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Things to Do in Korea in Winter

Spending winter in Korea is one of the best traveling decisions you can make. The temperature of Seoul, Korea, drops down, and most of it gets covered in snow. But at this time of the year, tourists visiting from other countries have the time of their lives in the winter wonderland of Korea. You can plan and pack for an adventurous trip to spend your winter in Korea after reading all about the things to do in Korea in winter right below.

If you’re a local citizen of Korea or a tourist visiting from across the world, this blog will be your guide to telling you all about the fun things to do in Korea in winter.

Best Things to Do in Winter Wonderland in Seoul

Snow in Seoul

Snow in Korea starts falling at different times of the season. Some high places receive their share of snowfall earlier, while the other lower regions get snowfall almost by the end of the year.

Snowfall statistics in Korea
[ Snowfall statistics in Korea by KMA ]

If we talk about snow in Seoul, it is between late November and late January. And Ski resorts open from early to late December. Check out the best ski resorts and opening dates in Korea.

Seoul starts getting snow-capped with all the falling snow. The beautiful city and its tall buildings look magnificent covered under the white snow. Moreover, Grand Joseon Dynasty Palaces and shrines get extra pretty to look at when the snow falls in the city like the photo below.

Hyangwonjeong Pavilion in Gyeongbokgung Palace
[ Hyangwonjeong Pavilion in Gyeongbokgung Palace ]

Things to do in Korea in winter

There are a lot of things that you can do while staying in Seoul during the winter season. When the Siberian winds blow during winter in Korea, it can get chilly and dry. Some winter years have been colder than the passing, but every year, the Koreans wait excitedly for it to come back again so that they can enjoy all the fun activities that you can only do in this season.

Visiting Ski Resorts

Yongpyong Ski Resort
[ Yongpyong Ski Resort ]

If you prefer outdoor activities, skiing and snowboarding would be your must-choice. It takes only two hours to get to Pyeongchang from Seoul, where the Winter Olympics is held. If you don’t have enough time, you can visit the nearby ski resorts in Seoul. Look at our ‘Best Ski Resorts in Korea’ post to choose the best one.

Jjimjilbang (Korean Traditional Sauna)

Don’t worry about pronouncing the word right, but let us tell you what it is. Jjimjilbang is a hot bath or Jacuzzis open for the public to come in and enjoy a warm bath to keep yourself cozy in the cold winters of Korea.

You can get into the hot tubs separated according to gender and soak your bodies to scrub off all the dead skin cells and come out feeling fresher and radiant. It may sound odd to you, but hanging out at Jjimjilbang is one of the most favorite activities of Koreans, especially during the winter. For more information about the best Jjimjilbangs in Seoul, check this post.

Skating and Sledding in Seoul

Seoul Plaza Ice Skating Rink

It’s the most famous romantic place you can enjoy winter in Seoul.

  • Open: 10 AM to 11 PM
  • Price: 1,000 KRW ($1)
  • Location: Seoul Plaza, City Hall subway station (Exit 5)
Seoul City Hall Ice Rink
[ Seoul City Hall Ice Rink – Seoul Plaza ]

Ttukseom Hangang Park Sledding Hill

You can enjoy many kinds of Korean traditional games and rides as well.

  • Open: 9 AM to 5 PM (Break: 12:00 – 13:00)
  • Price: 6,000 KRW ($4)
  • Location: Ttukseom Hangang Park, Ttukseom station on subway line no. 7 (Exit 2)

Nodeul Island Ice Skating Rink

Nodeul Island Outdoor Skating Rink is reminiscent of a fairy tale of the Frozen Kingdom, with its natural ecological forest, trees surrounding the skating rink, and white snowflake-shaped lighting.

  • Open: 10 AM to 9:30 PM
  • Price: 1,000 KRW / 1 Hour, 3,000 KRW ($2)/ 1 Day
  • Location: 445 Yangnyeong-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Nodeul station in subway line no. 9 (Exit 2)

Tea Houses

Since the Winter temperature drops below zero, everyone rushes to search for small and cozy cafes to drink hot beverages and sip tasty, freshly prepared soupy Korean dishes.

