Fancy a trip somewhere different?
How about South Korea?
It's a fantastic destination for a visit! With the perfect blend of tradition and modern life with ancient palaces standing tall amongst sleek skyscrapers – it's like stepping into a time machine that takes you from centuries ago to the cutting edge of technology.
And the food, the Korean cuisine is a flavour explosion! Whether you're into spicy kimchi or sizzling barbecue, you’ll find something to love, the street food scene is a whole adventure in itself.
In a nutshell, South Korea has a bit of everything – culture, cuisine, nature, and entertainment. It's a must-visit, and the best time? Well, that depends on what you like and what you want to do when you get there.
Lets first look at the climate in South Korea.
Climate in South Korea
South Korea has a very distinct four-season climate. In spring (March to May), temperatures range from 5°C to 20°C (41°F to 68°F), Summer (June to August) is warm and humid, with temperatures between 20°C and 30°C (68°F to 86°F). Be prepared for monsoon rains in July and August, with an average rainfall of 300mm.
Autumn (September to November) has milder temperatures of 10°C to 25°C (50°F to 77°F) and Winter (December to February) can be chilly, with temperatures ranging from -5°C to 5°C (23°F to 41°F), snowfall is also common, especially in the mountainous areas. The best time for you to visit will very much depend on the kind of weather you prefer and what you want to do when you get there.
Let’s now have a look at the different seasons in more detail.
Peak Season in South Korea - late March to early May and September to Early November
The peak season in South Korea is usually during the spring and early autumn months.
In spring, from late March to early May, the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, which transform the landscapes and are very popular with tourists. The weather is mild and pleasant, perfect for getting outside and exploring.
Autumn, from September to early November, has cooler temperatures and is famous for its stunning autumn foliage, creating beautiful scenes all across the country.
Visiting during the peak season means that though there’ll be a lot more people around, the atmosphere is vibrant and lively. There are a variety of festivals and events going on, including the cherry blossom festivals in Spring and the autumn foliage festivals in Autumn. The weather is lovely during the peak season and this makes exploring South Korea's cultural and natural wonders a lot more enjoyable. Just be aware that the more popular attractions may be busier, so make sure to plan ahead and book accommodations in advance.
Things to do in South Korea during the Peak Season
- If you're visiting during spring (April), you can catch the cherry blossoms in full bloom. Head to places like Jinhae or Gyeongju to see them at their best.
- Explore the capital of South Korea, Seoul, and visit some of the more iconic landmarks like Gyeongbokgung Palace, Bukchon Hanok Village and the vibrant districts of Myeongdong and Insadong.
- Take a cable car or hike to the top of Namsan Mountain for panoramic views of the city. The tower is especially stunning when lit up at night.
- Summer (July-August) is perfect for hitting the beaches. Head to Haeundae or Gwangalli Beach in Busan for sun, sand and sea where you can enjoy water sports and spend time in beachside cafes.
- South Korea hosts numerous festivals during peak seasons. There’s the Boryeong Mud Festival in July or the Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival in August.
- Autumn (September-November) is the perfect time for going on a hike. You can explore Seoraksan National Park or hike along the picturesque trails of Jeju Island. The autumn colours add an extra touch of beauty.
- If you visit during winter (December-February) then you can go skiing and snowboarding in Yongpyong or Alpensia.
- Try the street food, like barbecue (Samgyeopsal), Bibimbap, and the famous Korean fried chicken.
Low Season in South Korea – December to February
The low season is during winter, from December to February and the temperatures can drop quite a bit, especially in January. There is also a chance of snow, especially in the northern regions.
The low season is when the tourist crowds thin out, which can be a bonus if you prefer a more peaceful time. Attractions and sites are generally less crowded, which make it easier to explore at your own pace. Some of the outdoor activities may be limited due to the wintery conditions.
On the flip side, if you like winter sports or love to wander around beautiful landscapes covered in snow then this could be the ideal time to go, just pack some warm layers and you'll be good to go.
So, low season in South Korea – a bit chilly, but a lot more peaceful!
Things to do during the low season in South Korea
- Visit the historical sites and take advantage of the fewer crowds to explore South Korea's rich history. Places like Gyeongbokgung Palace and Bulguksa Temple will be a lot quieter during the low season.
- Go hiking and explore the beautiful landscapes. The trails around Seoraksan National Park and Jirisan National Park have stunning views, especially without the peak-season crowds.
- The low season is a great time to get involved in Korean traditions, so whether it's trying on a hanbok or learning traditional tea ceremonies there’s a lot to experience.
- Warm up during the cooler months by having a relax in the country's rejuvenating spas and hot springs. Places like the Dragon Hill Spa in Seoul are the perfect places to go.
