Your Ultimate One Week Itinerary For Korea 2023

Discover the best places to stay in Korea, what foods you shouldn’t miss out on, the incredible sights, the history & culture, and how to make the most of your precious time. This classic one week itinerary for Korea is the perfect place to get started on your wonderful journey. It’ll inspire you to travel more and see the best that Korea has to offer.

I’ve created this one week itinerary for Korea to make planning your week-long adventure in the Land of Morning Calm a breeze. This detailed, yet easy-to-follow guide to the best places to see in Korea will take you on a 7 day journey through Korea’s bustling capital, on thrilling day trips, to the beautiful southern shores, show you Korea’s UNESCO-worthy history and culture, and beyond.

Firstly, congratulations on deciding to visit South Korea. It’s an amazing country that I’ve been living in since 2015 and there are so many awesome things to see, do, eat, try, and experience. Follow this detailed one week itinerary for Korea and make your Korea trip planning a lot easier.

If you want to know how much it costs to travel to Korea, check out my article all about how much you can expect to pay for accommodation, food, sightseeing, and transportation, as well as other expected costs.

Cost To Travel In Korea: Korea Budget Guide

In case you only have a limited amount of time, or want to know about what you can see in Seoul for a few days, then you might like my really simple, yet packed guide to spending 2 – 3 days in Korea’s capital:

What To See In Seoul In A Weekend

Knowing when to visit Korea is also one of the key considerations you should think about before planning your one week itinerary for Korea. To make life easier, I’ve made a detailed guide to all of Korea’s seasons for you.

The Best Time To Visit Korea

Now read on to see the best that Korea has to offer with 3 easy to follow itineraries for Korea and start planning your dream trip.

Korea Essentials:

Here are some of my favourite resources that will help you save time and money on your journey to Seoul:

Flights To Korea: | JetRadar

Hotels In Seoul:
Myeongdong | Hongdae | Gangnam

Recommended Tour Companies:
| Trazy | Get Your Guide | Voyagin

Travel & Tour Passes:
T-Money Card | Discover Seoul Pass

Internet / Mobile:
4g Sim Card | Portable 4g WiFi

Airport Transportation:
AREX Train Ticket
| Incheon Airport Pickup

Follow Me On Social Media:

Disclaimer: This site contains affiliate links and I may earn commission for purchases made after clicking one of these links. Affiliate Disclaimer

Myeongdong, a great place to stay in Seoul during a one week itinerary for Korea.

One Week Itinerary For Korea 1: The Classic Route

This one week itinerary for Korea covers the two largest cities in Korea – Seoul and Busan. You’ll also have the chance to take day trips to some amazing sights, such as the beautiful historic city of Gyeongju. This is actually similar to my first trip to Korea back in 2012, but includes lots of other great places I missed out on at that time.

You’ll get a feel for Korea’s busy lifestyle, and also have time to relax on gorgeous beaches in the south. Sample a wide range of yummy foods from Seoul and Busan and beyond. Not only that, you’ll have time for shopping and a chance to soak up Korea’s unique culture – past and present.

Let’s get started in one of the best cities to visit in the world, Seoul.

1: Day 1 – Welcome To Seoul

You’re about to start your awesome 7 days in Korea with a gentle day seeing some of the main sights. Be ready to dress up, take lots of pictures, and have a great time!

I’m going to assume you’re already in Seoul, but in case you need to know how to get from Incheon Airport into the centre, you should definitely check out this guide:

How To Get To Seoul From Incheon Airport

Once you’re in the centre, we’re going to get started with some of the top sights Seoul has to offer, and show you a glimpse of royal life in the Joseon era.

Before you get started, I’d definitely recommend getting a T-Money Card as this will help you a lot when travelling around Seoul, especially if you plan to use the subway or buses. You can buy these at the airport, any train or subway station, or even at convenience stores. You can find out more about the T-Money Card here:

What Is The T-Money Card & Why It’s Essential

Hanbok Rental In Gyeongbokgung - a must during a one week itinerary in Seoul

Morning – Seoul’s Grand Palaces

No trip to Seoul would be complete without a trip to Gyeongbokgung Palace – the biggest and most impressive of Seoul’s royal palaces. That’s why it’s one of the first activities on this one week itinerary, and one that really can’t be missed.

The best way to experience the life and sights of this palace is by dressing up in Korean hanbok – traditional Korean clothes that are probably like nothing you’ve worn before. Dressing up in Korean traditional hanbok will not only give you a feeling for Korea’s culture, it’ll also get you free entry to all of Seoul’s main palaces.

Spend the morning at Gyeongbokgung Palace exploring the many sights of the palace, as well as the National Folk Museum and Children’s Museum, which you can find by the East Gate.

Joel’s Tip: I’d definitely recommend wearing hanbok as this first day is all about embracing Korea’s culture. Also, you’ll want to wear it in the afternoon as you’ll visit Bukchon Hanok Village and wearing hanbok will give you loads of incredible photo opportunities.

You can find hanbok rental shops around the palace, or you can book them online before you arrive.

Book Discount Hanbok Rental Online

How to get there: Take the subway (Line 3 – orange) to Gyeongbokgung Station or Anguk Station. Alternatively, walk from Gwanghwamun Station (Line 5 – purple) or Jonggak Station (Line 1 – dark blue) if they’re more convenient.

Hanbok rental at Bukchon Hanok Village, Seoul - a great addition to your one week itinerary for Korea

Afternoon – Traditional Seoul In Bukchon Hanok Village

Once you’ve finished with the palace, head out of the south or east gates and make your way towards the Bukchon Hanok Village. Located between Gyeongbokgung Palace and Changdeokgung Palace, the Bukchon Hanok Village has lots of traditional hanok houses, tea rooms, art galleries, and narrow streets with artsy shops to discover.

In case you’re in need of some coffee first (it’s a very full schedule!), then there are loads of great cafes between Gyeongbokgung Palace and Bukchon Hanok Village, including one of my favourites – Blue Bottle Coffee.

You can also grab some lunch in the nearby restaurants and cafes, or wait until you get to Bukchon Hanok Village to experience eating in one of the beautiful traditional houses that are now restaurants and tea houses.

