South Korea

The best places to visit in South Korea

If your first thought when hearing South Korea mentioned is about its troubled relationship and militarized borders with North Korea, you are missing out on a vacation to one of the most beautiful countries in the world. South Korea has a blend of the modern and traditional, ranging from its capital, Seoul, which is the heart of technology, to Buddhist temples dating back centuries. South Korea also boasts a number of sub-tropical islands and a landscape bursting with cherry blossoms

On your first visit to South Korea, you will be spoilt with choice for where to go. Some sites are very much a must-see. With this in mind, I have pulled together a short list of the best places to visit in South Korea.

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Seoraksan National Park

Seoraksan National Park is a beautiful destination nestled in the northeastern part of South Korea. The park is known for the diverse flora and fauna and really worth a visit if you like nature and hiking.

One of the highlights of Seoraksan is the Ulsan Rock, a towering granite peak that dominates the park’s landscape. If you are seeking a challenge, you can ascent to the summit of Ulsan Rock. From there, you have a great panoramic view over the landscape. If the weather is good, you can even take a cable car to the summit of the Seoraksan Mountain.

Make sure that you sort out your paperwork, such as getting a South Korea visa online in time to select the season you want to visit South-Korea. For example, Seoraksan National Park is best viewed in spring or autumn. Spring brings cherry blossoms and rhododendrons in full bloom, while autumn sets the mountains ablaze with a tapestry of red, orange, and gold as the leaves change color.

Jeju Island

Known as the ‘Island of the Gods’, Jeju (or Jejudo) Island is one of the best places to visit in South Korea. The island is located off the southern coast of South Korea and contains many cascading waterfalls and South Korea’s highest mountain, the Halla-san. This mountain offers several hiking trails that lead to panoramic views of the island. If you love hiking and nature, a visit to the Halla-San is a must-do in South Korea!

Jeju Island is also famous for some beautiful caves (Jeju Stone Hyeopjae and Ssangyonggul Caves) and the Manjanggul Lava Tube, a UNESCO World Heritage site. There are also plenty of beautiful sandy beaches and parks to explore.

For a taste of culture, there are a number of museums: Jeju Independence Museum, Jeju Teddy Bear Museum, Jeju Education Museum, and the Folklore and Natural History Museum. I liked the Jeju Folk Village Museum a lot. Here, you step back in time and experience the traditional Jeju village life. The museum showcases traditional houses, artifacts, and some cultural performances.

Photo by Lightscape on Unsplash


Seoul is the capital of South Korea and I recommend to experience this city for at least some days if you’re traveling to South Korea. Believe me, it’s going to be one of the best places to visit in South Korea! From towering skyscrapers to ancient palaces, Seoul has a blend of modern and ancient architecture that are well worth seeing.

There are several UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Seoul, such as the Hwaseong Fortress, Gyeongbokgung Palace, Jongmyo Shrine, and the Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty. I loved visiting the Gyeongbokgung palace. This site is a great place to learn something about the rich history of South-Korea. You can witness the changing of the guard ceremony and stroll through beautiful gardens.

For experiencing some traditional Korean culture, I can recommend exploring Bukchon Hanok Village. This charming neighborhood is lined with well-preserved traditional hanok houses. It’s a great place to wander through narrow alleyways, visit art galleries, and experience traditional tea ceremonies in the teahouses.

Modern buildings include N Seoul Tower, Tower Palace skyscraper, Korea Finance Building, and the World Trade Centre. The N Seoul Tower is a great place to watch the sunset!

Some other great activities in or near Seoul:


Gyeongju is a city with magnificent temples, grand palaces, and majestic tombs, all testaments to its rich heritage. This tiny city contains the famous Bulguksa Buddhist Temple, which is best viewed in an early morning light. This magnificent temple complex, nestled in the mountains, showcases Buddhist architecture and offers a peaceful place. It’s especially known for its beautiful wooden structures and intricate details. Another iconic landmark in Gyeongju is the Gyeongju National Museum. Here, you can delve into the city’s ancient past through an extensive collection of artifacts and relics.

Photo by Seongho Jang on Unsplash

Haeundae Beach, Busan

The seaport of Busan is surrounded by stunning beaches, the best being Haeundae Beach. This beach stretches for about 1.5 kilometers, providing enough space for sunbathing, picnicking, and leisurely walks along the shore. It often features beach festivals, such as the New Year’s Day sunrise festival.

Haeundae Beach also offers a multitude of attractions nearby. The iconic Haeundae Market is a bustling hub where you can sample delicious street food and shop for local handicrafts, souvenirs, and fresh seafood. Another must-visit landmark near Haeundae Beach is the Haedong Yonggungsa Temple. This temple is known for its picturesque seaside location and for watching the sunrise.

high rise buildings near body of water
Photo by Sangay Lama on


Chuncheon is a capital city nestled in the mountains of South Korea. It’s where a popular South Korean soap opera called Winter Sonata is based. Even if you don’t watch the show, the city is still well worth seeing. Chuncheon is also famous for its beautiful landscapes and for hosting the Chuncheon International Mime Festival.

A great attraction to visit in Chuncheon is the Gangchon Rail Park. Here, you can hop aboard a rail bike and pedal your way along an old railroad track while soaking in the views of the surrounding countryside. This unique activity allows you to explore the region’s natural beauty at your own pace. Another great thing to do is to visit Naksan Park, located atop Naksan Mountain. This park offers breathtaking views of the city and the lush greenery that surrounds it. Here you can take a hike along the trails, explore the ancient Buddhist temple and capture some nice photos of the landscapes.

Andong Hahoe Folk Village

If you want to learn more about traditional life in rural South Korea, the Andong Hahoe Folk Village is one of the best places to visit in South Korea. This village is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is surrounded by a beautiful river. The village’s name, “Hahoe,” means “together as one,” reflecting the strong sense of community that has been preserved for centuries.

Andong Hahoe features traditional houses built with thatched roofs, which you won’t see anywhere else in South Korea. The village is also famous for serving traditional dishes like Andong jjimdak, the handmade products on offer, and its cultural festivals. Next to the traditional houses, you can also visit a Mask Museum, the Andong Folk Museum, make a boat ride or see the Hahoe Mask Dance Drama.


South Korea is a fascinating country that’s really worth a visit. From the bustling streets of Seoul to the serene beauty of Jeju Island, the ancient history of Gyeongju, the coastal charm of Busan, the cultural immersion of Andong, and the natural landscapes of Seoraksan National Park and Chuncheon, each destination in South Korea offers a unique experience. Whether you like history, nature, adventure, or food, I am sure that South Korea has something for you!

Remember to plan your trip well, ensuring you have the necessary paperwork, such as a South Korea visa, and consider the best time to visit each destination to make the most of your experience. For more South Korea preparation tips, I recommend you to read my quick guide you may find helpful to prepare for a trip to South Korea.

If you have any questions about the above mentioned information, please let me know in the comment section below. I’m happy to help you. Safe travels!

Author: Daphne

Budget Tip

Traveling to a country with a different currency? Avoid ATM transaction fees and pay in local currency with a Wise Visa Card or Revolut Maestro Card. I have been using these cards for several years and have saved a lot of money as a result. I recommend bringing both bank cards with you when you travel.

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