Korea has four very distinct seasons. From summers that reach over 40 degrees to winters that can drop below -10 (Celsius). This means that every season has different activities, and what you will do on a summer trip to Korea is quite different from what you might do on a trip during winter in Korea.
Despite the chilling temperatures, winter is a great time to visit South Korea. There are so many unique winter activities that can only be experienced during this season. Further, many people will prefer the -10 degree temperatures to the extreme heat that summer brings.
I wanted to create this article to discuss everything that you need to know about winter in Korea. From the best winter activities to partake in, to the weather that you can expect, and more. This article contains everything that you need to know to make the most of winter in South Korea.
With that being said, let’s get started with the essential information that you need to know. Let’s check out an infographic!
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Winter in Korea Infographic
Winter Weather in Korea
The weather in winter generally ranges between -10 and 0, but can at times reach extremes as low as -20 and as high as 10 degrees celsius. Winter in Korea is very dry, and this can make it feel even colder.
Snow is rare, and usually, Korea will only snow three or four times per year. The first snowfall usually occurs in late November/December and snow can occur through winter until February. However, snow is an unusual sight on the peninsula and you will be lucky if you see it.
With that being said, Seoul is generally the city that attracts the most snow. Seoul tends to be colder than most other South Korean cities and it often receives the heaviest snowfall. Coastal cities such as Busan and Jeju tend to have more mild temperatures.
Although you can see snow, it’s generally uncommon to see heavy snowfall.
The coldest months are generally January/February, while December and March are a bit warmer. Due to this, most Korean winter festivals will take place during January and February as these months are the coldest.
An important winter weather factor to consider is the fine dust – something that makes an appearance in winter. The winter months are some of the worst for air pollution in Seoul and it is highly advisable that you consider purchasing a fine dust mask either before or once you arrive.
Clothes to Wear During Winter in Korea
Winter is a cold period in Korea and it’s important to come prepared! Make sure that you have a warm jacket as well as some warm layers to go underneath.
- You will want to have a heavy jacket. Jackets such as this one for men and this one for women work great!
- Warm underclothes are essential! On the very cold days, you might want to wear more than one layer – or if you decide to go skiing or snowboarding. Thermal layers (for men) are a great option to stay warm.
- Something that we often forget about is our feet! Remember to look after your feet by wearing some thick socks and warm shoes!
- Some warm headgear will make your life much more comfortable. You can either go the whole way or just cover your ears.
- Finally, a pair of gloves will help a LOT! Any warm gloves will work, woollen or fleece.
Best Winter Activities in Korea
With the very cold weather, it can be hard to decide what to do during winter in Korea.
If you are looking for activities to do this winter in Korea, then you have come to the right place. This list is updated regularly and has (what I have found to be) some of the best and most unique winter activities in the country.
If you have any questions or think something should be added to the list, I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment and I’ll reply as soon as I can. With that being said, let’s get the list started!
If you are looking to stay warm inside this winter then these are the activities for you! Not only can you stay warm, but you can also experience what Korean culture has to offer!
Traditional Tea House
Korea has a rich coffee culture, however, it is also famous for its tea culture! One of the most unique cultural experiences that you can have in Korea is to witness a tea ceremony firsthand.
Many tea houses in the country provide handmade teas with an assortment of different traditional snacks. Tea houses are one of the few ways that visitors to Korea can taste handmade hangwa!
The tea houses also provide a very special and calming atmosphere. It’s hard to describe in words, but visiting a tea house in Korea is a unique experience that you will remember for a long time to come.
Learn More: Best Tea Houses in Seoul
Book Now: Traditional Korean Tea Ceremony
Dragon Hill Sauna. Image from Klook.
If you are looking to get really warm this winter, then make sure to check out the saunas in Korea!
Korean saunas are famous these days for everything that they have to offer. From the basics such as hot tubs, sauna rooms and beds (yes! You can stay the night at saunas) to the more unusual rooms such as TV rooms, restaurant rooms and even PC bangs (essentially the same as an internet cafe).
Not only is a sauna a great way to warm yourself in winter, but it is also a fantastic way to experience a key part of Korean culture.
Visiting a Korean sauna can be a little daunting the first time, however. If you feel this way, then check out this fantastic guide on Sauna etiquette and customs.
Learn More: How to Visit a Korean Bathhouse
Visit a Market and Eat
Gwangjang Market Food Street!
While most Korean markets are outdoors, there are also a few that are covered. Gwangjang is the best example of a covered market!
At Gwangjang you can experience hundreds of different Korean dishes while also staying warm. Whatever the weather outside, Gwangjang will keep you out of the cold and fill you up at the same time!
The food street at Gwangjang is especially famous as one of the best food-hotspots in Seoul. You can truly experience any Korean food you can imagine here! For this reason, it’s a must-visit during winter in Korea.
If you want to learn more about Gwangjang then check out this post showing why it is the best market in Seoul!
Learn More: Why Gwangjang Market is Seoul’s Best Market
Book Now: Gwangjang Food Tour
Make the Most of the Cold
On the other hand, what if you are someone who would prefer to make the most of winter? After all, the snow is only around for one season! You may as well make the most of it while it’s here.
If you enjoy skiing or snowboarding then you are in luck. Korea has some great slopes for beginners and more advanced users alike. Not only this, but some of the slopes are easily (and quickly) reachable from Seoul!
Elysian Gangchon Ski Resort is generally considered the best ski field for beginners. It is also a fantastic place to take lessons if needed! For the experts, there are other ski fields such as Yongpyong Ski Resort.
Another unique experience in Korea is to ski under the stars, something with Vivaldi Park is famous for!