- If you're visiting during the low season in winter then skiing and snowboarding are popular activities in places like Yongpyong and Alpensia.
- Wander through local markets to get a taste of authentic Korean cuisine. Fewer people around make it easier to interact with vendors and try various street foods.
- South Korea has some lovely coastlines so visit places like Jeju Island or Busan's Haeundae Beach without all the summer crowds.
- Spend time indoors exploring museums and art galleries. The National Museum of Korea in Seoul and Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, are great places to go.
- Consider going to a temple for a stay in a unique spiritual and cultural place.
Spring and Autumn in South Korea
The spring and autumn in South Korea is during the months of April to June and September to November. The weather is lovely during these months with milder temperatures and there are fewer people visiting so it can be the perfect time to visit.
In late spring, the cherry blossom is out, the countryside is lovely and green and the temperatures are a comfortable 10 to 25 degrees Celsius (50 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit). It's a fantastic time to explore cultural sites like Gyeongbokgung Palace or have a walk to lovely places like Jeju Island.
During the early autumn, South Korea is full of colourful autumn leaves which create a stunning backdrop for your travels. Temperatures range from 10 to 20 degrees Celsius (50 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit), which is comfortable enough to enjoy lots of outdoor activities. Its the perfect time to go hiking in Seoraksan National Park or for visiting historic sites like Bulguksa Temple.
Overall, the shoulder seasons provides you with a balance between good weather conditions and fewer tourists, you can enjoy South Korea's beauty and culture in a more relaxed way.
Things to do in South Korea during spring and autumn.
- Visit Seoul or Jinhae during April to see the stunning cherry blossoms in full bloom. Parks like Yeouido Hangang Park or Jinhae Gunhangje Festival are perfect spots.
- Go hiking in Seoraksan National Park (Autumn) to explore the beautiful colours of autumn. With its crisp air and colourful landscapes its the perfect time for a hike. Biseondae Rock and Ulsanbawi Rock are popular trails.
- Rent a traditional Hanbok and go for a walk around Gyeongbokgung Palace, it will transport you back in time.
- Visit Jeonju, the City of Gastronomy, known for bibimbap and other traditional dishes.
- Explore Jeju Island's unique landscapes, from waterfalls and volcanic craters to the lovely beaches. The milder weather during the shoulder seasons makes it a lot easier to travel around.
- Take a tea plantation tour in Boseong (Spring). The green tea fields carpet the hillsides and you can take a guided tour and sample some Korean tea.
- The Seoul Lantern Festival is in November (Autumn) when the lanterns line the Cheonggyecheon Stream in Seoul.
- Visit the Andong Hahoe Folk Village (Autumn) and immerse yourself in the traditional Korean culture by visiting this UNESCO-listed village.
- Rent a bike and ride along the Han River in Seoul.
- Check for K-pop concerts or traditional performances happening during your visit. It's a great way to experience modern and traditional aspects of Korean culture.
Best time to visit South Korea for cherry blossom
South Korea's cherry blossoms are a spectacular sight and the best time to catch them in full bloom is usually in April. The exact timing can vary slightly depending on what the weather conditions are each year, but mid to late April is generally the best time. Seoul, Jeju Island, and areas like Gyeongju are popular places to see the cherry blossom. If you plan your trip around this time, and you'll be able to see the beautiful displays of pink and white blossoms and enjoy the beauty of South Korea in full bloom!
When is the cheapest time to visit South Korea?
Finding the cheapest time to explore South Korea will depend on a variety of factors including weather, festivals and the overall demand.
Generally, the off-peak seasons, like late winter (February to March) or late autumn (October to November), tend to be cheaper for accommodations and flights and during these periods, the weather is still nice so you can enjoy the culture without the peak tourist prices. But keep an eye on any major holidays or events, as they might have an impact on prices.
When is the best time to visit Seoul
Seoul is a fantastic destination and the best time to visit really depends on what you're looking for in your trip. Spring (April to June) is great as it has the blooming cherry blossoms and nice, mild temperatures. Summer (July to August) can be warm and a bit humid, but it's when you'll be able to see the lively festivals. If you prefer cooler weather then the autumn (September to November) is a good time and though winter (December to February) is cold, you will get to enjoy the magic of snow-covered landscapes. So, decide what you want to do and plan accordingly for a wonderful time in Seoul!
What month has the best weather in South Korea?
Choosing the best weather in South Korea will depend on what you want to do when you are there. Generally, April to June (spring) have mild temperatures and lots of lovely cherry blossoms, making it quite pleasant. If you prefer the warmer weather then July to August (summer) is a lively time to go though it can get very humid. For cooler temperatures, September to November (autumn) is a perfect time. However, if you're a fan of winter and like having a go at winter sports then December to February is the best weather for you to travel.