Festivals In Korea: The 40 Best Korean Festivals

The ultimate guide to the biggest and best festivals in Korea all year round. Whatever season you’re travelling to Korea, there’s a festival for you. Try your hand at mud wrestling, or catching fish bare-handed in icy rivers, go strolling through cherry blossoms, and even watch the sunrise on New Year on the beach.

There are so many awesome festivals in Korea all year long. You’ll want to keep coming back to experience them all!

Korea has a rich and unique culture and this is best seen through the various festivals held throughout the year. Embracing traditional & modern culture, nature, history, weather, music, lifestyles, and more, there certainly is a festival for everything in Korea.

Expect to see lots of people at these festivals, especially the large international festivals like the Boryeong Mud Festival, as well as the many incredible Cherry Blossom Festivals. The food at festivals can be great, with lots of local delicacies available. At some festivals, like the Hwacheon Ice Fishing Festival, you can even catch your own lunch and eat it. 

Coronavirus update: Unfortunately, due to the continued presence of the coronavirus in Korea, many festivals in the first half of 2020 have been cancelled. Please check with the official site to confirm whether a certain festival is running. For more information about the coronavirus situation in Korea, please read this article.

Disclaimer: This article may contain affiliate links, which means I may earn commission if you book after clicking. This won’t cost you anything extra, but helps me to keep on writing great content for you. Thanks for your support.

All The Best Festivals In Korea

Table of Contents:

Quick Guide To Seeing Festivals In Korea

Here’s some essential information to make it easier for you to get around and enjoy these festivals in Korea. Below is some tips about getting to the festivals, what time of year to travel to Korea, and where to find the festivals.

Getting To Festivals Across Korea

Like Korea, festivals can be busy, hectic, large, but also a lot of fun. In order to see them more easily, some are best with a tour group. However, some are convenient and easy to get to. I’ll try to provide the best options for getting there in both situations.

There are some great tour companies that provide one day tours to most of the major festivals in Korea. These can be really helpful for getting to the far-away places that you’d normally have a hard time getting to by public transport. Three of the best tour companies in Korea are:

Korea does have a great public transport network and there are lots of options for travelling between cities and to the countryside and national parks. So if you do decide to go your own way, you can usually make it there for less.

The trains and subways have English translations on the maps, as well as English announcements. This makes it very easy to get around the big cities and travel to other places. 

If you want the freedom to travel around Korea as you like, then try renting a car. Please note that you will need a valid International Driver’s Permit (IDP) to rent a car in Korea. It must also be the ‘book type‘, not just the card.

Joel’s Tip: Definitely get a T-Money Card for transportation as it’ll make life easier and reduce the cost of transport for bus and subway journeys. Another good option is the Korea Tour Card, which has the same functions as a T-Money Card, but also includes extra offers for tourists.

Luxury Daily Cost To Travel In Korea

When To See Festivals In Korea

Each of Korea’s seasons are unique. The best times to visit Korea are in the spring and autumn, when the weather is cooler and nature is at its best. However, summer and winter are also great times to visit and there are many unique festivals during these times.

This guide will be broken down into the 4 sections to show you the best of each season’s festivals, as well as the unique New Year festivals. Here’s a quick breakdown of each of the seasons and what to expect.

Spring In Korea

When: March to May
Weather: Warm with some rain

Spring in Korea is one of the best times to travel as the weather is warm, the beautiful spring flowers begin to bloom, and cherry blossoms spread across the country. April is one of my favourite times to travel in Korea and there are loads of great festivals to check out during this time.

For more information about festivals during spring, travelling to Korea during this time, and other fun activities, check out these other awesome articles. They’ll give you a lot more specific information for this season.

Cherry Blossom Festivals In Korea

Spring Festivals In Korea

Summer In Korea

When: June to August
Weather: Hot and humid, lots of rain

Summer is a mixed bag for travel. On the one hand there are loads of beautiful sunny days with clear blue skies and awesome things to do like chilling at the beach, going to water parks, and night hiking. However, it’s also very hot and humid and spending a lot of time outside can get very sweaty. Still, it’s worth travelling at this time, just be prepared.

For more information about festivals during summer, travelling to Korea during this time, and other fun activities, check out these other awesome articles. They’ll give you a lot more specific information for this season.

The Best Summer Activities In Korea

Autumn In Korea

When: September to November
Weather: Warm with some typhoons

Autumn in Korea is definitely one of my favourite times to travel and explore Korea. The weather is cooler after a brutal summer, the leaves begin their slow, beautiful march to the ground, and the air is fresh and clean. Watching the autumn leaves is one of the big attractions during this time, but there’s also a lot of harvest and culture festivals to enjoy.

For more information about festivals during autumn, travelling to Korea during this time, and other fun activities, check out these other awesome articles. They’ll give you a lot more specific information for this season.

Where To See Autumn Leaves In Korea

Winter In Korea

When: December to February
Weather: Cold with occasional snow

Korea goes from the extreme heat in summer to being icy cold in winter, with temperatures often in negative figures. This means there’s a good chance to see snow and also enjoy some fun winter activities, such as ice fishing and skiing. Winter is dry, so there’s no need to worry about rain. This makes it easier to plan getting out and enjoying the frosty outdoors.

