visit South Korea, the National Museum and War Memorial will take you through the country’s history, while the stylish retail area of Gangnam will offer you a taste of the city’s ritzy side.
Ideal for: Nightlife, Shopping, Culture, Architecture
Key attractions: Changdeokgung Palace (with an amazing Secret Garden), Gyeongbokgung Palace, Bukchon Hanok village (for its pagodas and old world charm), Lotte World amusement park, Bukhansan National Park, N Seoul Tower for panoramic views.
2. Jeju Island: a Beautiful Island
This gorgeous island, located just 85 kilometers off the shore, is one of South Korea’s most picturesque and well-known destinations. The pure beauty of Jeju-do, which was named one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature, will take your breath away. Surreal white sand beaches surrounded by pine woods, volcanic craters and lava caverns, stunning floral gardens, and a rich culture are just a few highlights of this natural paradise among the best places to visit in South Korea.
Ideal for: Nature, Photography
Key attractions: Seongsan Sunrise Peak, Halassang national park, Seopjikoji promontory, Hyeopjae & Hamdeok beach, Cheonjiyeon Waterfalls
3. Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ): Engage with Modern History
The DMZ is one of the best places to visit in South Korea for getting a better grasp of the war between North and South Korea and the present condition of events. The DMZ is home to a plethora of intriguing sites that provide an entertaining study in modern history. At the Observation Post, you may get a glimpse of North Korea and experience the thrill of adventure while strolling through the Infiltration Tunnel. It is recommended that you go on a guided tour that includes a stop at the Joint Security Area (JSA).
Ideal for: Historical Sites
Key Attractions: Freedom Park, Dorasan Station & Observatory
4. Busan: There’s Something for Everyone
If you’re planning a trip to South Korea, you’d be remiss if you didn’t include this location on your itinerary. This South Korean city’s second biggest metropolis is well-known around the globe for hosting Asia’s largest international film festival. Busan is one of the best places to visit in South Korea, with its skyscrapers, stunning mountains, lovely beaches, and magnificent Buddhist temples. The Haedong Yonggungsa temple near the seaside and the fascinating Jagalchi fish market are two of the best places to visit in South Korea. Foodies can savour the variety of seafood available at several restaurants, as well as local specialities available at the numerous street food carts.
Ideal for: Beaches, Culture, Food
Key attractions: Haeundae Beach (with the Sea Life Aquarium and Folk Square), Beomeosa Temple, Gwangalli Beach with beautiful views of the Diamond bridge, Hurshimchung Hot Springs
5. Gyeongju: a Cultural Treasure Trove
The seaside city of Gyeongju, frequently referred to as an open-air museum, is one of the greatest destinations to visit in South Korea for discovering the country’s traditional origins and rich legacy. Gyeongju, the former capital of the Silla empire, is home to a plethora of cultural and historical relics and ruins dating back over a thousand years. This city provides an insight into South Korea’s cultural foundations, with the UNESCO world heritage site of Bulguksa temple and the National Museum’s unrivalled collection of antiquities.
Ideal for: Culture, History, Nature
Key attractions: Anapji pond, Tumuli Park (the giant burial mounds covered in grass), the majestic Seokguram Grotto
6. Dadohaehaesang National Park: The largest national park in Korea
It is the biggest National Park in Korea, and it encompasses 1700 large and small islands as well as various rock features, making it one of the most beautiful tourist sites in South Korea. Cheongsando Island, one of the most gorgeous and islands in South Korea, is regarded one of the greatest locations to visit for its weird vistas and sluggish city bustle. Other famous islands to visit include Hongdo and Heuksando, where you may take a boat journey to appreciate the breathtaking natural scenery. This is one of the best places to visit in South Korea on your next holiday!
Ideal for: Nature, Tranquility, Photography
7. Pyeongchang County: Hiker’s Paradise
This is one of the best places to visit in South Korea if you want to enjoy quiet and awe-inspiring visual beauty. This gorgeous county, located in the Taebaek Mountains 180 kilometers from Seoul, hosted the famous Winter Olympics in February 2018. Hikers will enjoy Odaesan National Park’s pathways that go up to the snow-capped mountains, while skiers and snowboarders will enjoy Alpensia and Yongpyong. Many lovely Buddhist sanctuaries may also be found in the highlands. This is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in South Korea!
Ideal for: Nature, Photography, Spirituality
Key Attractions: Woljeongsa temple, Pyeongchang Hyanggyo
8. Suwon: Where A UNESCO World Heritage Site is Located
Suwon is the capital of Gyeonggi Province, which borders Seoul, and is famed for its distinctive Hwaseong Fortress, which features strong stone walls and beautiful archways, making it one of the best places to visit in South Korea. With four pagoda-style gates, cannon towers, and observation decks, the wall of the stronghold is a UNESCO world heritage monument built by the Joseon dynasty. The Hwaseong Haenggung Palace is another stunning edifice on the grounds. After all of that, don’t forget to go shopping in Suwon. Suwon is one of the best destinations to visit in South Korea, with plenty of fun things to do.
