If you’re like me, and want to play like a carefree child in the beautiful, majestic lumps of powdery goodness that brighten Korea during the long, dark wintry months, then you’ll love this guide about where to see snow in Seoul and throughout Korea. Korea is truly a country of four season, and after a long summer, and cool autumn, the weather drops a lot throughout winter and provides loads of opportunities to see snow in Korea in many places.
From the sweeping rooftops of Seoul’s magnificent royal palaces, to the impressive slopes of Korea’s many mountains, there are incredible snowy scenes waiting to be witnessed by you in Korea. See the white goodness at festivals, parks, palaces, high-up towers, beautiful national parks, and many more gorgeous locales.
This guide will start by showing you 10 of the most amazing places to see snow in Seoul, then expand out of the capital, to bring you to some of the truly majestic places in Korea where the snow can be thick and deep and so beautiful.
As always, I’ll be offering loads of great tips, built up from years of living in Korea. Things that you won’t find in the usual guidebooks and blogs. Having survived and enjoyed several winters in Korea, I know that there are some amazing places to witness the gleaming snow that graces Korea during the long wintry months.
If you want to know more about how to survive and enjoy all that winter in Korea has, beyond seeing the snow, then check out my other awesome guides to visiting Korea in winter:
Now carry on reading to see where to see snow in Seoul and Korea and lots more about this frosty season.
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Quick Guide To Seeing Snow In Seoul & Korea
Here’s a quick summary about seeing snow in Seoul & Korea and some of the key things you should know before travelling to Korea. If you want a more complete guide about planning a trip to Korea, then be sure to read my detailed guide about pre-planning below.
If you’re already in Korea, then you can skip straight down to the top places to see snow in Seoul.
Does It Snow In Seoul?
Surely the most important question is can you see snow when you are travelling in Korea? So, does it snow in Seoul?
Short answer – YES!
Honest answer – SNOW IS NEVER GUARANTEED
Although it is almost impossible to predict, there are times and places where you’re more likely to see snow. The best time for snow in Seoul is during late-December, January and February. These are the coldest months and the ones with the most snowfall.
The first snow of the year has occurred in November for the last few years. You can see snow in some parts of Seoul as late as mid-March, although it isn’t as likely as in other months.
Does It Snow In All Of Korea?
Korea is a big country and although there is a big difference between Seoul in the north and Busan and Jeju Island to the south, you can still see snow in Korea as far south as Jeju Island. In fact, the main attraction in winter in Jeju is hiking Hallasan Mountain. This is the where you’re most likely to see snow on the island.
However, the best places to see snow in Korea are definitely the northern areas such as Pyeongchang – home of the 2018 Winter Olympics – and the rest of Gangwon Province.
How Cold Is The Weather During Winter In Korea?
Winter in Korea runs from November to March and it’ll be cold during these months, with the lowest temperatures during January and February. As mentioned, that’s when you’ll also find the most snow.
The temperature drops a lot during winter and falls below zero celsius most days in the evenings. The coldest I’ve experienced was -18 degrees celsius. That was at night in January.
Winters are usually long, cold and dry. Seoul’s mean temperature in January is – 5 degrees Celsius to – 2.5° Celsius (23° – 27.5° Fahrenheit).
But don’t worry as most indoor locations are well heated. Public transport, museums, shops, galleries, hotels, etc., turn the heating up to max.
Fortunately, it doesn’t rain much during winter and the season is very dry. Whilst this is good for sightseeing, it can be tough on your skin, so make sure to stock up on skin cream and lip balm.
For a more complete guide to being prepared for winter, check out my guide to Korea’s coldest season.
The 10 Best Places To See Snow In Seoul
This is the big question and I’m happy to say that, if it is snowing, there are some amazing places to see snow in Seoul. These are still great to see even when it’s not snowing, too.
