Are you thinking about visiting Seoul this year? Here are some of the most beautiful places to visit in Seoul. Your mind will be blown by these captivating sights and destinations.
Seoul is a city where ancient palaces coexist with cutting-edge technology and K-pop beats. It’s a place that’s captured the hearts of travelers and wanderlusters alike, and for good reason. With its bustling street markets, tranquil temples, and neon-lit nightlife, Seoul is a city of contrasts that offers something for everyone.
But let’s talk about the real gems—the spots that make your heart skip a beat and your camera roll overflow. Yes, we’re diving into the most beautiful places in Seoul, a list that will take you from the serene gardens of Changdeokgung Palace to the panoramic heights of Namsan Tower. Trust me, your Instagram feed is about to get a serious upgrade.
Whether you’re a first-timer looking to hit the highlights or a seasoned traveler yearning for hidden gems, this guide is your ticket to experiencing Seoul in all its glory. Get ready to be swept off your feet by the city’s blend of natural beauty, historical depth, and modern allure.
So, pack your bags and charge your camera—Seoul is calling, and it’s time to answer with an adventure you’ll never forget. Under the neon lights and amidst the cherry blossoms, let’s uncover the most beautiful places this city has to offer.
Ready to explore the enchanting corners of Seoul? Situated in the heart of South Korea, this city offers limitless possibilities. Keep scrolling through this article to immerse yourself in Seoul’s visual splendors.
Regardless of your attraction to Seoul’s architectural wonders and cultural treasures, or your desire for a peaceful escape in nature, the city offers something for everyone. Don’t forget to highlight these pivotal locations in Seoul on your travel map.
1. Blue House
The Blue House isn’t just the residence of South Korea’s President; it’s a symbol of the nation’s governance and history. Situated against the stunning backdrop of Bugaksan Mountain, this iconic building is a must-see for anyone interested in Korean politics or architecture.
Walking around the premises, you’ll be struck by the blend of traditional Korean design elements and modern security features. The main building, Cheong Wa Dae, boasts a beautiful blue-tiled roof that gives the Blue House its name. This locale stands out as the most beautiful place in Seoul for its unique blend of antiquity and modernity.
You can’t leave without visiting the nearby Cheong Wa Dae Sarangchae, a museum that offers a deep dive into Korean history and the lives of its past presidents. The place provides both aesthetic pleasure and intellectual stimulation.
Visiting Seoul wouldn’t be complete without a stop at this iconic location. Whether you’re a history buff or a fan of architecture, the Blue House offers a unique glimpse into the heart of South Korea.
2. Bongeunsa Temple
Amidst the skyscrapers and the hustle of Seoul, Bongeunsa Temple offers a tranquil escape. The Buddhist sanctuary serves as a beautiful counterpoint to its urban surroundings, earning its spot as a most beautiful place to visit in Seoul.
Step inside, and you’re greeted by the calming scent of incense and the sight of intricate wooden carvings. The temple is home to more than 3,000 Buddhist scriptures, each housed in a stunning wooden pagoda. It’s a place where spirituality meets artistry, and every corner seems to tell a story.
Seoul’s beautiful places often come with a side of history, and Bongeunsa is no exception. Founded in 794 during the Silla Dynasty, the temple has undergone various renovations but has retained its original essence. Here, you can participate in a “Temple Stay” program, offering a unique insight into Buddhist culture and practices.
Don’t miss the giant statue of Maitreya, the future Buddha, which stands as a beacon of hope and peace. Places to see in Seoul are numerous, yet Bongeunsa holds a special place in the hearts of both locals and tourists for its serenity and spiritual significance.
3. Bukhansan National Park
When it comes to Seoul destinations, Bukhansan National Park is a breath of fresh air—literally. This natural haven is a quick subway ride from the city center, making it an accessible escape for nature lovers and hiking enthusiasts.
Bukhansan Mountain elevates the park and helps it land on the list of most scenic places in Seoul. With multiple trails leading to the summit, each hike offers a new perspective of the city below. The Baegundae Peak is the highest point and provides panoramic views that will leave you speechless.
Bukhansan National Park isn’t just about the climb; it’s also about the journey. Along the way, you’ll encounter Buddhist temples, crystal-clear streams, and diverse flora and fauna. It’s a paradise for photographers and a haven for those seeking peace of mind.
