• ~ mins read

While South Korea is most well known for it’s addictive Korean drama series or it’s K-pop music, a lesser well-known secret is that South Korea has an ever-growing generation of cyclist! South Korea is actually one of the best countries in the world to explore by bicycle, and almost no one knows, not even cyclists! Whether you are looking for a short route nearby Seoul, or an end to end South Korea country-wide path, they have both of them.

South Korea has built massive cycling infrastructure in the past few decades, including a network of cross-country bike paths. You read that right, bike-only paths spanning the length of the country, a coastline, or across a scenic or challenging segment. These bike routes are a mix of well-maintained paths through parks and along rivers, quiet country trails, and small roads. The vast majority of the paths, barring mountain passes and remote areas, are car-free. This is one of the many reasons why South Korea should be added to your list of potential cycling destinations! 

Here is a guide on the 5 best cycling trails in South Korea coupled with things you should know about the country and top travelling tips. 

  • Mr. Michael Romon Mrs. Diane Romon in the group of 8 pax
5 - Excellent
“We've had very well organized tour. All the guides have been very knowledgeale. Chris...” Read More
View Incredible Tours in South Korea


  • Amazing cycling infrastructure with well-maintained paths
  • Diversity of easy, moderate and hard paths
  • Beautiful trail environments including lakes, mountains, rice paddies, rivers, forests and more
  • Easy to find eateries throughout the country that serve Korean food including rice bowls, dumplings, BBQ, etc.
  • Saunas and camping are easily accessible
  • Very friendly people 


  • It might be difficult to find English speakers outside of Seoul 
  • Cycling is seasonal as winter months (December to February) can get very harsh

The 5 Best Cycling Routes in South Korea

1. The Four Rivers Trail

Incheon is the starting point for one of the best cycling trail in Korea
Autumn leaves cover the trees in a park in Incheon, which is also the starting location of the Four Rivers Trail
Difficulty: Moderate
Distance:  630 km 
Duration: 12-15 days
Starting Location: Incheon or Seoul
Ending Location:  Busan
The Four Rivers Trails

This is one of the best paths in the world with a dedicated cycling highway with multiple lanes and made just for bikes. It is one of the most challenging trails, though, as it runs all the way from the north west corner of South Korea to the south east corner spanning almost 600 km. While cycling the 4-Rivers Paths, a must-see place is the Sangiu Bicycle Museum which is seemingly in the middle of nowhere. This fun and interactive museum covers the history, culture, and technology of the bicycle in its entirety. Most of the museum is in Korean, but exhibits are interactive enough to understand the main points and have a good time!

  • Route
    You can start your trip from either Incheon or Seoul, and you definitely can’t miss the paths as it literally looks like a biking highway. From Incheon you can follow the path all the way down to the Busan in the south.
  • Path Condition 
    While most cycling paths are uphill and downhill, the 4-rivers is mostly a flat paved route which will not cause you much difficulty in terms of altitude. The only difficulty comes with the duration of the trip often taking weeks to complete.
  • 4-Rivers Passbook
    The 4-Rivers Passbook is unique to this cycling trail. The path has red booths along the way so you can get a booklet stamped as you complete your journey. Once you’ve completed it you can send the booklet in and get a medal and certificate of completion.

There are so many great trails in South Korea, but to get the truly best cycling experience, the 4-Rivers trail is a must. Not only the length of the trail but the quality of trails and the amazing scenery you’ll find along the way is just another reason we find this one of the best in the world. While in Seoul, you have got to try these great street foods that will fill your belly but won't hurt your pockets! 

2. Han River Trail 

Yeouido Park is the starting location of a great cycling trails in Korea
Yeouido Park in Seoul
Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 80 km
Duration: 5 hours
Starting & Ending Locations: Anywhere along the Han River path in Seoul. Suggested to start in Yeouido Park where you can rent your bicycle.
Han River Trail map

While most times biking trails are found outside of cities in the sprawling countryside, you can’t always get out of the city to enjoy it. That’s why it’s great when cities create biking paths for those who need a quick fix during the work week like the Han River trail.