For more information about festivals during winter, travelling to Korea during this time, and other fun activities, check out these other awesome articles. They’ll give you a lot more specific information for this season.

Winter Festivals In Korea

Where To See Snow In Seoul And Korea

What To Do During Winter In Korea

The Best Korean Winter Foods

Festival Locations In Korea

Here is a map of the locations of various festivals in Korea. As you can see, there are festivals in every corner of Korea and they’re not just in the big cities like Seoul and Busan.

I’ve also colour coded the festivals to make it easier to see when they occur. The different seasonal festivals are as follows:

  • Spring Festivals are green
  • Summer Festivals are orange
  • Autumn Festivals are red
  • Winter Festivals are blue
  • New Year Festivals are yellow 

Map of Festival Locations In Korea

Please note: you will need to use Google Maps to open the map.

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Spring Festivals In Korea 2020

Spring Festivals In Korea (Mar – May)

Spring is one of my favourite times in Korea and after the cold and dry winter, the sight of blossoms and green grass again fills me with joy. I’m obviously not the only one, as there are so many festivals going on during this time and people are out to celebrate.

The big Korean festivals in spring are undoubtedly the cherry blossom festivals, which occur like a wave washing down throughout Korea.

There’s a lot more to see in spring in Korea, however, including the Miracle of the Parting Sea in Jindo, a Bamboo Forest Festival, and even a Bullfighting Festival.

Here are the best spring festivals in Korea, be sure not to miss them. For a more detailed overview of these festivals, be sure to check out my in-depth articles below:

Where To See Cherry Blossoms In Seoul And Korea

All The Best Spring Festivals In Korea

Jinhae cherry blossom festival is one of the best spring festivals in Korea

Jinhae Gunhangje Cherry Blossom Festival 2021

The largest of the cherry blossom festivals in Korea, with over 2 million people each year visiting to see hundreds of cherry blossom trees. Despite there being cherry trees throughout Korea, Jinhae has gone all-out and planted them throughout the city to create the most magnificent blanket of pink and white that has to be seen to be believed.

Where – Jinhae area in Changwon City

When – March 30th to April 6th, 2020

Why visit – This is the number 1 place to see cherry blossoms in Korea.

More Information – Visit the website for more information.

Tour Options – Book tours through Klook and Trazy.

Seokchon Lake spring cherry blossom festival

Seokchon Lake Cherry Blossom Festival 2021

This beautiful lake is lined with cherry blossoms and is one of the best spots to see them in Seoul. Visit on a sunny day for the best views. Although very busy, the sights and photo opportunities at the Seokchon Lake Cherry Blossom Festival are unmissable. Make sure you have your selfie stick with you.

Walk around the lake, sample some Korean street food, watch cultural performances, and revel in the beauty of the gorgeous cherry blossoms.

Where – Next to Lotte World Tower in Jamsil, Seoul

When – April 6th to April 15th, 2020

Why visit – Unmissable photo opportunity with cherry blossoms in Seoul

More Information – Visit the website for more information.

Gyeongju Cherry Blossom Festival 2021

See some of Korea’s finest traditional buildings painted with cherry blossoms in this fantastic UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Gyeongju is one of the hot spots on any week long trip to Korea and a popular day trip from Busan.

Visit in early April and see the most breathtaking views of this old city. Arrive on the weekend and you can watch the Gyeongju Cherry Blossom Marathon while you’re there.

Where – Gyeongju City

When – March 30th to April 8th, 2020

Why visit – Korean history meets stunning natural beauty in this ancient city.

More Information – Visit the website for more information.

Tour Options – Book tours through Klook or Trazy.

Goyang Spring Flower Festival in Korea

Goyang International Flower Festival 2021

This is Korea’s largest flower festival and a charming way to spend a day with spring flowers. Located in outer Seoul, it’s really easy to get to the Goyang International Flower Festival.

There are so many different types of plants and flowers on display at the International Horticulture Goyang Flower Festival, as well as photo zones, exhibitions, and more. Perfect for people who want some very interesting pictures, as well as to connect with nature. Spend a whole day here and you won’t be disappointed. 

Where – Goyang area outside Seoul

When – 24th April – 10th May 2020

Why visit – See the incredible displays and unique flowers you won’t find in a normal garden.

More Information – Visit the website for more information.

Gwangyang International Maehwa Festival In Korea

Gwangyang Maehwa Apricot Plum Blossom Festival 2021

Too early for cherry blossoms? Then you should check out this festival dedicated to the similarly beautiful apricot plum blossoms instead.

The apricot plum blossoms are one of the first to brave the new season after the cold winter in Korea and are a beacon of hope for spring. Covering 83 acres, there are countless apricot plum blossoms to see in Maehwa Village. Be sure to also try some of the delectable plum blossom ice cream made locally.

Where – Maehwa Village in Gwangyang City

When – March 8th to March 17th, 2020

Why visit – See the first sign that spring is here and take some great snaps of the plum blossoms.

More Information – Visit the website for more information.

Tour Options – Book tours through Trazy.

Damyang Bamboo Forest - a great day trip from Seoul

Damyang Bamboo Festival 2021

Celebrate the generous bamboo plant at this interesting festival that has a lot of different activities, all centred around bamboo.The bamboo forest is a real breath of fresh air, providing dark and cool pathways to explore and discover.

