When I arrived in South Korea, I was amazed by its rich culture, diverse street food, safety, alluring café concepts, and charming locations perfect for cherishing tranquil moments alone or with loved ones. I went on two road trips that allowed me to discover many beautiful places. For each of them, I will share with you my favorite cities to eat, be inspired, and have a great time in South Korea.
I have been living in South Korea for more than a year, and I am based on Geoje Island in the country's south. This peaceful island offers a good quality of life, with its location between the sea and the mountains providing a year-round vacation feel. I have met people from all over the world. I was able to integrate by enrolling in Korean language and dance classes and participating in activities for foreigners offered by cultural centers. I visited other cities thanks to the many affordable travel methods like buses or boats. Here are the most beautiful cities in South Korea that I recommend to you.
Boseong is a picturesque town located in South Jeolla Province, famous for producing high-quality green tea that is beloved by tea enthusiasts worldwide. If you are a fan of green tea, then Boseong is a destination that you should definitely include in your travel itinerary when visiting South Korea.
The best time to visit Boseong is in May when the green tea fields are in full bloom, displaying a lush green hue that is nothing short of breathtaking. During this time, the Boseong World Tea EXPO takes place, offering a wide range of events and activities centered around the world of green tea. These include tea performances, cocktail shows, and tea-making competitions, among others, offering a diverse range of events and activities for you to participate in and fully immerse yourself in the world of green tea.
One of the highlights of visiting Boseong is climbing up to the highest viewpoint to take in the stunning panoramic views of the surrounding tea fields. As you make your way up the hill, you can indulge in green tea ice cream, a popular treat among locals and tourists alike. The combination of creamy, cold ice cream with the distinct flavor of green tea is a unique and delicious experience that you won't soon forget.
Whether you are a tea enthusiast or simply looking for a serene and peaceful getaway, Boseong is an ideal destination that offers a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of South Korea. From savoring the flavors of green tea to admiring the picturesque scenery, Boseong is a must-visit destination that will leave you with unforgettable memories.
Busan is a bustling port city located on the southeastern coast of South Korea, renowned for its stunning beaches, delicious seafood, and vibrant nightlife. However, one of the city's biggest attractions is its thriving surfing scene, which draws surfers from all over the world.
Songjeong Beach is one of the top surfing spots in Busan, known for its consistent waves and breathtaking scenery. It's common to see locals heading to the beach with their surfboards after work to catch some waves. In fact, the NomadHer surfing camp specifically designed for women has been held in Busan. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a beginner, Busan offers plenty of opportunities for surfing enthusiasts to catch some waves and experience the city's unique coastal culture.
Also, Gamcheon Cultural Village is a must-visit place in Busan. Several viewing decks offer a beautiful panorama of the colorful houses on the hillside filled with street art.
When you arrive, you can get a map at the information center. You can enjoy cotton candy in the shape of an animal to start your tour of the narrow streets. I stopped at Duff coffee, a crazy art house where you can feed ducks. You can go to the rooftop and relax in a hammock and admire the panoramic view of the village and the sea.
I live an hour away from Busan, which has given me ample opportunities to explore the city's culinary offerings. I have sampled a wide range of cuisines and visited various restaurants, but if you're looking to try a variety of Busan's local foods in one place, the Bupyeong Kkangtong Market is a must-visit spot.
Many foreigners also live in the city because Busan is one of the best cities to stay in South Korea, so there are plenty of options for those looking to try different types of food. One restaurant that particularly impressed me was the Kokatou lasagna restaurant, which specializes in Italian cuisine. The cozy decor and mouth-watering array of lasagna options make it a must-try for lovers of Italian food.
In addition to exploring Busan's culinary scene, I have also attended the Nolita festival twice. This unique event combines yoga, dance, and art, with various classes offered throughout the day. Each day of the festival concludes with a party, making it a fun and enjoyable way to unwind. If you're interested in attending, you can follow the festival's organizers on social media to find out when the next event will be held.
When I'm looking to relax after a busy day, one of my favorite cafes to visit is the Goof cafe. This charming spot is decorated with vinyl records and plays good music while serving up delicious wine. It's the perfect place to unwind and reflect on the day's adventures in Busan. (check the ultimate Busan guidebook for women)
I received a newsletter talking about the Danyang area as an unknown region, which made me want to visit it. In the middle of winter, the frozen river and the snowy mountains are beautiful. I stopped to eat excellent Spanish tapas and dishes at the Bistro River.
