February 4, 2024

Top 15 Destinations for Autumn Leaves in Seoul: Where Did Everyone Search the Most?


Autumn 2023 has graced us with its beauty. According to a 2022 survey by Korean Research, a staggering 83% (more than 8 in 10 people) declared autumn as their favorite season. What makes autumn stand out is its ephemeral nature. While spring lasts for 84 days, summer for 102 days, and winter stretches over 115 days, autumn is fleeting, lasting just 59 days. Perhaps this is why it's so cherished? In this article, we'll introduce you to 15 of Seoul’s best spots to experience the vibrant autumn leaves.

Top 15 Locations for Autumn Leaves in Seoul
[ Relative Strength of Google Search Result ]

This recommended list is based on the relative search intensities from Google Trends during the autumn seasons from 2019 to 2022, specifically from early October to mid-November. Out of numerous autumn leaves locations in Seoul, we've selected the top 15 for your consideration.

Detailed descriptions and rankings of each location will follow. Just because a spot isn't high in the search rankings doesn't mean its autumn leaves are any less magnificent. Choose based on your own preferences and availability.

With the short window of autumn, it might be challenging to visit all these locations. Use this list as a guide to make the most of your autumn experience. Revel in the beauty of the autumn leaves at these top 15 spots, and truly savor the season!

1. Gyeongbokgung (Gyeongbok Palace) - 8,681 points

  • Related searches: Nighttime opening, Hanbok (traditional Korean attire), Restaurants
  • Search period: Autumn seasons from 2019-2022 (early October to mid-November)

Gyeongbokgung stands as the oldest among Seoul's palaces such as Changdeokgung, Changgyeonggung, Deoksugung, and Gyeonghuigung. It was the main royal palace of the Joseon dynasty, built in 1395 by King Taejo. Here, visitors can appreciate traditional Korean architectural marvels like Geunjeongjeon and Gyeonghoeru. The palace grounds also house the National Folk Museum of Korea and the National Palace Museum of Korea.

Especially in autumn, the blend of vibrant autumn leaves with traditional architecture offers visitors a breathtaking view. This 2023, from September 1st to October 29th, the palace will be open during the evening, allowing visitors to enjoy both the autumn leaves and nighttime views. Renting and wearing a Hanbok will undoubtedly elevate the experience.

2023 Gyeongbokgung Nighttime Viewing Information for Autumn
  • Viewing period: Sept. 1 (Fri) - Oct. 29 (Sun)
  • Days without viewing: Every Mon & Tue / Oct. 4 (Special palace closure)
  • Viewing hours: 19:00-21:30 (*Last admission: 20:30)
  • Price: 3,000 won per person
  • Booking: Direct link to tickets on 11th Street
  • 1st round of booking: Opens at 10:00 on August 25, 2023, Friday
  • 1st round viewers: Sept. 1 - Sept. 30
  • 2nd round of booking: Opens at 10:00 on September 25, 2023, Monday
  • 2nd round viewers: Oct. 1 - Oct. 29
  • Special tip: If you visit wearing a Hanbok, you can enjoy nighttime viewing for free without a reservation. However, a complete set (top and bottom) is required (just wearing the outer jacket, Durumagi, is not allowed).

Recommended Nearby Eateries
  • Goat Deli Seochon: The standout dishes here include the Goat Bagel, Goat Pizza, Jambon Fromage, and the Old School Pastrami. Their pizza, in particular, is a must-try. Plus, you can enjoy a beer with a view of a traditional Korean house.

  • Yeonnamtoma Bukchon Branch: On the menu, you'll find options like the famous Nanba Olive Oil Pasta, Beef and Chinese-style Cream Pasta, and the Beef Cheese Katsu set meal. The ambiance is inviting, and their Beef Cheese Katsu offers a twist on the traditional pork cutlet, boasting a rich and juicy flavor due to the beef.
  • Seochon Traditional Sundae Soup: Sundae soup is a soul food for Koreans. This particular spot is known for its flavorful soup without any off-putting aromas. From the kimchi to the main dish, everything is delicious.

Given that fall is the most beloved season for Koreans, why not consider a visit to Gyeongbokgung during this brief yet precious time of year? There's a reason it ranks high in search popularity: it's not just about its beauty, but the diverse experiences and pleasures it offers in many ways.

