11 most beautiful places to visit in South Korea
Located in northeast Asia, at the same latitude as southern Japan, South Korea is located on a peninsula that it shares with its neighbor, North Korea. The division between the two countries occurred in 1953, at the end of the Korean War, which confronted the United Nations-backed South and the Chinese- and Soviet-backed North. However, the two sides did not reach a peace treaty and are still officially at war, although the conflict is simmering. As a result, one can reach the Land of Morning Calm only by sea or by air.
We invite you to stay with us to discover the most beautiful places to visit in South Korea.
The Demilitarized Zone that divides the two countries for 235 kilometers has become a tourist attraction, especially since this No Man’s Land has been inhabited by fauna and flora of great interest. However, it can only be accessed with a guided tour that allows you to visit key points of the area without entering it.
From the observatories, you may have the opportunity to observe the deer that take advantage of this natural environment. There is also a more comprehensive tour that includes the JSA (Joint Security Area), managed by the UN, and will take you inside the area.
When you come to South Korea, it is important to know the main lines of its history. The charming city of Gyeongju, just off the coast in the southeast, is ideal for exploring Korean culture.
It was the capital of the Silla kingdom for 1,000 years, between 57 B.C. and 935 A.D., and has preserved many traces of its glorious period. We discover them as we walk through a green park with nearly 200 mounds, one of which has been carved into a small museum. A little farther away we see one of the oldest astronomical observatories in the world, dating back to the 7th century, then Donggung Palace, on the edge of Anapji Pond. Go there sooner at the end of the day to enjoy the night illumination.
3. Andong and Hahoe.
Another charming place to visit in South Korea, the city of Andong is located in the central eastern region.
First, climb to the top of Buyeongdae Cliff for a panoramic view of the village, then continue on to Hahoe, a historic village built in the 14th century and preserved as it was then. What a sight this village is, nestled in a bend in the river, surrounded by fields and mountains! In spring and fall it lights up with blossoming flowers or reddening leaves. Stroll through the narrow streets, enter the traditional houses still inhabited by the people, and enjoy the very colorful folkloric parades.
3. Andong and Hahoe.
It is hard to visit South Korea without ignoring Busan, the second largest city and an important port. If the city as a whole isn’t attractive, there are at least two places worth checking out: Kamcheon, a cultural village with narrow streets winding among brightly colored houses. The construction of this area dates back to the 1950s, and everything is designed so that every house has an unobstructed view. There’s a lot of street art, particularly the statue of the Little Prince contemplating the city.
About 1 hour’s drive from Busan is a must-walk along the well-developed Iguide Coastal Trail, between the forest and the rugged coastline. The walk begins at the observatory on the seabed of the tiny Oryukdo Islands, then crosses a landscaped park, beautifully landscaped at a former military site, and then loops through the forest and ends with a spectacular view of the Gwanggang Bridge.
On the south coast, Suncheon shines with its botanical garden and eco-friendly bay. After the 2013 International Garden Show, the huge botanical park has preserved many of the floral and landscape arrangements designed by the visiting countries. This space was designed to represent the configuration of the city, and from the top of one of the hills we get a general view. The reservoir represents the urban area. Along the way, admire the work of the gardeners who pull weeds by hand…
At the end of the day, take the monorail that leads to the bay, erected in a protected nature park. A long walk through the largest reed in the country will make you appreciate the tranquility of the place and enjoy the birdsong. At the end of the trip, you will be treated to the spectacle of the setting sun over the Yellow Sea, which rewards you for walking so far.
You can’t visit South Korea without getting a closer look at one of Asia’s iconic cultures! So, let’s explore the tea fields in Bosong , about 1 hour away from Suncheon. Here, not only your eyesight but also your sense of smell will awaken, with the delightful smell of tea tree leaves gently lulled by the breeze. You will be struck by these green hilly landscapes, in places accentuated by a light haze. It is not without reason that this region is often used as a backdrop for Korean films.
Many of the plantations are open to visitors and are the subject of a walk through the fields and hills. You will also have the opportunity to visit a tea museum and taste local delicacies made, of course, from green tea.
200 km southwest of the capital, Jeonju is an important stop along the way . Plan traditional lodging (hanok) in the old city and you will feel transported back in time. Your bedding will consist of a traditional futon spread out on the floor. You may need some explanation to set it up properly, as you will find that it is curved to make room. This will be an excuse to have a pleasant conversation with the owner.
In this guarded neighborhood, where there are no cars during the day, you will wander between small traditional houses, historic buildings, museums, including the museum of calligraphy art, and even the Catholic cathedral founded by Averonne. Everywhere on the streets you will be accompanied by young people, and not so young people, in traditional clothing. The city is famous for its gastronomy (this is where the famous pibimbap comes from), everything here is assembled for the enjoyment of the palate.
8. Soraksan Park
In the northeast, in the mountains that served as the site of the 2018 Winter Olympics, is Soraksan Park, considered the most beautiful park in the country. Nature reigns supreme here, as this park is protected. Choose from 15 hiking trails that suit you to discover the forest, jagged cliffs, waterfalls, or temples that surround it. Climb Ulsanbawi, a cliff consisting of six peaks, the tallest of which is 950 meters.