Ideal for: History, Architecture
Key Attractions: Suwon Hwaseong Museum to understand the history of the majestic fortress, Gwanggyosan Mountain (for hiking trails), Samsung Innovation Museum
9. Seoraksan National Park: a World Heritage Site in the Making
The UNESCO-protected Seoraksan National Park is one of the most captivating places to observe fall in Korea, with colorful strokes of nature greeting you at every turn. The Seoraksan range, which roughly translates to “Snowy Crag Mountains,” presents a gorgeous background to the park temple and is one of the best places to visit in South Korea. It’s a fantastic area to go hiking, including the challenging Ulsan Rock, or simply take a gondola trip up the mountain for some amazing views. Prepare to be awestruck by the giant Buddha statue on your path as you stroll through the 400000 sq km biosphere protection site.
Ideal for: Hiking, Adventure, Photography, Nature
Key Attractions: Baekdam sa Buddhist temple, Gyejo-am hermitage, Yukdam-Pokpo waterfall
10. Andong Hahoe Folk Village: A Journey Through Time
This picturesque traditional Korean village in Andong is a UNESCO World Heritage site, literally meaning “the village encircled by water.” Entering the Hahoe village is like stepping back in time to a simpler way of life in a Korean hamlet, complete with local traditions and culture. The rustic tile and thatched roof cottages, sandy beaches, and pine trees add to the lovely scenery along the Nakdong river. The town is also a terrific spot to sample traditional Korean cuisine and marvel at the villagers’ mask dance. For more information, check our Korea travel advice.
Ideal for: Culture, Tranquility, nature
Nearby attractions: Bongjeongsa temple, Buyongdae Cliff (take a boat for breathtaking views of the village)
11. Upo Marsh: Korea’s largest Inland Wetland
Upo March, Korea’s largest inland wetland, is a must-see destination for all visitors and one of the top free tourist attractions in the country. This area is said to have developed over 140 million years ago and is home to around 1500 plant and animal species. However, several of these creatures are presently endangered. As you stroll or cycle through the countryside, you may notice a few migrating birds swooping low. This is without a doubt one of the best places to visit in South Korea!
Ideal for: Biking, nature walks, photography, bird-watching
12. Juknokwon: The Slow City
Explore South Korea and take in the scenery. Damyang, often known as the’slow city,’ has a number of tourist sites, including Juknokwon, which should not be missed. You may travel through the thick bamboo region, which includes eight separate routes with eight different themes. Green tea shoots, also known as Jukro tea, may be seen developing from the dew that drips off the bamboo leaves if you look closely enough.
Ideal for: Nature walk, photography
Nearby attractions: Gwanbangjerim, May 18th National Cemetery and Gangcheonsan County Park
13. Boseong: The Green Tea Fields, A Sight to See
With these famed fields producing 40% of all tea produced in Korea, this region is nothing short of a visual beauty in and of itself, as well as a background for numerous Korean movies and drama productions. If you come in May, make sure you don’t miss out on the great Green-tea festival or take a photo of the gorgeous countryside, which is brilliantly lighted by light bulbs during the winter season, which is the ideal time to visit South Korea. During the summer, this field is one of the best places to visit in South Korea!
Ideal for: Nature walk, photography
Nearby attractions: Songjeong Station Market, Darangee Village
14. Seongsan Sunrise Peak: A Great Place to Visit if You Want to See a Beautiful Sunset
If you’re already planning a trip to Jeju Island, don’t forget to stop at Seongsan Peak to see the dawn. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was built by hydrovolcanic eruptions 5000 years ago, and it is one of the top South Korean tourist destinations. There are also a few rare plant species to be found. The most striking feature on this volcanic peak is the gorgeous dawn.
Ideal for:Hiking, Nature
Key attractions: Sunrise, Rare plant species, lush greenery,magnificent views of nature
15. Ggotji Beach: There’s Something for Everyone
This location on Jeju Island, one of the best places to visit in South Korea, is a must-see for anyone who enjoy stunning sunsets. The pristine sand beach is a dream come true for beach bums. The sunset here is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Granny and Grandpa Rocks are two enormous rock formations that may be found on the seashore. There’s also a fascinating backstory to the names. According to folklore, the wife of a Shilla Dynasty commander turned into a rock, patiently waiting for her husband. It looks so beautiful as the sun sets between the two boulders and the sky turns tangerine-colored.
Ideal for: Sunsets, diving
Key attractions: Granny Rock, Grandpa Rock
16. Darangee Village: A Charming and Photogenic Community
If you want to learn about South Korean rural life, go to Darangee, which is a well-preserved village. The teeny-tiny step fields are quite picturesque. While traveling in South Korea, here is your chance to experience traditional Korean living. It’s interesting to see how a nation like this can have two entirely different sides: one that’s absolutely contemporary and the other that’s completely bucolic.
Ideal for: Backpacking
Key attractions: Countless tiny fields
17. Jeungdo Salt Farm: A Hidden Gem
You’ve never seen anything like Jeungdo’s gentle beach and salt farms. This is a treasure island, not only because of the salt created, but also because of the Song Dynasty relics discovered at the ocean’s bottom. The aquatic life in the mudflat town will take your breath away. It is one of the best places to visit in South Korea.
