When visiting South Korea, you’ve got to spend time in Seoul. It’s the largest metro area in the country, and offers endless shopping, dining, and entertainment experiences.
As great as Seoul is year-round, spring is one of the best times to visit the city. Sure, you’ll love spending time in shops and markets to awaken from the winter blues. But visiting in spring has another bonus: seeing majestic cherry blossoms in Seoul.
As winter comes to an end, Seoul starts to thaw from the cold. The streets become busier, and the plants start to come to life, including the magnificent cherry trees.
When the trees blossom, you’ll see long rows of trees covered in pink or white flowers. The blossoms add splashes of color throughout Seoul, especially if you know the best places to look.
When is cherry blossom season in Seoul in 2021?
No matter where you go in Asia, you’ve got a small window for cherry blossom viewing, so you’ll need to plan your trip accordingly.
The spring cherry blossom season is, without doubt, among the best times to go to Seoul. The exact time of the bloom, however, varies every year.
In most areas of South Korea, experts are predicting bloom dates between the last week of March and the first week of April. In Seoul, the bloom may come a little later.
For 2021, the cherry trees in Seoul should have full blossom between April 6th and April 13th. When planning your trip, you may want to show up a couple of days before and check out some of the following spots…
Where to see cherry blossoms in Seoul
Seoul provides a variety of spots to view cherry blossoms. You may not even have to travel far from your hotel. Even if you only have the chance to visit one of these destinations, you’ll remember the experience for a lifetime.
Start your cherry blossom tour in Yeouido
One of the most spectacular cherry blossom sites in Seoul is also one of the busiest. The Yeouido Cherry Blossom Festival attracts thousands of tourists who come to see about 1,400 cherry trees lining the streets and parks.
The mass arrival of tourists also brings food vendors, street performances, and a lot of outdoor entertainment. It’s a grand time for everyone, but it can get crowded.
You may want to arrive early and leave early so that you can check out some of the other destinations and not get lost in the traffic.
Enjoy amusement park rides at Seokchon Lake
Seokchon Lake is in the eastern part of the city and easy to get to from the main commercial districts. It’s beautiful year-round, but is extra special in spring when it becomes one of the best spots for cherry blossom viewing in Seoul.
Seokchon Lake holds a large cherry blossom festival each year. The lake is also right next to Lotte World, a major amusement park in Seoul. The blue-roofed fairytale castles blend strikingly with the light pink cherry blossoms. It’ll transport you into an unforgettable fantasy world.
Watch zoo animals at Seoul Grand Park
Like Seokchon Lake, Seoul Grand Park provides access to both blossom-viewing and an amusement park. On top of that, it features a zoo & botanical garden. You could spend the whole day here—whether in cherry blossom season or not!
Seoul Grand Park also holds a large cherry blossom festival, starts on the eighth of April. There are live performances, cherry blossom busking, and plenty of spots for romantic photos.
While there’s plenty to do at the park, it’s rarely crowded. You can enjoy a stroll through the zoo and check out the cherry blossoms without jostling with tourists and locals.
Relax and have a picnic at Seoul Forest
Seoul Forest is a great destination any time of the year and one of the top attractions in Seoul. During cherry blossom season, it explodes with colour.
Admission to the park is free. It’s another top choice for those who want to avoid the crowds. Bring a picnic basket and a blanket to enjoy a relaxing lunch in the forest, eating under the cherry trees.
If you want a better view of your surroundings, there’s a large bridge in the middle of the forest. You can see the tops of the lavender-colored blossoms and get some amazing photos.
Be aware (and this a good thing): Getting lost in the beauty of the forest might make you forget that you’re still in the middle of Seoul!
View miles of cherry trees at Kyung Hee University
Kyung Hee University has a beautiful campus made even more gorgeous during the cherry blossom season. The campus architecture is a cool-looking backdrop for the light pink cherry blossoms.
If you’re lucky, the College of Fine Arts building will be open. From the rooftop of the building you can get a 360-degree view of the surrounding area. You can see the tops of the trees and buildings dotting the landscape as far as your eyes can see.
There are also many places around the campus to rest. You can stroll through parks, sit near a pond, and even enjoy a picnic on the campus grounds.
Celebrate life at the Seoul National Cemetery
While a cemetery may seem like a downer for a fun-filled cherry blossom tour, Seoul National Cemetery might change your tune.
During cherry blossom season, the cemetery is a colourful place with various outdoor activities. You can view the trees, watch a changing of the guard, and enjoy the sounds of the military band.
The Seoul National Cemetery houses weeping cherry trees. The foliage droops downward, just as willow trees do. It’s an interesting spot that stands out from the other destinations.
Discover history at the Five Royal Palaces
Besides these destinations, there are five more places for prime cherry blossom viewing: the royal palaces.
There are five royal palaces in the city. No matter which palace you visit, you’ll see beautiful cherry trees in full bloom against a backdrop of historic architecture. You don’t need to visit them all, but you carve out time to visit at least one.
If you want to avoid the crowds, visit Changgyeonggung Palace. It’s not the most popular of the five palaces, but offers the best blossom viewing. It’ll have fewer people and more trees.
Where to stay in Seoul for cherry blossom viewing
As cherry blossoms are spread throughout Korea’s capital, no single neighbourhood jumps out as the most-recommended choice for where to stay in Seoul during cherry blossom season. Stick to the most interesting central areas—including Insadong, Hongdae, and Myeongdong—to get the most out of your trip.
- Gateway Korea Guesthouse is a friendly guesthouse in a quiet residential area in Mapo-gu not far from Hongdae. You’ll feel right at home in Seoul booking a stay here.
- Sunbee Hotel Insadong Seoul is one of the top choices in Insadong. This 3-star hotel features spacious rooms with a simple modern touch.
- Aloft Seoul Myeongdong is a hip & stylish 4-star hotel in the centre of the city. If you want to stay in the heart of Myeongdong, there’s no a better choice.