The best bit is that relative to many other countries, skiing and snowboarding are relatively cheap in Korea. For around $60 you can enjoy a day of winter sports including equipment rental! Therefore, if you’re feeling adventurous, visiting a ski resort is one of the best winter activities in Korea.
Learn More: Guide to Skiing in Korea
Ice-skating is another fantastic way to enjoy the winter weather! While ice-skating can be enjoyed all year round at indoor venues such as Lotte World, winter also brings a few outdoor rinks to Korea.
There are a ton of different rinks available across the city. With prices ranging from 1000KRW (less than $1!) to more than $20, there is something for everyone.
However, if you want to be enjoying skating outdoors, then there are a few rinks which open in the winter months. The most famous of these is the Seoul Plaza Ice Rink. The rink normally opens from mid-December until Mid February.
If you are interested in lessons then they are also available. Just make sure to book in advance on their website!
Learn More: Best Ice-Skating Rinks in Seoul
Sledding at Children’s Grand Park. From Seoul.go.kr
Sledding is another fantastic winter activity and something that Children, in particular, tend to love (although, who doesn’t love sledding?). Seoul has a few great sledding slopes scattered around the city!
Seoul Land is an outdoor theme park located about 40 minutes from Dongdaemun/Myeongdong. In winter, sledding courses are open and everyone can enjoy them!
If you would prefer to go somewhere inside the city, then the Ttukseom sledding slope is fantastic. For only 6000KRW you can enjoy this slope on the banks of the Han River.
Other sledding slopes pop up around the city every winter, so make sure to keep an eye out and you may be able to find even more. If you’re travelling with children, sledding is easily one of the best activities during winter in Korea!
Learn More: Sledding in Seoul
Visit the Palaces
The palaces are fantastic to visit anytime, but especially in winter!
Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung take on a unique appearance in winter and visiting them is like visiting a totally place compared to visiting them in the warmer months!
It can be a bit chilly outside though, so remember to bring warm clothes. Even better, you could hire hanbok and get free entry to the palaces! Just make sure to wear some warm clothes underneath.
The best time to visit the palaces is on a day that it has snowed or will snow. This way, you can see the palaces covered in snow – a sight that is truly breathtaking. If you are wearing Hanbok (or even if you aren’t), this can make for a fantastic photo opportunity!
While the most famous palaces are in Seoul, there is a range of palaces and other ancient buildings such as temples located around the peninsula. If you want to take some stunning photos while learning about the culture, visiting the palaces is a great winter activity.
Learn More: Gyeongbokgung Palace
Korea has a large variety of different festivals that take place in the wintertime. While a lot of these are located within a day trip of Seoul, some of them are located in Seoul itself! These winter activities can only be done in the cold months, so make the most of them while it’s winter in Korea.
Seongbuk European Christmas Market
Image from Seoul.go.kr
This event usually takes place in the early stages of winter in the first or second weekend of December. The event is held near Hansung University Station (Line 4/light blue line) in Seoul and houses lots of different European foods and traditions.
The event takes place at the end of Seongbuk Stream and it makes for a nice venue. The market itself is quite small but also very homely – you will find a lot of foreigners and Koreans alike and it’s easy to meet new people at the event.
If you are European and want to have a taste of home, or if you are wanting to try some foreign food and drinks, then this market is a must-visit during the early weeks of winter in Seoul.
Learn More: Seongbuk European Christmas Market
Book Now: Entry is free!
DDP Winter Light Festival
DDP is one of the most visited landmarks in Seoul, and in winter it’s an even better place to visit! From mid-December until early January a winter light festival is held at the Design Plaza.
The festival is all about… You guessed it, light! There are a variety of different artworks done with lights as well as some media to watch discussing light and what it means. The festival is easy to reach and something cool to check out while you are in Dongdaemun.
Learn More: Dongdaemun Winter Light Festival
Book Now: Entry is free!
If you are a fan of Korean music then winter is one of the best times to visit Seoul. Throughout Christmas and New Year many different artists perform at different venues across the city.
Every year the line-up and details will change, so for that reason, I won’t list any specifics here. However, you can find a list of upcoming events (including a lot of different concerts) on Google’s upcoming events feature.
Christmas is a great time to view different singers and groups and you are sure to find a line-up that interests you. If you are visiting from the 20th of December to the 1st of January then make sure to check out who’s playing!
Learn More: Kpop and Kdrama Events in Seoul
Book Now: Kpop Concerts in Seoul
Garden of the Morning Calm Lighting Festival
The Garden of the Morning Calm is another popular winter location due to its famous lighting festival which takes place from December to March.
The garden itself is a beautiful place located just over an hour outside of Seoul. In winter, the garden is filled with LED lights that turn on when it gets dark. They are quite a sight to behold!
Korea doesn’t have many Christmas lights, and while these may not be Christmas lights, they sure feel like it! If you aren’t quite feeling the holiday season just yet, then the Garden of the Morning Calm Lighting Festival might be just what you need.
On top of this, Garden of the Morning Calm provides stunning photos opportunities. While the image above is stunning, it barely does the garden justice! Therefore, if you’re looking for some beautiful photos, make sure to check out this festival during winter in Korea.
Learn More: Garden of Morning Calm
Although Nami Island doesn’t have a winter festival, I included this just under the lighting festival as they can both be done on the same day – in fact, they can both be done during the same tour!
Nami Island is a famous Island located about an hour and a half outside of Seoul. The island is famous for its photo ‘path’ which you can find all over the internet. In summer, the trees are a stunning green. In fall, they turn colourful and leaves fall all around you.
In winter, you can see the trees and path covered in snow. This is definitely one of the most iconic Korean travel photo locations and it’s a great spot to visit considering how near it is to the city.