The Bukchon Hanok Village itself is spread over two main areas that you can explore at your leisure. You’re sure to recognise some of the famous postcard-picture views from Seoul. Walk up and down the streets and take pictures with incredible backgrounds, including the N Seoul Tower standing in the hills behind.

There’s so much to do in this area, it can definitely take the whole afternoon. For more details about what to see in this area, and the best spots to eat, drink, shop, explore, photo, and experience, check out my detailed guide to the area:

What To Do & See In Bukchon Hanok Village

Finish exploring this area, then head back towards Anguk Station and on towards Insadong for an early dinner.

Joel’s Tip: If you finish early and want more palaces to explore, then there’s some good news. Changdeokgung Palace is only 10 minutes away by foot. You can visit here before or after visiting Bukchon Hanok Village as a great way to get more of Korea’s Joseon-era culture.

I actually prefer Changdeokgung Palace during autumn as it’s got some of the best views of autumn leaves in central Seoul. If you are travelling during October, you’ll definitely want to read more about those:

Where To See Autumn Leaves In Seoul & Korea

Cheonggyecheon Stream in Seoul, South Korea

Early Evening – Insadong Art Street

Insadong Art Street is a lovely place to browse art shops, galleries, museums, experience traditional culture, and relax in cosy old wooden tea houses. The Insadong area also has lots of street food and stalls and is a great place to buy some cheap souvenirs.

Explore the many wonderful shops and sights here, such as the Kimchi Museum, Ssamziegil Culture Complex, the Alive Museum, and the Anyoung Insadong Mall. They have a collection of shops that range from goods by local artists to famous Korean brands. You’ll find many unique stores here that you won’t find in other parts of Seoul.

If you’re looking for an unusual cafe experience, that doubles up as a great place to get some insta-worthy shots, then check out the Poop Cafe in the Ssamziegil Culture Complex. Here you can get coffee served in a toilet-shaped cup, and some delicious ddong-bbang (poop bread). Check it out.

If you have enough time, also check out one of the main temples in Seoul – Jogyesa Temple. This stunning temple is located just off of the main Insadong street and often has seasonal displays such as Buddhist lanterns or flower arrangements. The temple itself is worth the trip alone.

Once you’ve had your fill of Insadong Art Street, keep following the street down, past a small park, and you’ll soon find a stream cutting across your path. Head down the steps and you’ve arrived at the Cheonggyecheon Stream. This stream is a beautiful pathway that cuts through central Seoul and often has light displays or lanterns to see.

Follow the stream west and you’ll arrive at the Cheonggyecheon Plaza where you’ll be greeted by a gigantic seashell. There’s lots to see and do in this area, including the statues of King Sejong and Admiral Yi Sunshin. You should notice Gyeongbokgung Palace in the background at the end of the long street.

Now it’s time to jump on the subway and travel to a different part of the city for a romantic night cruise along the river.

River Cruise on the Han River

Late Evening – A Majestic Han River Cruise

Make your way to Gwanghwamun Station and take the subway (Line 5 – purple) to Yeouinaru Station on the other side of the Han River. Once you exit the station, you’ll be greeted by the slow-moving Han River and long, gentle grassy slopes leading down to the river, which will probably be packed with locals and tourists enjoying the view.

This area is one of my favourite places to spend the evening (or any time) in Seoul. There are lots of places to sit, relax, have a picnic, and enjoy a bit of nature in this busy metropolis. There are often local musicians singing in the evenings, as well as some impromptu performances.

Not only that, there are some incredible festivals here during the year, including the Yeouido Spring Flower Festival where you’ll see countless cherry blossoms.

One of the best ways to enjoy this area is to book a cruise along the river, passing under the main bridges, seeing the city’s skyscrapers and lights, and seeing which famous sights you can see along the way.

Book A Cruise On The Han River

After the cruise, head back to your hotel for a rest, or find a spot to have a quiet drink in the evening. Some cafes are open 24 hours and Seoul never sleeps.

Joel’s Tip: It’s best to book a cruise before you arrive as they can be sold out early. If you want to combine a cruise and some dinner, then there’s an option to eat at the nearby Ashley Marine Buffet restaurant, which is based on the water’s edge and has great views to enjoy while you eat.

Book A Cruise & Dinner Combo Package

War Memorial of Korea, Seoul, South Korea

2: Day 2 – Exploring Seoul’s Markets, Culture, & History

On the second day of this one week itinerary for Korea it’s time to check out some more of Seoul’s history, see the bustling, vibrant traditional markets, and get some great views of the city.

For those who want to stay up late, visit the busy night bars and restaurants of the city’s international district.

Morning – Understanding Korea’s History & Culture

I’d recommend spending the morning understanding some of Korea’s long and varied history. There are a wealth of museums around Seoul that will both entertain and educate you for a whole morning.

I’d personally recommend the War Memorial of Korea. It has some really interesting displays and will provide some information about the Korean War that many people probably aren’t aware of. Plus there’s loads of tanks and planes to see outside, which is fun.

Here are some of the top museums and galleries to explore in Seoul:

War Memorial Of Korea – An interesting insight into the history of conflict in Korea, especially the war between North and South Korea. Includes a lot of military equipment outside the main museum.

National Museum Of Korea – The definitive history museum for Korea that covers all history from early stone age settlements to modern history.

Seoul Museum Of History – A colourful collection of artefacts and displays that explore the history of Korea’s capital.

Seoul Museum Of Art – The Seoul Museum of Art (SeMA) opened in 1988 and has earned a reputation as one of Korea’s leading art venues with a series of world-famous exhibitions. Situated in the centre of Seoul, its convenient location and outstanding collections attract large numbers of locals and tourists.

National Museum Of Modern & Contemporary Art – The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) focuses on introducing global contemporary art. Equipped with multiple facilities, including a library, theatre, and a multipurpose hall.

Depending on where you’re staying in Seoul, some of these locations might be easier for you to get to. Therefore, choose one that seems more interesting for you, or convenient. I wouldn’t try to visit them all in one day.

