Top Things to See and Do in Seoul, South Korea

Itaewon is a diverse and vibrant neighbourhood in Seoul
Itaewon is a diverse and vibrant neighbourhood in Seoul | © Nokuro / Alamy Stock Photo
Naintara Gurung

Seoul is a city of modern skyscrapers, pop culture and bustling markets brimming with independent shops. Here’s our take on the 10 best places to visit in the intriguing and lively capital of South Korea.

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Palace

Gyeongbokgung Palace was the main royal palace of the Joseon Dynasty, located in northern Seoul. It is one of the grandest structures in the city and is a fine representation of Korean architecture. Commonly referred to as the Northern Palace, it houses a pavilion located on an artificial island in the middle of a beautiful lake with three stone bridges spread across the palace grounds.

Building

If you’re eager to catch a glimpse of Seoul’s skyline, take a trip to N Seoul Tower, which also offers a breathtaking panorama of light shows. The multimedia projections and the amazing view of the Hangang River make the N Seoul Tower a popular place for a romantic night out.

Market

Officially the largest traditional market in Korea, Namdaemun Market houses more than 10,000 stores. Offering daily essentials and local products, this market is a vivid exhibition of wholesale goods from traditional oriental medicine to cheap Korean snacks.

Museum

A unique place to visit, the Korea Furniture Museum is ideal for history buffs who will fall in love with the museum’s antique collection of wooden furnishings. Many global curators love to visit this museum, and visitors can book a one-hour guided tour.

Archeological site

A trip to Bukchon Hanok provides a cultural experience ideal for travellers who want to delve deeper into Korea’s history. This ancient village preserves a 600-year-old urban settlement giving visitors a rich insight into Joseon Dynasty traditions. Located north of the Cheonggye Stream, the village is home to the Bukhchon Traditional Culture Center and houses many venerable homes with Korean-style architecture.

Restaurant, Korean, $$$

For those wishing to sample the best Korean barbecue food, a visit to the Maple Tree restaurant is a must. The restaurant is well-renowned for serving high-quality meat in a spacious setting that is decked with polished brass tables and modern interiors.

Homestay

This thriving complex offers a Temple Stay Program which allows tourists to understand Buddhist customs, participate in intellectual discussions with the monks and enjoy a tea ceremony held every afternoon. The temple is famous for holding the Jeongdaebulsa every September where the monks recite the Beopseongge from heavily inscribed scriptures.

Tea, Room, Tea $$

This traditional tea house welcomes visitors from around the world to taste one of Korea’s most revered customs. Serving traditional delicacies such as bamboo rice cakes with a soothing cup of their herbal tea, this is a wonderful place to experience Korean culture.

Market, Seafood

The Noryangjin Fish Wholesale Market is where you can savor seaside delicacies sold on hundreds of stalls here. This is Seoul’s oldest and biggest indoor fish market, with more than 700 vendors each selling the catch of the day. Get here early to enjoy the excitement of this bustling warehouse and you can participate in the seafood auction that takes place as the sun rises.

Park

This national park is a hiker’s paradise located in the metropolitan area of Seoul. It is a place that is rich in biodiversity; once you step inside the park you’ll come across granite peaks and scenic views of the Triangle Mountain, home to more than 1,300 species of flora and fauna.

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

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