Tea houses are these tea-serving places where you can find a hot cup of soothing tea and sweet and delicious rice cakes. It’s an important part of Korean culture, and you can easily find some old and traditional tea houses in the city. Why don’t you experience it all in the most authentic Korean style?

  1. Yetchatjip – Add. 33-1 Insadong-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
  2. The Moonbird only thinks of the moon – Add. 14-3 Insadong 12-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
  3. Shin Old Tea House – Add. 47-8 Insadong-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
  4. Dawon Traditional Tea Garden – Add. 11-4 Insadong-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Head here for more places to visit in Insadong, Seoul.

Theme Cafes in Seoul

If tea houses are not your cup of tea, then themed cafes are surely where you can go and enjoy your hot beverage. When they say themed café, they mean ‘themed café’ as the café is particularly designed and decorated with a special theme to attract customers. These themed cafes are trendy among the younger generations. And you will most likely find one on every other street in Korea.

Tourists and foreigners are warmly welcomed in these themed cafes. There’s even a poop café themed with poop, and you get served in a mug shaped like a toilet. The most visited ones are:

  1. The Hello Kitty Café, Myeongdong – Add. 28 Myeongdong 4-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul
  2. Hell Café – Add. 238-43 Bogwang-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
  3. Thanks Nature café – Add. 10 Hongik-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul
  4. Zapangi – Add. 79 Worldcup-ro 13-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul
  5. Stylenanda Pink Pool café – Add. 23 Wausan-ro 29da-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul
  6. Cafe Yeonnamdong 223-14 – Add. 161-10 Seongmisan-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul

Korean Winter Street Food

Korean street food gets much tastier during the cold nights when you can walk the roads and try out fresh-made food sold by street vendors.

Korean Street Food
[ Sotteok Sotteok & Eomuk – Korean Street Food ]

First, a popular Korean winter snack is Gyeran-ppang, egg bread. It’s bread with egg, but since it’s prepared steamy and fresh with yummy toppings.

Secondly, Bungeo-ppang which is a fish-shaped pastry stuffed with sweetened red bean paste, is one of the common winter street food in Korea.

Thirdly, Hotteok is a variety of filled Korean pancakes. If you go to Gwangjang market which is the oldest traditional Korean market, or Namdaemun market, you could get one of the best Hotteok in Seoul. 

Lastly, don’t miss Eomuk (Fishcake) which is often sold with Tteokbokki at street stalls. It warms you up from the inside.

Visit Gyeongbokgung Palace

Gyeongbokgung Palace in winter
Gyeongbokgung Palace covered in snow

Gyeongbokgung Palace is so famous, yet it takes on a new and more special beauty in the winter. The entire palace is covered in snow, creating a serene and gorgeous setting. With such a lovely scenario, wearing a hanbok will seem like you’re in a historical drama. You will surely have a bunch of unique photos for your Instagram. More interesting, if you wear a hanbok, you will get free admission.

Winter has fewer visitors than other seasons, so you’ll have a more tranquil and meditative experience. You can explore the palace at your leisure and enjoy the sereneness of the winter atmosphere.

Hiking in Korea’s National Park

For nature enthusiasts, hiking in winter is always an activity not to be missed because it offers exceptional chances to take in the serene, snow-covered landscapes. The weather in Korea during the winter is rather harsh, so to have the safest hiking experience possible, you should thoroughly prepare your equipment and check trail conditions and weather forecasts before your trip. 

Because national parks have well-maintained trails, most people choose to climb there. These are the top 5 national parks for winter hiking in Korea.

Bukhansan National Park 

Bukhansan National Park 

Bukhansan National Park is an ideal spot to take in the winter scenery of Seoul. This national park covers about 80,000 square kilometers, with the main scenery consisting of forests, granite mountains, and temples. In the winter, the white color of frozen rivers and snow-capped mountains covers Bukhansan National Park, creating an extremely spectacular and magnificent landscape.