Afterward, I visited the Guinsa temple, which I think is one of the most beautiful temples I've ever visited. You can walk to the top and have a panoramic view. Then you can take a short hike to the top of the mountain, and you'll be rewarded with a breathtaking view.
Back in Danyang, the walk along the frozen river was simply magical. To regain strength, you can go to the market and taste a lot of excellent street food specialties.
It is really good to live on the island of Geoje. Between the sea and the mountains, there is no lack of outdoor activities.
There are a lot of restaurants, but I discovered one recently that I particularly like called Snake 77. The decor is cozy and modern, the food is tasty and the wine is excellent.
If you like hiking, I think you'll find your happiness there. You can take the Geoje cable car, enjoy the view and then go hiking in the mountains. If after all that effort you need some comfort, there is a great cafe, the Oedo nursery, where you can enjoy excellent pastries on a terrace with a seaside view.
Jeju Island, located in the southern part of South Korea, is one of the most beautiful islands and has been beloved by locals for its stunning nature. Jeju Island is often referred to as a beach resort, but there are many points of interest beyond the beaches. You can travel there by plane or ferry.
For a scenic view of the sea, you can enjoy pastries and cold drinks at Cafe Delmoondo. If you're interested in yoga, brunch, and music, you can visit Groov Jeju, which offers classes, all-day brunch, and DJ nights. And if it's too hot to go to the beach, you can check out a digital art exhibit at the Arte Museum. The NomadHer women's Jeju Chuja-do camping trip is currently being held to explore the island's natural beauty
The Jeonju Hanok village is home to traditional Korean-style houses, called hanok, which have been well-preserved for centuries. While you're there, take a stroll around the historical center and try the delicious local dishes at Da Urang restaurant. After your tour of the hanok, relax and unwind at the beautiful Chagyeong cafe. Even just walking around and admiring the traditional houses is worth the visit.
If you're lucky enough to visit Jeonju during the annual Jeonju International Film Festival or the Jeonju Bibimbap Festival, you'll get to experience the city at its liveliest. The Bibimbap Festival is particularly famous, as Jeonju is known for its delicious version of this popular Korean dish.
All in all, Jeonju Hanok Village is a must-visit place for anyone interested in Korean culture and history. With its traditional architecture, delicious food, and fascinating museums, this village offers a unique and unforgettable travel experience.
Oedo Island is located near Geoje, and I went there by boat from the port of Jangseungpo. During the crossing, I was lucky because we could get very close to Shipjagul Cave, which forms a cross when seen from the sky. Fortunately, a bilingual French-Korean passenger translated the captain's information about the area for me.
From the top, you can admire the panorama of the Garden of Venus, which is reminiscent of Greece. You can take a break at the Oh! Beautiful Cafe and continue to admire the gardens. While waiting for the return trip, you can visit the small white and red lighthouse, which is filled with floral paintings. The boat ride back was magical with the sunset, especially Sajanawi Rock.
I joined some friends in Pohang in the evening. I arrived at sunset at Yeongildae Beach, and it was beautiful. You can just walk along the beach and have a picnic.
The next morning, you can have a delicious brunch at the May 25 cafe. Afterward, I went to visit Bogyeongsa Temple. It is surrounded by a pine forest, and you can hike to the top of Hyangnobong.
Since I've been living on Geoje Island, I've gone several times to Seoul by bus. The price is very affordable, and the trip takes 4 hours.
I visited different neighborhoods and ate several times at Plant Cafe. Whether you are vegan or not, the food, desserts, and smoothies are just delicious.
One visit that I particularly enjoyed was the Suwon Fortress which is in Suwon City, which is a neighboring city around Seoul. The walk is very beautiful, and friends told me that at night, it's even more striking. When you're done with your visit, you can walk around the area and admire the murals.
It was also in Seoul that I saw one of the most memorable exhibitions of Tim Burton's work at DDP Seoul Dongdaemun. The building alone is stunning!
I continue to visit and discover South Korea. The next city I will discover is Sokcho because this winter my cousin is working as a scriptwriter on a French movie based on the novel Un hiver à Sokcho. Maybe I will be able to attend the shooting.
And if you come to Geoje Island one day, I would be happy to meet you and have a good time together!
👩 Aurelie Verger, NomadHer article contributor, is a female traveler from France. She works as a consultant who has lived in many countries, including Canada. Living abroad was her childhood dream, and working in Montreal for a year with a Working Holiday Visa was a great chance to make that dream come true. Currently, She lives in South Korea to travel and work together.
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