Busan is an underrated city for me, and even though I’m one of those people who’s generally not a big fan of large cities, sometimes some of them surprise me and I end up loving them. But since navigating big cities can be quite expensive, I’m going to show you that this isn’t always the case, so here are my favorite free things to do in Busan!

Save it for later!

1. Go to the beach

Sunset on Dadaepo beach in Busan

Yes, I’m an ocean lover so of course I had to start this list with my favorite activity whatever the season (yes, even winter is a good time to enjoy the sea breeze, maybe not for swimming though…), namely going to the beach.

And when you consider that there are 7 public and easily accessible beaches in the city, that means you’ve got no excuse not to choose one for sunbathing or relaxing to the sound of the waves.

If I had to choose just 2, I’d definitely say that Dadaepo and Gwangalli come out on top. Firstly, because everyone tends to favor Haeundae (a bit overrated in my eyes) but also because these two places offer unique views and free activities.

Go to Dadaepo for sunrise and sunset, for breathtaking ocean views as you take a walk around the Morundae peninsula and for its “Sunset Fountain of Dreams” water show!
Choose Gwangalli for its tranquil yet festive atmosphere and night-time views over the famous Gwangandaegyo Bridge!

2. Visit Huinnyeoul Culture Village (흰여울문화마을)

Huinnyeoul Culture Village in Busan

Address: 605-3 Yeongseon-dong 4-ga, Yeongdo-gu
How to get there: from Busan station, take bus 85 for 24mn and get off at Huinnyeoul Culture Village.

A charming art village surrounded by magical coastal views and a sad history. Stroll through its pretty alleyways, where Koreans once took refuge during the Korean War, and see how peaceful and picturesque this district is today.

It’s an interesting alternative to the more crowded Gamcheon Culture Village, but if time permits, I recommend doing both, as the rainbow houses and labyrinthine alleyways are home to hidden works of art and are a must-see in the city.

3. Take in the night views at Uam-dong Urban Forest (우암동도시숲)

Uam-dong urban forest in Busan

Address: 6, Donghang-ro 106beon-gil, Nam-gu
How to get there: from Jigegol station (green line), it’s a 30-minute walk.

Probably one of my favorite hidden gems in Busan, Uam-dong Urban Forest offers unbeatable views of the city. Nicknamed Busan’s “La La Land”, this small park on a hill is full of charm and the ideal place to enjoy the city’s night views as well as a romantic date!

To find the place, just keep walking uphill until you finally reach your long-awaited destination!

Of course, you can also go there during the day for a peaceful stroll through nature.

4. Look for old treasures in Bosu-dong Bookstore Alley (보수동책방골목)

Bosu-dong alley in Busan

Address: 67-1, Daecheong-ro, Jung-gu
How to get there: 14-minute walk from Jagalchi station (orange line).

Cultural symbol of Busan, the street which history goes back to the Korean War has helped many people over the years, be it in their studies or as a meeting place for lost families. Today, Bosu-dong Bookstore Alley is packed with stalls offering treasures old and new, just waiting for you to discover them.

At a time when people tend to rely more on their phones than their books, it was nice, if only for a moment, to step back in time and explore this rustic, cultural street.

5. Stroll along the Igidae Coastal Walk (이기대 해안산책로)

Igidae Coastal walk in Busan

Address: Yongho-dong, Nam-gu
How to get there: you can take the subway (line 2, green), get off at Kyungsung University Pukyong National University station, then take exit 5, walk 202m and transfer on bus Nam-gu2 for 9 stops before getting off at Bunpo High School.

This popular coastal walk owes its name to two gisaengs (female artists similar to “geishas”) who died after jumping into the sea with a drunken Japanese commander, thus sacrificing their lives during the invasion period.

One of my favorites in all of Busan, this 4.7 km walking trail will have you strolling along the coast, surrounded by turquoise waters and natural beauty.