Joel’s Tip: If you are expecting rain or bad weather for one day of your one week in Korea, I’d recommend these activities above for that day. They’re perfect for when the weather doesn’t want to help you out. In case it does rain at any time, then this guide will certainly help you:

Things To Do In Seoul When It’s Raining

Seoul's Fortress Wall Walk

Morning – Alternative Activity

If you don’t feel like learning about Korea’s history, then an alternative could be to walk along Seoul’s fortress walls. The walls stretch along the mountains behind Gyeongbokgung Palace, and curve in through the heart of the city. Don’t worry, you don’t have to do any heavy hiking as there are many places you can enjoy them in the city centre.

One of the best places to see the fortress walls is from Naksan Park in Ihwa-dong. You’ll get great views of the city and a feel for life as a City Guard patrolling the walls. You can follow the walls north or south and see some incredible sights as you go.

After you’ve explored the walls, check out the Iwha Mural Village, which has lots of wall murals and is a great place for dressing up in old-style Korean school uniforms. You’ll find lots of cafes in the areas where you can enjoy the view with a refreshing coffee and some Korean desserts.

Please note: some residents have complained about tourists in this area, so please be respectful as you explore this area as people live there.

How to get there: Take a subway to Hyehwa Station (Line 4 – light blue) and walk east up the hill towards the park. Alternatively, head to Dongdaemun Station (Line 4 – light blue) and you’ll find fortress walls here, too.

Gwangjang Market in Seoul, Korea

Afternoon – Seoul’s Traditional Markets

Most people who visit Korea can’t wait to try the incredible local food and Seoul’s traditional markets are some of the best places for authentic, cheap, and delicious places to eat.

Seoul has a range of traditional markets that are more popular than ever. If you’ve watched Netflix’s Street Food series, you should recognise Gwangjang Market – home to dozens of tiny restaurants packed with locals and tourists looking for the best bites to eat.

Not only will you find fantastic food to eat, there are also many types of shops selling pretty much everything. If you enjoyed wearing hanbok on the first day, you can even get one custom made to take back and show your friends back home. Not only this, there are souvenirs, snacks, health-foods, Korea’s famous cosmetics & clothes, and lots more.

These are the markets I’d recommend visiting in central Seoul. You might have already seen them, depending on where you’re staying. Try to visit at least one or two, as each one specialises in something different. Follow the link to find out why you should visit, what you’ll find, and how to get there.

Namdaemun Market & Myeongdong Market – best for cheap clothes and souvenirs. These two markets are right next to each other. Be sure to check out the great street food.

Gwangjang Market – famous for its awesome food, also a great place to get custom-made hanbok.

Seoul Folk Flea Market – one for those who like retro and vintage goods.

Noryangjin Fish Market – even better before the sun rises. Watch the fish auctions in the early morning and sample some delicious fresh seafood.

If you’d like to know more about Korea’s traditional markets, which you can find in all major cities across Korea, then check out my guide to the 10 best traditional markets in Korea:

The 10 Best Traditional Markets In Korea

If you have more time available and want to experience more amazing shops, but in a very modern setting instead, then take a trip to Dongdaemun Design Plaza. It’s close to Namdaemun, Dongdaemun, Gwangjang, and Myeongdong Markets and you can reach there by subway, bus, or even walking.

The Dongdaemun Design Plaza is a gigantic alien-looking building that houses a range of different attractions, including temporary art exhibitions, art shops, unique markets, cafes, and a long, sloping lawn on the roof.

I’d recommend checking out the Kakao Friends shop for some fun souvenirs for this place. You might want to come back here later if you have more free time on another day as there’s a lot to see.

N Seoul Tower should be on your one week itinerary for Korea

Early Evening – Night Views From N Seoul Tower

Before the sun sets, make your way to Namsan Mountain for the second great night view on your one week itinerary for Korea. Located in the heart of Seoul, the N Seoul Tower gives incredible 360 degree views of the city.

To get there, head to Myeongdong Station and then either hike up the small hill or ride the nearby Namsan Cable Car. Alternatively, there are shuttle buses that will take you to the top from around the city.

Joel’s Tip: I’d definitely recommend taking the cable car. If you time it right, you can watch the sunset over the city, then see the night views afterwards. Take as many pictures as you can, there is a lot to see from every side.

There are several restaurants that you can dine in at the top, as well as cafes and gift shops. Enjoy views of the whole of Seoul while you dine in style in one of the highest points in Seoul.

Restaurants At N Seoul Tower

Joel’s Tip: If you want to save money on sightseeing and get combo tickets for the observatory and other attractions there, such as the, cafes, restaurants, and a VR experience, book online before you visit.

Discount Tickets For N Seoul Tower

Make sure to explore the area around the tower itself, too. You can find some interesting artworks, love locks, and even take a stroll through down the hill a short way.

Itaewon, a great place to add to a one week itinerary for Korea

Late Evening – Myeongdong’s Night Markets Or Itaewon

Here are two great options to end the second day in Korea for different types of travellers.

First option: after you’ve finished sightseeing at the tower, take the cable car back down and explore Myeongdong’s Night Markets and the rest of Myeongdong. The night markets run until late at night and you can pick up some tasty street food desserts or a late night snack.

Seoul is a 24-hour city and you’ll find cafes and bars (and even shops) open until midnight and beyond. If you have the energy, then walk around and explore this area more. There’s a lot of interesting sights to see and this area is a lot more family friendly than the second option.

Second option: if the night is young and you want to enjoy yourself more, head down in the opposite direction of the hill (south) towards Itaewon for some night life.

Itaewon is the international district of Seoul and was formerly the home to an American military base. Thanks to this, there are loads of great international restaurants, bars, and clubs in the area and it’s the perfect place to unwind with a few drinks.

This area has some of the best international food in the city. There are also many bars and clubs here, especially in the area just north of Itaewon Station.

Despite it being known as the international district, it’s actually most popular with Koreans who want to experience foreign drinks and foods and you’ll see the area packed out on most nights of the week.

Best Foods To Try In Korea:

One of the best things about travelling to any country is the chance to sample new and delicious foods. There is a lot to offer in Korea that you might not find in other countries. Here are 3 of my favourites:

Korean BBQ – most people have this at the top of their to-try list when they come to Korea and for a good reason. This is a serious meal and a cultural experience. Be sure to try it.

