Seoul – the city that never sleeps! There’s always something happening in the sprawling metropolis, and it’s the most exciting place to visit in Korea.
After a few days exploring the vibrant city, you may want an escape from the flashing lights and K-Pop craze.
Luckily, there are so many awesome day trips from Seoul, making it easy for you to hop on a train or bus and explore more of Korea.
Here are 25 of the best Seoul day trips that you cannot miss, as well as a few extra destinations that you should include in your Korea itinerary.
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25 best Seoul day trips
Below are my top picks of the best day trips from Seoul, many of which can be included in a 7 day Seoul itinerary.
They take you from the thrilling roller coasters of Everland to the eerie corners of the DMZ and will suit adventure travelers, couples, families, and backpackers who are looking for epic getaways from Seoul.
Summary of the best day trips from Seoul
- Easiest trip using the metro: Bukhansan National Park
- Adventure day trips: Skiing in winter
- Best Seoul day trip for couples: Nami Island
- Day trips from Seoul for families: Everland Theme Park
- Most popular attraction near Seoul: DMZ
Day trips to do all year-round
Below you’ll find the best places to visit no matter the time of year.
Nami Island: The best day trip from Seoul
Nami Island is one of the most iconic sights in Korea and is easily accessible on a Seoul day trip.
Serene lakes, dreamy canopies, and quirky sculptures. That’s Nami Island for you – a quick breather from the urban chaos.
But Nami Island is a cultural haven too. Remember the film “Winter Sonata”? That swoon-worthy K-drama? Yep, this island was its backdrop!
You’ll need to pass through “immigration” before taking a ferry (or a zip line) to the half-moon-shaped island
There are a few other attractions near Nami Island that you should visit while you’re there, which I’ve listed below. All of these can be combined into the perfect day trip from Seoul.
Garden of Morning Calm
The Garden of Morning Calm is a massive botanical garden boasting over 20 themed sections. It’s incredibly picturesque, with stunning photo opportunities no matter where you look!
The gardens are a great place for a picnic lunch, so come prepared with a blanket and some snacks and enjoy some downtime under the trees.
For this Seoul day trip, you can also add Petite France to your itinerary. But this depends if you’re going independently or with a tour group.
It’s possible to explore Nami Island and the Garden of Morning Calm in one day without a tour. But it will be a rush, and you’ll have to give Petite France a miss.
But, an awesome tour like this takes you to the top attractions and all your tickets will be purchased in advance so you won’t have to waste time waiting in queues
How to do a Nami Island day trip from Seoul
If you only have one day, I recommend booking a day tour from Seoul that will include transport and stops at 3 locations, including Nami Island.
DMZ Day trip from Seoul
The DMZ is no man’s land and acts as a buffer between North and South Korea.
It’s one of the most heavily militarized borders in the world and spans the entire breadth of the two countries.
This is one of the best places to visit outside Seoul as it’s located just an hour’s drive away.
Of all the day trips from Seoul, the DMZ is the one that you cannot access independently and has to be organized through a tour operator.
DMZ day Tours From Seoul
During your DMZ tour, you’ll visit the Third Tunnel of Aggression, which was built by the North Koreans as a way to invade the South many years ago.
From there, you’ll head to the Dora Observatory, which overlooks the Korean Demilitarized Zone and onto North Korea.
The tours then stop at either Dorasan Station or The Bridge of Freedom.
Dorasan Station is an abandoned train station that will potentially connect Pyongyang and Seoul in the future. And Freedom Bridge is the bridge that Korean war prisoners walk across to return home.
But arguably, the most moving of all is visiting the Joint Security Area (JSA).
Joint Security Area (JSA)
The JSA is downright eerie! This is where the two Koreas meet, and negotiations are made.
But not all tours include the JSA due to security restrictions. Those that do include them, like this one, are significantly more expensive.
You can feel the tension in the air as soldiers line the road, and there are strict protocols in place.
By entering the conference room, which is recognized by its iconic blue color, you’re able to step foot into North Korea! You’ll have soldiers staring you down whilst doing so, so it’s best you don’t make any quick movements.
This is one of the few DMZ tours that includes the JSA. But due to a recent unauthorized crossing by a US soldier into North Korea, the JSA tours have been indefinitely canceled.
Bukhansan Mountain Hike: My top day trip
You don’t have to venture too far when looking for the best Seoul day trips!