6. Explore a former military camp in Busan Citizens Park (부산시민공원)

Busan Citizens Park

Address: 73, Citizens Park-ro, Busanjin-gu
How to get there: 10-minute walk from exit 2 of Bujeon station (grey line).
Opening hours: 05:00-00:00 every day
Entrance fee: free

Close to Seomyeon, or one of the city’s best street food and nightlife spots, lies a little gem that few people include in their itinerary: Busan Citizens Park.

Formerly an American military base that went by the name “Camp Hialeah” (because one of the commanders said it resembled the racetrack in his hometown: Hialeah), it was in 2014 that the place was transformed into this peaceful haven.

This is now the perfect place to have a picnic on the grass and forget your worries. The park also has plenty of facilities for children to run and play.

7. Hike Geumjeongsan Mountain (금정산) and feel on top of the world

Stairs leading to the top of the hike in Busan

Address: Geumseong-dong, Geumjeong-gu
How to get there: you can take the subway (line 1, orange) until Beomeosa station, then hop on bus 90 for 5 stops and get off at Beomeosa Parking Lot (범어사주차장).

Need to get some exercise while enjoying a breathtaking view of nature? Geumjeongsan is for you! From the forest to the fortress to the serene environment you’ll discover, believe me, you won’t be disappointed!

But be warned: South Korea loves stairs, and this hike is no exception! So take it easy and breathe deeply!

You can also combine your visit with that of the superb Beomeosa temple!

8. Chill at The Bay 101 (더베이101)

The Bay 101 in Busan

Address: 52, Dongbaek-ro, Haeundae-gu
How to get there: 13-minute walk from Dongbaek station (green line).
Opening hours: 08:00-24:00 every day

You don’t have to own a yacht to enjoy the lovely night views offered at Bay 101! Come here for an after-dinner digestive walk to admire the twinkling lights of the skyscrapers reflected on the water as well as the tranquility of the waterfront.

And if you just can’t get enough of the night-time scenery, I recommend continuing on to Dongbaekseom Island!

9. Learn more about the city at the Busan Museum (부산박물관)

Address: 63 UN Peace-ro, Nam-gu
How to get there: 9-minute walk from Daeyeon station (green line).
Opening hours: 09:00-18:00, closed on Mondays
Entrance fee: free

Opened in 1978, this museum will take you from prehistory to the present day, showing you treasures and relics that will teach you about the history of the coastal city.

Navigate through each period and discover how people’s lifestyles and habits have changed over the years (most exhibits are described in English). For more information on the museum, visit the official website.

You can also visit the tranquil Peace Park next door.

10. Explore some of Busan’s most beautiful temples

Temple in Busan

Samgwangsa, Beomeosa, Taejongsa… there’s no shortage of wonderful temples to visit in Busan. Whether you love the mountains or the sea, you’ll be amazed not only by the history, architecture and serene atmosphere, but also by the breathtaking backdrop against which these places are set.

11. Catch the sunset at Hwangnyeongsan Mountain (황령산)

Hwangnyeongsan sunset hike

Address: Yeonsan 5-dong, Yeonje-gu
How to get there: you can start your hike at the Busan Town Hall station (시청역) and hike (~1.5hr one-way) to Hwangnyeongsan OR take the Yeonje-gu1 bus to Mulmangol from the station (15 stops) and hike (45mn).

The good thing here is that if you’re not a hiker or don’t really like to exercise, you can totally come by car and save yourself the trouble, but I’d still recommend a hike, as walking through the forest is really welcome, especially if you want to enjoy some time to recharge your batteries.

Anyway, the panorama once at the top is hard to beat, and you can take a break by sitting on one of the benches and taking all the time you want to admire the scenery. A great way to end the day!

> Don’t forget to take a look at the mountain’s iconic lighthouse!

Pro tip: stay until nightfall for an even more stunning view.