“…there’s just something beautiful about walking on snow that nobody else has walked on. It makes you believe you’re special, even though you know you’re not.”― Carol Rifka Brunt, Tell the Wolves I’m Home
The great thing about all of these places, apart from being great places where you can see snow in Seoul, is that they’re all amazing places to visit even when there is no snow to see. So if the skies are clear and sunny, you’ll still have a fantastic time.
Without further ado, here are the 10 most beautiful places to see snow in Seoul:
1: Seoul’s Magnificent Palaces
Seoul’s four main palaces are incredible places to visit at any time of the year. However, if you’re wondering where to see snow in Seoul when it does come, then these palaces should be high on your list.
Located in the heart of Seoul, close to other tourist attractions, these palaces provide beautiful architecture, the chance to wear traditional Korean hanbok, and lots of opportunities for unforgettable photos.
Watch the palace guards perform ceremonies, walk among the many tall walls and through the narrow arches, and see how the Korean royals lived in times long gone.
The four main palaces and nearby shrine in Seoul are:
- Gyeongbokgung Palace (the main palace people visit – great for cherry blossoms in Seoul)
- Changdeokgung Palace (home of the Secret Garden)
- Changgyeonggung Palace (my favourite place for autumn leaves in Seoul)
- Deoksugung Palace
- Jongmyo Shrine
How to get there: Head to Gyeongbokgung Station (Line 3 – orange) for Gyeongbokgung Palace, Anguk Station (Line 3 – orange) for Changdeokgung and Changgyeonggung Palace (as well as Jongmyo Shrine afterwards), and City Hall Station (Line 1 – dark blue) for Deoksugung Palace.
2: Bukchon Hanok Village
The historic district of Bukchon Hanok Village is full of old hanok buildings beautifully preserved and restored. Walk through these peaceful streets with wooden beams and black tiles covered in soft white snow.
As with the palaces, this is a great place to dress up in hanbok and explore the quiet lanes. Grab your camera and choose one of the many doorways or streets to take some cute pictures.
If the snow gets too heavy, be sure to visit one of the many delightful cafes and tea rooms and experience more Korean traditional charm in a warm and cosy atmosphere.
Find out more about what to do in Bukchon Hanok Village and all the information you need to enjoy your time there in this great guide all about Seoul’s historic district:
How to get there: Take the subway to Anguk Station (Line 3 – orange) and walk north from ext 2. You should see signs for the Bukchon Hanok Village straight away.
3: Bukhansan National Park
An obvious choice for where to see snow in Seoul has to be in the national parks within Korea. Seoul has its own national park – the ruggedly astounding Bukhansan National Park.
Easily accessible from Seoul and with a number of different routes to explore, this is certainly a great way to see snow in Seoul and a nice introduction to hiking in Korea. You’ll probably recognise this mountain range if you’ve been to the top of the N Seoul Tower and looked north. You can’t miss it.
I’ve climbed Bukhansan several times, including in mid-March, and there was still snow falling heavily at that time. In January and February, you’re more likely to see thick, powdery snow here than in Seoul itself.
If you want to climb Bukhansan during winter, then check out this guide about how to get there, the best routs to climb, and where to see snow in Bukhansan National Park:
4: N Seoul Tower & Namsan Mountain
Take a short hike from Myeongdong up to the top of Namsan Mountain to reach the ever-popular N Seoul Tower.
On the way you’ll be treated to snow-covered fortress walls, ghostly snow-lined limbs of trees, and the eventual sight of the N Seoul Tower and surrounding attractions.
However, if hiking isn’t for you, then ride up the Namsan Cable Car to get to the N Seoul Tower and enjoy a pleasant ride looking down over central Seoul and Bukhansan National Park in the distance.
One of the must-see sights in Seoul, this lookout tower is certainly great for just that, looking out to see the snow blanketing Seoul like a clean cotton sheet.
Joel’s Tip: You can save money on entrance fees and attractions at the tower by booking online. This also saves you time queueing up, giving you more time to enjoy seeing the snow sights from up high.