The festival has lots of hands-on activities, including bamboo log rafting and water biking. Be sure to sample some of the food – made with bamboo, of course.

Where – Damyang Bamboo Forest

When – First week of May – date TBC – POSTPONED to Aug 25th, 2020

Why visit – The lush, dense bamboo forests will help clear your soul and make you feel fresh.

More Information – Visit the website for more information.

Tour Options – Book tours through Trazy.

Boseong hosts one of the most beautiful spring festivals in Korea

Boseong Green Tea Festival Plantation 2021

Explore Korea’s largest green tea plantation and see the tea at its peak. Learn about and experience green tea direct from the source. Even pick your own tea for a nice cuppa at the Boseong Green Tea Festival.

This is the best place to see stunning postcard picture views of rows upon rows of green tea bushes covering steep Korean hillsides. This festival will give you the opportunity to pick your own leaves, make healthy Korean green tea, and try lots of green tea based products.

Where – Boseong Green Tea Plantation

When – First week of May – date TBC

Why visit – Postcard-like views of the Korean countryside and the chance to sample Korea’s best green tea.

More Information – Visit the website for more information.

Tour Options – Book tours through Klook and Trazy. *Trazy tour only available for May 1st

Jindo Sea Parting Miracle - one of the best spring Festivals In Korea

Jindo Sea Parting Miracle Festival 2021

Like Moses parting the waters, this is a unique annual occurrence that has to be seen to be believed. Watch as the seas give way and form a 3km-long pathway between islands. You’re not likely to see an event like this elsewhere in the world. 

Join the festival and watch as the waters part before your eyes and then trek across the pathway between islands. There are also lots of cultural events and activities going on while you wait for the miracle to occur.

Where – Jindo County

When – April 8th – April 11th 2020

Why visit – You’ll probably never see a sight like this anywhere else in the world.

More Information – Visit the website for more information.

Tour Options – Book tours through Trazy. *tour only available for April 9th.

Gyejoksan Mountain Barefoot Festival 2021

Take off your shoes and join in this barefoot marathon around 14km of fresh red clay. Or walk with your shoes on and just take in the stunning views of Daejeon’s lake area.

I can definitely recommned this festival if you’re near Daejeon. I walked the whole 14km path last year on a perfect sunny spring day, surrounded by local families and tourists alike and plan to do it next year, too. The red clay has lots of healing benefits and it’s lots of fun getting your feet stuck into the clay. Get dirty, get healthy. 

Where – Gyejoksan Mountain in Daejeon

When – Mid-May – Date TBC

Why visit – A fun, family festival with the chance to get your feet dirty, as well as improve your health.

More Information – Visit the website for more information.

Tour Options – Book tours through Trazy.

Bullfighting in Cheongdo, one of the strangest festivals in Korea

Cheongdo Bullfighting Festival 2021

Bullfighting is a regular occurrence in the rural Cheongdo area and led to the creation of this intriguing festival. Bullfighting has been held in Korea for over 1,000 years. Instead of pitting humans against bulls, however, it’s bull-on-bull. 

Head to Cheongdo to watch the unique Korean bullfighting festival and see the big bulls go at each other. Watch the bulls butt heads to see who is the strongest and maybe even place a small bet on your favourite. There are lots of other activities outside the stadium to keep people amused while they’re not watching the fights. Try the steak.

Where – Cheongdo – near Daegu

When – No confirmation about this for 2020, most likely cancelled due to the coronavirus in Korea

Why visit – Your chance to learn about ancient Korean bullfighting and sample some of Korea’s famous hanu beef.

More Information – Visit the website for more information.

Seoul Jazz Festival 2021

Getting bigger and bigger each year, the Seoul Jazz Festival is one of the best music festivals in Korea. Featuring local and international artists, enjoy a day sitting back on the grass and chilling to cool tunes.

There are plenty of music festivals during summer in Korea, when it’s very hot all day, but the Seoul Jazz Festival let’s you enjoy the scene more comfortably in spring. Grab some wine and steak from the many excellent food stalls, find a spot on the grass, and enjoy a peaceful day or two in central Seoul. This is definitely one of my favourite music festivals in Korea.

Where – Olympic Park, Seoul

WhenPOSTPONED – Oct 3rd – Oct 4th 2020

Why visit – A chance to check out Korean musicians big and small and take it easy for a day.

More Information – Visit the website for more information.

Jeju Fire Festival, one of the big spring festivals in Korea

Jeju Fire Festival 2021

The hills are alive with fire in this significant festival on Jeju Island. Watch at night as an oreum (small hill) is set ablaze whilst fireworks go off all around.

This festival is an ancient tradition, used to burn away the dead grass from winter and prepare the land for the coming spring. If you want to know more about traditional Korea, this festival is perfect for you. Join in cultural activities, learn about Jeju Island and even watch a traditional Korean wedding ceremony.

Where – Jeju City, Jeju Island

When – March 12th – 15th 2020

Why visit – A good way to welcome in the new spring and learn about Korea’s agricultural past.

More Information – Visit the website for more information.

