While some travelers may think that South Korea is all dense metropolis and contentious borders, this country in East Asia is actually a spectacularly diverse destination that you shouldn't overlook. Whether you're a diehard foodie or a fan of history or you love getting into the outdoors and hiking, travel in South Korea can take whatever form you want it to. We've put together this collection of the best places to visit in South Korea to show you just how entertaining and varied this country can be. We're sure you'll add at least a few of these places to your bucketlist in no time.
Gyeongju. For a wonderful collection of historic South Korea attractions, head for the remarkable coastal city of Gyeongju. This ancient capital city of the Silla Kingdom is sometimes described as a museum without walls, which makes complete sense once you start heading from one major ancient attraction to the next. Perhaps the best known place to visit here is Bulguksa Temple, a Buddhist temple from the sixth century. Here you'll also find the Seokguram grotto and its striking statue of Buddha. Other major sights around the city include the Anapji Pond and Bomun Pavilion, the latter of which showcases the beauty of Korea in spring with its cherry blossoms.
Seoul. Was there ever any doubt that we'd recommend Seoul given that it's the national capital and one of the most popular places to visit in South Korea? This immense metropolis is loaded with attractions to see and things to experience, which explains why most visitors to the country will spend at least a little time here. In terms of sights to see, you're spoiled for choice, from cultural landmarks like the historic Gyeongbokgung Palace to the fascinating Bukchon Hanok Village. But those visiting Korea may be surprised that Seoul even has a national park, Bukhansan National Park, where travelers can go hiking and take in panoramic views of the city.
Jeju Island. By far one of the most beautiful places in Korea is Jeju Island, a dramatic volcanic island in the Korea Strait. That Jeju Island was declared one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature should give you a sense of just how impressive this destination is. The island landscape is typically the main focus of visits here, with quiet beaches, mighty cliffs, and superb mountains like Hallasan, all explorable via walking trails that circle the island. For superb views, head for Seongsan Sunrise Peak or the coast at Seopjikoji by its beach and lighthouse, where you can have the best views of the peak itself.