2. Bukhansan (Mt. Bukhan) - 4,225 points

  • Related searches: Perimeter path, Hiking courses, Autumn leaves

Bukhansan is one of the prominent mountains in Seoul. Positioned centrally with Namsan, Bukhansan to the north, and Gwanaksan to the south, it offers Seoul's residents the unique privilege of accessing its beautiful terrains in just a 30-minute journey via public transportation from the city center. Such immediate accessibility to nature from a metropolis is a rarity on the global stage. Bukhansan National Park, with its sprawling 76.922 km² area, showcases the splendors of granite rock foundations eroded over time, resulting in picturesque rock peaks and valleys.

Additionally, the mountain is rich in historical and cultural landmarks, featuring the 2,000-year-old Bukhansanseong Fortress and over a hundred temples and hermitages. It's a destination that ensures every visit is scenic, refreshing, and enlightening.

Hiking Course Information

Bukhansan boasts 13 diverse hiking courses, ranging from short 1-2 hour trails to more challenging 8-hour round trips. Especially recommended for beginners and those seeking the vibrant hues of autumn leaves is the Bibong course.

  • Bibong Course: This trail covers a comfortable distance of 2km one-way, typically taking around an hour. Ideal for novices, the summit rewards hikers with a panoramic view of Seoul. The round trip, clocking in at about 2 hours, promises a wholesome hiking experience. 
  • Trail Route: Bibong Visitor Center - Geumseonsa Temple - Bibong Peak
  • Transportation: Alight at Bulkwang Station on Line 3. From there, you can either walk from Exit 2 for 1.9 km or opt for a taxi.

Cafe Recommendation: Seonungak

For those who are not particularly fond of hiking but still wish to savor the beauty and autumn leaves of Bukhansan, the traditional Hanok cafe 'Seonungak' comes highly recommended. Amidst a serene ambiance, visitors can savor a warm cup of tea while feasting their eyes on the mesmerizing fall foliage. 

  • Address: 256-16 Ui-dong, Gangbuk-gu
  • Transportation: Alight at Solbat Park Station. Exit from Exit 2 and either walk the 1.9km distance or take a taxi.

Bukhansan offers a unique blend of natural beauty complemented by Korea's rich history and culture. In autumn, the mountain dons a vibrant cloak of fall colors, making it an absolute must-visit.

You can download the Perimeter Path Map and Bukhansan Hiking Courses at the link below.

3. Sky Park (하늘공원) - 3,325 points

  • Related searches: Eulalia Festival, Pink Muhly

Sky Park was inaugurated as a part of the commemoration for the 17th FIFA World Cup in 2002. It stands as one of the five major parks surrounding the World Cup Stadium, an area reclaimed from the Nanjido landfill. With its quadrilateral layout, the park features various themed areas such as Eulalia planting grounds, natural grasslands, rock gardens, mixed grass zones, and sunflower planting grounds.

One of the standout events at Sky Park is the Eulalia Festival, a flagship park cultural festival of Seoul during the autumn season. This annual event in October sees silver eulalia grass in full bloom, setting the stage for a range of autumnal night festivities. It's an ideal spot to bask in the autumn night's romance, especially with the mesmerizing night view of Seoul. Recently, more visitors seem to be flocking to witness the Pink Muhly grass rather than Eulalia. Not only is it visually stunning, but it also provides a unique atmosphere for photography.

While the Eulalia Festival is renowned for its autumnal beauty in Sky Park, another picturesque location lies below Sky Park: the Metasequoia-lined Road (located at 482-49, Sangam-dong, Mapo-gu). Even casual snapshots here turn out stunning.

For those feeling peckish after taking in the fall foliage, nearby eateries include the "Ant House Sangam branch" (famous for spicy chicken stew; located at World Cup Buk-ro 396, 2nd Floor of Nuri Dream Square Shared Production Center, Mapo-gu). For those seeking a more special experience, "Waikiki Market" comes recommended. Here, you can enjoy a barbecue onboard a boat (located at Mapo Naru-gil 332, Waikiki Market, Mapo-gu).

This article provides a brief introduction to the top three locations. Details about other sites will be covered in subsequent articles.

Explore the top 10 most celebrated festivals in Korea by clicking this link.

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For a comprehensive guide to discovering Korea's picturesque hydrangea spots, alongside its rich blend of traditional and modern architecture, and spectacular fireworks displays, delve into the article below.

Hydrangeas and Culture: A Comprehensive Journey through 25 Hydrangea Hotspots across Korea with Google Maps Integration”

Where Tradition Meets Modernity: Korean Fireworks Festivals and Their Iconic Backdrops

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