Hampyeong Butterfly Festival 2021

This is one of the best festivals in Korea for nature lovers and environmentally-minded people. Head down to the vast fields of Hampyeong and see the tens of thousands of butterflies going about their business.

Snap pictures of these colourful butterflies while they flit across the sea of yellow rape plants in the southern region of Hampyeong. At this festival, you can learn about butterflies and other insects, see traditional Korean agriculture in action, and take part in a variety of ecologic experience programmes.

Where – Hampyeong County

When – April 24th to May 4th 2020

Why visit – To see an unimaginable field of butterflies all around you and work on your nature photography skills.

More Information – Visit the website for more information.

Yeon Deung Hoe Lotus Lantern Festival

Yeon Deung Hoe Lotus Lantern Festival 2021

Head to Jogyesa Temple in central Seoul and marvel at all of the Buddhist lanterns on display. Watch the lantern parade, make your own lanterns, and be entertained by all the cultural performances on offer.

The Lotus Lantern Festival is a 3 day festival with lots to see and do. The best past of this festival is definitely the lantern parade that runs through the heart of Seoul. Follow the hundred thousand lanterns through the city, and join in with your own. The Jogyesa Temple is a great place to visit for free in Seoul, be sure not to miss it.

Where – Jogyesa Temple, Seoul

When – April 24th – 26th 2020

Why visit – You’re unlikely to see a parade like this anywhere else in Korea.

More Information – Visit the website for more information.

Summer Festivals In Korea 2020

Summer Festivals In Korea (Jun – Aug)

The weather gets hotter in summer (over 30 degrees) and there are many awesome festivals in Korea to cool off and have fun.

From refreshing water gun fights at the Sinchon Water Gun Festival 2020, to getting covered in cool, wet mud at the Boryeong Mud Festival 2020, there’s a lot of reasons to get out and explore Korea during summer.

Some of my favourite summer festivals in Korea are the ones that involve drinking cool beer and listening to good music. You’ll find plenty of these in Korea, such as the Ultra Festival 2020, the Daegu Chimac Festival 2020, and the Busan International Rock Festival 2020.

Want to find more fun things to do in summer? Check out this list of 20 summer activities:

20 Awesome Summer Activities To Enjoy In Korea

Korean people covered in mud at the Boryeong Mud Festival in South Korea

Boryeong Mud Festival 2020

The largest international festival in Korea, the Boryeong Mud Festival is one of the highlights of the year. Korea’s biggest, dirtiest, strangest festival, and one you’ll never forget. This long-running festival celebrating the local speciality – mud – has become Korea’s answer to La Tomatina or Rio Carnival.

A 10-day long festival of mud wrestling, mud bathing, extreme mud sports, night parties, and lots of other events, all set on the gorgeous Daecheon Beach. See fireworks, regenerate your skin with refreshing mud packs, get absolutely covered in mud, and create some unforgettable memories at the Boryeong Mud Festival 2020.

Where – Daecheon Beach, near Boryeong City

When – July 17th to July 26th 2020

Why visit – Besides the health benefits, this festival is a lot of fun and certainly unique.

More Information – Visit the website for more information.

Tour Options – Book tours through Trazy.

Drink lots of beer in Daegu

Daegu Chimac Festival 2020

If you’re visiting Daegu, be sure not to miss this large festival celebrating all things to do with chicken and beer. Chimac, a combination of ‘chicken’ and ‘maekju’ (beer), is a festival celebrating one of Korea’s favourite food and drink combos – chicken and beer.

Daegu, the chicken capital of Korea, is the perfect place to enjoy Korean Fried Chicken (the real KFC). Wash it down with some Korean beer, check out the various stalls and performances, and take it easy during the hot summer days. There’s even an ice playground if you get too hot.

Where – Duryu Park, Daegu City

When – July 1st to July 5th 2020

Why visit – Embrace Korea’s love for this great combo of unhealthy goodness.

More Information – Visit the website for more information.

Tour Options – Book tours through Trazy.

Daejeon Craft Beer and music festival 2020

Sample some of Korea’s growing selection of craft beers whilst listening to live music along the banks of the Gapcheon River in Daejeon. The Daejeon Craft Beer and Music Festival has over 100 different craft beers for your to sample. You might be surprised at how good they are.

Located in Daejeon, a lovely, peaceful city in central Korea, you can see how real Koreans survive and enjoy summertime. The Craft Beer and Music Festival is a chance to experience some of the delicious craft beers on offer from around Korea and to relax in pleasant surroundings. 

Where – Hanbit Tower Park, Daejeon

When – End of May 2020 – TBC

Why visit – A peaceful weekend of beer and live music in the heart of Korea. Enjoy summer like a local.

More Information – Visit the website for more information.

Tickets: 10,000 won per person.

Busan International Rock Festival

Busan International Rock Festival 2020

Featuring some big acts from around the world, including The Chemical Brothers in 2019, the Busan International Rock Festival is a serious event and a lot of fun. I visited in 2019 and spent 2 days relaxing, dancing, drinking, and avoiding the mud during the hot summer days on Korea’s southern coast.

Spread over two days, with camping available for those with a tent, this rock festival has a number of different stages and kinds of rock. Listen to Korean bands you’ve probably never heard of, show your dance moves in front of the DJ stand, or wait for the big name acts on the main stage. The variety of music here means there’s something for everyone.