  • Route
    The Han River flows right through Seoul and one of the best bike paths in the city is along it. The paths run on both sides of the river almost the entire length of the city. You can start anywhere, but if you didn’t bring your own bike, you can easily rent one in Yeouido Park. This bike path is a great way to get to know the city if it’s your first time. Along the ride there are many things to see including the Seoul Marina, The National Assembly, Yeouido Park (Korean gardens) and the Saetgang Eco Park.
  • Path Condition 
    This is an easy path that is primarily all flat and paved so it’ll be an easy ride’. Weekends can get quite busy so just remember to be aware of your surroundings while biking. While the length of the paths are only 40km, riding on both sides doubles your ride to 80 km.

Whether you’re local or a tourist looking to get a little exercise while in Seoul, the Han River trail is a perfect way to spend a free day while still seeing all that the city has to offer.

3. Jeju Bike Path

Visiting Jeju Island is a must thing to do in South Korea
Cheonjiyeon waterfall in Jeju Island
Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 244 km
Duration: 4-5 days
Starting Location: Paldangdaegyo Bridge
Ending Location: Tangeumdae Terrace
Jeju Bike Route map

While the mainland has many great paths, if you want to experience cycling on a beautiful island full of amazing beaches, then Jeju Island is definitely your cycling dream come true! 

  • Route
    The best starting point is in Jeju city as you can stock up on supplies and get well rested before you start your week-long journey around the island. Most cyclist go around the island counter-clockwise and pass by Hyeopjae beach, Songaksan Mountain, and Jeongbang Waterfall along the way.
  • Path Condition 
    This path is rated easy as it is primarily flat and there are plenty of places to stop and rest along the way around the island. The path also has many side trips whether that be a beach or waterfall it’s definitely one of the more enjoyable rides in South Korea.

Of course you could always pick one of the trails closer to Seoul, but Jeju cycling trail is a unique pick because you can go from one tourist destination to the next as you circle around this tropical island.

4. East Coast Cycling Route

Sokcho is a base city for a great cycling trail in South Korea
Sokcho is also home to Naksansa, a Korean Buddhist temple, which stand on the slopes of the Naksan mountain
Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 720 km
Duration: 10-14 days
Starting Location: Unification Observatory or Sokcho City in Gangwon Province
Ending Location: Busan 
East Coast Cycling Route map

Similar to the 4 Rivers trail, the East Coast Cycling trail is a cross country trip that will take you about 14 days to complete spanning from one end of the country to the other. This is by far one of the coolest trails in South Korea because you never leave the coast. There are times where you have mountains on the right and the ocean on the right and it’s so peaceful the whole ride. 

  • Route
    The official starting point of this path is at the Unification Observatory at the northern tip of South Korea. Many people just start in Sokcho as it’s easier to get there. If you want to collect the official stamps then you’ll need to go to the Unification Observatory. From the Unification Observatory you’ll follow the trail all the way down the eastern coast through every port and city along the way until 720 km later you arrive in Busan. You will travel through both the North and South Gyeongsang provinces.
  • Path Condition 
    The path is well maintained and paved the whole way. You will pass through many seaside villages with ports that have plenty of fresh seafood and restaurants along the way. While much of the journey is quite flat, there are quite a few mountains that you will need to pass. The paths that are made for cyclists don’t have very steep climbs, but there may be hours spent climbing mountains that may tire you out. This is why we would still consider it a moderate course due to it’s length and mountain passes.

This ultimate cross-country cycling trip is one of the best in the country and is great for those interested to learn more about South Korea’s landscape and rural village life.

5. Chilbongsan Trail 

Difficulty: Advanced
Distance: 13 km
Duration: 2-3 hours
Starting Location: Songnaedong
Ending Location: Near Dongduchon
Chilbongsan Trail map

This cycling trail isn’t for the weak hearted. If you are an avid cyclist then this rough cycling trail in South Korea will be a great challenge. The best part about this path is when you hit the peak, you can see the beauty of the South Korean countryside — all the way from Yangju to Seoul. Imagine that! 

  • Route
    This path starts in the Songnaedong area and winds around the mountain to end near Dongducheon. It’s just nearby a few other trails if you want to continue traveling around, but this one is considered the advanced section of the WangBangSan race course. The path is dirt and rocks and winds along the edge of a mountain.
  • Path Condition 
    The Chilbongsan trail is not for beginners. The trail can be straight up and straight down at some sections which can be very difficult for inexperienced riders. This path is meant to be a challenge and is designed only for those who don’t mind a rough ride.