How to get there: There are many ways to get to N Seoul Tower. The most interesting and worthwhile way is via the Namsan Cable Car to enjoy the views of Seoul on the way up and down.
4: Seoul Forest
One of my favourite free things to do in Seoul, Seoul Forest is a lush area in the Seongsu district that has been described as the Hyde Park or Central Park of Seoul. Wedged in where two parts of the Han River meet, the park is a welcome oasis from the busy city any time of the year.
In winter it gets even better thanks to the wildlife that live there. To be precise, dozens of deer that give you an impression of being in Lapland in when the snow falls in Seoul. Perhaps they should build a grotto for Santa to stay in?
This is a family park, so if you’re travelling with children (and they don’t mind the cold weather), they can have fun with the animals (there’s also a petting zoo), seeing the snow covered trees, frozen lakes, and playing on the slides and swings.
Joel’s Tip: If the snow and cold weather get too much, be sure to head out into the Seongsu area for somewhere to relax and unwind. There you’ll find lots of artsy shops and cafes, the Under Stand Avenue (more galleries, shops, and cafes in funky shipping containers), unique restaurants, and several museums and galleries. You’ll also find one of my favourite cafes – Blue Bottle Coffee there.
How to get there: Take the subway to Seoul Forest Station (Bundang Line – yellow/orange). You’ll probably have to transfer at Wangsimni Station if you’re coming from central Seoul.
6: Haneul Sky Park & Meta Sequoia Lane
The Haneul (Sky) Park near World Cup Stadium is one of the best places to see tall, silvery reeds and pink muhly in autumn time. It’s also really beautiful to visit when the snow begins to fall in winter.
The reeds stay upright and alert throughout the winter, only weighed down when snow starts to form a crown on their wavy heads. The sight of millions of these reeds all topped with snow is a great sight.
Perhaps even better, however, is the meta sequoia lane in the adjacent Nanji Hangang Park, just a short walk away towards the river from Haneul Park. Meta sequoia (Dawn redwood) are tall conifers soaring up to 165 foot into the air, certainly unmissable in the snow.
They provide the perfect place for a walk any time of the year, and the tree’s dark wooden trunks provide a wonderful contrast to lightness of the snow.
How to get there: Take a subway to World Cup Stadium (Line 6 – brown) and head towards the rivers. There are numerous parks in this area. Haneul Park is on top of the hill – you can’t miss it. You can also find the Oil Tank Culture Park here, a free attraction that is worth a quick visit.
7: Seoul’s Fortress Walls
Walking atop Seoul’s lofty fortress walls, you can see snow all over Seoul. This is where to see snow in Seoul that isn’t washed away on the busy roads, or trampled into sludge by the crowds.
Escape the busy city centre of Seoul and hike along these majestic 600 year old walls that once protected Seoul from foreign invaders.
These beautifully preserved walkways are perfect for a morning stroll through the city without the hassle of cars and street lights. They’re also perfect for a quiet hike through the snow without having to travel far out of the city.
You can hike the fortress walls in many areas, but I’d recommend a short walk starting at Naksan Park – easily accessed from Hyehwa Station by walking up the hill to the east. You will also see some beautiful views from the walk to the station to the park.
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.
8: Lotte World Theme Park & Lotte World Tower
For those wondering where to see snow in Seoul with kids, you certainly can’t beat the Lotte World Theme Park in Jamsil. Although most of Lotte World is indoors, the Magic Island (not Kingdom!) pictured above is located on the edge of the pristine Seokchon Lake.
From here, you might see frozen waters with snow on the empty cherry blossom trees that are waiting to show their glory in the coming spring. In other words, a perfectly magical spot to see snow in Seoul.
Joel’s Tip: If you want to see the Lotte World Adventure theme park and other premium attractions in Seoul, you can save a lot of money by purchasing a Discover Seoul Pass. You can get free entrance to this place, as well as many other top sights throughout Seoul. Read my guide below to find out how.
Alternatively, you can also save money on entrance fees by booking through a tour operator and buying tickets online. You can save a lot of money over the regular entrance price this way.