12. Picnic in Samnak Ecological Park (삼락생태공원)

Busan's cherry blossoms

Address: 686 Samnak-dong, Sasang-gu
How to get there: you can take the subway, Light Rail Transit line (purple), stop at Gwaebeop Renecite and walk around 15mn before you arrive at Samnak Eco Park.
Opening hours: all day, every day

One of the best things to do in Busan on a budget is of course to go to the beach, as it would be a shame not to take advantage of the fine weather and the sea. But what probably comes next is to have a good picnic on the freshly cut grass, and when you know how important picnic culture is in the country, this is your chance to do as the locals do and experience this activity for yourself.

Plus, you needn’t worry if you don’t have the right equipment, as numerous stores, usually located close to the parks, offer everything from mats to cutlery, so you can enjoy your lunch and your outing.

So if you’re in Busan in spring or summer, give this fun activity a try!

Pro tip: Samnak Eco Park is one of my favorite places to watch the ephemeral but beautiful cherry blossoms!

13. Discover the little-visited Dakbatgol Mural Village (닥밭골벽화마을)

Dakbatgol mural village

Address: 87-218 Dongdaesin-dong 2-ga, Seo-gu
How to get there: you can take the subway (line 1, orange) and stop at Dongdaesin station. Walk around 20mn before arriving in front of the stairs leading to the village.

Often overlooked and little visited, this hidden gem, named after the paper mulberry trees found in the village, makes an ideal afternoon stroll amid colorful mosaics and pretty art installations.

Don’t forget to climb the Staircase of Wishes in the hope of making your own wish come true, or hop on the free monorail – run by friendly locals – for a pleasant and relaxing ascent!

Pro tip: come here during cherry blossom season for an even more unique experience.

14. Have a leisure walk along Haeundae Green Railway Blueline Park (해운대 그린레일웨이)

Blueline park in Busan

Address: 13 Dalmaji-gil 62beon-gil, Haeundae-gu
How to get there: you can take the subway (line 2, green) and stop at Jungdong station.

Haeundae is one of Korea’s favorite vacation spots. However, if you want to avoid the crowded beach during the summer, you can do the next best thing to sunbathing: admire the scenery as you walk the 4.8 km trail from Mipo Station to Cheongsapo Daritdol Observatory or beyond.

Watch the sky capsules glide overhead on the rails and let yourself be lulled by the peaceful sounds of the surrounding nature. And if you want to feel like a superhero walking on the sea again, you can do so by walking on the transparent floor of the bridge overlooking the magnificent coastline.

15. Admire the panorama at Bongnaesan Mountain (봉래산)

Bongnaesan hike with cherry tree

Address: Cheonghak-dong, Yeongdo-gu
How to get there: from Nampo station (line 1, orange), you can take bus 82 from the exit number 6, then, ride for 14mn and stop at Sinseon-dong Community Service Center. You’ll finally have to walk around 15mn before reaching the start of your hike.

An easy hike and spectacular 360° views of Busan await you on this mountain! Plus, this is the kind of hike you’re going to enjoy, as it’s better known to locals and less to foreigners, so you’ll have the trail to yourself if you come during the week!

16. See the canola flowers in Daejeo Ecological Park (대저생태공원)

Canola flowers in Busan

Address: 2314-11 Daejeo 1(il)-dong, Gangseo-gu
How to get there: you can take the subway (line 3, brown), stop at Gupo station and walk for 5 minutes before reaching the park.
Opening hours: 06:00-21:00 every day

If you come in spring, you’ll have the chance to attend a famous event in Busan: the Canola Flower Festival. But if you love flowers and nature in general, Daejeo Eco Park is definitely for you. Located on the right bank of the Nakdonggang River, it offers wetlands, a green oasis and numerous facilities for the more sporty.

Each change of season brings unique and fabulous views here, so don’t miss this park on your trip to Busan!

17. See one of Busan’s symbols: Busan Tower (부산타워)

Address: 37-30 Yongdusan-gil, Jung-gu
How to get there: 15-minute walk from Jungang station (orange line).

