Holidays in South Korea present the perfect blend of culture, history and glorious natural landscapes, making it the ideal destination for your next adventure.
From the bustling, thriving capital city of Seoul, to the UNESCO World Heritage sites in nearby Hwaseong and the untouched natural beauty of Cheongsando Island, South Korea holidays have something for everyone.
Despite being known as the Land of the Morning Calm, South Korea still knows how to do excitement and atmosphere. In fact, if you’ve not scheduled a festival into your itinerary, you’re doing it all wrong. Whether it’s the annual lantern festival at Samgwangsa Temple in Busan, the country’s largest cherry blossom festival in the coastal town of Jinhae, Jeju Island’s Jeju Fire Festival, or even the legendary Boryeong Mud Festival, there are plenty to choose from, each with their own traditions and attracting huge crowds.
For many travelling couples, backpackers and even for family holidays in South Korea, Seoul will be the main point of interest. The city combines an urban buzz with diverse neighbourhoods to explore, traditional temples to visit and more than 100,000 restaurants to sample the sumptuous local cuisine. For authentic street food, it’s worth checking out Gwangjang Market, which has Seoul’s busiest food alley, where you can tuck into anything from Korean dumplings to braised pig trotters and even raw octopus tentacles!
Hwaseong, 40 kilometres south of Seoul, provides a great day trip. It’s home to Korea’s largest theme park – Everland – with an epic wooden rollercoaster, plus UNESCO World Heritage sites including Hwaseong Fortress and Yongjusa Temple.
For a different city experience, Busan on the south coast provides a great combination of urban activity with beaches and mountains. Haeundae Beach in South Korea’s most famous and popular, and very family-friendly, while you can also head into Taejongdae, a coastal park great for challenging hikes and stunning views.
More beautiful landscapes can be enjoyed at Jirisan National Park, where if you’re lucky you can spot Asiatic black bears among the temples, mountains and valleys.
But it’s not all about the mainland life. South Korea has a plethora of islands to explore too, each of which offers a different experience. Jeju Island, for example, boasts Cheonjiyeon Falls, a legendary site where the Seven Fairies Festival is held each May. And there’s also Mount Halla, the country’s highest peak which is home to more than 4,000 animal species.
For a truly spectacular, Instagram-worthy break, head to the volcanic island of Ulleungdo, where the scenery will make you think you’ve been whisked away to Hawaii, or visit Seongsan Ilchulbong on Jeju Island, a majestic extinct tuff volcano.
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