How to get there: Take the subway to Jamsil Station (Line 2 – green or Line 8 – red). Lotte World is right outside subway exit 4 and the Lotte World Tower is outside exit 1.
9: Seoul Land in Seoul Grand Park
Seoul Land is Seoul’s first theme park and is located in Seoul Grand Park. This is an awesome spot for families to enjoy a day outside playing in the snow. Seoul Zoo is also located in the park with lots of animals to see.
Besides the regular attractions on offer in the theme park, there are special winter activities available for the snowy season, including snow sledding on Samchulli Hill (pictured above).
This area is great fun for kids and adults alike and everyone can have fun playing in the snow in Seoul Land. Grab a sled, walk to the top of the snowy mound, then zip down to the bottom.
Joel’s Tip: As with many places in Seoul, if you plan to visit Seoul Land or Seoul Zoo, you can book discount tickets online to get cheaper entry for either place.
How to get there: To get to Seoul Grand Park, take the subway to Seoul Grand Park Station (Line 4 – light blue). A small train (the elephant train) runs between Seoul Land, Seoul Zoo and Seoul Grand Park and costs 1,000 KRW.
10: Seoul Plaza For Ice Skating
Koreans love to go ice skating in winter and there are lots of ice skating rinks throughout Seoul during winter. Perhaps the best of these is the Seoul Plaza Ice Rink outside Seoul City Hall.
Grab some skates and slip and slide through the hard ice, or watch as others do it more gracefully. A wonderful wintry activity while you’re in amongst the snowy streets of Seoul.
This is also located close to Deoksugung Palace, meaning you can combine these two great locations of where to see snow in Seoul.
There are several other ice rinks across Seoul that you can visit for some skating fun. However, please check ahead to make sure they are open when you plan to visit.
How to get there: Take the subway to City Hall Station (Line 1 – dark blue) and it’s near to the futuristic City Hall building.
Map Locations For Snowy Sights In Seoul & Korea
Use the map below to help you plan where to see snow in Seoul around across Korea
Please note: you’ll need to use Google Maps to open this map.
Where To See Snow In Korea
Whilst Seoul has some great spots to see the snow, the best places to see snow in Korea are often found outside of the capital in the high peaks of the national parks, or incredible tourist destinations that provide a magical winter experience.
Getting out of the city and into the gorgeous Korean countryside certainly opens up a lot of opportunities for snowy fun.
You’ll find plenty of fun places to see snow in Korea, such as at world-class ski-resorts, frosty mountains, icy rivers where you can catch fish barehanded, and lots of beautiful festivals.
Whilst snow isn’t always guaranteed, you’re more likely to find snow in the mountains and northern parts of Korea where the high altitudes bring colder weather and more snowfall. Many of the mountains stay snowy for a long time, even after it has melted in the cities and valleys.
Here are some of the best places where you can see snow in Korea:
1: Try Hiking In The National Parks To See Snow In Korea
This is one of my favourite winter activities and there are lots of wonderful national parks across Korea where you can find snowy mountain peaks.
Whilst and national park would be good to visit in winter, the best winter hikes I know of or have experience in Korea are in the following places:
Taebaeksan Mountain (Taebaek National Park)
Deogyusan Mountain (Muju National Park)
Cheonwangbong Peak (Jirisan National Park)
Hallasan Mountain (Hallasan National Park – Jeju Island)
Seonjaryeong Ridge (Pyeongchang)
My personal favourite from these mountains for snowy sights has to be Deogyusan Mountain. It’s not easy to get to from Seoul, but if you’re visiting other parts of the country, such as Daejeon, then you can take an inter-city bus to get there.
For those who want to experience the beautiful mountains and are willing to travel, you’ll be rewarded with amazing views. The easiest way (outside of the tours that operate for festivals – see below), is to hire a driver for a day to help you get to the mountain and back.