Learn More: Nami Island
Gyeongpodae Sunrise Festival
A truly special way to begin the new year is to watch the first sunrise. What better place to watch the sunrise than at the beach? This is a winter activity in Korea that you will never forget.
The Gyeongpodae Sunrise festival is one of the most beautiful ways to usher in the new year and to begin it on a positive note. People from all over Korea flock to the beaches for New Year to see the sunrise.
Gyeongpodae isn’t the only beach where you can watch the sunrise, however. You can also witness this spectacular scene at Jeongdongjin, Homigot and a few other beaches around the peninsula.
Find a beach that suits you and begin the next year on a positive note! Even if you miss the New Year festival, viewing a sunrise is an amazing activity during winter in Korea.
Learn More: New Years Sunrise Festivals in Korea
Taebaeksan Mountain Snow Festival
Hiking Taebaksan is also a fantastic experience!
The Taebaeksan Snow Festival takes place at Taebaek Mountain, located around three hours away from Seoul. The festival is a great place to experience winter activities and it also has a fantastic snow sculpture park!
The sculpture park has tens of different ice sculptures that are crafted with extreme attention to detail and they are quite amazing in size!
On top of this, there are also a lot of activities for children and sledding paths are available. This festival is best visited as a family, but it can be enjoyed by anyone who loves snow and doesn’t mind dressing up warmly!
Learn More: Taebaeksan Snow Festival
Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival
Hwacheon Sancheoneo is another ice festival in Korea, however, the attractions at this festival are quite different from Taebaksan!
You can find virtually any winter activity at Hwacheon, from sledding, ice-skating and more. It’s a fantastic way to spend a day or two of your winter and I think that this is one of, if not the best, winter festivals in Korea.
However, the main attraction of the event is bare-handed trout fishing. Visitors have the choice of either fishing with a fishing line through holes in the ice or of catching the fish barehanded in a large pool. What you pick is up to you!
Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival is located about two hours outside of Seoul and can easily be reached with a day-tour from the city. Make sure to check out this unique festival if you are visiting Korea in winter!
Learn More: Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival
Pyeongchang Trout Festival
If catching fish (or eating them!) sounds like something you would enjoy, then consider visiting the Pyeongchang Trout Festival, another great festival located just a few hours outside of Seoul.
Pyeongchang is most famous for holding the previous Winter Olympics, however, there is a lot more to it than just that. 2019 was the 12th year of the Trout Festival.
Similar to the Hwacheon Ice Festival, the Trout Festival also gives you a variety of winter activities but it is best known for its fishing. Visitors can choose to fish in a pool or through the ice, barehanded or with a fishing line.
The best part, however, is that chefs are on hand to cook what you catch! There are even different cooking methods available depending on how you want your fish.
Prizes are given away in fishing competitions and that makes this event a ton of fun for everyone!
Learn More: Pyeongchang Trout Festival
Seoul has a very famous coffee culture, and it’s something that may seem kind of weird at first. However, once you get to experience it, it’s hard not to love it! While these cafes can be visited year-round, they are ideal during winter in Korea as they provide a respite from the bitter cold.
Meerkat & Friends
The meerkats are very friendly and inquisitive.
Meerkat & Friends is a unique little cafe located in Hongdae. The cafe is one of the most famous in Korea due to a large media presence. You can probably already guess what animal it is famous for housing.
However, it is home to many more animals than just meerkats. You can also find wallabies, raccoons, and arctic foxes here! And those are just a few of the animals.
Entry costs depend on time. Usually, they are between 10,000KRW and 14,000KRW per person – this allows you entry to the cafe and includes all of the animal encounters.
Be careful, however, as children under 14 are not allowed to enter the cafe. This is in order to try and protect the animals from possibly rough interactions.
If you want to learn more about Meerkat & Friends then check out this post.
Learn More: Meerkat & Friends
Flower Cafe Jeffrey
The drinks at Cafe Jeffrey are amazing!
Jeffrey Flower Cafe is a stunning cafe located in Hyehwa in the north of Seoul. This cafe is most notably known for its beautiful atmosphere and for being a great date location. However, those aren’t even the best reasons to visit the cafe!
The cafe also offers ah-may-zing drinks! Some of the most unique and tasty drinks I have ever seen in my life are served at this cafe. The menu is massive and it’s really hard to pick only a single drink.
Past the drinks, however, the cafe also has a lot to offer. The atmosphere of the cafe is very calming and it makes for a great place to relax and forget about your problems.
Learn More: Cafe Jeffrey
Board Game Cafes
Boardgame cafes are a great way to spend spare time in Korea!
Boardgame cafes are located all over Seoul and other major cities. Recently, they have become one of the most popular types of cafes. While I can’t recommend any single board game cafe, in particular, they are generally all quite similar.
These cafes offer an insane variety of games. Normally a single cafe will have (easily) over 100 different games – from card games such as Uno to strategy board games such as Settlers of Catan to speed-based/luck games such as Penguins on Ice and Jenga.
Usually, you are expected to pay per hour in these cafes, and this price often includes a hot (or cold) drink. The prices begin at around 8000KRW per hour.
The only downside to these cafes is that generally they have limited copies of games. For example, popular games such as Jenga might have 5 sets, however, other games might only have a copy or two. Sometimes you will find yourself having to wait for another group to finish playing a board game before you can.
If you’re looking to stay comfy indoors during winter in Korea, board game cafes are an ideal activity!
Learn More: Board Game Cafes
Animal cafes, board game cafes, flower cafes… What type of cafe doesn’t Korea have? Considering the recent trend in VR cafes, I have come to believe that any kind of cafe imaginable can be found in Korea. Especially in Seoul!
VR cafes are generally less of a cafe and more video-game heaven. I have visited two VR cafes, one at Sungshin Women’s University Station and one in Gangnam. Both of these cafes offered a large variety of different games and VR platforms.