Just a short drive north of the city lies Bukhansan National Park, an outdoor playground for those looking to go hiking near Seoul.
The highest point is Baegundae Peak which offers panoramic views of Seoul in the distance. But the climb to get there is tough!
If you’re an adventure traveler, hiking Bukhansan Mountain is one of the most exhilarating day trips from Seoul.
I mistakenly took the expert route – you can read about my Bukhansan hiking adventure here! This saw me climbing on all fours, scaling massive boulders whilst pulling myself up with rope and hanging on to dear life as I tried to maneuver my way to the top of the mountain!
The bonus of taking this route was that there were no tourists in sight, and I could enjoy the awe-inspiring views all to myself.
But fear not; the Bukhansanseong Course to Baegundae Peak is a far more relaxed hike and suitable for all fitness levels. On the downside, it is a popular trail, so you’ll come across lots of people.
How to get there
There are 3 popular entry points to Bukhansan National Park. I chose the Bukhansanseong Park Information Center entrance.
To get here, take the Seoul Subway to Gupabal Station on line 3. Once you arrive at Gupabal Station, take exit 1.
There are 3 buses that go to Bukhansan. Bus 34, 704, and 8772. You can hop on any of these to the Bukhansan Fortress Stop.
Gangchon Rail Park
Start your morning off by pedaling through the Korean countryside at the Gangchon Rail Bike, the best rail park in Korea!
Situated in Gapyeong, just 77km from Seoul, the 8.6 km rail bike course passes through wide-open fields, where you’ll enter themed tunnels and ride alongside rivers before hopping onto a train for a scenic ride to the final point.
It’s one of the best day trips from Seoul that allows you to explore a different side of Korea, away from the crowds, as only a limited number of people are allowed on the rail bike at a time.
In total, you’ll need 2 hours to enjoy the Gangchon Rail Bike, but don’t end your trip here!
After your rail bike experience, head over to Chuncheon, the Dakgalbi capital of Korea, which is just 2km away. If you don’t know what Dakgalbi is, you’re in for a treat. The delicious cheesy meal supposedly originated in the city of Chuncheon and there’s even a street named after it!
After eating your heart out, hop back on the KTX and head home to Seoul.
How to get there
Take the KTZ fast train from Seoul to Namchuncheon Station near Chuncheon.
Top tip: Gangchon Rail Bike Park is in the same region as Nami Island and the Garden of Morning Calm. If you have some extra time and you’re looking for the best weekend trips from Seoul, spend the night in Chuncheon and check out Nami Island the next day.
Everland: the best seoul day trip for families
Everland is the Disney World of Korea! It’s the largest theme park and an institution in the country.
Situated in the colorful city of Yongin, it takes an hour to reach from the center of Seoul. You’ll need a full day to explore all the attractions.
With parades, fireworks, and a magic fair, Everland is a sensory explosion for all visitors and is one of the top activities to do on a Seoul day trip.
Buy your tickets in advance here, where you’ll pay a discounted rate and won’t need to stand in long queues.
You could also book the shuttle bus that includes your transport from Seoul to Everland. This is a great option if you’re traveling with kids.
hwaseong fortress in Suwon
Suwon is a small city situated on the outskirts of the capital, and a worthy day trip from Seoul as it’s easily accessible using the Seoul Metro.
The biggest attraction is the Suwon Hwaseong Fortress.
Built in the 18th century during the Joseon Dynasty, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most impressive destinations near Seoul.
Stretching over 5km, you’re able to walk the perimeter walls taking in the picturesque mountain views that surround the fortress.
Suwon also has an exciting nightlife scene, so after exploring the fortress, head out and treat yourself to some delicious Korean food, and soju (of course)!
Or better yet, coordinate this Seoul day trip with a baseball game at the local Suwon stadium.
How to get to Hwaseong Fortress
To get to Hwaseong Fortress, take the Seoul metro to Suwon Station. After getting off the train, take the exit that directs you to Suwon Tourist Info Center.
You’ll then need to get on one of the many buses that go to the fortress. The easiest is Bus 5 or 7. Get off at the Jangan Park stop (which is about 15 minutes ride away).
Korean Folk Village in Yongin
The Korean Folk Village in Yongin is a captivating window into traditional Korean life.
It features traditional houses and crafts from the Joseon dynasty and has a vibe that’s straight out of the past.
