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Find all the best places to visit on your trip to South Korea, a nation that seamlessly weaves ancient charm with modern allure.

Step into the vibrant heart of Seoul and visit the majestic Gyeongbokgung Palace, the futuristic Dongdaemun Design Plaza, and the vibrant Myeongdong shopping street. Explore Gyeongju — a living museum adorned with treasures like the Bulguksa Temple and Seokguram Grotto. On Jeju Island, be enchanted by the natural splendors of Hallasan National Park and the mesmerizing Manjanggul Cave. Don’t forget to partake in cultural tea ceremonies in Busan and the lively tradition of Hanbok-wearing in the quaint village of Jeonju!

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Top places to Visit in South Korea

South Korea boasts a myriad of captivating destinations. Begin by exploring culture, food, and city life via the best places to visit in urban Seoul, including the innovative Business District and, the unique cultural tapestry of Insadong. Continue your journey to the picturesque Haeundae Beach in Busan or the serene landscapes of Boseong's green tea fields. Then, traverse the natural wonders of Sokcho's Seoraksan National Park, marvel at the coastal beauty of Geoje Island, and stare in awe at the majestic Suwon's Hwaseong Fortress.

If planning a trip to this diverse country may seem daunting, here is a guide to the best places to visit in South Korea.

1. Seoul

Panorama of Seoul Skyline, one of the best places to visit in south korea
Seoul's skyline seamlessly blends modern skyscrapers with traditional architecture, featuring iconic landmarks such as Lotte World Tower and N Seoul Tower.

As South Korea’s political, economic, and cultural center, as well as its largest urban center, together with the nearby “satellite” cities Anyang, Sŏngnam, Suwŏn, and Puch'ŏn, Seoul is a pulsating metropolis where ancient traditions meet the latest technological and cultural trends. Among the best places to visit in Seoul, South Korea, are the majestic Gyeongbokgung Palace, the futuristic Dongdaemun Design Plaza, and the bustling Myeongdong shopping district. For a visual feast, witness the city skyline from Namsan Seoul Tower or experience the youthful and artistic energy of Hongdae, known for its indie music scene and street art.


  • Wander through the narrow alleyways of the Bukchon Hanok Village, lined with well-preserved traditional Korean houses (hanoks) on your trip to Seoul.
  • Indulge in Korean BBQ, try kimchi at Gwangjang Market, and sip traditional tea in Insadong.
  • Visit the impressive UNESCO World Heritage site of the Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon, one of the best places in South Korea around Seoul.

Insider's Tip: Best explored on foot, Seoul reveals its charms during the cherry blossom season, which runs from the end of March to the end of April.

2. Busan

Busan, celebrated for its skyline, best places to visit in South Korea.
Busan is a vibrant coastal city, boasting a stunning skyline, beautiful beaches, and a rich cultural scene, making it a top destination for diverse experiences.

Nestled along the shores of the Sea of Japan, Busan is best known for its relaxed atmosphere and charming seaside vibes. Start your day by admiring the sunrise on the golden sands of Haeundae Beach, one of South Korea's most iconic and beloved coastal destinations, then explore the bustling Jagalchi Fish Market, wander through Gamcheon Culture Village's kaleidoscope of vibrant houses, and visit the picturesque Beomeosa Temple. To end the day, revel in the urban energy of Centum City and its impressive Shinsegae Centum City Department Store.


  • Explore scenic coastal trails, including the popular Igidae Coastal Walk.
  • Relax in the rejuvenating waters of the city's famous hot springs, like the Hurshimchung Spa and the Dongnae Outdoor Footbath.
  • Marvel at the beauty of the Yonggungsa Temple, perched on the cliffs overlooking the ocean. Its cultural value and unique location make it one of the best places to visit in Busan, South Korea.

Insider's Tip: The best time to tour Busan is during spring (April to June) and fall (September to November), when the weather is mild and pleasant. On the other hand, avoid the monsoon season (July and August) and the colder winter months (December to February).

3. Jeonju

Aerial View of Jeonju Hanok Village best places to visit in South Korea.
Jeonju Hanok Village preserves traditional hanok houses, and vibrant cultural scenes, and is renowned for its delectable local cuisine, a captivating blend of history and gastronomy.

In the heart of South Korea lies a living testament to the nation's rich cultural heritage and culinary prowess: the city of Jeonju. One of the main attractions of Jeonju is a labyrinth of narrow lanes adorned with almost 800 beautifully preserved traditional Korean houses, commonly referred to as chosun. You can also rent and wear traditional Korean attire, the hanbok. Don’t forget to try local street food in the vibrant Nambu Market, including memil naengmyeon (cold noodles in beef broth) and kongnamul gukbap (soybean sprout soup with rice).


  • Explore the art of traditional Korean paper craft at the Jeonju Hanji Museum.
  • Discover the charm of Korea's largest preserved Hanok village.
  • Savor the city's signature dish on Bibimbap Street.

Insider's Tip: Jeonju is easily accessible by train or bus from all major cities, including Seoul and Busan.

4. Gyeongju

Traditional Hanoks in Gyeongju, South Korea.
With its ancient charm, Gyeongju is home to Bulguksa Temple and Seokguram Grotto, showcasing rich cultural heritage.

Once the former capital of the Kingdom of Silla, Gyeongju— the "museum without walls”—stands out as one of the best places to visit in South Korea for lovers of history and art. From the intricate beauty of Bulguksa Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site, to the marvelous Seokguram Grotto, an underground temple located about 750 meters below sea level, and the renowned Daereungwon Tomb Complex, Gyeongju's landscape is adorned with treasures of immense historical value. Combine cultural exploration and pleasure by taking a tour of the bustling Jungang Market, where you can sample local delicacies such as hwangnam (small pastries filled with red azuki beans) and gyori gimbap (a sort of South Korean sushi).


