Summer in South Korea is a time that many people love, and that many others hate.
The biggest reason for this is simply that summer in Korea is often very hot. Although temperatures usually sit around 35 degrees celsius, it can get as hot as 40!
With the higher temperatures and sun, a lot of unique activities take place in the summer. No matter where you are in Korea, there is a festival or event that you can take part in.
In this list, I am going to be looking at the best activities in korea during summer. From visiting the stunning beaches of Korea to attending water festivals, this is a list of the best summer activities in Korea.
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1. Head to the beach!
Hajodae Beach in Yangyang.
Korea is famous for its modern technology, amazing cities, and skyscrapers. However, what many people don’t know, or don’t consider, is that Korea also has stunning nature.
For this reason, one of the best summer activities in Korea is to escape the cities and get into nature. What better way to do this than to visit the beach and cool off?
Although the peninsula has many great beaches along its coasts, the east coast is the most famous for beaches.
The beaches are beautiful. With their white sand, expansive views, and cooling waters. Even if you can easily visit the beach at your home, I recommend visiting the beach as one of the best summer activities in Korea.
From Seoul, the east-coast beaches can be accessed in a bit over an hour. Two of the most popular locations are Sokcho and Yangyang. Although both of these locations offer fantastic beaches, I would recommend Yangyang.
Not only is the area great for beach activities, but there is a whole host of unique cafes and accommodation that will provide you with lots to experience once the sun goes down (or under the sun!).
There are also many other beaches located along the peninsula. However, for those in Seoul, the east coast provides the closest white-sand beaches.
If you are on the west coast, consider checking out Muchangpo – another fantastic beach, albeit one that is a lot less touristy.
2. Climb a Mountain
Mountains in Korea provide a unique experience and are a great summer activity!
Korea is a country that has a TON of mountains. Nearly every city has its own representative mountain, and that’s not to mention Seoul which has quite a few – Bukhansan, Namsan and Naksan to name only a few.
Mountains in Korea are stunning and for that reason, they are one of the must-do summer activities in Korea. While you are in Korea, make sure that you get the chance to visit at least one mountain!
Although mountains can be experienced in any season, summer is a good time to visit as the fine dust is minimal in this season. Although this may not seem like a big deal, trust me, it will make the views far better!
If you are staying in Seoul, there are a lot of local mountains. Bukhansan is the largest and provides some of the best views in the city.
Other, smaller, mountains are also located around the city. Eungbongsan, Namsan, Naksan, and Inwangsan are all great choices. Really, you can’t make a wrong choice when it comes to climbing a mountain in Korea.
If you want a longer but more rewarding climb, consider taking a day trip to visit a mountain. There are many mountains that can be visited within a few hours from Seoul.
If you want to make the most of summer in Korea, why not stay a few days on the north-east coast (around Sokcho) and climb Seoraksan one day, before proceeding the spend the next day at the beach?
3. Attend a Summer Festival
Boryeong Mud Festival is one of the most popular summer festivals in Korea.
Summer is no different, and many festivals will be taking place over the summer. If you aren’t a nature-lover, don’t worry! There are also many music festivals and even massive water fights!
Summer festivals will take place all over the country and you can find at least a few no matter where you are in the country. Although many of the more popular festivals are located in the cities, there are also many that take place in the country.
One of the most popular and well-known festivals is the Boryeong Mud Festival. This festival takes place on the west coast of Korea in mid to late July. As you may be able to guess, the festival revolves around mud!
If mud isn’t your thing, then what about taking part in massive water fights or even joining a water festival? You are sure to keep cool in the summer heat at these festivals!
There are also many more cultural festivals that take place during the warmer months. Some of the most popular are music festivals such as the Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival, and the Busan Film Festival.
Throughout the summer months there will also be smaller festivals taking place. For example, the Han River will host a multitude of festivals that take place over the three months of summer.
If you don’t have the time or energy to attend one of these big festivals, I would recommend visiting the Han River and seeing the festivals there. It’s one of the best summer activities in Korea!
4. Enjoy the Han River
The Han River at dusk.
The Han River is in many ways the heart of Seoul. It flows right through the center of the capital and brings happiness to the citizens within the city.