It’s like a history class, but way more interesting.
If you’re a history buff and someone who loves soaking up the culture, the Korean Folk Village makes for a great Seoul day trip.
How to get to the Korean Folk Village
Take the train to Gangnam Station, exit 10. From here, the Korean Folk Village is an hour’s drive on bus 5001-1.
Gwangmyeong Cave is a unique underground attraction converted from an abandoned mine.
It offers a blend of history and entertainment, featuring illuminated tunnels covered with various art installations.
The cave provides visitors with an intriguing journey through its subterranean passages, showcasing the transformation of a former mine into a vibrant cultural and recreational space.
How to get there
Gwangmyeong Cave lies south of Seoul. To get here, take either the KTX train or the metro to Gwangmyeong Station.
Exit the station from exit 8 and take Bus 17 or 77 to Gwangmyeong Cave which is 15 minutes away.
Best Seoul day trips in winter
Winters in Korea a freezing cold, so you need to come prepared for icy days.
The winter snow season runs from December until March and attracts thousands of eager Koreans and foreigners looking to escape the city and head to the mountains.
If you’re spending winter in Korea, check out these awesome ski resorts, which are easily accessible on a day trip from Seoul.
Unlike other ski destinations in the world, you don’t need to plan week-long getaways to go skiing in Korea.
The ski parks are much smaller, and the courses lack variety, making it the perfect day trip from Seoul.
Most ski resorts lie within a 2-hour drive from the capital city, the closest being Bears Town Ski Park which is awesome for beginner snowboarders and skiers. Vivaldi Ski Park is a hit with families as it has Snowy Land, a fun snow park for kids.
There are numerous ski tours to choose from where all your gear is provided and ski passes are organized.
All that’s left for you to do is meet the bus in Myeongdong, Seoul, at 7 am, and you’ll return by 8 pm the same night.
Best Seoul day trips in summer
Right next door to Everland lies Caribbean Bay, a water park with fun slides, wave pools, and river tubing activities.
This makes for an exciting day trip on its own, especially during the warm summer months.
Both Everland and Caribbean Bay get extremely crowded over the weekend and public holidays, so if you’re planning this day trip from Seoul, try to visit during the week when it’s less busy.
Planning your vacation to Seoul for summer and looking to hit the beaches? Unfortunately, those on the east coast, like Busan and Sokcho, are a bit too far to include on a day trip from Seoul.
But Daecheon Beach on the west coast is a 2-hour drive from the capital and makes for the perfect day or weekend trip.
Situated in the town of Boryeong, Daecheon Beach is famously known for being the home of the Boryeong Mud Festival, which attracts thousands of visitors to its shores in July each year.
The 3.5km stretch of beach is the perfect place to soak up the sun and spend a day in the water.
To get to Daecheon Beach, take the bus from Seoul Express Bus Terminal to Boryeong Bus Terminal. From the bus terminal, you can hop on the local bus to Daecheon Beach, which leaves every 10 minutes.
White water rafting
If you’re looking for fun day trips from Seoul during summer, why not go rafting down the Naerincheon River near Inje. Whilst it’s a popular weekend activity for Korens, I was surprised to see no other tourists on the river!
The 6 km course offers class II rapids which aren’t overly exciting so it’s best to manage your expectations before you arrive thinking you’re in for some fun, wild waters.
But what it lacks in rapids, it makes up for in scenery. It’s incredibly beautiful and the stream is lined with lush trees.
The highlight of this rafting tour comes halfway through the course when you can hop in the water. After spending an hour paddling in the scorching heat, this refreshing swim is well-deserved.
Naerincheon River is a 90-minute drive from Seoul. To get here, you first need to take a bus from the Dong Bus Terminal in Seoul to the town of Inje, followed by a 15-minute taxi to X-Game Resort which is where you’ll start your rafting tour.
READ MORE: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT RAFTING IN KOREA
Wolmido Island in Incheon
Incheon is just a hop away from Seoul and stands out as one of the best day trips you can make.
“But that’s where the airport is, right?“
But this bustling city effortlessly combines tradition with modernity, offering a delightful blend of experiences. If you’re a foodie, you’ll love Incheon’s Chinatown!
Incheon’s oceanfront is also a major drawcard. Wolmido Island boasts an amusement park with captivating waterfront views and a chance to unwind by the sea.