Bukhansan National Park is a must see in Seoul. It is a place where you can disconnect from the urban chaos and reconnect with nature. Whether you reach the summit or simply enjoy the trails, this park is a reminder of the natural beauty that exists within the city’s boundaries.
4. Changdeokgung Palace
A visit to Changdeokgung Palace is like stepping into a time machine that takes you back to the Joseon Dynasty. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a marvel of traditional Korean architecture and design. With its intricate wooden structures and expansive gardens, it’s no wonder this palace is among the most beautiful places of Seoul.
The main hall, Injeongjeon, is a masterpiece of wooden craftsmanship. The colorful dancheong paintings on the pillars and eaves are a sight to behold. Don’t forget to look up; the ceilings are equally mesmerizing.
Where to go in Seoul for a peaceful escape? The Secret Garden, or Huwon, is the answer. This garden was reserved for the royal family and high-ranking officials, making it a secluded paradise within the palace grounds. Meandering paths lead you through lotus ponds, pagodas, and centuries-old trees.
Changdeokgung Palace isn’t just a feast for the eyes; it’s also a journey through Korea’s rich history. From the architectural nuances to the natural beauty of the Secret Garden, this palace offers a comprehensive look at the cultural heritage of Korea.
5. Cheonggyecheon Stream
In the heart of Seoul’s bustling cityscape lies a serene oasis: Cheonggyecheon Stream. This 11-km long waterway is a modern restoration of a stream that once flowed naturally. The area serves as a tranquil escape and ranks high among the prettiest places in Seoul.
The stream is more than just water flowing through the city; it’s an art gallery, a lover’s lane, and a haven for urban wildlife. Sculptures and murals adorn its banks, each piece telling a story or conveying a message. It’s a Seoul beauty that captures the imagination and provides a respite from city life.
Walking along the stream, you’ll find various themed sections. From stepping stones and waterfalls to public squares and murals, each segment offers a unique experience. One of the highlights is the Candle Fountain, a mesmerizing blend of water and light that captivates all who see it.
Cheonggyecheon Stream is a year-round attraction, with each season offering a different charm. In spring, cherry blossoms line the banks, while winter brings twinkling lights that transform the area into a magical wonderland. It’s a must-visit in Seoul, offering a slice of tranquility amidst the urban jungle.
6. Deoksugung Palace
Deoksugung Palace stands as a unique blend of traditional Korean and Western architecture. This palace, once a residence for Korean royalty, is now a sanctuary for anyone seeking a glimpse into the country’s past. It’s one of those places to visit in Seoul that offers a rich tapestry of history and culture.
The palace is famous for its Changing of the Royal Guard ceremony, a spectacle that shouldn’t be missed. Dressed in colorful uniforms, the guards perform a ritual that dates back to the Joseon Dynasty. It’s a living, breathing piece of history right in the heart of the city.
Deoksugung Palace also houses the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Deoksugung. For art enthusiasts, this venue is the best place to visit in Seoul to explore Korean modern art. The museum showcases works that span from the late 1800s to the present, offering a comprehensive look at Korea’s artistic evolution.
The palace grounds are equally captivating, featuring both Korean-style gardens and a Western-style garden complete with a fountain and open lawn.
7. Gwanaksan Mountain
Elevate your Seoul experience—literally—by hiking up Gwanaksan Mountain. This natural haven is among the most beautiful places in Seoul for outdoor enthusiasts, offering trails for all skill levels. The mountain is a popular spot for both sunrise and sunset, providing awe-inspiring views that you won’t soon forget.
Begin your ascent from the Gwacheon entrance, where you’ll find the Sadang Trail. This path is well-marked and offers a moderate hike for most fitness levels. As you climb, you’ll encounter temples and hermitages that add a spiritual dimension to your journey.
Gwanaksan Mountain is more than a hiking destination; it’s a cultural experience. The mountain is home to Yeonjuam Hermitage, a tranquil spot perfect for meditation and reflection. The locale provides a most scenic place in Seoul for a peaceful retreat from urban life.
Don’t forget to bring your camera; the panoramic views from the summit are breathtaking. From this vantage point, the sprawling city of Seoul unfolds before your eyes, framed by mountains and rivers. It’s a must-see in Seoul, especially for those who love to capture the beauty of nature and cityscapes in one frame.