Hallasan National Park

Hallasan National Park

Located on Jeju island, Hallasan is the highest mountain in Korea, famous for its vertical ecosystem of plants. Also known as Yeongjusan Mountain, meaning “mountain high enough to pull the galaxy,” Hallasan Mountain is sure to give you the most stunning view of Jeju island. Due to its height, Hallasan receives a lot of snow each year, so be prepared for the cold if you want to conquer the mountain. 

Deogyusan National Park

Deogyusan National Park

Situated in the foothills of Deogyusan Mountain, Korea’s fourth-highest peak, the park boasts a top elevation of 1,614 meters. The mountain has a 36-kilometer valley full of picturesque locations, waterfalls, and ponds. 

Moreover, you can find several important cultural landmarks here, including the Hanging Painting of Anguksa Temple (Treasure No. 1267) and Jeoksangsanseong Fortress (Historic Site No. 146). The mountain is also linked to the Muju Deogyusan ski resort, which provides an easy way down via cable car and a shortcut to the top. So if you wish to see the views without climbing, or after a long way up to the peak, you want something easier for the way down, the cable cars are a good choice.

Seoraksan National Park

Seoraksan National Park

Seoraksan National Park is located in Gangwon-do province, near Sokcho. This is one of the highest and most beautiful mountain national parks in Korea. The park stands out with winding roads around colorful forests, with the peak of Daecheongbong Mountain over 1,700 meters high, an ideal place for climbing. 

From the top of the mountain, you can admire the Cheonbuldong valley below. The park has numerous waterfalls, including Biryeong and Yukdam, and unique buildings like the bronze Buddha statue and Sinheungsa Temple. You can also take a cable car to a lower summit, which offers coast views and a Korean temple.

Sobaeksan National Park

Sobaeksan National Park

Sobaeksan National Park, often referred to as the “backbone of Korea,” is indeed one of the most picturesque and significant national parks in South Korea. It’s known for its stunning natural beauty, diverse wildlife, and fantastic winter hiking opportunities.

Winter in Sobaeksan National Park is a truly magical experience. As you ascend the main peaks, you’ll be treated to long, unobstructed views over cloud-covered mountain peaks, creating a picturesque and serene atmosphere. The snowy landscapes and crystal-clear winter skies add to the park’s allure, making it a favorite destination for those seeking the most beautiful snow-covered vistas in South Korea.

Other things to do in winter outside of Seoul

Enjoy the first snow at Nami Island

Nami island

Known for the classic film Winter Sonata, Nami Island is a wintertime tourism hotspot. Nami Island is located amid the Han River, which flows through Chuchoen City in the Gangwon region of Korea.

During the winter, Nami Island is coated in beautiful snow. You can take tons of photos that are so lovely and “unreal” within this fairyland-like landscape. The most well-known poster for the film “Winter Sonata” features the main character couple walking down Metasequoia Road in winter on Nami Island. So, recreating the poster would be a great thing to do if you are a fan of that iconic movie. 

Admire camellia on Jeju island

Jeju Camellia Arboretum
Jeju Camellia Arboretum by

Although winter may not be the ideal season for looking for flowers, in Korea, it is camellia season. Camellias are admired for their vibrant, striking red hue that withstands the winter months. The southern coast and Jeju Island are the ideal places to see camellias in bloom. On Jeju Island, Camellia Hill and Jeju Camellia Arboretum are two of the most well-known spots to see and take great pics with camellias. Although camellias typically bloom from November to March, each location has a different peak season, so it’s best to check before you go.

Visit Wondaeri Birch Forest

Wondaeri Birch Forest

If you want a fantastic winter getaway, consider visiting Wondaeri Birch Forest in Gangwon Province. A quick day trip from Seoul, this place is nothing short of a winter wonderland with approximately 700,000 silver birch trees. If you enjoy peaceful strolls in the snow, you’ll love wandering through these silvery trees. Plus, you’ll find numerous stunning spots for capturing the beauty of the Korean winter on camera.

Take part in Pyeongchang Trout Festival

Pyeongchang Trout Festival

The Pyeongchang Trout Festival, perched at 700 meters above sea level during the winter season, is a beloved event in Pyeongchang, South Korea. This festival offers various programs and activities, ensuring a memorable and fun-filled winter experience. You can test their angling skills through ice and lure fishing for trout, enjoying the thrill of catching fish in the icy waters.