For a glimpse into Korea’s artistic side, the Songwol-dong Fairy Tale Village’s murals and fairy-tale-inspired decor offer a picturesque stroll.
How to get there
It’s super easy to do a day trip from Seoul to Incheon. Simply take the metro to Incheon Station.
Day trips from Seoul (that are better for a weekend)
Thanks to the KTX fast train, most places are accessible on day trips from Seoul.
But just because you can do it as a one-day getaway, doesn’t mean you should!
The below places are often listed as some of the best day trips from Seoul, but from my experience after visiting all of them, they’re better suited for a weekend trip.
This is because they’re further from Seoul as and you’ll need more time to check out all the attractions nearby.
Jeonju: The best weekend getaway from Seoul
- Distance from Seoul: 3 hours by bus
Jeonju is a foodie’s delight and a charming city south of Seoul.
Just like Chuncheon is famous for Dakgalbi, Jeonju’s signature dish is Bibimbap, yet another one of my favorite Korean dishes!
Another major attraction in Jeonju is the well-preserved Jeonju Hanok Village which is arguably one of the most spectacular traditional villages in Korea.
Walk the streets, explore the traditional houses made from wood and slate, dress up in a traditional Hanbok, and observe the selfie-obsessed visitors.
After exploring the village, take a short walk to Jaman Mural Village, where you’ll find vibrant street art.
Finally, and my highlight of Jeonju, enough a night of Makgeolli which is a traditional Korean milky rice wine!
After all the Makgeolli, you’ll most likely wake up with a nice headache the next day, so feast on a big breakfast (which should be bibimbap – yes, it’s a favorite for breakfast, lunch, and dinner) before heading back to Seoul, or continue on to Busan which is 3 hours away.
READ MORE: THE ULTIMATE KOREA PACKING LIST
Why you shouldn’t visit Jeonju as a day trip from Seoul
To get to Jeonju, you can hop on the KTX bullet train, which takes less than two hours from Seoul. But at $35 for the one-way trip, it’s rather pricey!
If you include Jeonju as one of your day trips from Seoul, you would have to take the fast train. But it’s a lot of money to spend for a few hours in the city.
Alternatively, if you’re traveling Korea on a budget, the bus is your best bet. However, this is just over 3 hours’ drive from Seoul. Thus the reason I suggest spending the night in Jeonju.
Seoraksan National Park in Sokcho
- Distance from Seoul: 3 hours by bus
On the east coast of Korea lies Sokcho. It’s home to Seoraksan National Park and the third-highest mountain in the country.
Mount Seorak is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Korea and a hit amongst nature lovers. You’ll need 5 hours to explore the national park, and there are various hiking trails suited to all levels.
You don’t want to rush this, as it’s a truly stunning park with so much to do and see.
Many people include Seoraksan National Park as one of their day trips from Seoul. If you’re pressed for time, it is possible on a day tour like this.
But if you have a few days, I recommend spending some time exploring Sokcho and Seoraksan National Park.
This will give you time to explore the fishing town of Sokcho and indulge in a delicious fresh seafood dinner. You can also visit the beaches in Sokcho or head to nearby Naksan Beach and visit Naksansa Temple.
The bus ride from Seoul to Sokcho is 3 hours, and you can easily find a bus from the Seoul Express Bus Terminal.
High1 Ski Resort: Adventure Weekend Getaways near Seoul
- Distance from Seoul: 3 hours by bus
I’ve already mentioned that visiting a ski resort is the perfect Seoul day trip. But, there’s an exception!
High1 Ski Resort is the biggest (and arguably the best) ski resort in Korea, but it’s a 3-hour drive from the capital, so it’s best visited as a weekend trip from Seoul.
High1 offers the highest elevation in the country with long courses and more exciting slope variety than you’ll find elsewhere.
Because of the driving distance, it’s best to extend your stay so that you can ski the afternoon you arrive, and the following day before heading back to Seoul.
Longer Seoul vacations
There is just so much to do and see in Korea! If you have the time, head over to the destinations below.
You can’t, or rather, shouldn’t, visit them on a day trip from Seoul. I also wouldn’t recommend a weekend trip (but it is possible if you have no other option.)
Jeju Island: The Hawaii of Korea
Jeju Island, the Hawaii of Korea – so they say!
It’s one of the 7 New Wonders of the World and home to Korea’s highest Mountain, Mount Hallasan.