Where – Samnak Eco-Park, Busan

WhenPOSTPONED – Sept / Oct 2020

Why visit – A classic summer festival for those who like rock of all kinds.

More Information – Visit the website for more information.

Sinchon Water Gun Fight

Sinchon Water Gun Festival 2020

With the slogan of ‘Making Korea More Fun Through Festivals’, the Sinchon Water Gun Festival is certainly succeeding. One of the craziest festivals in Korea, as well as one of the most needed in the summer, this festival reminds me of the Songkran festival in Thailand. 

Grab your water pistol, head down to the main square in Sinchon, and get ready to get soaked! Watch out, though, as there are some serious water guns being fired on the main stage that will get you soaked. Also, be sure to have a turn on the huge water slide on the street.

If you want to recreate the Sincheon Water Gun Festival at any other time, head to the beach with some friends and get spraying. You can get cheap water pistols there and cool off from the hot Korean summer.

Where – Sinchon, Seoul

When – July 4th – July 5th 2020

Why visit – Because summer in Korea is very hot and this is the best way to cool off.

More Information – Visit the website for more information.

Tour Options – Book tours through Trazy.

Ultra Korea Music Festival

Ultra Korea Music Festival 2020

One of the biggest festivals in the world for EDM music comes to Korea every summer. This is one of the best music festivals in Korea and features some of the world’s top DJs, great stage design, and a high level of production.

Previous headliners include Skrillex, Porter Robinson, Knife Party, David Guetta, and Above & Beyond, to name just a few. For EDM, there really is no better festival in Korea.

Where – Olympic Stadium, Seoul

WhenPOSTPONED – until autumn 2020

Why visit – The premier EDM festival in Korea and some amazing acts.

More Information – Visit the website for more information.

Incheon Pentaport International Rock Festival 2020

Not to be outdone by Busan, Incheon also has its own international rock festival with big name acts from around the world attending. 

Featuring an eclectic line-up of acts in past years, such as Weezer, Cornelius, and The Fray, as well as Korean bands, you’re sure to find someone you want to rock along to at this big music festival.  

Where – Songdo City, Incheon

When – August 10th  – 12th 2020

Why visit – A fun festival close to Seoul and featuring a line up of local and international artists.

More Information – Visit the website for more information.

Muju Firefly Festival 2020

Down in the southern area of Korea, surrounded by natural beauty, you can find these electric insects for one week of the year, putting on a magical display. 

The Muju Firefly Festival has many other activities on before the main even occurs after 8:00 pm, when the fireflies light up the night skies.

Where – Muju City

When – Sept 5th – Sept 13th 2020

Why visit – The peace and tranquility that comes from watching these fiery insects on a dark, warm night.

More Information – Visit the website for more information.

Autumn Leaves In Seoul

Autumn Festivals In Korea 2020 (Sep – Nov)

Autumn is my favourite season in Korea and is an amazing time to travel to see autumn leaves and to visit some of the many Korean festivals. 

The weather is getting cooler after a hot summer and people come out of their homes to get back to nature and join together to celebrate the harvest period.

There are many wonderful festivals celebrating Korea’s unique culture during this time, where you can learn about mask dances, lantern making, and even how to make Korea’s national dishes – kimchi and bibimbap.

For more information about travelling during autumn and what to see, check out these articles:

Where To See Autumn Leaves In Korea

Jinju Lanterns

Jinju Namdang Yudeung Lantern Festival 2020

The Jinju Lantern Festival is another one of those festivals where the city goes all-out to put on a great performance. The entire central area, including the historic fortress, main bridge, river, and surrounding areas, are decked out with thousands of lanterns of various shapes, sizes and colours.

Here you can find historical portrayals of famous battles, Korean fairy tales, ancient monsters, beautiful creatures, whole villages, and even modern-day super heroes all in shining lantern form. There’s certainly a lot to see and you can spend a whole day here at this festival. Besides the lanterns, there are also cultural performances, lantern making stalls, yummy food stalls, and lots more.

Where – Jinju City

When – First two weeks of October 2020 – Date TBC

Why visit – This is a great day trip from Seoul or Busan and a chance to get lots of great lantern pictures.

More Information – Visit the website for more information.

Tour Options – Book tours through Trazy.

Busan International Film Festival 2020

The Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) is the Cannes of Asia, featuring around 300 movies from around the world and red-carpet events. Come and see some major movie stars attending the worldwide and international premiers of over 100 movies each year. There’s certainly a wide range of genres on show and you’re sure to find something to enjoy.

Busan comes alive during this 10 day movie-extravaganza that is spread through the central Busan area in the 6 participating theatres. This is a great chance to explore the diverse world of Asian and Korean cinema.

Where – Busan

When – Oct 7th – Oct 16th 2020

Why visit – If you like movies, or want to see some celebrities on the red-carpet, be sure not to miss the BIFF.

More Information – Visit the website for more information.

Andong Mask Dance

Andong Mask Dance Festival 2020

Featuring more than a week of performances, festivities, and events, this is one of the best festivals in Korea for those who want to experience traditional Korean culture. There are many other Korean activities and performances to enjoy, too, such as Taekwondo, orchestras, plays, and traditional games.