PSVR, Oculus, HTC Vive, and more are available to play and you can play games from many different genres. If you are looking to try out some virtual reality, then these cafes are a great place to play without the investment to make a home setup. Make sure to check out these unique cafes during winter in Korea!
Learn More: Seoul VR Cafe
Book cafes might sound a bit cliched – after all, you can take a book to any cafe and make it a book cafe! However, books are heavy to carry and oftentimes it’s hard to bring more than one or two on a trip.
If this is your situation, then why not visit a book cafe? They offer thousands of different books and some comfortable places to read them!
While most cafes will have primarily Korean books, every cafe has at least a few English books. On top of books, they usually also offer comics and magazines.
When it’s cold and wet outside, a book cafe is a fantastic way to spend a few hours in a comfy place with a book and some coffee.
Learn More: There are many book cafes within Seoul, and this post covers some of them.
Akdong Healing Cafe is the best cafe in Seoul to experience raccoons!
Another popular type of cafe that Seoul offers is raccoon cafes. A few of these are located around the city, and Blind Alley tends to be the most famous cafe.
I have found that Akdong Healing Cafe is a more enjoyable cafe. While Blind Alley focuses more on the food and drink, Akdong focuses more on animal experiences.
Similar to Meerkat & Friends, Akdong Healing Cafe is also home to a variety of other animals. From meerkats to arctic foxes, corgis to coatis, and snakes to lizards, this cafe is essentially an indoor zoo.
The cafe is also located in Hongdae and is a short walk from Hong-Ik (Hongdae) Station. It’s also less crowded than Meerkat & Friends and this is the reason why I generally recommend it over the former.
Learn More: Akdong Raccoon Cafe
Cafe Seoulism provides one of the best views in Seoul.
Okay, this one might not be the best to visit in winter. However, if you are looking for the best views in Seoul then I don’t know of any cafe that beats Seoulism.
This cafe became famous for its Instagram ‘SEOUL’ sign which sits on the roof of the cafe – right in front of a stunning view of the Seoul skyline and Lotte Tower.
While the cold might make it hard to enjoy the view, the interior of the cafe is also very unique. There is a rustic vibe and even the interior alone makes it one of the more iconic cafes in Seoul.
Drinks cost around 10,000KRW. While this is a bit expensive for drinks, you aren’t really paying for the drink alone – you are also paying for the view. During winter in Korea, make sure to check the fine dust levels before planning a visit to Cafe Seoulism!
Learn More: Seoulism Cafe
While the above cafes cover the more ‘exotic’ animals, what if you just want to play with some dogs? Then you are in luck!
There are a lot of different dog cafes located throughout the city. The most popular is Cafe Bauhaus. However, I would like to recommend another dog cafe, that cafe is Cafe Gaenae.
Cafe Gaenae is located near Sungshin Women’s University station and has an incredible variety of dogs. From Pomeranians to Dalmatians, this cafe has it all.
Everyone’s experience at animal cafes will differ. Sometimes I have visited and the dogs love me… Other times they seem to spend the whole visit trying to avoid me. It really depends on the mood of the dogs that day and how many people have visited.
However, as a dog lover, I always find myself smiling when I leave. It’s hard to interact with dogs in the city, and playing with animals is one of the most calming things you can do.
Cafe Gaenae will also provide each customer with some dog treats. These are guaranteed to make the dogs love you – at least while you still have some food left.
Learn More: Animal Cafes in Korea
Finally, we have cat cafes. The original animal cafe!
As with dog cafes, cat cafes are located all over Seoul. Cat cafes are by far the most popular kind of animal cafe and you will not have any trouble finding a cat cafe in any area of the city.
My recommendation this time goes to 커피타는 고양이. Unfortunately, searching this name on Google in English won’t return many results as it is an off-the-radar cafe for foreigners. The cafe is located in a less-visited part of Seoul and there aren’t many other reasons to visit the area.
However, cafe 커피타는 고양이 is the best cat cafe in Seoul. A combination of factors make me say this – the cats are the friendliest and the cafe is far less crowded than cat cafes in more popular areas. Most likely, these two are related and the cats are friendly because they are less stressed.
The cafe is also well maintained and bigger than most other cat cafes. These factors together make it a very pleasant cafe to visit and one of the best date spots in Korea for animal lovers. If you’re looking to interact with everyone’s favourite pet, make sure to check out a cat cafe during winter in Korea.
Learn More: Animal Cafes in Korea
There are a million other cafes in Seoul, many of which are just as unique and interesting. However, with the most cafes per capita in the world, it’s hard to list them all here!
From the famous Harry Potter cafe to cafes that serve delicious food and cakes, you could spend months in Seoul in cafes alone!
Theme parks are generally hard to recommend in winter. After all, who wants to freeze on a rollercoaster? It’s really not a pleasant experience! But, there are some exceptions to this in Seoul!
Lotte World has an amazing atmosphere in winter!
Lotte World is the best theme park in Seoul to visit in the winter as a large part of it is indoors. Actually, the best part of the theme park is indoors!
Lotte World is located next to Jamsil Station and is part of a large Lotte complex. This complex includes Lotte Tower, Lotte Tower Mall, and Lotte World. It’s easy to spend a whole day at Lotte World alone, and that’s not to mention all of the other attractions there!
The indoor theme park is located in a massive dome that is quite a sight to behold. Not only are there a lot of food stalls and smaller activities such as bumper cars, but there are also full-scale roller coasters located indoors.
Lotte World is very similar to Disney Land in many ways, and you can expect to see lots of parades along with the usual rides (logs, VR roller coasters, and more).
Tickets for Lotte World are cheaper to purchase online, so make sure to purchase your tickets before visiting!