The walk is a bit of a challenge, but you will be rewarded with a magnificent view of the surrounding valley. You can end the day at Sokcho Beach, not far from there.
8. Soraksan Park
This beautiful chain of islands 2 hours from the capital is an authentic and refreshing stop after the bustle of the city. Reached in an hour by ferry from the port of Kunsan, the small islands of Songudo, Munyeodo, Janjado and other Taejando can be quickly explored on foot, and are an opportunity to observe fishermen at work, natural streams, and curious endemics: the rain tree. A great opportunity to taste the raw fish cooked in front of you and admire the magnificent sunset. It’s best to arrive by ferry in the afternoon when the excursionists have just left! Be careful not to confuse it with Seongyudo Park in Seoul when planning your itinerary…
A paradise spot that is one of the must-see destinations in South Korea, Jeju-do Island is located 85 km south of the peninsula. Formed by several volcanic eruptions, it offers beautiful scenery, numerous hiking opportunities, and the benefits of a subtropical climate. However, by climbing Mt. Hallasan, whose summit is at 1,950 meters, you can also encounter a sub-Antarctic climate!
Another unusual experience in Jeju: Manjanggul Cave, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the longest lava cave in the world.
Of course, you can not visit South Korea without getting acquainted with the charms of the capital city Seoul. Admittedly, at first glance it may seem difficult to understand the metropolis, so vast, but its center is easy to visit and includes many attractive areas. Royal palaces mingle seamlessly with futuristic buildings, and each corner holds new surprises.
The most popular and relaxing walk is along the banks of the Cheonggyecheon River, which has been freed from its concrete shackles to offer Seoul residents a breath of fresh air. Nearby, the pedestrian street of the traditional Insadong district allows you to admire small stores and art galleries at your leisure.
The most beautiful places in South Korea: about nature, tradition and history
What to see in South Korea, which has become increasingly popular among travelers in recent years?
With its rich history and culture, authentic cuisine and beautiful scenery, South Korea is definitely worth seeing, but where to start?
Jeju is South Korea’s largest island and one of the most beautiful places in the whole country. It is located in the south of the country, far from the capital, but Jeju is easily accessible by plane. The most picturesque place on the island is the volcano and the Hallasan National Park. At the top of the volcano is a beautiful crater, and the area around it is filled with lava tubes – rock formations left over from eruptions. Don’t miss Cheonggyeong Waterfall, another local attraction.
Damyang County is located in the south of the country. It has a theme park and bamboo museum, bamboo cutlery and souvenirs, bamboo wine and bamboo ice cream in local stores. Hiking enthusiasts will appreciate the local mountains of Byeongungsan and Chuwolsan.
This small island is a couple of hours’ sail from the northwest coast of South Korea (ferries leave from Incheon). It is notable for its beaches and hiking trails. Despite its remoteness from the mainland, Dokchok has an excellent choice of hotels, bungalows, and restaurants. In general, there are many picturesque islands scattered around South Korea, a popular weekend getaway spot for Seoul residents.
This city is most popular during the spring cherry blossom season, which lasts about 10 days. The best place to watch this phenomenon in Jinhae-gu is Gyeonghwa Station, where the garden with cherry blossoms stretches about 1.5 kilometers. The blossom festival features performances, exhibitions, and parades; the event attracts more than two million visitors each year.
Gyeongju is located on the east coast of South Korea. It is one of the best cities to get a glimpse of the traditional architecture of the East. During the Silla Dynasty (57 BC-935), the entire political, cultural and scientific elite of the state lived in this city. Gyeongju is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among its sites are Bulguksa Temple, royal tombs, and the Gyeongju National Museum, which contains over 16,000 artifacts.
Boseong is a small but picturesque county that is considered South Korea’s tea capital. Here you can tour traditional tea farms where local women pick tea leaves. The green tea grown here has a 1,600-year history and is known for its quality. Poseong’s tea fields are surrounded by a spectacular mountainous landscape of cedar forests.
On the map: Bukchon, South Korea Bukchon Hanok Village
Bukchon Hanok Village
Bukchon Hanok is a city within a city: a 600-year-old village from the Joseon Dynasty located within Seoul city limits. It’s worth a trip to see the narrow streets with traditional one-story houses and pagoda-like roofs. Few people live here now: the houses are occupied by restaurants, tea houses, cultural centers and small hotels – a perfect setting to experience the atmosphere of historic Korea.
Busan is popular among tourists because of its stunning beaches and historic buildings in a metropolitan atmosphere. It is South Korea’s second largest city and is located in the southeast of the country. Haeundae Beach is loved by locals and tourists alike, although it can sometimes be too crowded. There are also quieter beaches like Songdo or Tadepo.
Yeongam Gurim Village
Famous for its historic buildings and pottery, Yeongam Village is located near Wolchulsan National Park. This park is one of the smallest and least known in the country, it is very beautiful, but quiet and almost no crowds of tourists. We recommend visiting both the park and the village.
The capital of South Korea is famous for its bars and restaurants, but local historic buildings and temples are no less remarkable. In particular, Gyeongbokgung Palace and Changdeokgung Palace attract a lot of fans of traditional architecture.
By the way, Visit Korea has an excellent website russian.visitkorea.or.kr, where you can learn a lot about the culture and traditions, as well as compile an itinerary of the country.
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