Sweeping flower fields, mystical ponds, rolling mountains—South Korea is a land of staggering natural beauty. Awash with breathtaking scenery and arresting landscapes, this peninsula offers a visual extravaganza, which pretty much also means countless photo opportunities, especially for avid shutterbugs.
If you want to see the best of the best, here are 10 of South Korea’s most picture-perfect nature destinations:
Jeju-do is a natural wonder in itself and is definitely not to be missed if you’re looking into nature-tripping in South Korea. Wander off to the coast of Jungmun Daepo and you will find the geological stunner Jusangjeolli Cliff that boasts a dramatic formation of volcanic rocks.
Another awe-inspiring sight to check out on Jeju island is the majestic 72-foot-tall waterfall that is Cheonjiyeon Falls, which is surrounded by walking trails perfect for a close-to-nature stroll.
If you want to stretch your legs more, take a day trip and hike up Hallasan Mountain, the highest peak in South Korea. But if mellow scenery is more of your thing, come in spring and witness the flush of yellow on canola fields or the pretty bursts of pink on cherry trees.
Changwon’s Cherry Blossoms
Perhaps, Changwon’s biggest claim to fame is hosting the Jinhae Gunhangje Festival, Korea’s biggest spring celebration that draws in at least 2 million visitors annually.
For ten days from the end of March to the first week of April, the entire city explodes in pink, creating amazing backdrops for quintessential spring snaps. Be greeted by a flurry of delicate petals when you head on over to Gyeonghwa Station, a currently non-operational train station with tracks lined by rows and rows of cherry trees.
Cheongsando’s Rapeseed Flower Fields
Take it slow and easy in Cheongsando, an island off the south coast of the Korean Peninsula, where time seemingly ticks at an unhurried pace and the surroundings remain refreshingly verdant all year long.
Recognized as Asia’s first slow city, it encourages visitors to take scenic and leisurely walks on trails that cut through rice paddies, flower plantations, and ascend mountains. The city even holds a Slow Walking Festival every April to promote the practice!
If you love views of the ocean, take a hike to reach the “Tiger’s Head,” locally known as Beombawi—an observatory that serves as a viewing spot of Cheongsando. If you’re visiting in spring, don’t miss the chance to admire the temporal yet breathtaking beauty of rapeseed flower fields in full bloom.
Seoraksan National Park
This UNESCO-listed national park is sprawled across four cities and counties—Seokcho, Inje, Goseong, and Yangyang. Come autumn, the lush area, which includes Seorak mountain, appears to be ablaze as the trees’ foliage flaunt fiery hues, making it a fantastic destination for leaf-peeping.
Make sure to make a stop at Sinheungsa Temple on the slopes of the Seokcho side of the national park. It features a towering bronze Buddha statue and is recognized as a head temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism.
Boseong’s Green Tea Fields
The green tea fields of Boseong County stretch as far as the eye can see—no wonder it’s South Korea’s largest tea plantation, where about 40% of the country’s green tea supply grows. A total treat to the eyes of cha-loving travelers, this lush area is best visited in summer, from May to August, when the tea bushes are in their prime.
Jirisan National Park
Korea’s oldest official national park, Jirisan National Park was established in 1967. It covers 119,350 acres of land characterized by rolling mountains and valleys that are dotted by temple complexes. The park looks postcard-perfect at any time of the year, but it looks best in autumn. Day tours to see fall foliage in this area are organized seasonally.
Juwangsan National Park
Compared to Seoraksan and Jirisan, Juwangsan National Park is a lot smaller in size, but it doesn’t fall short when it comes to offering great sights. Its most distinctive features are Juwangsan Mountain’s rocky cliffs, hidden waterfalls, and the mystic willow-fringed Jusanji Pond.
Gyeongju’s Pink Muhly Field
Tufts of pink grass called muhly that resemble candy floss are emerging as one of Korea’s top autumn attractions. And while there are several muhly fields across the peninsula, among the best places to see one is Daejeo Ecological Park in Gyeongju, a coastal city that’s considered as Korea’s ancient capital.
What are you waiting for? Grab your camera and explore these beautiful sights in South Korea!