Besides Korean maskdances, there are also a number of international performances from countries such as Russia, Thailand, and Sri Lanka. You can enjoy learning about and seeing cultural performances from these countries during the Andong Mask Dance Festival.

Where – Andong Maskdance Park, Andong City

When – Sep 25th – Oct 4th 2020

Why visit – A great cultural experience in a historic and significant part of Korea.

More Information – Visit the website for more information.

Kimchi Making In Seoul

Seoul Kimchi Making Festival 2020

Kimchi making has been an integral part of Korean life for generations and the Seoul Kimchi Making Festival is here to share that with the world. After harvesting cabbages and chili peppers during autumn, it’s time to prepare Korea’s national food – kimchi – for the year ahead. 

Learn all about how to make kimchi – a spicy fermented cabbage dish that is served with most meals in Korea. You can also have a go at making kimchi yourself at this unique festival you won’t find anywhere else in the world. Be sure to get your gloves and and have a go making kimchi. And take some home with you, too.

Where – Seoul City Hall area, Seoul

When – Early November 2020 – Date TBC

Why visit – Where else in the world can you enjoy kimchi making? A truly unique cultural event.

More Information – Visit the website for more information.

Lanterns on Cheonggyecheon Stream

Seoul Lantern Festival 2020

The wonderful Seoul Lantern Festival in the Cheonggye area is one that I visit each year. Located in the heart of Seoul, close to Myeongdong and Insadong, this free festival is a great place to spend a few hours walking along the stream, enjoying the lanterns. There are many different themed areas, such as Korean fairytales, historic scenes, and fantastic stories.

As with all lantern festivals, it’s best to get there as the sun goes down and the lights come on, which is around 5 pm during that time of year. Apart from seeing the lanterns, there are many other events going on. For example, you can make and set off your own floating lanterns, or join in cultural games and activities in the Cheonggye Plaza.

Where – Cheonggyecheon Stream and Cheonggye Plaza, Seoul

When – First half of November 2020 – Date TBC

Why visit – A free festival in the heart of Seoul that will certainly provide a great background for impressive photos.

More Information – Visit the website for more information.

There are many spring festivals in Korea

Goyang Autumn Flower Festival 2020

See Korea’s best autumn flowers, including the colourful cosmos, bright and bushy chrysanthemums, and the ever-radiant sunflowers. The Goyang Autumn Flower Festival is a 2 week celebration of some of the finest flowers putting on a grand show before the coming winter months. 

Unlike the Goyang Spring Flower Festival, this festival is free of charge. Makes for a great day out, away from central Seoul, for all the family. There are many fun activities for children and adults, such as flower pressing, wood art, and natural dyeing. If you like nature, be sure to check out the coming autumn leaves that are due to start falling mid-October.

Where – Goyang area outside Seoul

When – Sep 25th – Oct 11th 2020

Why visit – This flower festival is a colourful marvel packed full of interesting displays. Great for families.

More Information – Visit the website for more information.

Bibimbap making in Jeonju

Jeonju Bibimbap Festival 2020

Korea’s other national dish, besides kimchi, has to be bibimbap – a bowl filled with various vegetables, rice, sauce, and other ingredients. One famous version of this dish comes from Jeonju – a historic city in the southern part of Korea that is a great day trip from Seoul. They’re such big fans of bibimbap that they even made the Jeonju Bibimbap Festival to celebrate it.

Jeonju has a large traditional hanok village and many other cultural attractions. A lot of the main events take place in these areas, including the various cooking contests, hands on experiences (make your own bibimbap), parades, and cooking concerts. Want to find out more about Korean food and culture? Be sure to visit.

Where – Jeonju City

When – Oct 8th – Oct 11th 2020

Why visit – See the gigantic bowl of bibimbap, learn some cooking skills, and taste lots of awesome Korean food.

More Information – Visit the website for more information.

Silver Grass Reeds in Seoul

Seoul Silver Grass Festival 2020

Nature lovers, couples, and those who want some great photos in a beautiful setting should certainly check out the Seoul Silver Grass Festival in Haneul Park. The tall, silvery reeds are just one of the many attractions in this large park along the side of the Han River.

You can also find the famous pink muhly, which is so soft and fluffy and has everyone running to sit in it to take pictures, as well as nighttime musical and lighting performances, sculptures, photo zones, and lots more. I try to visit every year if I’m in Seoul at the right time as it never disappoints. If you’re in Seoul in October, don’t miss it.

Where – Haneul (Sky) Park, Seoul

When – Late October 2020 – Date TBC

Why visit – A spectacular setting for some romantic pictures, especially on a sunny day. And the pink muhly!

More Information – Visit the website for more information.

Tour Options – Book tours through Trazy.

Winter Festivals In Korea 2020

Winter Festivals In Korea 2020 – 2021 (Dec – Feb)

Winter might seem like a strange time to visit Korea, when the weather gets cold and lots of snow falls, but there are certainly many things to do during winter that make your trip worthwhile.

See the snow in Seoul and out in the mountains, join in the many festivals, and embrace the wintry weather to see a playful side to Korea. 

Try your hand at River Ice Fishing, Strawberry Picking, or just go out and have fun in the snow. There’s lots of festivals to enjoy in the Korean winter.

