Haeundae is Busan’s party beach. Bars and clubs line its streets, as do backpacker hostels and Western food joints. Haeundae is popular with Koreans and foreigners alike, and its sands are often the site of art or music events. On a clear day, you can spot Japan’s coast from Dalmaji Hill, and at night, the sea reflects the skyscrapers of Marine City. When you’ve had enough sun, head to Haeundae Market for fresh seafood or explore Busan’s popular Sealife Centre.
How to get there: Take line 2 on the metro to Haeundae station, exit 3 and 5.
Gwangalli is a little closer to Busan’s centre and a little less popular with foreigners, although it’s still a must-visit place for any tourist itinerary. Come at night to see Gwangan Bridge lit up (for fans of Marvel, the bridge was featured in the recent superhero movie Black Panther). Although the waves are very small, the occasional surfer does venture down here.
How to get there: Take metro line 2 either to Gwangan station (exit 5) or Geumnyeosan station (exit 3).
Songdo Beach is smaller and more geared towards day visitors. Like the other beaches, Songdo is full of swimmers in the summer, and there are plenty of restaurants and cafes around. Walk above the sea on Songdo skywalk or take a cable car ride for a stunning view over the bay (best at sunset). It has a relaxed vibe and is most popular with locals.
How to get there: From Jagalchi metro station exit 2, take bus number 17, 26 or 61 and alight at Songdo Entrance.
Dadaepo Beach is one of Busan’s hidden gems. It’s fairly far from the city centre (hence fewer visitors), but is one of the area’s most beautiful beaches. A little higher up the coast is marshland full of migratory birds (depending on the season). Dadaepo is most popular with locals in the know, and it’s a day trip kind of place; bring a picnic.
How to get there: From Busan Station, take bus number 2 or 98, or take metro line 1 to Dadaepo Beach station.
Even though it’s close to Haeundae, the smaller Songjeong beach is much less crowded. It’s popular with surfers, as Busan’s most reliable waves are to be found here. In the summer, it’s a family destination, and children paddle in the beach’s shallow water. Songjeong Beach is home to the annual Songjeong Beach Festival and the Harvest Full Moon Seaweed Festival. At the northeast side of the beach are fishing spots, and you can also go on boat trips from here.
How to get there: From Haeundae metro station exit 7, take bus 100, 139 or 142 and alight at Seongjeong.