There’s so much to do in Jeju, from climbing Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak to exploring Manjanggul Cave and even chasing towering waterfalls. During the summer, hit the beaches or pop into one of the numerous themed museums.
The highlight for me was the famous Jeju Black Pork BBQ – it’s the best I had in all of Korea.
I spent 5 days on the island and traveled independently using public transport. But, if you’re pressed for time and only have 2 or 3 days in Jeju, it’s best to join a day tour like this as the distance between destinations is far, and the public transport can be slow.
How to get to Jeju Island
To get to Jeju, you need to take a flight from Gimpo Airport in Seoul. It’s a short, cheap flight. Before you know it, you’ll be exploring the most popular attractions in the country.
READ MORE: WHERE TO STAY IN JEJU ISLAND
Busan: Home to the best beaches
Busan is the second-largest city in Korea and another must-visit on any Korea travel itinerary.
This vibrant city has so much to offer, including some of the best beaches in Korea.
I had my first Jimjilbang experience in Busan – if you don’t know what a jimjilbang is, it’s one of the best things to do in Korea!
The city is also famous for the colorful Gamcheon Culture Village and the picturesque Haedong Yonggung Temple (Temple by the Sea).
How to get to Busan
Using the KTX, you can reach Busan from Seoul in as little as 3 hours, but the ticket is expensive
If you’re spending $80 to get there (which is more than the cost to fly), you might as well make the most of your time and explore Busan for more than just a day trip from Seoul.
Other day trips from seoul
Below are other Seoul day trips. If you’re short on time, I’d give them a skip in favor of those day trips I’ve listed above.
But if you have extra time in Seoul, these are fantastic options to consider.
- Dumulmeori: A scenic place to visit alongside the river. It’s a popular spot amongst locals.
- Heyri Art Valley in Paju: Perfect for art and crafts lovers and easily accessible from Seoul.
- Legoland Korea Resort: This is the biggest Legoland theme park in Asia!
- Namhansanseong Fortress: A UNESCO World Heritage Site within 2 hours from Seoul.
- Alpaca World: The name speaks for itself! Alpaca World can be combined with a Nami Island day trip from Seoul like this one here.
- Anyang Art Park: This park boasts art installations as well as short hiking trails into the forest.
- Muuido: A small island south of Incheon. Great for a summer day trip from Seoul.
- Lotte World: Another theme park near Seoul with thrilling rides.
How to plan your day trips from Seoul
South Korea has one of the best public transportation networks in the world.
This makes it easy to plan the perfect Korea itinerary where you can visit the many bucket list destinations the country has to offer.
The KTX fast train takes a fraction of the time than a normal train would, and buses depart from the Seoul Express Bus Terminal to various destinations at 30-minute intervals.
But, if you cannot speak Korean or read hangul, you may struggle to navigate around the country, especially if you’re rushing around and your time is limited.
You don’t want to risk getting lost or mistakenly catch the wrong train – both of which happened to me. This resulted in many of my day trips from Seoul being extended to weekend getaways!
I’ve used all three operators in Korea, and they offer extremely affordable tours. This includes discounts for international tourists.
These tour operators take care of all the nitty-gritty for you, so you can just sit back, relax and enjoy your day trip from Seoul.
However, there are still a few day trips that you can do independently without a guide, and I’ve included them all, above!
Which beach is the best day trip from Seoul
Daecheon Beach is the best beach accessible on a day trip from Seoul in Summer.
Is it possible to do a day trip from Seoul to Busan
Technically…. yes, you can do a Seoul day trip to Busan. But I don’t recommend it. You need at least 2 days to see the best of Busan so rather spend the night in the city.
Thoughts on the best day trips from Seoul
Each of these Seoul day trips offers something different and suited for everyone from adventure travelers to backpackers.
My highlights include the skiing day trips from Seoul but each is worthy to be on your Korea bucket list!
Have you done any of these Seoul day trips? Would you prefer to travel independently or with a tour group? Let me know in the comments section below!
Psst… Looking for more Korea travel information? Check out my other posts!
- The Best Places to Stay in Seoul
- 24 Strange Things About life in Korea
- Teaching English in Korea: The Only Guide You Need
- The Ultimate 2 Week South Korea Itinerary
- 19 Things You Need to Know Before Moving to Korea
- Where to Stay in Busan: The Ultimate Guide