Summer is perhaps the best time of the year to visit the Han River. Not only because of the festivals that take place along the river, but also because in summer there are many other activities that can be enjoyed.
If you are looking to get some exercise in, walking or biking along the Han River is a wonderful experience. Bikes can be hired for less than $1 per hour, and paths follow the river throughout the whole city.
If exercise doesn’t sound like your thing, then why not do the opposite and enjoy a picnic at some of the popular picnicking locations along the Han River? The best part about picnics in Korea is that you can order food right to you! Even fried chicken and beer.
In summer many markets and other activities will begin to appear on the banks of the river. These usually take place in the evening and make for a fun way to enjoy a few hours.
Personally, one of my favourite ways to enjoy the Han river is to take a cruise. Cruises along the Han River can be found quite affordably and they make for a fantastic way to enjoy the river. Cruising along the Han is one of my personal favourite summer activities in Korea.
5. Island Hopping
Beaches on Udo.
The southern coast of Korea consists of many different islands that all provide their own wonders. The most popular of the islands is Jeju, however, there are many more that most people never get the chance to visit!
Jindo is another large island and perhaps the second most popular island behind Jeju. Although Jeju tends to get most of the credit (and is definitely more tourist-focused) Jindo is also a wonderful island to visit.
My favourite island to visit in summer is Udo, an island off the coast of Jeju Island. The island is rather small, and can be explored (by bike or scooter) in one afternoon.
When I visited Udo for the first time I fell in love. Even though I visited in winter, people were still swimming! In summer, however, I can imagine that the island would be even more pleasant.
Bikes, scooters, and other forms of transport can be hired to explore the island. If you don’t feel like using these methods, there is also a bus that can be taken. In fact, you can even walk between many of the attractions.
Not only is the island a lot of fun to explore, but the beaches are stunning and the food is good! The island is famous for its peanut ice cream and also for its black pork burgers. If you get the chance to visit, make sure to leave some time to eat!
No matter what island you visit in Korea, you will have a great time. In summer, the beaches and water can be enjoyed and for this reason it’s one of the best summer activities.
6. Theme Parks
Lotte World Theme Park at night.
If you are travelling in Korea as a family, this is one of the best options for a day of entertainment. Even if you are travelling as a smaller group, or alone, visiting the theme parks of Korea can be a great summer activity.
Everland is often known as being the best theme park in Korea and usually this is the case. However, in summer I actually prefer Lotte World. This is due to the fact that Lotte World has both an indoor and outdoor area.
Although most of the bigger rides are outside, it’s nice to be able to escape the heat when you need to. Further, there are even many good rollercoasters and activities inside!
If you are looking for a cooler day, consider visiting one of the water parks of Korea. These parks are located all over the country and they offer all manners of summer activities.
If you would prefer to just swim, you can do so! However, if you are feeling more adventurous you can also try out some of the massive water slides or even the tube rides and other water-based rides.
Ocean World is my favourite water park and is accessible by bus from Seoul. The bus ride takes around an hour and a half, and it’s worth leaving early to make sure you get in before the crowds arrive.
There are also many smaller water parks located around the country. While these won’t offer the same activities as the bigger parks, they are often much more accessible as they are located in the hearts of cities around Korea.
7. Explore the Parks of Korea
Seoul Forest at summertime!
Whether you are based in Seoul, Busan, Jeju, or anywhere else, Korea has a lot of fantastic parks and they often host events making them a great summer activity.
In seoul, there are many fantastic parks. Some of the most popular are Seoul Forest, World Cup Stadium, and Olympic Park. All of them are very big and have their own attractions.
If you are looking for somewhere that is child-friendly, then Seoul Forest is a great idea as it also has playgrounds and other activities located around the park.
If you are more interested in taking some photos for Instagram, World Cup Stadium is fantastic. This is the home of the famous silver-grass garden, Haneul Park.
On the other hand, if you are more interested in views, then why not check out the gardens on the mountain sides of Seoul? Namsan and Naksan both have fantastic gardens that really come alive in summer.
Every city around Korea has gardens that are worth visiting, and it’s something that Korea does very well. Unfortunately, I haven’t written about them all on this blog yet.
