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Korea Choices: The Best of the Country by Season

20 June 2024

Korea is a year round destination and each season provides its own particular allure. One of Asia's most dynamic nations, the country covers a range of bases from its incredible food scene to cherry blossoms and fall foliage that rival those in Japan to remarkable hiking trails and beautiful nature.

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KOREA CHOICES:
THE BEST OF THE COUNTRY BY SEASON

Korea is a year-round destination and each season provides its own particular allure. One of Asia's most dynamic nations, the country covers a range of bases from its incredible food scene to cherry blossoms and fall foliage that rival those in Japan to remarkable hiking trails and beautiful nature.
 

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SPRING INTO ACTION

Bukhansan National Park's highest peak

Japan might be top of the list for cherry blossom chasers, but Korea runs its neighbor close when it comes to floral springtime splendor. Seoul transforms into a sea of delicate pink petals, with popular spots like Yeouido and Namsan Park offering breathtaking vistas. The cherry blossoms, or "beot-kkot" in Korean, create a magical ambience, complemented by cultural events, food festivals, and a modern urban backdrop. Other Seoul highlights include visiting the beautiful Bukchon Hanok Village, where you can try on hanbok (traditional Korean clothing) and peruse the traditional architecture. Next, head to the Majang Beef Market, a renowned destination for hanwoo beef, which is known for its exceptional quality and flavor. Other spring activities in the country include mountain hiking and forest bathing, activities that Koreans believe are amongst the keys to longevity. Destinations like Bukhansan and Hallansan National Parks as well as the very convenient Inwangsan Mountain in Seoul offer great walking trails.

Suggested Itinerary: Revitalization, Korean Style

SOAK UP THE SUMMER

Hallasan, South Korea's highest mountain

Jeju holds a particular allure for Koreans from the mainland during the summer. They come to hike the island’s extensive network of olle long-distance footpaths, climb Mount Hallasan (South Korea’s tallest peak at 1950 meters), visit its cultural sites and gorge on seafood and BBQ pork from Jeju’s famed black pigs said to be the tastiest in the country. Stunning stretches of sand can be found all around the island. Iho Beach near the airport stretches for 250m and is bustling and vibrant, while 300m-long Shinyang Beach in the southeast is a popular spot for windsurfing. The most popular beach is Jungmun Beach, where a stellar cast of big-name hotels overlook a pristine 500m-long beach. Busan is another favored summer destination among Koreans. The southern city has numerous highlights including Haeundae Beach, and the Igidae Coastal Walk, a 4.7-kilometer trail from the south-central district of Oryukdo to Igidae, which is one of the best short hikes in Korea for lovers of coastal views, craggy cliffs, and crashing waves.

Suggested Itinerary: South Korean Summer Adventure

HEADING FOR A FALL

Naejangsan National Park

There are a few good places to watch the seasons change in Seoul: Gyeongbukgung, Namsan Tower, and even Olympic Park, but the fall foliage aficionado will want to get out into Korea's mountains. Most travelers don't realize that all of the Korean peninsula is covered in mountainous terrain just waiting to turn colors for fall. And, with Korea's healthy (bordering on the extreme) obsession with hiking, trails, lifts, and switchbacks can get hikers to the peaks they want for the views they need. Located in Jeolla-do province, Naejangsan is one of the most popular locations to enjoy fall colors. Home to 800 species of plants with an abundance of maple trees, which turn bright gold and red during fall, the "mountain of many secrets" is awash with lush vegetation. Another great choice is Nami Island which is drenched in the beauty of the season beginning in late October with stunning red, orange and yellow maples and other deciduous trees.

Suggested Itinerary: Classic South Korea

KOREA'S WINTER WONDERLANDS

Yongpyong Ski Resort

In South Korea, you'll find an array of impressive ski resorts, including renowned spots like Yongpyong and Alpensia. Yongpyong, home to the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics, boasts a range of slopes and amenities catering to both skiers and snowboarders. Meanwhile, Alpensia, nestled amidst the picturesque Taebaek Mountains, offers breathtaking views and family-friendly facilities. With their state-of-the-art infrastructure and diverse terrain, South Korea's ski resorts promise exhilarating adventures for winter sports enthusiasts, all wrapped in the warmth of Korean hospitality and cultural richness. Beyond the slopes, a winter retreat in South Korea can encompass a variety of uniquely Korean experiences, from exploring theme parks to gliding across the ice in front of City Hall, or indulging in a day of relaxation at Spavis, an outdoor hot spring oasis perfect for unwinding amidst the winter chill.

Suggested Itinerary: Korean Winter Sports

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