Pajeon & Makgeolli – Pictured below, this is a great treat to have after a busy day of walking around sightseeing. Korean-style pancake with different fillings, served with traditonal Korean rice wine. The perfect combo!

Tteokbokki – A must-try street food or meal in Korea, this spicy, salty dish is a favourite with Koreans and tourists alike. A simple mix of rice cakes, fish cakes and a hot spicy sauce, it’s the perfect food for winter, or any time.

Want To Know More About Korea’s Traditional Foods?

Want to know about the best Korean foods to try when you visit Korea? From street food to big meals for all the family, Korean cuisine has a lot to offer. Check out this great article with 20 of the most mouth watering traditional Korean dishes you really should try when you visit Korea.

The 20 Best Traditional Korean Dishes

DMZ in Korea

3: Day 3 – A Day Trip From Seoul

Although Seoul is an incredible city and you could spend the whole 7 days in Korea just visiting the sights of this wonderful place, there’s a lot to see outside of Korea that is also worth your time.

There are many great day trips available from Seoul that will introduce you to some of Korea’s varied culture, nature, history, and attractions that you’ll only find outside of the capital.

I’d recommend one of these following day trips as part of your one week itinerary for Korea. They might only take half a day or more, in which case I’ve also added some suggestions for other things to do with the rest of your 3rd day.

I’ve written an in-depth guide to the top 10 day trips from Seoul, so instead of giving too many details here, you can find out more in the links below.

DMZ Day Tour:

Probably top on everyone’s list of the best day trips from Seoul is a trip to the demilitarized zone (DMZ) along Korea’s border. This is something that you can only experience in Korea, which is why it’s hard to resist.

There are so many reasons to visit the DMZ. Whether you want to learn about Korean history, experience a real-life war zone border, or simply want a chance to step into North Korea, this is the trip for you.

Day Trip To The DMZ

Nami Island, South Korea - a great addition to any one week itinerary for Korea

Nami Island, The Garden Of Morning Calm, And Gangchon Rail Bike:

A visit to Nami Island is one of the top day trips you can take as it’s fun in any season, as you can see from the picture above. See the giant metasequoia and golden ginkgo trees, as well as cherry blossoms, pines, and many other natural beauties.

This area is home to many attractions, which makes it a great place to visit from Seoul. You can pick and choose from combinations of several places nearby for the perfect day trip for you. These include:

Garden of Morning Calm: this is a beautifully crafted garden with lots to see. There are lots of flower festivals throughout the year, even in winter where you can see amazing light displays.

Gangchon Rail Bike Park: you can ride a rail bike along an abandoned railway line and take in the picturesque scenery along the way.

Petite France: dedicated to the novel ‘The Little Prince’, this is a recreation of an idyllic French village in the Korean countryside. Worth a visit if only for the uniqueness and to see how Koreans view France.

Day Trip To Nami Island & Other Places

Joel’s Tip: I’d recommend seeing at least Nami Island and the Garden of Morning Calm. If you want to see more, then the Gangchon Rail Bike Park is also fun. In winter, I’d stick to Nami Island and the Garden of Morning Calm to see the winter festivals and displays here.

Booking a tour is more expensive than getting there by public transport, but also a lot more convenient. Time is precious when you only have 7 days in Korea. There are many tour operators in Korea and the price to visit these places together in one tour isn’t really that expensive.

Caribbean Bay - one of the best day trips from Seoul

Everland & Caribbean Bay Theme Park:

Theme park fans and thrill seekers will probably find this to be one of the best day trips from Seoul. If you’re visiting in the summer, or even spring and autumn, these are great places to have fun with all the family. Here are two of the best places to visit:

Everland is Korea’s largest theme park and boasts one of the world’s steepest roller coasters. Great for thrill seekers, families, couples looking to create some unforgettable memories, and even animal lovers.

Caribbean Bay, modelled after the gorgeous beaches of the Caribbean, is the premier destination for water park lovers in South Korea

With loads of rides, this is a perfect way to spend a fun day out during your trip to Korea.

Everland & Caribbean Bay Day Trip

Joel’s Tip: There are a lot of discounts available for these theme parks for tourists. Booking online often saves you a lot of money over the usual entrance price.

Cookin' Nanta - One of South Korea's Funniest Performances

Alternatives To A Day Trip From Seoul:

If you don’t feel like taking a day trip from Seoul, then why not spend the day in Seoul checking out some of these fun activities instead:

Hiking in Bukhansan National Park – take a hike through Seoul’s own national park and breathe in the fresh mountain air.

Trick Eye Museum – fun for all the family. Not only are there the traditional trick eye pictures to amaze and confuse, there’s also new AR (augmented reality) illusions.

Explore Gangnam – There’s so much to see in Gangnam, including the Starfield COEX Mall, which includes the COEX Aquarium. K-Pop fans will love K Star Road and SM Town. Take some time out to visit Bongeunsa Temple, too.

Nanta Cooking Musical Theatre – This is a unique, wacky theatrical performance where energetic chefs bang pots and pans while preparing delicious traditional Korean foods. Includes lots of audience participation.

Seoul Forest Park – This beautiful forest includes children’s parks, deer, a small petting zoo, and lots of charming walks through nature. Lots of cosy cafes nearby, too.

Try a Korean cooking class – There are so many wonderful traditional Korean dishes to sample when visiting Seoul, wouldn’t it be even better if you could learn some to share with your friends?

Visit some of Seoul’s other museums – There are plenty of great museums in Seoul. For example, there’s the Seoul Museum of Art, Leeum Samsung Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art, and lots more.

Lotte World Tower – Head to Jamsil and check out the world’s 6th tallest building. Nearby you’ll also find Lotte World Theme Park and the gorgeous Seokchon Lake – perfect for seeing cherry blossoms in April.

Korean saunas are a great way to relax

Evening – Experience Some Real Korean Culture

After your 3rd busy day in Seoul, why not relax and unwind like the locals do. Here are three fun ways that you can embrace Korean culture like a local in the evening.

