Best Time to Visit Seoul: When to Go & Weather Guide

Planning add the capital of South Korea to your next East Asia trip? Picking the best time to visit Seoul is one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make.

Choosing when to go to Seoul isn’t a matter of choosing a date willy-nilly and expecting blue sunny skies. The weather in Seoul can be a little hit or miss. Anything from cold winter sleet to an hot & humid summers can be in the cards depending on what time of year you visit.

Ready to nail down when to travel to Seoul? Plan your trip with this complete Seoul weather guide. In it, we’ve included the best months to travel to Seoul along with what to expect and what to wear by season and by month.

When to go to Seoul: An overview

Ask most Seoulites and they’re proud to announce that their city is blessed with a four-season climate. For certain travellers on the quest for when to visit Seoul, that news may not be so exciting!

Han River in Yeoido

The seasons in Seoul, like many European countries or my homeland of Canada, are distinct. When you’re visiting, expect hot & humid summers and cold winters. The lovely spring and autumn seasons fall between these extremes.

For the most part, Seoul is billed as a year-round destination. While it’s not untrue, there are some times you might rather avoid. They include the Korean Lunar New Year, Chuseok, and the summer monsoon season.

Confused? Don’t worry. Keep reading ;)

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Seoul Weather by Season

Spring

When is spring in Seoul?

Spring in Seoul is from mid-March until June.

What to expect in spring

After snapping out of a cold winter, Seoul is an absolute delight to visit in spring. As a shoulder season, spring in Seoul has got a lot going for it. Around the beginning of April, the Seoul cherry blossoms start to bloom. The blossoms leave the city’s parks bathed in a blanket of delicate pink flowers. The temperatures are also quite pleasant in spring. Averages inch into the teens as summer approaches.

What to wear in spring

Even with the milder temperatures, you’ll want to keep some warmer outerwear or mid-layers handy. The possibility of cooler temperatures still lingers in spring. Pair a comfortable fleece jacket with a waterproof jacket or softshell jacket. It’s a great combo when the spring weather conditions aren’t co-operating.

Spring is a great time enjoy the best hiking in Seoul, like Namsan, or to tackle farther-flung trails on one of the most popular day trips from Seoul. Either way, I’d recommend taking along a solid pair of waterproof hiking shoes. It holds especially true in March when the melting snow leaves behind plenty of puddles.

Summer

When is summer in Seoul?

Summer in Seoul is from July until August.

What to expect in summer

Although summer is one of the busiest tourist seasons in Seoul, it’s one of the most miserable climatically. Summer in Seoul is oppressively hot & humid. It also receives a massive onslaught of heavy rain that rolls in with the East Asia monsoon.

Add to that big crowds, long line-ups, and higher accommodations prices. It’s easy to see why I’m steering you away from visiting in these dreadful months.

What to wear in summer

To stay comfortable, you’re gonna want to go light. Lightweight moisture-wicking travel pants or shorts are a great idea to keep you cool in the dead heat of summer and let you dry off quickly should a quick burst of rain dampen your spirits. You’ll want to keep a travel umbrella as well as a ultralight rain jacket handy in a top-rated travel daypack to deal with the inevitable last-minute downpours.

To stay comfortable, you’re gonna want to go light. Lightweight moisture-wicking travel pants or shorts are a great idea. They’ll help keep you cool in the dead heat of summer. With them, you’ll be able to dry off quickly should a burst of rain dampen your spirits.

Keep a travel umbrella and ultralight rain jacket handy in your travel daypack. It’s a must for dealing with the inevitable last-minute downpours.

Sunset over Han River

Autumn

When is autumn in Seoul?

Autumn in Seoul is from September until November.

What to expect in autumn

With the hot & rainy days of summer in the rearview mirror, autumn presents itself as, perhaps, the best season to visit Seoul. Average temperatures are still warm to mild, and it’s one of the driest times of the year in the capital. And who could forget the biggest perk of autumn? Under a blazing backdrop of fall colours, the capital of South Korea is at its most stunning!

What to wear in autumn

The dropping temperatures from the insane highs of summer mean that you’ll need to pack a few additional layers for the autumn months. When choosing what to wear in Korea in fall, be sure to bring along a warm base layers for the cooler days.

A comfortable fleece jacket or warm long-sleeved sweater paired with a softshell outer layer will work wonders. For the odd rainy day, don’t forget to carry a rain jacket. Fall is also one of the finest seasons for hiking in Seoul. Pack a pair of sturdy hiking shoes to crack the city and region’s most popular trails.

Winter

When is winter in Seoul?

Winter in Seoul is from December until mid-March.