A unique festival highlight is the opportunity to savor your catch almost immediately. Any trout you reel in can be expertly prepared into delectable dishes at nearby restaurants, giving you a taste of fresh and locally sourced cuisine. 

Additionally, the festival hosts a wide range of snow and ice activities, from sledding to ice skating, providing endless entertainment for all ages. Cultural enthusiasts can immerse themselves in folk programs that showcase the rich heritage of South Korea.

  • Address: 3562 Gyeonggang-ro, Pyeongchang-gun, Gangwon-do
  • Period: 12/22/2023 ~ 01/28/2024
  • Website:

Take a selfie with Alpaca at Alpaca World

Alpaca World

Alpaca World, nestled in a sprawling 363,636-square-meter forest in Gangwon-do, is a remarkable experiential zoo and a fantastic addition to the region. Here, you can interact with and feed these charming alpacas. It’s great to rub their warm and fluffy fur on chilly winter days.  

Moreover, they provide a range of hands-on programs and convenient amenities for a diverse array of visitors, making it a perfect destination for families and couples. Alpaca World truly offers a delightful and educational experience for all ages, where the curious and nature enthusiasts alike can connect with these adorable animals in a beautiful and natural setting.

Visit Gamcheon Culture Village

Gamcheon Culture Village

Busan’s Gamcheon Culture Village, situated on Korea’s scenic south coast, is a one-of-a-kind destination that promises a whimsical and artistic experience. This vibrant village is adorned with colorful murals, painted buildings, playful statues, and numerous captivating photo opportunities. As you wind through the hillside streets, you’ll be greeted by a tapestry of artistic expressions. If you’re a fan of BTS, the mural of Jungkook and Jimin is not to be missed. 

For an even more enchanting experience, plan your visit in December to witness the Gamcheon House Lantern Exhibition. During this time, the village comes alive with the warm glow of lanterns, creating a mesmerizing and immersive atmosphere that adds wonder to your exploration.

Christmas in Korea

Another one of the best things that you can do in winter is to experience Christmas in Korea with your family and friends. The atmosphere around the Christmas time of the year gets all magical and gentle. During the Christmas season, people are passing smiles and singing Christmas choruses in Korean. Although there are a lot of temples in Korea that preach Buddhism to their people, Catholicism is still practiced in many areas of Seoul.

Here are the best places to go in Korea to experience Christmas:

Lotte World Adventure park

The winter wonderland festivities and decorations start in mid-November till the end of December. You can also go to the Lotte World ice rink in the indoor park and skate along to fun music.

Lotte World Ice Rink
[ Lotte World Ice Rink ]

Everland Amusement Park

The biggest amusement park in Korea, Everland, is the best place to see winter parades and experience winter festivities. The winter fun starts in mid-November and lasts until the end of December. The winter parade and Christmas decorations will be worth seeing. It’ll bring the kid in you back out again 🙂

Garden of Morning Calm

Garden of Morning Calm has beautiful light decorations and Christmas lights starting at the beginning of December. The nighttime is the best in Winter Wonderland, Garden of Morning Calm, and you can visit a nearby small French village, Petite France, too.

Garden of moning calm lighting festival

Myeongdong street- Shinsegae and Lotte Department stores

The decorations in these stores in Myeongdong are worth taking pictures of. Every year, this street is decorated with beautiful holiday ornaments in Korea’s busiest shopping district. You will feel like you’re in New York here.

Myeongdong Christmas

Winter Travel Tips to Korea

  • Learn the basics of the Korean floor heating system – Only Korean on the control panel.
  • Subway is better than the bus – You don’t need to wait for a bus outside.
  • Prepare Hot Pack for your hands, body, and feet.

So, there you have it; here’s all you need to know to get you packing to spend your holidays in the winter of Korea. The country has a lot to offer for the tourists who visit the Winter Wonderland in Seoul. Why don’t you come here and experience it yourself this year?

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