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South Korea’s distinctive culture along with its booming economy makes for a very unique travel destination. With scores of sights to see, numerous things to do, and a variety of cuisine to try, any traveler’s South Korea itinerary will surely be packed with new and exciting adventures. From unique food escapades in Jeonju, historic war site tours in the DMZ, folk village tours on Nami Island, and walking or cycling tours around Seoul, experiencing South Korea and its unique blend of Eastern and Western cultures makes for a truly magnificent vacation.
How many days should you spend in South Korea? This guide will take you through the country’s top destinations to fill your South Korea itinerary with.
Since South Korea is a small country, destinations are no more than a day’s drive away from each other. If you have only a few days to spend in the country, your itinerary could be composed of short visits around Seoul along with an in-depth exploration of the capital.
However, we recommend a two-week trip for you to fully experience and appreciate this small slice of heaven! A two-week tour in South Korea should allow you to visit most of the country’s highlights at a relaxed pace, with plenty of time to shop and enjoy delicious local cuisine. You can go for a cross-country trip, explore the DMZ, visit the picturesque Nami Island, experience Jeonju’s rich tradition, discover ancient temples in Busan and circle back to the bustling Seoul in that duration.
Do not worry if you cannot stretch your stay to 14 days in South Korea. A ten-day South Korea itinerary allows you to venture far and wide. Add a trip to Busan to the one-week South Korea itinerary above for an ultimate experience. Despite being South Korea’s second-largest city, Busan boasts of a rich natural landscape — ranging from mountains to beaches and relaxing hot springs. Haeundae Beach, one of Busan’s most popular natural landmarks, is a one-and-a-half-kilometer stretch of white sand where families flock to swim, relax, and enjoy a variety of culinary options.
Other popular attractions in Busan include the rows of mountainside terraced houses in Gamcheon Culture Village, dubbed as the Santorini of South Korea. Haedong Yonggungsa and the Beomeosa Temples are also worth a day trip if only for their gorgeous architecture. And do not skip a visit to the Jagalchi fish market, the largest fish market in South Korea, for a fun afternoon of sampling the freshest seafood you will ever get to taste.
Though one week in South Korea may not seem like much, it is enough to explore Seoul and its neighboring cities. The bustling city streets of the country’s capital are unlike any other, with busy food and shopping districts popular among locals and foreigners.
Spend the first three days of your trip soaking up the atmospheric streets of Seoul and going on mouth-watering food escapades. Korean street food is quite popular, and no South Korea trip is ever complete without it. Go on a walking tour of the city and immerse yourself in Seoul's rich art, culture and architecture. After Seoul, allot a full day to visit the demilitarized zone in Paju and learn more about the history between South and North Korea.
For the remainder of your trip, explore the historical and cultural sites in Jeonju. The birthplace of bibimbap, Jeonju is known as the gastronomic center of South Korea. But not only is the city a foodie destination, but it is also more laid back and traditional compared to Seoul. Here you can rent a hanbok (traditional Korean clothes) while you walk around the city and spend a night in a traditional Korean house.
We believe that two weeks in South Korea is the perfect length of stay for first-time travelers. Soak up the vibrant atmosphere of Seoul, Jeonju, and Busan before heading for the picturesque Nami Island.
A small, half-moon-shaped isle near the capital, Nami Island is a popular shooting location for many Korean dramas, and fans flock to the romantic island for a chance to see their favorite K-drama locations in real life. And believe us when we say that you would want to visit Nami Island in any season. Cherry blossoms swath the island in light pink and white during spring, while redwoods and pine trees line your biking trails in summer. In autumn, the fall foliage is nothing short of spectacular, while white, snow-covered pines are a sight to behold during winter.
Squeeze on a trip to Petite France while on the island. This village of colorful houses is the backdrop to the hit K-drama series ‘My Love from the Stars’ and it is only a few minutes drive away from Nami Island.
You have the luxury to cover a lot of ground and really immerse yourself in every destination during a three-week South Korea itinerary. Expand your stay in each of the country’s major cities to get to know the place, or squeeze in extra destinations like Sokcho or Jeju Island.
Located in South Korea’s far northeast, Sokcho is a fantastic spot for outdoor enthusiasts. Its highlight is Seoraksan National Park, named after the highest mountain in the region, which is home to a variety of hiking trails suitable for everyone. A unique biosphere with thousands of plant and animal species, Seoraksan is home to deer, otters, the Siberian flying squirrel, and even the endangered Korean goral. Meanwhile, Jeju Island is known as the honeymoon destination of South Korea. Offering gorgeous beaches, breathtaking sunsets, picturesque cliffs, and waterfalls, Jeju makes for an extremely romantic getaway.
Get in touch with one of our travel experts in South Korea for a customized trip. If you would like to book a package trip or join a group, check out our tours in South Korea below.
Travelling to South Korea? Chat with a local travel specialist in South Korea who can help organize your trip.