Learn More: Lotte World
Book Now: Lotte World Discount Ticket
Everland is the largest theme park in Korea and perhaps the most famous. While this park is located outdoors, it still has a lot of attractions that make it a great place to visit in winter.
Everland is most famous for the T Express – the steepest wooden roller coaster in the world. That’s an impressive title!
However, riding roller coasters in winter can often not be a very pleasant experience (freezing hands and face!). Luckily, Everland has a few unique winter attractions.
The Snow Buster Sledding Slope is opened in winter and is a great sledding experience for people of all ages. There are also some stunning lights that are set up especially for Christmas and New Year.
If you would prefer to see something more natural, then the Four Seasons Garden shows flora from every season, even during winter in Korea!
Learn More: Ultimate Everland Guide
Book Now: Everland Discount Ticket
Seoul Land is another large, outdoor theme park located just outside of Seoul. I already mentioned Seoul Land in the sledding section of this post above.
Seoul Land is often overlooked as it is the smallest (and apparently least exciting) of the theme parks near Seoul. But, I have found that Seoul Land actually has some of the best roller coasters out of the theme parks.
The biggest advantage of visiting in winter is that it won’t be as busy as the warm months. I’ve visited before and been able to ride the best rides over and over. It’s for this reason that I added Seoul Land to this list.
Just remember to dress up warm! With the whole theme park being outside, it can be freezing if you don’t dress adequately.
Learn More: Seoul Land Website
Book Now: Seoul Land Ticket
Views to See
If you are in Seoul, then you have to make sure to check out some of the stunning views. It’s one of the must do’s in the city! While there are a ton of views outside of the capital, I couldn’t possibly cover them all in this post. As such, I wanted to focus on some of the top views in Seoul during winter.
Winter in Korea tends to have bad air pollution. In fact, January and February are two of the worst months of the year for air pollution. While this can cause the views the be rather bad at times, there are also some stunning views in winter in Seoul.
When the fine dust isn’t bad, winter is one of the best times to take in these sights. The weather also tends to make for more appealing photographs!
Make sure to check the air quality before you plan to visit Seoul’s vistas, and remember to wear a fine dust mask if required.
Namsan Tower sunset.
Namsan Tower is the most popular view in Seoul, and honestly, it’s for good reason. Despite being a greatly visited location it truly does have stunning views over the city. This is one of the most popular tourist attractions that you should definitely check out.
The best views at Namsan are often not actually found at the top of the tower. Rather, they can often be found at the top of the mountain (at the base of the tower). This will also help you save 10,000KRW – or about 6000KRW if you purchase tickets online!
Namsan Tower is worth visiting no matter what the season is in Seoul. The central location of the mountain makes for some truly breathtaking 360-degree views.
Learn More: Namsan Tower
Book Now: Namsan Tower Discount Tickets
Lotte Tower provides a breathtaking view of Seoul.
Lotte Tower is another of the most popular viewpoints in Seoul. Standing at 555 metres tall, this tower is the tallest in the OECD. It’s amazing how tall it is!
The view from Lotte Tower is very different from those that can be found at Namsan. Whereas Namsan shows off the different districts of Seoul very well (the modern Myeongdong to the older Itaewon to the traditional Gwangwhamun), Lotte Tower stands tall in one of the wealthiest parts of Seoul.
Lotte Tower is so tall that it’s hard to get a perspective of the buildings around the tower. They look tiny! It’s hard to imagine that some of them are 20 floors or more!
Many people decide to visit either Namsan Tower OR Lotte Tower rather than doing both. If you aren’t really interested in views, then this makes sense. However, it is worth noting that both of the views are very different and visiting one does not mean that the other isn’t also worth visiting.
Learn More: Lotte Tower
The view from Eungbongsan in winter!
Eungbongsan is one of the most overlooked views in Seoul – simply because it’s a little out of the way and a short climb. On the other hand, it’s also one of the best views that the city has to offer.
Located next to Seoul Forest on the banks of the Han River, Eungbongsan stands. Reaching the top of the (small) mountain only requires a short 10-15 minute walk and for the views, it’s well worth it!
The mountain provides stunning views of Lotte Tower and the Han River. On a clear night, you can see one of the most unique and unseen views in the city!
Learn More: Eungbongsan – Best Views in Seoul?
Naksan views from the top!
Naksan is another small mountain in Seoul that provides another special view of the city.
Located between Dongdaemun and Hyehwa (Line 4/light blue line) this mountain is very easy and quick to access. A short 20-minute walk from Dongdaemun or Hyehwa station will take you to the top.
The mountain is famous for the Seoul Wall which crosses it. This wall marks the edge of the old Seoul, and a museum explaining the significance and history of the wall can also be found near the bottom of the mountain.
Naksan provides a great view over Dongdaemun, showing DDP, the tall shopping malls around Dongdaemun, as well as Dongdaemun itself – the large gate that marked one of the entrances to old Seoul.
Learn More: Naksan Park
While most people think of visiting parks in the warmer seasons, they are also fantastic places to visit in winter. In fact, when it snows, many of the parks become winter wonderlands and are even prettier than in the other seasons!
The fields look splendid covered in snow.
If you want to play in the snow then Olympic Park is the best park in Seoul to do so. It has a very large plains-like field which is stunning when covered with snow. It also is an ideal place to have some fun with the snow as it is clean and spread out.
Olympic Park is located close to Jamsil and Lotte Tower. Famous for its lone tree, this park is one of the fantastic parks that Seoul has to offer.
Whether you are visiting as a family, couple, or alone, the park has something to offer. It’s also an ideal place to exercise due to the path that winds around the edges of the park. If you’re in Seoul during winter, make sure to check out this amazing park!
