There are so many great places to visit in Korea, from peaceful temples, to needle-edged mountains. If you want to get out of Seoul for the weekend, then you can’t go wrong if you visit one of the places in this article. Keep reading to learn about some of the best places to visit in Korea!
Gwangalli Beach (광안리 해수욕장) and Gwangan Bridge (광안대교), Busan
When people head to Busan for the first time, they usually head straight for Haeundae Beach. However, if you fancy a less crowded, more authentic experience, then you should head to Gwangalli Beach instead.
At night-time Gwangalli really comes alive, as locals visit the many fish restaurants on the beachfront. Looking out to sea, you can see the Gwangan Bridge, which is lit up in different colors, making for some great night photos. Busan’s annual fireworks display is also held on the bridge, meaning that the best views of it are had from Gwangalli beach. The beach is walking distance from Gwangan subway station (광안역).
Kyeonghwa Station (경화역), Jinhae
If cherry blossoms are your thing then visiting Jinhae during the cherry blossom festival is a must. One of the most scenic spots to see the cherry blossoms is Kyeonghwa station, where the track is lined with cherry blossom trees, ready for budding photographers to grab the perfect snap of the falling white and pink blossoms.
Gongryong Ridge (공룡능선), Seorak Mountain National Park
Its name literally means ‘dinosaur ridge’, and it certainly lives up to that description. The jagged peaks of the ridge sour above the clouds like the back of a stegosaurus. At over 1,200 meters above sea level, it may be a tough climb, but the views from the top are worth it.
For climbers with not quite as much time or energy, the nearby Ulsanbawi (울산바위) is an easier (though still very very vertical) climb with spectacular views at the top. After the climb, you can take a rest in the nearby hot springs or relax on the beaches at Sokcho, you will definitely feel as though you deserve it.
Ulleung Island (울릉도)
If you manage to visit here you will definitely earn some kudos from any Korean that you mention it to. Ulleung Island is located in the middle of the ocean, halfway between the Korean mainland and Japan.
To reach the island, you need to take a four hour long ferry from Pohang or Donghae. The trip is certainly worth it though, entering the harbor makes you feel like an extra in a pirate movie. The island’s fresh food, clean air, and sea breezes will refresh even the most tired visitor, and the views are unforgettable. If you truly love adventure, then Ulleung Island is a must-visit.
Bulguksa (불국사), Gyeongju
If you are interested in Korean history, then Gyeongju is likely to be one of the first places on your ‘to-see’ list. The old part of the city contains no skyscrapers, and within a certain area all buildings must have a traditional Korean roof, even gas stations!
Gyeongju’s main attraction is Bulguksa temple, the spiritual home of Korean Buddhism. Along with the temple, the Seokgulam (석굴암) grotto, located halfway up a nearby mountain, is also a must-see when visiting Gyeongju.
Nami Island (남이섬), Gapyeong
Made famous by the hugely successful drama Winter Sonata (겨울연가), which was the first internationally popular Korean drama when it was launched in 2002, Nami Island is still visited by fans of the show. The tree lined road where Yonsama and Choi Ji-Woo rode their bicycle, or the bench where they made snowmen, are the most popular photo spots, but the rest of the island is equally picturesque.
Gapyeong is easily reached from Seoul, and from there you can either take a ferry to the island or, if you are feeling adventurous, reach the island by taking a zip-line across the river!
Seopjikoji (섭지코지) and Seongsan Sunrise Peak (성산일출봉), Jeju Island
There are so many places to visit on Jeju Island that they could almost warrant an article by themselves. One of the best places to visit on the island (and thus one of the best places to visit in Korea) is Seopjikoji. This coastal walk has been featured in many dramas, and you will find many young couples taking romantic strolls along the cliff-top. From here, you can also see one of Jeju Island’s other famous sites: Seongsan Sunrise Peak. This volcanic crater has almost sheer vertical drops on three of its four sides, and looks spectacular at dawn when the sun appears from behind it.
Boseong Green Tea Field (보성 녹차밭), Boseong
This corner of Jeolla province is where almost all of Korea’s green tea comes from, and the hillside around the town is covered with rows upon rows of luscious tea plants. The greenery makes for great photos, but a visit to the fields also allows you to taste the green tea at its absolute freshest. A trip here is a must for tea aficionados!
Jagalchi Fish Market (자갈치시장), Busan
오이소, 보이소, 사이소 reads the entrance sign in classic Busan dialect: Come! Look! Buy! One thing it didn’t mention is ‘smell!’ which is surprising for anyone who has ever visited a fish market before. The fish market, and nearby international market (국제시장) are the best places to experience the hustle and bustle of this dynamic port city.
You can also eat the freshest fish possible here, or if that isn’t fresh enough for you, you can try the live octopus (산낙지) whose tentacles are still wriggling and squirming even when they are being held by your chopsticks. The market can be reached by taking a subway to Jagalchi subway station (자갈치역).
Now that you’ve read about some of the best places to visit in Korea, which place is top of your wish-list? Do the mountaintop crags of Gongryong Ridge give you wanderlust, or are the sights and sounds of Gwangan Beach more to your taste. Let us know in the comments below!