1: Korean sauna – there’s nothing better after a busy day walking around than soaking in a jjimjjilbang (찜질방) – a Korean sauna. These are great places to unwind and recharge your batteries in hot (or cold) water, in a steam room, or in the communal hot rooms.

You can find many jjimjjilbang saunas throughout Seoul.

2: Korean karaoke – why not spend your free time singing your heart out at a Korean noraebang (노래방) – Korea’s own karaoke rooms?

If you’re travelling with some friends then check out the singing rooms. You can order drinks and pay a small fee to sing for as many hours as you’d like.

3: Try Chimaek – one of my favourite ways to spend an evening is with a trip to a chimaek (치맥) restaurant. Chimaek is a portmanteau of chicken and maekju (beer) and you can guess what you’ll find inside.

Check out one of the many awesome chimaek restaurants in Seoul and try some beer and soju mixed together (somaek). Maybe some locals will even join you for a glass or two.

I’d recommend including at least one of these activities in your one week itinerary for Korea so you can really embrace Korean culture.

Find More Great Day Trips From Seoul

There are many incredible day trips you can take from Seoul Covering Korea’s stunning natural beauty, Korean temples, a modern-day war zone, theme parks, and lots more. You’re sure to have a fun time exploring Korea on these day trips. Find out more in my guide to Seoul’s top 10 day trips

Top 10 Day Trips From Seoul

Locations In Seoul In This One Week Itinerary For Korea

Click the link below to see a map of all the locations in Seoul mentioned above, as well as for the 7th day, of this one week in Korea itinerary.

Seoul One Week Itinerary Locations

Please note: you will need Google Maps to be able to view this map.

Ride The KTX from Seoul To Busan during your one week itinerary for Korea

4: Day 4 – Greetings From Busan

You’re not done with Seoul, there’s still time to check out the city on the last day, but for now it’s time to leave Korea’s capital and head down through the spine of the country to the second biggest city in Korea – Busan.

This lesser-known Korean gem is often overlooked in favour of Seoul, but also has a lot to offer tourists. Packed full of sights, traditional culture & markets, stunning seaside temples, and overflowing with seafood and other dining options, there’s plenty of reasons to make your way to Busan.

Find out below all about what to see and do for a couple of days there.

Morning – Travelling From Seoul To Busan

Unfortunately, most of the morning is going to be spent getting from Seoul to Busan. This isn’t necessarily time wasted, however, as you can see some of the marvellous Korean countryside on the way.

There are three options for getting to Busan by train – the KTX, ITX, and Mugunghwa trains. The easiest way to get there is to take the KTX and travel along Korea’s well-run high speed network all the way to the coastal city.

To help you plan your time and costs, here’s some details about getting from Seoul to Busan:

The KTX is the fastest and easiest option.
– A one-way ticket will cost around 60,000 / 30,000 won for an adult / child.
– Travel times are approximately 2 hours and 40 minutes.

The ITX is slower and therefore costs a bit less.
– A one-way ticket will cost around 42,000 / 21,000 won for an adult / child.
– Travel times are approximately 4 hours and 30 minutes.

The Mugunghwa trains are older, slower, but much cheaper.
– A one-way ticket will cost around 28,000 / 14,000 won for an adult / child.
– Travel times are much longer at approximately 5 hours and 30 minutes.

Joel’s Tip: I’d personally recommend that you take the KTX. This will leave you with a lot more time to enjoy Busan. Budget travellers may want to take the Mugunghwa to save some money, In which case, try to get the earliest train possible and sleep on the way.

You can book tickets and find out about train times on the Let’s Korail website.

Jagalchi Fish Market in Busan, one of the largest traditional markets in korea

Afternoon – Busan’s Traditional Markets

After checking into your hotel (or just leaving your bags there), head straight out to Jagalchi Market in the Nampodong area. This is a great spot to get some lunch and sample Busan’s wonderful seafood. This is one of the main spots to see in Busan and there’s loads to do nearby.

Located outside Jagalchi Subway Station (Line 1 – orange), this sprawling market can be found along the harbour’s edge. Wander through and see all manner of delicious, strange, and colourful sea life and sample some in the nearby restaurants.

After visiting this market, there’s lots more to check out in this area, including Nampodong Street – Busan’s main downtown area with lots of shops and sights.

Nearby you’ll find two other very interesting traditional Korean markets – Gukje Market and Bupyeong Market. See the various goods on sale here and pick up some souvenirs of Busan.

Busan is also famous for the annual Busan International Film Festival, held in October each year. In this area you’ll find lots of monuments dedicated to Korea’s film industry. See if you can recognise some of the movie references in this area.

Marvel fans may also recognise this area as the setting for the parts of the Black Panther movie. See the famous scenes from the movie in real life.

Book lovers should definitely check out Bosu-Dong Book Alley just to the north of this area. Here you’ll find a collection of small bookshops packed full of books of all types and ages.

Busan Tower is a great spot to add to your one week itinerary for Korea

Evening – Seeing The Sights From Busan Tower

Before it gets dark, head up to the Busan Tower (pictured above) for some romantic pictures of the sea, Busan’s sights, and some cute photo zones. You’ll also find thousands of love locks from couples who wanted to leave a romantic memento from their trip here.

You can walk up to the tower or take a short taxi ride from wherever you end up after exploring the markets. It’s close to Jagalchi Market and you should be able to spot the tower above you.

After seeing the sights from here and hopefully watching the sunset, head back down towards Busan Station to explore Busan’s Chinatown, or back towards Nampodong Street to see the lights and shops at night.

Both are good places to experience more of Busan’s famous food and local culture.

If you’re still up for going out after all this, then you should find plenty of bars to drink in, noraebang singing rooms, or cosy cafes to relax in.

Gyeongju should definitely be on your one week itinerary for Korea

5: Day 5 – A Day Trip To Gyeongju

A popular day trip from Busan is going to the historic city of Gyeongju. If you’re only planning to visit Korea once, then I’d definitely recommend including it in your trip.

Known as a ‘museum without walls‘, Gyeongju was once Korea’s capital city and has more historical sites and artefacts from the medieval period than anywhere else in Korea.