While this path may not be for everyone, adrenaline junkies will definitely enjoy a day bouncing around the hills of the Chilbongsan trail.

South Korea Cycling Travel Tips

  • Language Barriers: While most Koreans may seem uncomfortable and don’t speak English well, you’ll find many people have electronic translation devices they can use to easily communicate with you. That aside, it always helps to master a couple of phrases, like “hello,” “thank you,” “help,” and of course, “where’s the toilet?”. To get the most out of your South Korean experience, learn the Korean writing system to help you with signs, directions, and even menus. Surprisingly, the Korean writing system is very simple and only takes a few hours to learn. Knowing how to read some important words, like “motel,” or the name of your next destination will give you confidence and make your journey that much smoother.
  • Food: Traditional Korean food is hearty fare and actually quite healthy. Piping hot soup along with rice, kimchi, and other side dishes makes up a meal and is great fuel for cyclists! You can also often find a quick BBQ snack to eat on your routes. If you find yourself craving a taste of home, you can find a variety of Western cuisines in most major cities. Coffee culture has also taken the country by storm, and you can find coffee shops nearly everywhere these days, along with Western-style bakeries offering a surprising-and delicious- variety of traditional baked goods, from sweet to savory.
  • Accommodations/Camping: South Korea’s bike paths are very well maintained and are very safe. Many of the paths wind through farms and fields and throughout the entire way you’ll find free camping areas. You can often camp right along the path, on parks, or on the beaches for free. As most of the paths flow through cities, there are also many hotels along the way. While you can book hotels ahead of time, it is not required as most of the cities along the path always have many vacancies.
  • Saunas: What can be better after a long day of cycling than relaxing and resting your legs in a steaming hot bath? Locally referred to as jimjilbangs are communal spas, saunas, and hot springs all in one, and are found throughout the country. A jimjilbang entry fee usually means 24 hours of use, and it is acceptable and common to stay overnight if you’re in a pinch for a place to stay.
  • Bicycle Shops: While there are many different shops in the country, the ones carrying the parts you may need for repairs can only be found in the larger cities. Make sure to mark some of these on your paths so you are aware of where the next one is. If you’re flying in from Seoul you can stop at Watts Cycling, BB5, and Peulleoswi which are some of the top-rated shops in the city.
  • Bike Repair Kit: If you are going bicycling around Seoul only, you will not need a repair kit, but if you’re going on a long trip, you should have the following essential repair kit items:
    • Allen Wrencho
    • Chain lube and cleaner
    • Clean rago Spare rubber bike tubes
    • Tube patch kit
    • Foot pump with gauge
    • Bike repair stand (not essential, but definitely helpful)

Best Time to Go

Spring is the best time to go cycling in South Korea
A bike lane especially made for cyclists in a highway of South Korea

Late spring (March to May) and early autumn (September to November) have the best climate for bike travel. Winters (December to February) on the Korean Peninsula are bitter cold, and summers (June to August) are incredibly hot and humid, both unfavorable conditions for enjoying the country by bike! If you’re visiting in the spring, you’ll get a chance to see the cherry blossoms bloom, which happens about several weeks later than in Japan. In the fall you can catch the leaves changing.