  • Visit one of the oldest astronomical observatories in East Asia, the Cheomseongdae Observatory.
  • Wander through the scenic grounds of Anapji Pond and discover the fascinating artifacts at the Gyeongju National Museum.
  • Experience the vibrant nightlife in the trendy district of Hwangnidan-gil, known for its cafes, restaurants, and unique shops.

Insider's Tip: The flat terrain and well-maintained bicycle paths make the trip to Gyeongju easy on two wheels.

5. Daegu

Duryu Park on Seongdangmot pond as seen on South Korea tour.
Daegu is a dynamic city, blending modernity with tradition, renowned for vibrant markets, cultural festivals, and a burgeoning arts scene.

Only a few hours' drive from Gyeongju is the dynamic Daegu, the third-largest city in the country. The best way to start your exploration of the city is to stroll along Dongseongno. Modern boutiques stand alongside traditional teahouses on this lively boulevard, perfectly representing the city's most authentic essence. Among the best places to visit in Daegu, South Korea, are also Apsan Park, with its prominent observatory offering a breathtaking view over the city, and Seomun Market, the largest night street market in the country. For a quiet interlude, explore Donghwasa Temple, an oasis of Buddhist serenity amid the hustle and bustle of the city.


  • Traverse the vibrant Kim Gwangseok Street, with its colorful murals, music-themed sculptures, and street performances, an homage to the legacy of the homonymous South Korean singer and songwriter.
  • Unwind in the Daegu Arboretum, the city's largest green oasis.

Insider's Tip: Visit the Kyungpook National University for a cultural experience, featuring art exhibitions, performances, and a glimpse into the academic and artistic vitality of the city.

6. Jeju Island

Jeju Island is the best place to visit in South Korea
The 1,848km2 Jeju island is a haven of UNESCO awards that include a Geopark, a Biosphere Reserve as well as Cultural Heritage Sites.

Unique volcanic terrain, pristine beaches, and peaceful atmosphere make Jeju Island a coastal gem in the southern seas of South Korea, the ultimate haven for those seeking both relaxation and adventure. From the iconic Hallasan Mountain to the stunning Manjanggul Cave, Jeju boasts one of the most diverse landscapes in the country. Don’t forget to explore the lush Hallim Park, wonder at the Cheonjeyeon Falls, and relish the picturesque landscapes of the O'Sulloc Tea Plantation to fully capture the island's beauty.


  • Conquer South Korea's highest peak, the Hallasan Mountain.
  • Walk along the Olle Trail, a scenic itinerary that crisscrosses the island.
  • Discover the island's most beautiful beaches, including Yongmeori, Hyeopjae, and Gimnyeong Seonsegi.

Insider's Tip: Consider renting a car for the freedom and flexibility to fully experience the island's diverse landscapes.

7. Suwon

Suwon City is one of the best places to visit in South Korea.
Suwon Hwaseong is an 18th century fortress listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in pristine condition

Located just south of Seoul, the city of Suwon offers a diverse range of attractions: among the most popular ones are: the UNESCO-listed Hwaseong Fortress, a magnificent fortress wall that surrounds the city; Hwaseong Haenggung, a temporary palace used by the king during travel or military campaigns; and the Wolhwawon Garden, a peaceful traditional Korean park adorned with beautiful flowers, pavilions, and a pond. Not to be missed is also the Samsung Innovation Museum, showcasing the evolution of technology and Samsung's contributions to the tech industry.


  • Wander down the Chewing Gum Street, known for its vibrant murals, art installations, and quirky atmosphere.
  • Take a day trip to Gwanggyo Lake Park, one of the region’s top attractions.

Insider's Tip: Suwon’s central location makes it convenient to travel to other parts of South Korea, including Seoul and Busan, via train or bus.

8. Incheon

Incheon is one of the best places to visit in South Korea for cycling adventure.
The Four Rivers Trail is one of the best paths in the world as it has what we call a dedicated cycling highway with multiple lanes and made just for bikes.

As the main entry point to South Korea, Incheon is more than just a bustling transportation hub. This coastal city effortlessly encompasses three vibes: one modern, one traditional, and one natural. The first is represented by the Songdo International Business District, a hyper-technological smart city contained within Incheon; the second by historical sites such as the Incheon Landing Memorial Hall commemorating the bloody Korean War; and the last by extensive green spaces like the Incheon Grand Park, featuring gardens, walking trails, and even a zoo. From Incheon, you can also take a guided tour of the DMZ, or demilitarized zone, the border area between North and South Korea (note that travelers can visit the DMZ, but not all areas in the zone are considered safe).


  • Explore the world-renowned Incheon International Airport, often lauded as one of the best airports in the world.
  • Explore Wolmido Island, known for its scenic waterfront, amusement park, and seafood markets, and take a ferry for panoramic views of the city skyline.

Insider's Tip: Incheon has played a vital role in the K-pop wave. Explore the city's vibrant entertainment scene and catch live performances or events.

This is just the beginning of an extraordinary adventure through the diverse cityscapes and natural gems that make up the best places to visit in South Korea, from the capital, Seoul, to the quaint city of Gyeongju to the mesmerizing Jeju Island.

Consider reading our guides to learn more about the best time to visit South Korea, the travel tips you must know before visiting the country, and the most popular tours. Let our local travel specialists assist you in customizing your trip to South Korea and creating an unforgettable itinerary.

Published by Emily Brown, updated on January 30, 2024
Plan a trip to South KoreaWe offer different tour types. You can also chat with a local travel specialist if you want a customized tour to South Korea.
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