You can see all the top spots of Gyeongju in one day and a day trip from Busan to Gyeongju will be all you need to check out the many wonderful sights and learn about Korean history.

Top spots to visit in Gyeongju include:

You can book a day trip to Gyeongju from Busan for a convenient and easy trip to this interesting city.

Alternatively, you can take the KTX train from Busan directly to Gyeongju, then arrange your own way around the city. The KTX takes about 30 minutes and costs 12,000 won.

I’ll assume you’re coming back from Gyeonju late and going to bed early in preparation for the next day of your active one week itinerary for Korea.

If not, there are always plenty of night spots in Busan to check out.

If you never made it to Busan, or you want to skip the city and still see all the incredible sights of Gyeongju, then you can travel directly from Seoul. Read more about how to get from Seoul to Gyeongju. This guide covers all the ways you can travel there by public transport, great if you want to avoid expensive tours.

Why not add Gyeongju to your one week itinerary for Korea?

A Fantastic Guide To Gyeongju

Here’s an excellent guide to everything there is to do, see, and eat in Gyeongju:

Amazing Guide To Visiting Gyeongju

It includes a very detailed plan for spending a day in Gyeongju, as well as an overnight itinerary for those who want more time to explore this historic marvel.

Haeundae Beach in Busan should be on any one week itinerary for Korea

6: Day 6 – Busan’s Beautiful Beaches

As long as the weather is good, then it’s time to check out some of Busan’s most famous shores – Haeundae Beach and Gwangali Beach.

Before that, though, a quick trip to one of the most unique and beautiful temples in Korea – Haedong Yonggungsa Temple – is a must.

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple in Busan, South Korea

Morning – Quick Trip To Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

Wake up early and make a short trip to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple. This is a rare chance to see the beautiful southern coast and one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Korea.

The clear blue seas are on par with what you’ll find in Haeundae Beach. However, when contrasted by the rugged rocks and unique architecture, this is an even more amazing view.

There are several ways to get to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, including buses or a taxi. Getting there isn’t too difficult. Follow this guide to see how to get to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple.

Alternatively, you could book a day tour from Klook that will also take you to the Busan Oryukdo Skywalk and Gamcheon Culture Village.

This should take up the best part of the morning, then it’s time to head back to Busan and check out the more of Busan’s hotspots.

Be sure to get off the bus near Haeundae Beach for the next stop on this one week itinerary for Korea.

Afternoon – Busan’s Best Beaches

After coming back from the temple, head to Busan’s most famous beachHaeundae. If you’re staying in this area, then you may have already seen this area. If not, make sure to check out all there is to see and do.

Depending on the season, you may want to just chill out on the beach, however, if it’s too chilly, then you can see some of the many attractions nearby.

Here are some of the best things to do in this area:

The Sea Life Aquarium – great for families looking to see more of the sea without getting wet themselves. Good for a rainy day in Busan.

Walk around Dongbaek Island Park – despite being called an island, this is actually attached to the land. You can walk around this small hill and get great views of the beach, the city, and the surrounding area. It should take about 1 hour in total.

The Bay 101 – if the weather is warm, why not try some water sports? Have fun riding a banana boat, jet-ski, semi-submarine boat, and lots more.

Haeundae Market – sample some of Busan’s fresh seafood and specialty dishes here in this traditional market. You’ll find lots of restaurants in this area, too.

Cafe In Busan – fun insta-worthy cafe on Dalmaji Hill with views over the coast.

Bars, pubs and clubs – if you’re in this area at night, you’ll see that it becomes very lively. A popular place for Koreans and tourists to party, you’ll find lots of places to have fun here.

Joel’s Tip: If you’re travelling to Korea in summer, then I’d definitely recommend spending time at a beach or two. This is one of my favourite summer activities. For more great fun things to do in summer in Korea, check out this article:

20 Awesome Summer Activities In Korea

How to get there: Take the subway to Haeundae Station (Line 2 – green) and walk towards the coast.

The Gwangan Bridge in Busan, Korea

Early Evening – Night Views At Gwangali Beach

From Haeundae Beach, take a subway from Haeundae Station or Dongbaek Station towards Geumnyeonsan Station a few stops along the green line. If you’re feeling active, you can walk along the coast all the way from Haeundae Beach.

From here you will enter another of Busan’s fine beaches – Gwangali Beach. Arguably one of the finest in Busan, Gwangali Beach has fine powdery sands and great views of the Gwangan Bridge.

Once it starts to get dark, head to Millak Waterfront Park to get the best views of Gwangan Bridge at night. The enormous Gwangan Bridge is equipped with thousands of LED lights and provides a spectacular light show in the evenings. Join hundreds of other people staring out into the ocean and the colourful performance put on by the bridge.

Finally, head back to Gwangali Beach to experience the peaceful open-air cafes, bars, and restaurants. You can even do a bit of shopping in the many stores nearby.

Grab some dinner at one of the nearby seafood restaurants (or other restaurants if you’re not a fan) and get a taste of the ocean for your evening meal. Enjoy fine food with views of the golden sands.

How to get there: Take a subway to Geumnyeonsan Station or Gwangan Station (Line 2 – green) and head towarrds the beach.

Night spots to add to your one week itinerary for Korea

Late Evening – Busan’s Busy Centre That Never Sleeps

There are plenty of places for nightlife and bars to add to your one week itinerary for Korea. Seoul and Busan have lots of good places to spend the dark hours at night.

If you still have lots of energy and want to party in Busan, then I’d recommend checking out the Seomyeon area in Central Busan.

This area is great for the evening even if you don’t want to drink, with many late-night cafes and busy streets to explore.

To get to this area, take the subway to Seomyeon Station (Line 1 – orange or Line 2 – green). This area is easily accessed from both the Jagalchi / Nampo area and the Haeundea area.

Locations In Busan In This One Week Itinerary For Korea

Click the link below to see a map of all the locations in Busan mentioned above in this one week itinerary for Korea.

Busan One Week Itinerary Locations

Please note: you will need Google Maps to be able to view this map.

Busan Gamcheon Culture Village, South Korea

7: Day 7 – Last Busan Sights Then Shopping In Seoul

It’s the final day on your one week itinerary in Korea and time to head back to Seoul.