What to expect in winter

If you’re not used to cooler temperatures, the chilly days of Seoul’s winter won’t be your favourite part of visiting the city. Truthfully, as unpleasant as it may seem at a glance, winter’s not the worst season to go to Seoul. The relative lack of popularity in the winter months means you’ll be able to score great deals on your accommodations. On top of that, getting to see Seoul’s palaces and temples under a soft blanket of snow is simply magical.

What to wear in winter

The cold temperatures mean that you’ll need to bundle up to stay comfortable. Bring along a warm hardshell jacket with warm comfortable base layers.

For outerwear, you’ll also want to bring along a knitted hat (a toque for my fellow Canadians). Pack a pair of warm gloves to keep your hands toasty, too. In snowier conditions, protect your feet with a comfy pair of waterproof insulated boots.

Seoul Weather by Month

January

As uncomfortable as the cooler temperatures may be for some, January is a decent month to travel to Seoul. Tourist crowds are among their lowest in the city (outside of the holidays, of course). The days of January are generally sunny and pleasant, and among the driest of the entire year.

  • Average Temperature: -4ºC / 25ºF
  • Low Temperature (Average): -9ºC / 16ºF
  • High Temperature (Average): 1ºC / 34ºF
  • Rainfall: 21 mm

February

In Seoul, the temperatures already start to get warmer as we enter into February. Like the other winter months, February is one of the driest months of the year.

Despite the cooler temperatures, it’s a great month to enjoy the outdoors in Seoul. Avoid travelling around Korean Lunar New Year (Seollal). It generally falls somewhere between late January and mid-February. Korean Lunar New Year is one of the busy times of year to travel in South Korea.

  • Average Temperature: -2ºC / 28ºF
  • Low Temperature (Average): -7ºC / 19ºF
  • High Temperature (Average): 4ºC / 39ºF
  • Rainfall: 25 mm

Winter @ Gyeongbokgung Palace

March

The beginning of March is still feels winter-like. You’ll notice a distinct warming of temperatures as the month rolls along, though. The new season starts to come to life elsewhere in the country in March. You’ll have to wait a tiny bit longer to get the full Korean spring experience in Seoul.

  • Average Temperature: 4ºC / 39ºF
  • Low Temperature (Average): -2ºC / 28ºF
  • High Temperature (Average): 9ºC / 48ºF
  • Rainfall: 48 mm

April

Along with November, April is one of the best months to travel to Seoul. In the beginning of April, the cherry blossoms make their first appearance. Yeouido and Nami Island, both quick day trips from Seoul, are two of the most beautiful places to see cherry blossoms in Seoul.

In April, the weather’s improving, too. With average daytime temperatures in the teens, you can finally ditch your winterwear for less bulky spring clothing.

Want to witness the prettiest cherry blossoms around Seoul? Book yourself on the Chasing Cherry Blossoms Tour! The full-day tour randomly chooses the three finest cherry blossom viewing spots for any given day. It could whisk you away just about anywhere around Gangwon-do, Chungcheong-do or Gyeonggi-do!

  • Average Temperature: 11ºC / 52ºF
  • Low Temperature (Average): 5ºC / 41ºF
  • High Temperature (Average): 17ºC / 63ºF
  • Rainfall: 95 mm

Spring Hanok

May

Even with the cherry blossoms long gone, the intoxicating scent and sight of spring flowers makes a good case for travelling to Seoul in May. The temperatures ramp up quite a bit, placing May firmly into the warm weather category. If you’re looking for dry conditions and sun, there’s a good chance you’ll get it in May. Don’t take it lightly. The Seoul weather is about to take a nasty turn!

  • Average Temperature: 17ºC / 63ºF
  • Low Temperature (Average): 11ºC / 52ºF
  • High Temperature (Average): 22ºC / 72ºF
  • Rainfall: 83 mm

June

For the first part of June, visiting Seoul is still quite beautiful. Temperatures continue to warm as the first official days of summer near. The problem comes towards the end of the month. In late June, the East Asian monsoon rolls over the Korean peninsula, bringing with it a torrent of nasty wet weather. Be prepared!

  • Average Temperature: 21ºC / 70ºF
  • Low Temperature (Average): 16ºC / 61ºF
  • High Temperature (Average): 26ºC / 79ºF
  • Rainfall: 151 mm

Gwanghwamun at Night

July

Let’s not sugarcoat it: July is a miserable month to travel to Seoul. Rainfall is almost 2.5x higher in July than June. The heat and humidity that starts to engulf the capital can be tiresome on the traveller’s soul. You’ll no doubt feel an urge to spend more of your vacation indoors than out. Cooling down in the air-conditioned comfort of Seoul’s cafés, malls, and museums isn’t so bad in July.