8. Gyeongbokgung Palace Grounds
Step into a realm of grandeur and history at Gyeongbokgung Palace Grounds. This expansive complex is a living museum, showcasing the best of Joseon Dynasty architecture and culture. With its intricate designs, sprawling gardens, and tranquil ponds, it’s a standout among stunning locations in Seoul.
The palace grounds are divided into several courtyards and halls, each with its own unique charm. The Geunjeongjeon Hall, the main throne hall, is particularly impressive with its double-tiered stone platform and intricate wooden canopy. Photographers will find this spot irresistible; it’s a pretty place in Seoul you won’t want to overlook.
Don’t overlook the Gyeonghoeru Pavilion, a majestic structure that appears to float on a pond filled with lotus flowers. This pavilion was used for royal banquets and is a sublime example of traditional Korean architecture. It’s a sight that adds to the Seoul scenery, making the palace grounds a must-visit.
If you’re keen on historical exploration or just have an eye for architectural elegance, Gyeongbokgung Palace Grounds serve as a sensory delight. Each aspect of the palace, from the Changing of the Guard ceremony to the serene Hyangwonjeong Pavilion, narrates its own tale.
9. Lotte World Tower
Rising above the Seoul skyline, Lotte World Tower is an architectural marvel that offers more than just panoramic views. This 555-meter tall skyscraper is a multi-purpose building that houses everything from offices and hotels to a luxury mall.
The tower’s Seoul Sky Observatory is a must-visit. Situated on the 117th to 123rd floors, this observatory provides an unparalleled view of the city. From this height, the sprawling urban landscape transforms into a beautiful mosaic of lights and shapes, making it one of the best parts of Seoul.
But the tower is not just about the views. It also offers a range of experiences, from the high-end shops in the Lotte World Mall to the luxury Signiel Seoul hotel. Each element contributes to the overall Seoul scenery, making the tower a destination in itself.
Be it a quest for high-end shopping, a desire for gourmet dining, or just a penchant for taking in the view, Lotte World Tower provides a variety of experiences to suit any taste or preference.
10. Mountain Ansan Jarak-gil Trail
Mountain Ansan Jarak-gil Trail is a hidden treasure for hikers and nature lovers. This trail offers a peaceful escape from the city’s hustle, making it a prime spot among beautiful places in Seoul. The trail is well-marked and suitable for hikers of all levels, offering a variety of scenic spots along the way.
The hike starts at the base of Ansan Mountain and winds its way up through lush forests and rocky outcrops. Along the way, you’ll encounter wooden bridges, small waterfalls, and even a few temples. It’s a destination that combines natural beauty with a touch of spirituality.
Reaching the summit is rewarding, but the journey itself is equally captivating. The trail offers panoramic views of Seoul, framed by the natural beauty of Ansan Mountain. It’s one of those places to visit in Seoul where you can truly appreciate the city’s diverse landscape.
If you’re a dedicated hiker or simply in search of a day filled with adventure, Mountain Ansan Jarak-gil Trail presents a compelling mix of natural splendor and breathtaking views. This trail is essential for those eager to discover Seoul’s less frequented, yet visually stunning, areas.
11. Namsan Mountain
For outdoor enthusiasts, Namsan Mountain stands as a natural sanctuary in the midst of Seoul’s bustling cityscape. Panoramic vistas of the city are a given, thanks to its accessible hiking trails. Adding to its allure, the mountain hosts the iconic N Seoul Tower, offering a bird’s-eye perspective of Seoul’s sprawling landscape. It’s a top Instagram spot in Seoul for those who crave an escape into nature without leaving the city.
Start your journey with a hike or a cable car ride to the summit. Once you reach the top, you’ll be greeted by N Seoul Tower, a structure that’s become synonymous with the city itself. It’s among the most beautiful places to visit in Seoul, especially during the evening when the tower is illuminated.
The mountain is not just about the tower; it’s also a haven for nature lovers. The trails are lined with diverse flora and fauna, offering a peaceful escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. If you’re hitting the trails, planning a tower visit, or just keen on a scenic picnic, Namsan Mountain delivers a wide array of experiences to satisfy any taste or preference.
12. Seokchon Lake
Seokchon Lake is a tranquil oasis that offers a respite from the bustling city life of Seoul. With its picturesque setting and calming waters, it is listed in the prettiest places in Seoul. The lake is divided into two sections: the East Lake, known for its serene atmosphere, and the West Lake, famous for its vibrant cultural activities.