You can choose to spend the morning in Busan, or jump straight onto the train and head back to Seoul for a full day there.

Before leaving Busan, I’d recommend a quick trip to Gamcheon Culture Village before taking the KTX back to Seoul around lunch time. Find out more about this colourful area of Busan below.

Morning – See The Sights Of Gamcheon Culture Village

If you want to head straight back to Seoul to have more time there, then you can skip this section.

However, to get the most out of your one week itinerary for Korea, then definitely visit the Gamcheon Culture Village. Known as the Machu Picchu of Korea, Gamcheon Culture Village is high on photographers’ lists.

See hundreds of colourful buildings on the slopes of these coastal hills, and the murals and sculptures created by local residents. A lot of the art makes use of boring parts of the local landscape, turning them into Instagram-worthy locales.

If you’re limited in time, enter via the North Entrance and you’ll find a lot of the most famous sites. These include The Little Prince, Love Locks, Socks Shops, the Library Stairs, and more.

How To Navigate The Gamcheon Culture Village.

Spend a couple of hours here and then head back to Busan Station for the train to Seoul.

How to get there: Take the subway to Toseong Station (Line 1 – orange) and walk up the hill to the village. Alternatively, take the 87 bus from Busan Station directly there.

Hongdae at night, Seoul, Korea

Afternoon – Shopping And Culture In Hongdae

On the last day of your one week itinerary for Korea, you probably want to start thinking about unique and wonderful souvenirs to take back home for your friends and family.

There are several great places to get gifts in Seoul, including Hongdae, Insadong, Myeongdong, Dongdaemun, and many shopping centres and department stores.

You might choose any of these places, however, I’d recommend going to Hongdae if you haven’t already been there.

Hongdae is Seoul’s answer to Harajuku in Tokyo, with lots of unique fashion and hairstyles, as well as boutique stores. There are several reasons to check out this area.

Firstly, the streets are packed with shops selling clothes (boutique or mainstream), artsy goods, souvenirs, and, perhaps best of all, lots of Korean snacks to sample!

Secondly, there’s also a vibrant community and youth art scene in the area. There is a strong art influence here from the nearby Hongik University (Korea’s top Art School).

Head here for the afternoon to shop, eat in the many great restaurants, and check out the street art and performances.

Plane Arriving at Incheon Airport in Korea

Evening – Heading Home With Happy Memories

The end of your one week itinerary in Korea is here. It’s time to head to Incheon Airport from wherever you are.

If your flight isn’t until the morning, then you can stay in Hongdae for the night, or book a hotel at Incheon Airport.

If you’re in Hongdae, then you can take Airport Limousine Bus 6002, or the all-stop train from Hongik University Station.

Find out more about transport options to Incheon Airport with my article all about getting between Seoul and Incheon Airport.

How To Get From Seoul To Incheon Airport

Asan Gingko Tree Road in South Korea, perfect for a one week itinerary for Korea during autumn

It’s Not Goodbye, It’s See You Again

Surely a very sad time, but hopefully you’ll be inspired to plan another one week trip to Korea as soon as you get home!

Korea is different in every season, so be sure to visit again at another time.

Don’t miss out on the beautiful autumn leaves, fun summer activities, winter fun, or cherry blossoms in spring.

There’s still plenty left to explore in Korea!

Alternative One Week Itinerary For Korea

I’m going to post a couple of very short alternative one week itineraries for Korea below. I won’t go into as much detail, but these should help you start planning an alternative course.

Remember, if you have any questions about your one week itinerary for Korea, or about Korea in general, be sure to ask the experts in the Korea Travel Advice & Planning Facebook Group.

Seoraksan - an awesome day trip from Seoul and another addition to your one week itinerary for Korea

One Week Itinerary 2: For Nature Lovers & Hikers

If you want to see more of Korea’s natural beauty, then an alternative one week itinerary for Korea could be as follows:

Days 1 to 3: Exploring Seoul

You can follow a similar itinerary for Seoul, or check out more of Seoul’s natural beauty, including Seoul Forest Park, Seokchon Lake, Haneul (Sky) Park, Bukhansan National Park, Children’s Grand Park, and others.

Day 4: Head To Gangneung City On The East Coast.

Gangneung is a lovely coastal city with lots of beaches, cosy cafes, and access to the nearby mountains.

This is a great place to watch the sunrise, relax with a coffee, or try some water sports on the beach.

How To Get To Gangneung From Seoul

Day 5: Hike Odaesan Then On To Sokcho

Odaesan National Park is a short train journey from Gangneung and provides a great chance to see some of Korea’s natural beauty.

Follow the gentle walking course from the temple near the entrance, or hike to the top of the mountains. You can choose.

After returning to Gangneung, take an intercity bus from Gangneung Bus Terminal to Sokcho. The ride only takes an hour.

Day 6: Seoraksan National Park And Sokcho

There are plenty of things to do in Sokcho, however, the main reason people stay there is to get to Seoraksan National Park.

Seoraksan is one of the most stunning national parks and is especially great to visit in autumn to see the autumn leaves.

Take the shuttle bus from Sokcho Bus Terminal to Seoraksan and spend the day at Seoraksan.

Check out the temples, ride the cable car, hike to the top, or just take it easy with a gentle stroll in the valley.

Either head back to Seoul at night, or wait until the morning and stay in Sokcho. Buses take about 2 hours and run regularly.

Transport Details For Sokcho To Seoul

Day 7: Seoul For Last Minute Shopping

As with my other one week itinerary for Korea, you can spend the last day doing some last minute sightseeing or shopping in various locations.

Jeju Island - one of the new 7 wonders of nature.

One Week Itinerary 3: Seoul & Jeju Island

Finally, this third one week itinerary for Korea focuses on one of the new 7 Natural Wonders of the WorldJeju Island.

Days 1 to 3: Exploring Seoul

You can follow any of the activities mentioned in the other two one week itineraries for Korea.

Days 4 to 6: Magical Jeju Island

Instead of travelling to Busan and Gyeongju, take a flight from Incheon or Gimpo Airport to Jeju Island for 2 or 3 days and explore the island.