  • Average Temperature: 24ºC / 75ºF
  • Low Temperature (Average): 20ºC / 68ºF
  • High Temperature (Average): 27ºC / 81ºF
  • Rainfall: 383 mm

August

Like July, the summer month of August isn’t one of the most comfortable times to plan a trip to Seoul. The dead heat and sticky conditions don’t bode well for a comfortable journey. As you’d expect, the extreme humidity drags along its fair share of rainstorms. August is the second wettest month of the year in Seoul.

  • Average Temperature: 24ºC / 75ºF
  • Low Temperature (Average): 20ºC / 68ºF
  • High Temperature (Average): 28ºC / 82ºF
  • Rainfall: 283 mm

Night @ Yeoido

September

Shedding its summer monsoons, Seoul becomes far more pleasant into September. Temperatures start to tumble for the better, reaching more comfortable levels.

In September, rainfall finally starts to die down, leaving the great outdoors in & around Seoul waiting for you to explore. Keep in mind that Chuseok (Korean harvest moon festival) usually falls in September. Along with the Korean Lunar New Year, Chuseok is one the country’s biggest holidays, and one of the worst times to travel.

  • Average Temperature: 19ºC / 66ºF
  • Low Temperature (Average): 14ºC / 57ºF
  • High Temperature (Average): 24ºC / 75ºF
  • Rainfall: 159 mm

October

The warm days of September roll into the mild & dry days of October. October is one of the best months of the year to visit Seoul. Temperatures are comfortable, but you’ll start feeling a crispness in the air. This holds true especially towards the end of October.

It’s a good thing. The cooling temperatures usher in beautiful fall colours that paint Seoul in bright shades of yellow, red, and orange. Undoubtedly, this unfolds the city’s loveliest scenes of the year.

  • Average Temperature: 13ºC / 55ºF
  • Low Temperature (Average): 7ºC / 45ºF
  • High Temperature (Average): 18ºC / 64ºF
  • Rainfall: 52 mm

Autumn in Insadong

November

By November, you’ll feel a distinct chill as winter nears. It’s still a pleasant month to travel to Seoul, though. The bright fall colours usually hit their peak in Seoul in late October to early November, creating a lovely atmosphere around the city.

Other than the three colder winter months, November is the driest month of the year in Seoul.

  • Average Temperature: 5ºC / 41ºF
  • Low Temperature (Average): -1ºC / 30ºF
  • High Temperature (Average): 10ºC / 50ºF
  • Rainfall: 46 mm

December

December is the first official month of winter in Seoul. It ushers in much colder temperatures than you’d experience in fall. Despite a chill in the air, December is dry and sunny. Bundle up and experience the month to its fullest!

  • Average Temperature: -2ºC / 28ºF
  • Low Temperature (Average): -7ºC / 19ºF
  • High Temperature (Average): 3ºC / 37ºF
  • Rainfall: 25 mm

When is the best time of year to go to Seoul?

The best month to visit Seoul is April or October.

Why visit in April?

As the first month freed from the grips of the chilly Korean winter, April is a wonderful month to travel to Seoul. In April, temperatures become increasingly more pleasant. April is also relatively dry compared to the summer months ahead.

Changdeokgung Palace

Of all the reasons to go to Seoul in April, none is more compelling than witnessing the cherry blossom season in South Korea.

The light pink blooms create a wispy scene throughout Seoul. In cherry blossom season, Seoul is at its most beautiful. Some of the most popular places to check out cherry blossoms in Seoul include Yeouido Park and Changdeokgung Palace.

Why visit in October?

With the summer monsoon season long behind, October is, along with April, the best time to travel to Seoul.

Temperatures in Seoul in October are mild to cool, yet still comfortable. Compared to the hell-storm of the summer, the contrast is stark. In October, you’ll need to dress warmer, preferably in layers. But that shouldn’t stop you from taking on Seoul to the fullest.

Autumn @ Gyeongbokgung

The real reason to travel to Seoul in October, however, is for the fall colours. Along with the spring cherry blossoms, seeing the fall foliage erupt showcases Seoul at its most beautiful. The peak autumn viewing season crops up towards the end of October.

Ryan O'Rourke

Ryan O'Rourke is a Canadian traveller, food & drink aficionado, and the founder & editor of Treksplorer. Join Ryan as he explores the world two to three weeks at a time from his home base of Canada with Treksplorer's independent and unsponsored mid-range luxury travel guides including itineraries, things to do, where to stay, when to visit, and hiking & walking trails.

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