For more details about what to see and do in winter, as well as the more festivals and delicious foods, check out these articles:

Winter Festivals In Korea

Where To See Snow In Seoul And Korea

What To Do During Winter In Korea

The Best Korean Winter Foods

Ice Fishing Festivals in Korea, a great place to see snow outside of Seoul

Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Fishing Festival 2021

Located in the northern city of Hwacheon is one of the best winter festivals in Korea, an event that claims to be one of the 4 best winter festivals in the world, no less! Running for more than 3 weeks during cold, cold January this festival gives you the chance to experience life as an ice fisher, trying to catch your lunch even when the water is frozen.

Grab a fishing rod and head for a hole in the ice and you’re sure to be able to catch your own trout in no time, which you can then take over to the cooking area and get grilled up. There’s certainly a lot more to this festival than that, however. You’ll also find ice and snow sculptures, winter lights, sledding, skiing, and lots more icy fun.

Where – Hwacheon City

When – Jan 4th – Jan 26th 2020

Why visit – As it says, this is one of the top 4 winter festivals in the world. Makes for a great day out from Seoul.

More Information – Visit the website for more information.

Tour Options – Book tours through Klook or Trazy.

Ice Fishing, one of the best winter festivals in Korea

Pyeongchang Trout Ice Fishing Festival 2021

There are few better places to see beautiful snow and icy rivers than in Pyeongchang, home to the 2018 Winter Olympics. As with the Hwacheon Ice Fishing Festival, the main draw at this festival is the chance to catch your lunch in the icy rivers. Head over to the large icy river and get ready to fish.

There are also many fun events held throughout the festival, such as bare-handed fish catching (only for the very brave), sledding, snow rafting, and sleigh trains. You can even rent an ATV and go zooming about through the snowy landscape. 

Where – Jinbu Town in Pyeongchang

When – 21st December 2019 – 2nd February 2020

Why visit – Convenient to get to from Seoul and a fun day out for all the family.

More Information – Visit the website for more information.

Tour Options – Book tours through Klook.

Inje Ice Fishing Festival 2021

Ice fishing is all the rage in Korea and there are many such festivals that you can join to try this fun sport. The third of the top 3 that I want to introduce is the Inje Ice Fishing Festival, because it has a lot to offer besides the classic ice fishing. Running for more than 20 years now, the Inje Ice Fishing Festival offers a range of activities for all the family.

Areas such as the Ice Playground and Snow Playground will let you try a range of different winter sports and activities based on those different substances. Learn to sled and ski, or just play around with the various slides and build a snowman. If you want to learn more about how Koreans survive the cold weather, visit the mountain village and join in the cultural exhibitions and activities there.

Where – Bingeoho Lake, Nam-myeon – near Inje

When – 18th – 27th January 2020

Why visit – This long running festival has many hands-on activities, cultural experiences, and traditional foods to sample.

More Information – Visit the website for more information.

Tour Options – Book tours through Klook or Trazy.

Garden of Morning Calm Light Festival in Korea

Garden of Morning Calm Lighting Festival 2021

The Garden of Morning Calm Lighting Festival is one of the top spots to visit during the dark, wintry days. There are several lighting festivals in Korea, but this is probably my favourite because the landscape is so pretty. 

Walking through the gardens when the sun has set is like entering into a magical world, a true winter fantasia. Explore the diverse themed areas that focus on animals, plants, and even love. A great place to take your loved one for some romantic memories walking between the electric forests.

Where – The Garden Of Morning Calm near Cheongpyeong

When – 15th December 2019 – March 5th 2020

Why visit – An incredible light display through one of the most popular sightseeing spots outside of Seoul.

More Information – Visit the website for more information.

Tour Options – Book tours through Klook or Trazy.

Herb Island in Winter

Herb Island Light Festival 2021

Another excellent winter lighting festival in Korea is the Herb Island Light Festival. As with the Garden of Morning Calm, this area of natural beauty transforms into an electric circus of lights, illuminations, and wonderful displays in winter. Herb Island also features a Santa’s Village area, with over 300 Santa Clauses to meet!

Describing itself as a ‘light and story festival’, this winter festival is a self-proclaimed place for ‘lovers to confess their undying love, for friends to make eternal memories together, and for families to enjoy a special time together’. It’s also a really nice place to get some colourful snaps of all the pretty lights at night and take a gentle stroll.

Where – Herb Island, Pocheon City area

When – November 2019 – April 2020

Why visit – Romance, beautiful scenes, and a whole load of Santa Clauses.

More Information – Visit the website for more information.

Tour Options – Book tours through Trazy.

Strawberry picking in Nonsan, a great winter activity in Korea

Nonsan Strawberry Picking Festival 2021

Come to Nonsan and experience picking fresh, ripe, juicy strawberries in Korea’s largest strawberry growing region. The Nonsan strawberries are big and juicy and you can wander through the fields picking them yourself to eat later, or right then.

Besides strawberry picking, there are a host of other activities, such as strawberry cake making, strawberry jam making, and lots of other strawberry-based activities. Get your gardening gloves on and go out into the strawberry fields to get some of the abundant red gems.  