The East Lake is a haven for those seeking peace and quiet. Here, you’ll find locals and tourists alike, taking leisurely strolls or enjoying a good book by the water. It’s a beautiful spot that offers a slice of tranquility amidst the urban chaos.
On the other hand, the West Lake is where the action is. From outdoor concerts to art installations, this part of Seokchon Lake is a hub of cultural activities. It’s one of those places to see in Seoul where you can enjoy a diverse range of experiences, from relaxation to entertainment.
If you aim to relax by the water, partake in cultural happenings, or just absorb the picturesque scenery, Seokchon Lake has options for all. This locale is essential for those wanting to explore the tranquil and visually appealing aspects of Seoul.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Visiting the Beautiful Places in Seoul
Eager to know more about the stunning spots Seoul has to offer? Here are some common queries I get concerning the region’s top attractions.
What is Seoul famous for?
Seoul is renowned for its perfect blend of the old and the new. The city is a hub for technology, K-pop, and fashion, making it one of the most beautiful cities in South Korea. At the same time, it’s steeped in history, with palaces, temples, and traditional markets that offer a glimpse into Korea’s rich cultural heritage. From its bustling street food scenes to its high-tech subways, Seoul is a city that captivates every type of traveler.
Where to hang out in Seoul?
If you’re looking for places to relax and socialize, Seoul has plenty to offer. Areas like Hongdae and Itaewon are popular for their vibrant nightlife and diverse range of Korean restaurants and bars. For a more laid-back atmosphere, you can visit stunning locations in Seoul like the Han River or various themed cafes scattered around the city. Parks like Yeouido Park and cultural spaces like the Dongdaemun Design Plaza are also great spots to hang out.
What are the best outdoor activities in Seoul?
Seoul offers a plethora of outdoor activities, from hiking trails in Bukhansan National Park to leisurely strolls along Cheonggyecheon Stream. Whether you’re an adventure junkie or someone who just wants to enjoy the Seoul scenery, there’s something for everyone. Cycling along the Han River or picnicking in one of the city’s numerous parks are also popular activities.
What is the most beautiful part of Seoul?
The most beautiful part of Seoul often depends on individual preferences, as the city offers a diverse range of attractions blending modernity and tradition. However, some areas are particularly renowned for their beauty:
- Bukchon Hanok Village: This area is famous for its traditional Korean houses (hanoks) and narrow alleys. It’s a picturesque spot that beautifully contrasts the modern cityscape with historical architecture, offering a glimpse into Seoul’s past.
- Namsan Park and N Seoul Tower: The park provides a natural oasis in the heart of the city, with walking trails, gardens, and panoramic city views, especially beautiful at night when N Seoul Tower is illuminated.
- Cheonggyecheon Stream: This urban renewal project features a stream running through the city center, creating a serene and scenic walking path surrounded by the urban landscape. It’s particularly beautiful in the evening when lit up.
- Changdeokgung Palace and its Secret Garden (Huwon): Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, this palace is renowned for its well-preserved architecture and the Secret Garden, which is a masterpiece of Korean landscape gardening.
- Han River Parks: The Han River and its surrounding parks offer beautiful views and a peaceful escape from the city’s hustle. It’s a popular spot for picnics, leisure activities, and enjoying the city skyline.
How to experience traditional Korean culture in Seoul?
For those interested in traditional Korean culture, places like Gyeongbokgung Palace Grounds and Bongeunsa Temple are must-visits. These sites offer a deep dive into Korea’s history and are some of the best parts of Seoul for cultural exploration. You can also visit traditional markets like Gwangjang Market to experience authentic Korean cuisine and crafts.
What is the cheapest thing to buy in Korea?
In South Korea, there are several affordable items that you can purchase, especially if you’re looking for souvenirs or everyday items. Here are some of the cheapest things to buy:
- Korean Cosmetics and Skincare Products: South Korea is famous for its beauty products. You can find affordable yet high-quality skincare items and cosmetics, especially in brands like Innisfree, Etude House, and The Face Shop.
- Cute Stationery and Accessories: Korea is known for its adorable and unique stationery items, including pens, notebooks, stickers, and more. These are usually very affordable and can be found in stores like Artbox or Daiso.
- Korean Snacks: Korean snacks like Pepero, Honey Butter Chips, and Tteokbokki-flavored snacks are not only delicious but also quite inexpensive. You can find them in any convenience store or supermarket.