Learn More: Olympic Park – Best Parks in Seoul
World Cup Stadium
World Cup Stadium is fantastic because it isn’t just one park. Rather, it’s five smaller parks all located within walking distance of one another.
Haneul Garden (Sky Garden) is the most famous of these parks and it is famous for its silver grass. During the winter months, the silver grass is out and a beautiful sight to see! Not only is it beautiful, but it makes for a great place to take photos.
If you are looking for a more family-friendly park, then Yeonghwa Park is ideal. It has tables and chairs along with a convenience store to buy food. For children, there are also a few playgrounds located throughout the park.
If you want to see the Han River, then Nanji Hangang Park is there to give you a great place to enjoy a picnic or to just watch the scenery!
Learn More: World Cup Stadium Parks
Seoul Forest is another park that takes on a completely new identity when covered in snow. However, even when there is no snow it is worth visiting!
Seoul Forest is located close to Wangshimni in Seoul and is a very large park located (again) on the side of the Han River. This park is one of the most easily accessible in Seoul and this makes it easy to add to any itinerary.
A few deer also call Seoul Forest home and you are able to interact with them and feed them at times. It’s a great way to interact with some animals that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to see easily in Korea!
Learn More: Seoul Forest
Museums are not only a great way to spend time but also the best way to learn about local history and culture. While you are in Seoul, these are a few of the museums that you should make sure to visit!
War Memorial of Korea
The War Memorial of Korea is located at Samgakji and is one of the best war museums that I have ever visited. Covering conflicts and war history from thousands of years ago up to the Korean War this museum is full of different exhibits.
There is no entrance fee and you can access the whole museum freely. Occasionally they do have special exhibits which have entry fees, but these aren’t a part of the main museum.
The outdoor area of the museum has an exhibit on military machinery including real jets, planes, tanks, boats and other armoured vehicles. Some of these vehicles can be explored and this makes it a favourite especially with children. If you’re a family travelling during winter in Korea, make sure to add this museum to your list.
Learn More: War Memorial of Korea
Book Now: Free entry!
The National Museum of Korea
The National Museum of Korea is the biggest in the country and it covers Korean history from thousands of years ago until now. The National Museum of Korea is also located very close to the War Memorial of Korea making it possible to visit both on the same day!
The majority of the museum is fee to enter with the exception of some special exhibits and programs. The museum also has a children’s area and has many different cultural programs and events throughout the year.
With approximately 15,000 items on display, you could spend days exploring the national museum alone. Luckily, there is a fantastic app that will help you explore the museum! The app will not only help you to navigate but also learn more about each exhibit.
Learn More: The National Museum of Korea
Book Now: Free entry for the main exhibits!
If you are looking for a more fun museum rather than an informative one, the Trickeye Museum might be just what you need!
This museum, located in Hongdae, specialises in confusing you through optical illusions, virtual reality, and more! It’s one of the weirdest yet most fun experiences that you can have in a museum!
Entry costs 15,000KRW per adult and 12,000 for everyone under 18. This ticket also gives entry to the ice museum which features an area where everything within is made from ice.
The Trickeye Museum has a variety of different scenes where you can stop and take photos. With the illusions, these photos are sure to be one-of-a-kind and something that you can’t find elsewhere.
Learn More: Trickeye Museum
Book Now: Trickeye Museum Tickets
Seodaemun Prison History Museum
Seodaemun Prison is a reminder of one of the worst times in recent Korean history. A reminder of the cruelties committed by the Japanese under colonial rule, this prison has now become a museum in memorial.
The prison was used by the Japanese to torture and kill Korean independence followers among others. Now, it tells the story of those that fought for independence during this time.
This is the most sobering museum that you can visit in Seoul, but it is an important part of history and something that is definitely still relevant in Korea today. If you are more interested in contemporary Korean history, then this museum is a must-visit.
The Prison History Museum is also located in Seodaemun Independence Park, a park containing various monuments and memorials. I highly recommend visiting this museum if you have some spare time during your Korean winter trip.
Learn More: Seodamun Prison History Hall
Book Now: Tickets cost 3000KRW per adult and can be bought at the entrance.
Seoul Museum of Art
The most famous art museum in Seoul, SeMA is located in the centre of Seoul near City Hall. The museum offers everything from art exhibits to art classes.
Throughout the year the museum offers not only art classes but also lectures and it is worth checking out their website to see what is coming up.
The building itself is also very famous being made from the supreme court which was constructed in 1928. It has reached the status of cultural property in Korea to show its historical and cultural significance.
If you are looking to learn about both Korean and international art, make sure to visit this museum during winter in Korea.
Learn More: Seoul Museum of Art
Book Now: Admission tickets are under 1000KRW except for special exhibits.
Seoul has 12 different mountains alone, and that isn’t even considering the mountains elsewhere in Korea! If you are into hiking, then these are the mountains to check out!
A gate at the top of Bukhansan in winter.
Bukhansan is the tallest mountain in Seoul and stands at around 800 metres tall. The mountain is a relatively short train ride from the centre of the city and can usually be reached in under an hour. If you are near Myeongdong, then this will be even shorter!
The mountain is not only a fantastic hike but also an amazing way to experience Korean culture. On the mountain, you will come across Buddhist temples as well as many older, traditional buildings. At the top of the mountain, you can even find a gate to old Seoul.
There are a few different peaks, and most people will visit one of the three main peaks – Baegundae, Insubong, or Mangyeongdae. Each of these peaks has different attractions and they are fantastic in winter.
However, a word of caution. While the mountain isn’t very tall and the tracks are quite well maintained, icy conditions can make the ascent dangerous. If you are visiting on a day where ice/snow is expected then make sure to wear proper gear. You may even need spikes on your shoes.