Ideal for: Sightseeing
Key attractions: Salt farms, Mudflat town, marine life of the mud flat
18. Haeinsa Temple: The World’s Oldest Intact Buddhist Canon
Did you know that within Haeinsa Temple, which is almost 1200 years old, the world’s oldest entire Buddhist canon is being restored? Curiosity alone should entice you to visit this temple, and if you are a devout Buddhist, you should make a point of visiting it on your South Korean holiday, as well as many other notable castles in the country, to have a better understanding of Korean history.
Ideal for: Sightseeing, Religious
Key attractions:Janggyeong Panjeon, the oldest wooden Buddha Statue in Korea
19. Chunwang Peak: South Korea’s Second Highest Peak
One of your South Korea places of interest should undoubtedly be the country’s second highest summit. This peak, which stands at 1,915 meters, is a favorite among Korean mountain climbers. If climbing mountains excites you, we don’t see why you shouldn’t participate in this event. On the mountain, there is also a national park that spans three provinces. The spring’s pure air and waters will be a treat for your interior organs.
Ideal for: Nature, hiking
Key attractions: Chunwang Spring, sunrise, dazzling flora and fauna
20. Naganeupseong Folk Village: A Charming Small Town
Plan a trip to Naganeupseong Folk Village in South Korea to discover how people lived during the Chosun Dynasty. The straw-roofed residences, government buildings, castles, and guesthouses all appear to be quite picturesque. Even if you are not a history buff, you will have a great time here.
Ideal for: Sightseeing
Key attractions: Overnight homestay
21. Gwang-An-Bridge: The Famous Diamond Bridge
It is a suspension bridge in Busan, South Korea, that connects Haeundae-gu and Suyeong-gu. It is also known as the Diamond Bridge. Although it is not a pedestrian bridge, the road surface is approximately 6,500 meters long, and although it is not a pedestrian bridge, you can still enjoy the breathtaking views of the bridge and the surrounding region from afar.
Ideal for: Views, Photography
Key attractions: The lighting system
22. Kyeong-Wha Station: Capture the Essence of Cherry Blossoms
Photographers flock to this location to capture the pure essence of cherry blossoms raining down on the railroad, creating a picture-perfect scene. The train’s visual joy as it approaches the station through the cherry blossom tunnel is obvious and otherworldly.
Ideal for: Photography
Key attractions: Cherry blossom tunnel
23. Gongryong Ridge: A Great Place to Go Hiking
Are you looking for a place to visit in South Korea? Why don’t you give Gongryong Ridge a shot? This spot, shaped like a dinosaur’s spine, is suitable for trekkers and hikers looking for a challenging ascent with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountain range. Gongryong Ridge may be seen from this rickety ridge.
Ideal for: Sighseeing, hiking, nature enthusiasts
Key attractions: Seorak mountain range
24. Bulguksa Temple: UNESCO World Heritage Site
This temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is regarded as one of the most renowned historic locations to visit in South Korea, as well as one of the most popular South Korean tourist destinations. It has two granite pagodas on either side of the temple, which add to the majesty and beauty of the location.
Ideal for: historic sightseeing
Key attractions: Dabotap and Seokgatap
25. Uleung Island Seaside Road: The Mysterious Island
Uleung Island Seaside Road, often known as “Mysterious Island,” is one of the best places to visit in South Korea. It is a popular weekend getaway destination for Seoul residents and will provide you with a relaxing environment. The Uleung Island Seaside Road is magnificent, with its fascinating rock formations, various waterfalls, and beach cliffs. Don’t miss it!
Ideal for: Sightseeing, weekend getaways
Key attractions: Haengnam Coastal Walking Path and Dokdo Observatory
26. Chuncheon: Majestic Mountains & Spectacular Lakes
Chuncheon is one of the well-known best places to visit in South Korea, thanks to its gorgeous lakes and massive mountains. It is also the capital city of Gangwon Province and the setting for several popular Korean soap operas. Many people visit the destination for this purpose as well! The city is also recognized as a foodie’s paradise, with various Korean delicacies available.
Ideal for: sightseeing
Key attractions: Namiseom Island and Cheongpyeong Lake
27. Jeonju: A City With a Rich And Intriguing Past
If you’re looking for a place to visit in South Korea, Jeonju is the place to go! During the rule of the Joseon Dynasty, this location served as the spiritual capital of the country. It still contains a lot of temples and museums, and it’s one of the greatest sites to learn about the country’s rich and intriguing past. If you’re interested in history and want to view traditional residences from the early twentieth century, make a point of visiting Jeonju.
Ideal for: historic sightseeing
Key attractions: Jeonju National Museum and Jeondong Cathedral
28. Halla Mountain: Awe-Inspiring Views
If you are looking for the best places to visit in South Korea, Halla Mountain is a must-see! The snowflakes create a beautiful scene, and the icicles that cover the tea branches inspired the Halla Snow Festival, which used to be held annually in late January or early February. It no longer occurs for unknown reasons, but the snowflakes remain, and the mountain is a spectacular sight that should not be missed!
Ideal for: hiking