Where – Nonsan Strawberry Field, Nonsan

When – 19th – 23rd February 2020

Why visit – A great family day out in nature with lots of delicious strawberries to eat.

More Information – Visit the website for more information.

Taebaeksan Mountain Snow Festival 2021

See the beautiful gigantic snow and ice sculptures on display throughout Taebaeksan National Park and Taebaeksan City and join in the many activities that are on offer in this mountainous area. Taebaeksan is said to be one of the best regions to hike and see snow in Korea, so don’t miss it.

There’s more to do here than just see the snow and natural beauty of Taebaeksan. For example, you can enjoy snow sliding, snow hiking, pop into an ice igloo, and see the various performances. Come on the weekend during the daytime for the performances, or any time for snowy beauty.

Where – Taebaeksan National Park, Taebaeksan City

When – 10th – 19th January 2020

Why visit – Snow, possibly lots of deep snow, and a fun day out for families. Best as a tour from Seoul.

More Information – Visit the website for more information.

Tour Options – Book tours through Klook or Trazy.

Snow sculptures at winter festivals in Korea

Daegwallyeong Snow Festival 2021

Situated in the ‘Alps of Korea’, the Daegwallyeong Snow Festival is a festival packed full of snow-based fun and activities. Snow sledding is one of the big draws and you can enjoy sliding down the snowy slopes and into the soft snow below.

Furthermore, you can walk around huge ice sculptures representing building-sized structures, such as castles, people, characters, and more. There’s also performances during the day, parades, and a fireworks show to light up the skies at night.

Where – Daegwallyeong Town, Hoenggye area

When – 10th – 19th January 2020

Why visit – The beauty of the ‘Alps of Korea’, with fun snow activities, make this an attractive festival.

More Information – Visit the website for more information.

Tour Options – Book tours through Trazy.

New Year Festivals In Korea

New Year Festivals In Korea 2021

If you’re lucky enough to be in Korea for the New Year, then be sure to join in some awesome festivals. Koreans celebrate New Year’s Eve with a traditional bell ringing ceremony and lots of fireworks. 

Then, they continue celebrating in a more sombre way in the morning by going out to watch the first sunrise of the New Year. 

Join them and reflect on the year gone by, and the year that is just starting.

For a more detailed guide to the various New Year festivals in Korea, check out this article:

Winter & New Year Festivals In Korea

New Year Festivals In Korea 2020

Homigot New Year Sunrise Festival 2021

Koreans celebrate the New Year by waking up early (or staying out late) and watching the very first sunrise of the year. There are many New Year sunrise festivals in Korea where you can not only watch the sunrise together, in deep contemplation of the year ahead, but also enjoy festivities and cultural events.

For New Year sunrise enthusiasts and purists, this is the must visit festival in Korea for watching the sunrise. That’s because this is the furthest most eastern point in Korea, and therefore the first place to see the first sunrise of the New Year.

Where – Homigot Village near Ulsan

When – 1st January 2021

Why visit – Be the first to see the new sun in the New Year and start the New Year well.

More Information – Visit the website for more information.

Tour Options – Book tours through Klook.

Jeju Sunrise Festival

Jeju’s Seongsan New Year Sunrise Festival 2021

Ever wanted to watch the New Year sunrise from a UNESCO World Heritage Site? Then you’re in luck, as that’s exactly what you can do at Jeju’s Seongsan New Year Sunrise Festival. Head to the Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak, a volcanic cone rising out of the sea and connecting to Jeju Island, for great views.

This is a very special location for Koreans and has been a famous spot for watching the sunrise since at least the 13th Century. The festival provides a chance to learn more about Korea’s rich history and to join in cultural activities and games.

Where – Seongsan area, Jeju Island

When – 30th December 2020 – 1st January 2021

Why visit – The chance to celebrate New Year’s Day with Koreans in this historically significant location.

More Information – Visit the website for more information.

Fireworks for New Year

Gyeongpo New Year Sunrise Festival 2021

Located in Gangneung, one of my favourite summer beach resort areas, this area is one of the most popular places to watch the New Year sunrise and is easily accessible from Seoul. Not only is there the morning New Year sunrise to watch, there are also celebrations the night before right on the beach.

Head to the beach for New Year’s Eve and watch fireworks shoot off over the rocking sea and stay warm in the many bars and cafes along the coast. As with all good Korean festivals, there are many activities and cultural events occurring throughout the festival for you to enjoy.

Where – Gyeongpo Beach, Gangneung City

When – 31st December 2020 – 1st January 2021

Why visit – One of the best beaches to celebrate New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day in Korea.

More Information – Visit the website for more information.

Tour Options – Book tours through Klook or Trazy.

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8 thoughts on “Festivals In Korea: The 40 Best Korean Festivals”

  1. Great list! I think there’s a small mistake with the spring Hampyeong Butterfly Festival though.. Should be from April 24th instead of April 4th 🙂

    Reply
    • Thanks very much. I’ve been checking the festival dates each week to see if the final date has been confirmed, as some were not updated for 2020 yet. I’ll update that right now and keep checking the dates for any others. I appreciate the help 🙂

      Reply
  2. You have written a terrific list! Your photos are gorgeous! Your blog is probably one of the most detailed one I’ve ever read! Thanks!

    Reply

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