Cities to Visit in Korea During Winter

Korea has long been a conflicted country, but that hasn’t stopped those that live in the southern part of the country from being hospitable to anyone that visits.  The history and culture of Korea is quite appealing, but not as interesting as the views of the gorgeous landscapes and the unique experiences.

Over in Korea, the locals all speak Korean, as it is the official language of the country.  You may hear a couple other languages during your visit, and a few people will speak limited English.  It is important that you know at least a little Korean before you travel to this country, because you may not meet English speaking locals right away.  Therefore, it’s important to learn to speak Korean before you go. Trust us, it can help you out in many different situations during your visit.

Best Cities to Visit in Korea During Winter

Pyeongchang

As you probably know, Pyeongchang hosted the latest round of the Winter Olympics.  That means that this is probably the best of the cities to visit in Korea during winter!  There are ski resorts on the Taeback Mountains, so you can do a little skiing when you are not exploring the Olympic sites.  When you are done with the snow and the cold, take a little time to visit the Buddhist temples, explore Baegnyong Cave, and walk through the Pyeongchang Freshwater Fish Musuem.

pyeongchang odaesan waljeongsa
pyeongchang
pyeongchang nordic skier

Jeju City

Jeju City can be found out on Jeju Island, and while it is amazing to visit during the winter, it has a more moderate climate than many other places in the country.  During the winter months in Jeju City, you can walk through a twenty-hectare arboretum over on Camellia Hill.  The arboretum is filled with at least six thousand camellia trees that choose to blossom during the winter months.  Once you have enjoyed the fragrant trees, you can explore lava caves, learn how Korean tea is made, and walk along any of the beaches before returning to the mainland.

Jeju City Seogwipo
Walkway for hiking at Jeju island.
jeju-city-island

Busan

Busan is a fascinating city during the winter months and there is plenty to keep you busy from the moment you arrive.  First, if you plan your trip accordingly, you can participate in the Christmas Tree Festival.  This festival is held throughout the city in three different zones and each one has its own theme.  The festival goes for forty days and includes daily entertainment and the massive Christmas tree in the center of the city.  Other must-do activities while in Busan include ice skating at the Shinsegae Department Store, skiing, and spending time at the Orykdo Skywalk.

busan-city
Nurimaru observatory in dongbaekseom island
Haedong Yonggungsa Temple and Haeundae Sea in Busan

Hongcheon

Hongcheon is where you will find the most popular ski resort in the entire country.  This ski resort is Vivaldi Park Ski World and you can spend days skiing there and not even go down all the slopes.  Hongcheon is also the city where the Hongcheon Winter Festival takes place.  This ice fishing festival has grown in popularity over the years and is held during the month of January.  While the main focus is ice fishing, you can also do a little ice-sledding and see the ice sculpture exhibits.  One of the best parts of the festival though is making your own hand warmers!

If you arrive before the snow starts falling and the leaves are just starting to change, then the Hongcheon Gingko Forest should be #1 on your list of places to visit. The golden yellow leaves are the Korean equivalent of Japanese cherry blossoms.

vivaldi-park-ski-hongcheon
hongcheon-snowboard
hongcheon-gingko-forest

Yongin

While there are a few things to do in Yongin during the winter months, it is the Everland Theme Park that is going to entice you the most.  This theme park holds two special events during the winter, and they are Winter Wonderland and Snow Festival.  The former is held in the months of November and December, while the latter is during the months of January and February.  All the rides are supposed to be open for these special events, but that can change depending on the weather.  Therefore, it is always best to plan your trip accordingly and make the best of it if the weather does not happen to cooperate.  Thankfully, there are many other things to do at Everland if some of the rides are closed.

If weather permits, be sure to check out the snow tubing at Everland Resort. Regardless of weather, the Golden Buddha at Wawoo Temple is a must see in Yongin.

YONGIN CITY, KOREA -Everland Resort
Golden buddha statue and pond in Wawoo Temple, Korea

Seoul

As a larger city, it shouldn’t be surprising that Seoul has plenty of things to do during the winter months.  Your days can be spent ice skating at Seoul Plaza, seeing the LED flowers inside the garden right outside Dongdaemun Design Plaza, and taking a pedicab through the Bukchon area of the city.  Add in all the indoor attractions and you could spend days exploring this one location in the country.

Seoul, South Korea at the Bukchon Hanok historic district.
Seoul City, South Korea

These are the best cities to visit in Korea during winter and they are all packed with winter activities.  Of course, the one, or ones, that you choose to visit will be dependent on what you want to do when you are visiting this part of the world. Korea is a popular destination for travelers the world over, with amazing urban landscapes, cultural rural escapes, sensational k-pop concerts, and exquisite cuisine. If Korea is on your list of top places to visit any time of year be sure to look at our selection of Korean language resources to make the most of your trip.