- Socks: Korea offers a wide variety of fun and quirky socks at very low prices. You can find them in street markets or shops in popular areas like Myeongdong.
- Keychains and Magnets: These are typical souvenir items that are often very affordable. They come in many designs, from cute characters to cultural symbols like the Korean flag or traditional hanbok.
- Traditional Korean Souvenirs: Items like small wooden masks, chopsticks, and hand fans are usually reasonably priced. These can be found in tourist areas or traditional markets like Namdaemun or Insadong.
- K-Pop Merchandise: While some official merchandise can be expensive, you can find smaller items like posters, stickers, or postcards at a lower cost, especially in areas like Hongdae.
What are the must-visit landmarks in Seoul?
The must-visit landmarks in Seoul offer a mix of historical, cultural, and modern attractions. Here are some key spots:
- Gyeongbokgung Palace – A royal palace that offers a glimpse into Korea’s history and architecture.
- Changdeokgung Palace – Known for its beautiful gardens and architectural details.
- N Seoul Tower – Located on Namsan Mountain, this tower provides panoramic views of the city.
- Bukchon Hanok Village – A traditional Korean village that offers a look into the country’s cultural heritage.
- Cheonggyecheon Stream – A modern restoration project, this stream is a peaceful escape in the city center.
- DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) – A significant historical site that separates North and South Korea.
- Myeongdong – A bustling shopping district known for its street food and cosmetics.
- Insadong – A neighborhood that showcases traditional Korean crafts, art, and tea houses.
- Lotte World Tower – The tallest building in South Korea, offering an observation deck with stunning views.
- Bongeunsa Temple – A serene temple in the midst of the city’s hustle and bustle.
- Deoksugung Palace – Known for its elegant stone-wall road, it’s a smaller palace with a mix of Korean and Western architecture.
Where can I find the best local food in Seoul?
Finding the best local food in Seoul is an adventure in itself, as the city offers a plethora of options that cater to various tastes and preferences. Here are some key spots where you can indulge in authentic Korean cuisine:
- Myeongdong – Known for its street food, you can find everything from spicy rice cakes (tteokbokki) to skewered meats.
- Insadong – A great place to experience traditional Korean tea and snacks in one of its many tea houses.
- Hongdae – Popular among the younger crowd, this area offers trendy cafes and eateries serving modern takes on Korean classics.
- Itaewon – Known for its international vibe, you can find a mix of Korean and international cuisines here.
- Gwangjang Market – One of the oldest markets in Seoul, it’s a must-visit for foodies looking to try traditional dishes like bibimbap, kimchi, and Korean pancakes (jeon).
- Jongno-gu – This district is famous for its barbecue meat places, also known as Korean BBQ.
- Gangnam – While known for its upscale dining, it also offers a variety of local dishes that cater to all budgets.
- Dongdaemun – Another great spot for street food, especially during the late-night hours.
- Samcheong-dong – This area is known for its traditional Korean restaurants, many of which are set in beautiful Hanok-style buildings.
- Namdaemun Market – A large market where you can find a variety of foods, from fresh produce to prepared meals.
- Sinchon – Known for its youthful atmosphere, you’ll find a lot of affordable Korean eateries here.
- Seoul Bamdokkaebi Night Market – Open only on weekends, this night market offers a variety of international and Korean food options.
Final Thoughts on Visiting Beautiful Places in Seoul
Seoul is a city of contrasts, where modern skyscrapers stand alongside ancient palaces, and bustling markets coexist with serene temples. It’s a city that offers a myriad of experiences, catering to all kinds of travelers. Whether you’re an adventurer looking to explore the most beautiful places in Seoul, a foodie eager to dive into the local cuisine, or a culture enthusiast wanting to soak up the city’s rich history, Seoul has something for everyone.
From the natural beauty of Bukhansan National Park to the architectural marvel that is Lotte World Tower, each destination in this list offers a unique slice of what makes Seoul such an incredible city to explore. These are not just places to visit in Seoul; they’re experiences that provide a deeper understanding of this vibrant, multifaceted city.
So, pack your bags, book a flight, and set your sights on Seoul. Whether it’s your first visit or your tenth, this city never ceases to amaze. Each visit offers something new, making Seoul a destination that you’ll want to return to time and time again.