Learn More: Bukhsan Hiking (Don’t mind the title – it’s a great place in both summer and winter)
Dobongsan is Seoul’s second-highest Mountain and is located in the northern part of the Bukhansan National Park.
This is another great mountain to climb and provides an alternative if you don’t want to visit Bukhansan for any reason.
Learn More: Dobongsan & Bukhansan
Seoul’s third-highest mountain, Gwanaksan stands tall in the southern region of Seoul. The mountain is in fact located not only in Seoul but also partly in two neighbouring cities.
This mountain attracts an insane five million people per year! It’s very popular due to being easy to reach and because it provides one of the best views of the city.
Similar to Bukhansan, the mountain has a strong Buddhist influence and you will come across multiple Buddhist temples and buildings as you climb to the summit. If you’re into hiking, make sure to check out this trial during winter in Korea.
Learn More: Gwanaksan Mountain
Seoraksan in early winter – it looks even better with snow!
Soeraksan isn’t located in Seoul itself, but it can be explored with a day trip from the city. This mountain is a bit taller than what you will find in Seoul – it’s almost 1000 metres taller than the tallest in Seoul has to offer.
Seoraksan is the third tallest mountain in Korea, and reaching the peak will easily require a full-day hike. However, there is a lot on the mountain to explore and there is no need to visit the peak unless you specifically want to.
Seoraksan also has a cable car which can take visitors part-way up the mountain. There are cafes and restaurants located around the cable car and there are also a variety of short walks ranging from 15 minutes to two hours.
If you would prefer a longer hike, then Seoraksan can provide! The mountain is over 1700 metres tall and there are multiple different tracks to explore.
Learn More: Seoraksan Hiking
These are the winter activities in Seoul that are fantastic, but that don’t really fit into any other category above. These activities are also some of the most unique on the list!
Seoul Botanic Park
At Seoul Botanic Park it is always summer!
Seoul Botanic Park is a recent addition to the parks of Seoul and was hard to include on the list of parks above because it isn’t a typical outdoor park nor is it free.
The Botanic Park is located indoors in a large greenhouse. Entry costs 5000KRW per adult, however, the garden is well worth the cost.
The garden is located near Gimpo Airport and as such, is a little out of the way. When it’s too cold to visit outdoor gardens though, the Seoul Botanic Park is a great place to hang out at.
Learn More: Seoul Botanic Park
Book Now: Entrance is 5000KRW which is paid at the entrance.
Han River Cruise
Winter has some of the best sunsets of the year, and what better way to witness these spectacular scenes than from a boat in the Han River?
Han River cruises begin quite cheap at less than $15 per adult. Departing from Yeouido, these cruises run regularly throughout the day – just make sure that they are operating on the day that you want to visit.
While the air will be chilly on the deck, the boats also have a large internal area that will allow you to stay warm while watching the river go past.
Learn More: Han River Cruise
Image from Wikimedia Commons
Kyobo Books is a book store that is famous locally. It is a massive bookstore that is located in the basement of a building in Gwanghwamun – right near the subway station.
What makes Kyobo a great place to spend some time in winter though is not just the fact that it is a book store. There are a ton of seating options available and customers are welcome to take a seat and read any books that they find.
There are also cafes that can be found in the book store and this provides a great alternative option to book cafes (although I don’t believe books can be taken to the cafe area). If you find yourself really enjoying the book then it’s easy to purchase it!
Alternatively, you could also visit Sehwa’s Bookstore. This bookstore is a small English bookstore that recently opened near Gireum-Dong in Seoul.
Learn More: Kyobo Bookstore Gwangwhamun
Lotte Tower Complex
The aquarium at Lotte Tower is yet another attraction in the complex.
Lotte Tower has a lot of different attractions. Lotte World, Lotte Tower, Lotte Aquarium and Lotte Tower Mall are all included in the complex and they can easily keep anyone entertained for hours.
Lotte World and Seoul Sky (the top of Lotte Tower) have already been mentioned on the list above, so this section will be dedicated to Lotte Tower Mall and Lotte Aquarium.
Lotte Tower Mall is one of the biggest in Korea and contains every brand that you could want. On top of that, it also offers large food courts and underneath it lies an underground market in the subway station.
Lotte Aquarium is another great place to visit during winter and is one of the best aquariums (if not the best) in the city. If you choose to visit both Seoul Sky and the aquarium you can get a discount.
Learn More: Lotte Tower & Complex
Phone Case Making
There are thousands upon thousands of different phone cases out there. But a lot of them look quite similar – what if you’re looking for a truly unique phone case?
If this sounds like something that interests you then check out one of the phone case making stores located in Seoul. Not only do they allow you to make a truly unique phone case, but they also make fantastic gifts!
Phone cases can be made from 10,000KRW to 30,000KRW (or more) depending on the materials that you use. This is a cute activity and one well worth doing during winter in Korea.
Learn More: Phone Case Making by Ewha University
Visit the Arcade
Are you someone who loves arcade games? If this sounds like you, then why not check out one of Seoul’s many arcades?
Nearly every district of the city has an arcade… Or two or three! These arcades will usually contain all of the usual games, with everything from hoops to Dance Dance Revolution and Tekkan.
Most of the arcades are pay per game, however, there are also arcades that allow you to pay per hour – if you aren’t very good at arcade games (like me!) this is a fantastic option to save some money.
Arcades are located all over the city. Pay per hour arcades are a bit harder to find but can usually be found in popular areas like Hongdae.
Learn More: Arcades in Korea
Winter is not only a great time to stay indoors but also a great time to five gifts. If you are looking for a gift for a special someone, why not make a ring?
Making a ring generally takes a few hours and you can pick from a large variety of designs. You can even create matching rings for you and your significant other!