There’s so much to do there, including many weird museums, hiking South Korea’s highest mountain, eating lots of delicious Jeju Island food, relaxing on the beaches, and connecting with Korean nature.

Hire a rental car to get around more easily. The island isn’t that big and you can see a lot in a short time.

Many things are out of the main city, so driving is a lot more convenient.

To help you plan, here’s an awesome guide to sightseeing in Jeju.

Read more:
Guide To Sightseeing For Jeju Island

Day 7: Back To Seoul With Jeju Gifts

Fly back to Seoul on your last day with lots of great souvenirs from Jeju Island, including healthy Korean green tea.

Jeju Island souvenirs

Joel’s Tips For An Amazing 7 Days In Korea

There is a lot to consider before going to any country, such as vaccines, converting money, using the Internet, and when to travel to another country. I’ll try to answer a few of these issues briefly below.

However, for a more detailed guide to pre-planning your trip to South Korea, please read my guide below:

What To Know Before Travelling To Korea.

For now, here are some pointers to get you thinking more about your one week itinerary for Korea and what to expect.

Where To Stay In Seoul and Korea

Where to Stay In Seoul

Seoul is a BIG city and to help you decide where to stay, I’ve made a guide to the best places to stay in Seoul. Below are a few recommendations to get you started.

For budget travellers, Myeongdong and Dongdaemun are good places to stay and you’ll be able to pick up lots of cheap clothes, gifts, and street food.

People looking for lots of night life would enjoy the Hongdae area, which also has lots of good cafes, bars, and restaurants. Accommodation here is reasonably priced.

If you have a bit more money to spend and want to check out some of the designer stores or hunt for celebrities, then the Gangnam district is probably best for you.

All of these areas have good subway connections and will easily get you to other areas.

Where To Stay In Seoul

Where to stay in Busan for your one week itinerary for Korea

Where To Stay In Busan

Busan is a great city with lots to see and do. Two of the most popular areas to stay in Busan are in Haeundae (the famous beach area) and Seomyeon (the downtown heart of Busan). Whichever area you choose, here are some great hotels for each type of traveller.

The hot place to go in Busan. Gorgeous beaches and great bars and nightlife, as well as traditional markets and cosy cafes. Dalmaji-gil Road in Haeundae has some great views.

Budget Travellers:
Toyoko Inn Haeundae No. 2

Families & Couples:
Good Day Mate

Luxury Travellers:
Paradise Hotel Busan

The heart of inner Busan. Away from the coast, but conveniently located with access to two of the main subway lines. No shortage of good bars, restaurants, and places to shop here. Good for getting almost anywhere else in the city.

Budget Travellers:
Uniqstay Bed & Breakfast

Families & Couples:
Arban Hotel

Luxury Travellers:
Lotte Hotel Busan

Joel’s Tip: There might be nicer hotels that have better availability when you travel. This list is just to get you started. Try to find the hotel that’s right for you and you’ll certainly enjoy your stay in Busan more.

Cherry Blossoms are a must for any one week itinerary for Korea

Best Times To Visit Korea

If you have the luxury of being able to travel to Korea at any time, then there are some definite must-visit times you’ll want to travel to South Korea.

Firstly, the best times to visit Korea are in the spring and autumn when the weather is cooler and nature is at its best.

Spring runs from late March until the end of May and during the first two weeks of April is the best time to see the amazing Korean cherry blossoms and captivating spring festivals.

Autumn starts off in mid-September and runs until mid-November, before rapidly changing to winter. During mid-October to early November you can see the stunning autumn leaves in Korea.

Summer is hot (around 35 degrees) and winter is cold (below zero in January). That’s not to say you can’t travel, but be prepared for the harsher weather. There are still many things to do in winter in Korea and lots of awesome summer activities in Korea.

Whatever time of year you’re visiting, I’d recommend you check out the incredible festivals that occur throughout the year. These can make your week in Korea even more memorable.

For a full breakdown of the different seasons in Korea, what to do each month, and when to visit for that perfect holiday, check out this article about the best time to visit Korea:

When To Visit Korea: Korean Season Guide

Take the AREX from Incheon Airport to Seoul

How To Get Around Korea

One of the best things that makes living and travelling in Korea so easy is the wide range of good public transport.

Even if you don’t speak any Korean, you can still get around on the buses, subways, trains, and in taxis.

There are many apps for booking taxis and to guide you around Korea, including Kakao Taxi and Naver Maps. You can use these to get around Korea more easily.

Sadly the buses usually aren’t in English, but using the map app will help you figure out which bus to take, where to get on, and where to get off.

Be sure to pick up a T-Money Card or Korea Tour Card (which includes T-Money) when you arrive to make getting around Korea easier. If you plan to visit a lot of expensive attractions in Seoul, then you may want to get a Discover Seoul Pass. This pass gives you free entry to many attractions and a free Airport Express ticket.

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

Getting from Incheon Airport to Seoul is also easy and there are many cheap and convenient options available.

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 a card.

Korean won - what you need to know for your one week itinerary for Korea

Costs For One Week In Korea

This is a very difficult question to answer and all depends on your own personal spending habits. For a one week trip to Korea, I would suggest budgeting the following daily amounts per person:

Accommodation: 50,000 – 100,000 KRW

Food: 30,000 – 50,000 KRW

Activities: 15,000 – 30,000 KRW

Transportation: 5,000 – 20,000 KRW

This gives a range of about 100,000 – 200,000 KRW per person, per day. These costs can swing a lot depending on the type of person travelling and also just because different days have different costs.

The figures above are based on budget to mid-level travellers.

Please note: 100,000 KRW is worth approximately $85.00 USD

However, there are many other costs than just these, including day trips, Internet connections, travel insurance, visas, etc. For a full breakdown of the cost to travel to Korea, check out the article below:

Cost To Travel In Korea: Korean Budget Guide

I really would recommend reading the guide above for lots of my best tips about how much money to expect to pay in Korea, as well as some other very handy tips.

That’s all for this one week itinerary for Korea. I hope you’ve found lots of ideas to help you plan your trip. If you want to share any other ideas, please feel free to post a comment at the end. Thanks.

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