If you want to know more about hiring a driver and get some recommendations for reliable drivers / tour operators, then join the Korea Travel Advice & Planning Facebook group and post a message in there. You’ll find lots of great advice.
Joel’s Tip: Almost all national parks with tall mountains will have snow on them, so if you can’t get to one of these, then it’s still worth visiting one that is closest to you. Bukhansan National Park is easiest for visitors to Seoul, Jirisan National Park is good if you’re in Busan. For those in Jeju, be sure to check out Hallasan National Park.
2: Go To A Winter Festival To See Snow In Korea
There are many fun festivals that run throughout the winter months. This will give you a wonderful chance to see snow in Korea, as well as making for a great day out.
From catching fish with your bare hands (or a fishing rod, if you prefer), to winter illuminations, sledding, ice sports, and more, there’s a winter festival for all tastes in Korea.
Here are some of the highlights of the best winter festivals. If you’d like a complete guide to all of the winter festivals you can find in Korea, then check out this article:
Ice Fishing Festivals
There are numerous ice fishing festivals throughout winter that are great fun whether you’re a family, solo traveller, or any group in between.
Head to the small towns outside of Seoul and try your hand at catching trout from a small hole in the ice. Take your prize to the BBQ area and enjoy a delicious, hand-caught meal right after.
You can certainly have a lot of fun here and there are many other activities on offer, such as snow sports, ice sledding, and even bare-handed ice fishing in freezing colds waters!
The picture above was taken at the Hwacheon Sancheono Ice Fishing Festival that runs throughout January. A great place to see snow near Seoul and enjoy the winter weather.
Winter Lights Festivals
What’s better than seeing the glittering white snow? How about seeing millions of colourful lights reflected in that snow and creating a crystalline carpet of colours in some great gardens and parks?
You’ll find incredibly colourful displays that look good even when the snow isn’t around. There are lots of winter lights festivals across Korea, including many that you can access on a day trip from Seoul.
A few of the best winter lights festivals are at major tourist sites that have adapted to the cold weather and are normally known for their natural beauty in spring, summer, and winter, such as:
There are loads more to visit, from small displays in local parks, to dozens of lights and lanterns floating along the Cheonggyecheon Stream in central Seoul. Find out more below:
Other Winter Festivals In Korea
There are many other winter festivals to enjoy in Korea throughout winter.
If you’re in Korea for the New Year, you can enjoy celebrations throughout the country. These include New Year’s Eve’s fireworks, traditional bell ringing, and sunrise festivals for the first day of the year.
There’s also Korea’s own New Year holidays, called Seollal. This is based on lunar calendar and usually occurs in January or February, changing each year. There are many cultural festivals you can join during this time.
Besides these special holidays, you’ll also have the chance to visit other kinds of festivals where you can play in the snow, such as the Taebaeksan Mountain Snow Festival. For more about the various other winter festivals you can find in Korea, check out the link below:
3: Take A Day Trip From Seoul To See Snow In Korea
Even if it isn’t snowing, there are many great day trips from Seoul that can be enjoyed all year round.
These places cater to people in all seasons and you’re sure to see some unforgettable sights whether it’s snowing or not.
Here are a few of the amazing day trips you can take from Seoul in winter that will show you Korea’s nature, history, culture, and, of course, beautiful spots to see snow.
1: Nami Island – Great place to visit in any season. See the tree-lined streets doused in sprinkles of snow.
2: Gangchon Rail Bike – Pedal along the rails in Gangchon at a leisurely pace and enjoy the views along the way.
3: DMZ Tour – Gaze upon the empty hills of North Korea while the snow makes everything look innocent and pure.
4: Suwon Hwaseong Fortress – walk the snowy fortress walls of Suwon and check out this historical fortress area.
For a full list of day trips you can make from Seoul at any time of the year, check out these 10 fun day trips. This guide will provide a lot more information about costs, how to get there, where to book them, and what to expect.