You are free to engrave the rings with words or messages and there are unlimited options for customisation. If you are lost, there are staff who will help you make sure that you make a ring that you are happy with.
Learn More: Korean Ring Making Experience
Dongjak Emart 24
The view from Emart 24 on Dongjak Bridge.
It feels weird to be recommending a convenience store here, but this one is well worth it. Especially in winter!
Dongjak Bridge has two Emarts – one on either side of the bridge, and each is multiple stories tall and is much more than just a convenience store.
While these buildings do house convenience stores, they also have a small cafe and some restaurant foods. On top of this, they each have a (small) library and a rooftop deck that provides stunning views of the Han River.
They also provide some great shelter from the cold winds that blow along the Han River in winter.
If you are looking for a great date spot, be sure to check out the Emart 24 stores at Dongjak Bridge.
Learn More: Dongjak Emart (Best Sunsets in Seoul)
Starfield Library is easily one of the most unique libraries around!
Starfield Library is located in Starfield Coex Mall and is one of the most publicised locations on this list. However, it wouldn’t be a complete list without it.
The Starfield Library is one of the few places that you can visit where books literally tower over you – on all sides no less.
This library is free to enter and has a variety of seating areas where customers can sit and read. If you can’t read Korean, then it might be worth bringing your own book as the English options are limited.
Learn More: Starfield Library
Hanbok is traditional Korean clothing that makes for fantastic photos.
If you are looking to take some iconic photos in Korea that are truly unique, look no further. Hanbok is a traditional type of clothing in Korea and is very pretty by itself. Couple that with the background of the palaces in winter, and the photos become even more beautiful!
There are a lot of different stores around the city where you can hire hanbok. They begin at around 10,000KRW and can be a bit less or more depending on what hanbok you choose and for how long.
Most of the hanbok rental stores are located close to the palaces – this is ideal because wearing hanbok actually gives you free entry to the palaces!
Hanbok makes for some stunning photographs and there are a lot of photographers who specialise in hanbok photography.
If you are looking to capture some photos in Korea that you will remember for many years to come, hanbok snaps are a great idea!
Learn More: Hanbok In Korea
Celebrate New Year
There are a lot of ways to celebrate New Year. While New Year isn’t as big in Korea (due to the lunar event being more celebrated), it is still an event that is celebrated. Why not usher in the new year with style?
Lotte Tower Fireworks
Fireworks at Lotte Tower.
Since Christmas and New Years are two of the year’s big events, they are often celebrated with many festivals and fireworks. Especially New Years!
The best fireworks in Seoul usually come from Lotte Tower and considering that it is the tallest building in the city, this makes a lot of sense!
The fireworks begin at 12:00 exactly and you will be able to see the countdown on the side of the tower. Once the countdown is finished, the fireworks will go off for a few minutes and you can welcome the new year in style!
There are other fireworks festivals around the city and country, but the fireworks at Lotte Tower are by far the best in Seoul. They can be witnessed from all over the city and even if you aren’t close to Lotte Tower, remember to look towards it at midnight!
Watch the Sunrise
Another popular Korean event is to watch the first sunrise of the new year. I mentioned a few of the most popular spots earlier, but watching the sunrise is normally done at the beach.
However, the beach is far from the only place you can watch the sunrise! As long as you get up early enough, the sunrise can be seen all over the city. If you can, I would recommend going to the top of one of the mountains in Seoul.
The mountains aren’t very big and won’t take long to climb, but they will afford you a fantastic view of the first sunrise of the year!
Learn More: New Years Sunrise Festivals in Korea
Winter in Korea
Korea is a fantastic city to visit at any time of the year and winter is no exception. While winters in Korea are cold and often chillingly so, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a ton of different winter activities to try.
If you are wondering what the best season to visit Korea is, check out my post on the subject. It covers not only what to wear in each season and the weather, but some good activities for each!
This list is being updated regularly, so please feel free to save it and check back in the future! There are sure to be more activities!
Finally, if you would like to see something added to the list or have any questions please feel free to comment below. It’s the best way to get in touch and I will reply as soon as I can!
Winter in Korea FAQ
What Is the Weather Like in Winter?
In Korea, winter can be quite cold. The coldest month is generally January, and the temperature will go as low as -15 degrees celsius. Generally, however, the temperature will be around -5 to -10 degrees.
Winter in Korea is also extremely dry. For this reason, make sure to bring hand cream and moisturiser!
When Is Winter in Korea?
Winter in Korea starts in December and ends in March. The coldest month is usually January, and February can also be very cold.
What Clothes Do I Need for Winter?
For winter in Korea, make sure to bring heavy clothing. A few layers of thermal clothing and a winter jacket are a must. Waterproof shoes will also come in very handy if it snows.
Since the air is so dry, gloves are also very helpful as they will keep your hands warm and help your skin stay healthy. Some kind of beanie will also come in very helpful for the very cold days.
Does It Snow in Korea?
It does snow in Korea, however, it’s not common. In the cities, it will usually only snow three or four days every year. It’s hard to predict when these days will be.
However, there are some areas in the Korean countryside where snow will be far heavier. There are a lot of winter festivals and mountains that have lots of snow, and these are the most reliable places to find snow.
Is Winter a Good Time to Visit Korea?
As long as you don’t mind the cold, winter can be a great time to visit Korea. There are many unique festivals that take place during the colder months, and winter sports in Korea are fun to take part in.
Learn more about the best season to visit Korea.
What Else Should I Know About Winter in Korea?
Winter in Korea is very dry. Make sure to bring hand cream and other moisturizers that you may need. On top of this, winter in Korea can bring fine dust, so make sure to have a fine dust mask on hand.
Which Month Is the Coldest?
January tends to be the coldest winter month in Korea. However, December and February are not far behind!