However, I have covered parks in Incheon. If you are there for a while, check out some of the best parks in Incheon.
8. Take a Day Trip
Naksansa, a popular day trip location from Seoul.
If you are staying in one of the bigger cities of Korea, make sure that you don’t stay there for your whole trip. There is so much that Korea has to offer outside of Seoul and Busan, and the easiest way to experience these gems is through day trips.
Day trips are rather broad, as you can find hundreds, if not thousands, of different options. There are really so many different choices! If you are interested in browsing them, check out Klook or Trazy.
Although the cities have a lot to offer (you could spend months or years in them alone!), there is so much more that Korea has to offer. Although traveling often brings time restrictions, it’s sad that many people never get to leave the big cities.
9. Enjoy Korea’s Summer Foods
Bibim guksu, a tasty summer dish!
In between all of the summer activities on this list, you’re sure to need some time to rest and relax. In these times, why not make the most of summer and enjoy some of the unique summer cuisine in Korea?
Korea has many foods that are either unique to, or better in summer. Not only desserts, but also meal food!
The most famous summer food in Korea is naengmyeon, a type of noodle that is served cold. There are many different types of these cold noodles, and they can be both spicy or not.
They are a fantastic way to cool yourself down during summer and are delicious and healthy at the same time!
You will be able to find naengmyeon all over Korea during summer and you shouldn’t have any difficulty finding it. There will be many restaurants specialising in it, and most Korean restaurants will also serve it.
There are also some unique dessert foods that are best enjoyed in summer. The most famous of which is bingsu.
Bingsu is a mix of ice-flakes and toppings which is typically served in a big bowl intended to be shared. Usually, two or three people are expected to eat from the same bowl.
The toppings can vary a lot depending on the season, but they range from seasonal fruits to cheesecake, browny, green tea, and more. There are a ton of different flavours to try!
10. Experience the Cafe Culture
Korea has a big cafe culture! These drinks were at Cafe Seoulism.
The cafe culture in Korea is very strong, and something that has been becoming more and more apparent every year.
When you think about coffee and cafes, Korea probably isn’t the first place that you think of. However, once you experience a few cafes in Korea you will quickly realise that there is a very strong and popular culture here surrounding cafes.
Seoul has the most Starbucks per capita in the world, and it isn’t just Starbucks that it has a lot of!
All throughout the country you will find all manner of different cafes. From cat cafes, to board game cafes, all the way to video game cafes and flower cafes. You can really enjoy coffee in any kind of environment in Korea!
While coffee isn’t the main focus of many of these cafes, they are loved because of their atmosphere. There aren’t many cafes around the world where you can enjoy coffee while looking over the city, or where you can sip on coffee while playing some video games.
If you haven’t already experienced the cafe culture of Korea, make sure to check it out while you are in the country. It’s a great way to escape the summer heat for a while, and this makes it a great summer activity.
Summer Activities in Korea
There are a lot of activities that can be enjoyed in Korea during the summer months of June – August. It’s one of the best times to enjoy the country’s outdoor activities, and at the same time, one of the best times to enjoy all of the indoor activities that Korea offers.
Although I included my favourite summer activities on this list, it’s far from exhaustive. What are your favourite Korean summer activities? I would love to hear them and add them to this list!
When Is Summer in Korea?
Summer in Korea technically runs from June until the end of August. However, the warmer weather lasts for longer than that, and the warmer months last from May-September.
What Is the Weather Like in Summer?
Summer in Korea brings very hot weather. Often, the temperature won’t go below 25 degrees celsius – even at midnight. Daytime temperatures can rise as high as 40 degrees.
There is also a rainy season that occurs in July, and this brings heavy rain with it. If you are visiting in July, make sure to bring a good raincoat and umbrella.
What Is the Best Season to Visit Korea?
There is no single best season to visit South Korea. However, everyone will have their preferred season to visit.
If you don’t like extreme temperatures then consider avoiding the summer and winter months.
Spring and fall are both fantastic seasons to visit and it depends upon what you want to see while you are in Korea. If you want to see cherry blossoms, then spring is the best time to visit.