Joel’s Tip: Day trips can really make for unforgettable days out from Seoul and other cities, but it’s best to be prepared and plan them ahead. Figure out how to book the trips, whether you can go there by public transport or not, how much they cost (the DMZ trip can be expensive), if they’re closed on certain days, and other issues. Time spent before you leave can save you a lot of time on holiday, and a lot of headaches.
4: Visit Everland For Snowy Festivals
A great place for fun-lovers and families to see snow in Korea, Everland has something for everyone. Featuring two winter-themed events, there’s a lot to see and do in Korea’s best theme park.
Firstly, ‘Winter Wonderland‘ runs from November 1st to December 31st. There are lots of Christmas-themed light displays, musical performances, marches, and more. Find out more right here.
Secondly, ‘Everland’s Snow Festival‘ runs from January 1st to mid-March. You’ll certainly find a lot more snow and ice based events here as winter really gets started, including a snow play park, snow zootopia, the snow avenue, and more. Find out more right here.
There are many ways to get to Everland, including a shuttle bus (12,000 KRW), by subway (1 hour from Seoul Station), private taxi (expensive), or through a tour operator.
Joel’s Tip: Booking tickets through tour operators such as Klook are usually cheaper than booking tickets directly from Everland. You can save money by reserving transportation and entry tickets online with the link below:
5: Go Sledding Or Skiing At A Ski Resort
A lot of people travel to Korea for winter sports and there are lots of places to experience skiing and snowboard for all levels throughout Korea.
Whether you just want to have fun as a family with a few sledges and easy slopes, or want to zip down some steep slopes, Korea’s ski resorts have something for everyone.
Here are some of the best places to go and play in the snow while enjoying winter sports:
Vivaldi Ski World Resort (Near Seoul)
The most popular ski resort in Korea, with state of the art facilities and amazing courses. There are 12 slopes and 10 lifts here, with something suitable for any level
Alpensia Ski Resort (Pyeongchang)
One of the main resorts used for the 2018 Winter Olympics, Alpensia Ski Resort offers a range of winter activities for levels of all ages. There are 6 courses for various skill levels.
Bears Town Ski Resort (Near Seoul)
Definitely one of the best skiing destinations in Korea. This resort has over 11 slopes and 8 lifts. The tracks are varied, with courses for all skill levels, from beginners to experts.
Elysian Gangchon Ski Resort (Near Seoul)
The stunning Elysian Gangchon Ski Resort offers skiing, snowboard, and snow sledding. You can also hike around the area and see the beautiful Korean nature.
Yongpyong Ski Resort (Pyeongchang)
Another resort used for the 2018 Winter Olympics. This is a large ski resort that has 28 slopes to choose from. Very popular with ski and snowboarding enthusiasts.
Tips For Enjoying The Snow In Seoul And Korea
Finally, I want to say how important it is to wear the right clothes. The ice can be slippery, the weather is bone-numbingly cold at times, and the snow can get everywhere. Be prepared for the weather and you should be fine.
Even if you’re not, Korea has all you will ever need to survive and you can buy stuff in Korea.*
*OK, clothes and shoes can be an issue if you require certain sizes.
Stay warm and drink lots of hot drinks. Try the Korean winter snack foods and dishes, you won’t regret it. Nothing like a bit of spice to warm you up inside, but be careful with some of it or you’ll be sweating like a turkey at Christmas.
Heat packs, whilst not too great environmentally, are certainly a wonderful way to keep warm and stop your fingers from falling off. Skin gets very dry in winter, so be sure to pack lots of skin cream and lip balm.
If you’re going hiking, ask whether or not you’ll need crampons (probably) to stop you slipping on the ice. And try to bring some hiking poles, too.
Have a great time seeing the snow in Seoul and Korea!
Visiting Korea In Other Seasons
Korea is an amazing country to visit any time of year and undoubtedly has four very distinct seasons with lots of other activities, sights, foods, and festivals waiting for you in each one.
Therefore, don’t forget to check out my other awesome seasonal guides for Korea to make sure you’re getting the most out of your trip to Korea whenever you travel.
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