Published by Erik Jensen, updated on April 9, 2024

Related Articles

10 Delicious Seoul Street Foods You Should Try

10 Delicious Seoul Street Foods You Should Try

Seoul is probably the best place in the count... read more

10 Traditional Korean Foods to Savour in South Korea

10 Traditional Korean Foods to Savour in South Korea

Eating the local cuisine is one of the best w... read more

10 Great Day Trips From Seoul

10 Great Day Trips From Seoul

Whether you’re just visiting Seoul or you’ve ... read more

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.
  • DaeHee Won
    DaeHee WonTravel Expert in South Korea
  • Nigel Sutherland
    Nigel SutherlandTravel Expert in South Korea
  • Katrina Cao
    Katrina CaoTravel Expert in South Korea & Japan
Our travel experts are recommended by:
  • BBC
  • Independent
  • Lonely Planet
6 COMMENTSWe welcome your questions or comments to this article. Our travel experts will respond within 48 hours.
  1. D
    Dawn LimMar 11 2020REPLY
    Hi there, I had already done the 4 river in 2017. Now I would like to venture cycling from Seoul to Jeolla. I tried mapping the route but found very few cycling trail all the way. Is it safe to venture this way on the road? These are mostly flat land, correct? Hope you could provide some clue to this, many thanks and I look forward to hearing from you.
  2. T
    Tara WaFeb 14 2020REPLY
    O my god! Korea is MY LOVE!! Thank you for this article! Last spring I challenge myself and finish STB (SEOUL to BUSAN) bike tour. It was organised by local Korean company. I`m not sure if I can right a name of company here^^ Our team was so friendly... with people from many countries... Our guide was so kind and funny! And I decided to go back to Korea and join to new tour that call BLUE ROAD to DMZ. It looked almost like East Coast Cycling Route but with a little difference. Guys, if you have a chance - GO TO KOREA AND CYCLE there with you friend!!!
  3. E
    Edward TalagaJun 06 2019REPLY
    I am planning a trip to South Korea with a bicycle at the end of August. I hope that the heat will not be too annoying. I want to end the trip in Tokyo, Japan at the end of October. I have a question about the maturity of having civil liability insurance in both countries. I will be grateful for information about possible maturity and suggestion for insurance companies where such policies can be purchased. Thank you in advance for the information. Edward
    1. M
      Maya KosokJul 28 2019
      Hi Edward - We are also riding through South Korea in August and planning to end in Tokyo in late October! I'd love to hear more about your cycling plans.
    2. E
      Edward TalagaOct 21 2019
      Hi Maya, Unfortunately, due to some obligations, my cycling plan through S. Korea and Japan could not be realized in 2019. I want to do it in the autumn of 2020. The spring months seem to be less interesting there as well as the fact that the snow in the Japanese Alps lies quite long, which could hinder sleeping in a tent. And how are you? October is coming to an end soon so I suppose you are on your dream trip or have already finished it. I would be very happy to hear from you that you have succeeded. I hope you survived the typhoon well. Thanks in advance.
  4. X
    Xanthe JayApr 12 2019REPLY
    Does anyone know if it is possible to hire a bike at Pohang to cycle to Busan? Ideally I'd like to find a company with a presence in both places so I can hire in Pohang and leave in Busan. Is this possible ? Thanks in advance
    1. M
      MinApr 29 2019
      There are bike-rental companies in Pohang but unfortunately there is no company that you can leave your bike in Busan.
    2. C
      Chet KhatuSep 23 2019
      Hi, we are coming to do the 4 rivers cycleway and were wondering if any shops are in Seoul to rent the full gear, including panniers? It'd be really helpful to get some advice.
  5. S
    Son MertensFeb 09 2019REPLY
    Thanks for this overview! South Korea is on top of my cycling holiday wish list! One question though: where do you obtain the 4 Rivers Trail Passbook? It would be great to award yourself with a certificate after finishing the most beautiful biketrail in the world! ;-) Thanks for the reply! Warm greetings, Son:)
  6. E
    Erick MatsenJan 21 2019REPLY
    Thank you for this excellent overview! Can you comment on the amount of on-road riding on the East Coast trail versus the 4 Rivers Trail? This post http://www.cyclingcorea.com/home/category/east-coast-route was also very positive on the East Coast Route but said that there was a significant amount of riding on the road. Perhaps this has changed since 2016 with the addition of more bike path. Again, thanks!
    1. S
      SpiceRoadsJan 28 2019
      Hi Erick, thanks for the comment! The 4 Rivers trail is the most developed of all the paths, with even some road sections towards the end of it. The East Coast route will be busier but more scenic option, rolling through ports, harbours and excellent beach areas. Wind is a factor, being a coastal road, so you will come up against this more than the 4 Rivers Trail inland. This East Coast route was completed in 2016 and runs for 700kms. The road is primarily made up of quiet coastal roads used by cars with dedicated bicycle lanes. There will be significant time on roads but you will be kept away from traffic either on segregated bike lanes, and lanes separated by traffic barriers. Hope this has helped. All the best with your riding journey! :)