Located in Yongdusan Park, this iconic tower also nicknamed “Diamond Tower” is one of the symbols of the coastal city and is for me like a lighthouse in the dark, always lighting your way. Wow, my poetic side is coming out…

Anyway, before reaching the 120-meter-high observation tower, you’ll first take a futuristic escalator, filled with colorful, constantly changing lights and neon signs representing some of Busan’s landmarks, making your way to the park fun and special.

> My best advice is to visit Yongdusan at night, as you’ll get a fantastic view of the city!

And if you want to know why you should absolutely visit, I can give you two more reasons: the tower is right next to Gwangbok-ro Fashion Street, one of the best for culture and clothes, but also because just a few minutes away, you can enjoy some of the best local street food at Gukje Market. Are you convinced?

18. Get some exercise at Jangsan Mountain (장산)

Rocks and nature in Jangsan in Busan
Photo by Hoang TRINH on Unsplash

Address: Banyeo-dong, Haeundae-gu
How to get there: from Jaesong station (grey line), take exit 1, walk 200m, take the green village bus Haeundae-gu3 for 10mn and get off at Jangsan Dongguk Apartment. You’ll then have to walk for 15mn.

Whether you want to relax and walk slowly while surrounded by natural wonders or tackle the rocky, more challenging trails, it’s up to you. But one thing’s for sure: the panoramic view of Haeundae and the Gwangandaegyo Bridge will not leave you indifferent!

So, what do you think? Ready to stretch your legs and work up a sweat?

19. Escape the hustle and bustle of the city at Taejongdae (태종대)

Walking in Taejongdae in Busan - lighthouse

Address: 24, Jeonmang-ro, Yeongdo-gu
How to get there: by following Jeoryeong Coastal Trail OR from Nampo station (line 1, orange), take exit 6, walk 50m and take bus 8, 30, 186 or 88 and stop at Taejongdae/Taejongdae Hot Springs.
Opening hours: 04:00-24:00 (March to October) and 05:00-24:00 (November to February), daily

Named after King Taejong Muyeol of Silla, who apparently enjoyed shooting arrows in the area, the park offers a perfect compromise between forest and ocean, allowing visitors to be enchanted by the landscape.

Take your time and stroll leisurely through the place, exploring the pebble beaches and soaking up the scenic beauty at the observatory and lighthouse.

20. Take a break at Hwamyeong Ecological Park (화명생태공원)

Silvergrass in a park in Busan

Address: 1718-17 Hwamyeong-dong, Buk-gu
How to get there: 10-minute walk from Hwamyeong station (green line).
Opening hours: 06:00-21:00 every day

Located this time along the left bank of the Nakdonggang River (see Daejeo Eco Park), I’d say this park is one of the best places in the whole city to take a break and relax. And even though it’s the smallest in the region, it’s also one of the least frequented, which makes it even more special and peaceful than its counterparts.

If you’ve had enough of city life and want to get away, if only for a moment, Hwamyeong Eco Park and its wonderful nature will charm and soothe you instantly.

Come in June for the fields of roses, or in autumn for the soft silver grasses!

Interested in the Seoul version? Here are my 20 Free Things To Do & Hidden Gems In Seoul!

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28 Comments

  1. This blog post is a great resource for anyone looking to explore Busan. The list of 20 things to do and hidden gems in the city is extensive and offers a variety of activities for all interests. I can’t wait to visit Busan and check out some of these recommendations myself!

  2. Yes! I clicked on this and said,” Wow, Busan!” Ever since the Train to Busan movie came out, I have wanted to visit this city. Thanks for sharing.

  3. So many great ideas! Travel doesn’t have to be expensive, there are so many wonderful things to do for free once you arrive. Thank you for sharing so many ideas

  4. Busan looks like a beautiful place to visit; I’ll have to put it on my bucket list! Gorgeous photography – your picture of the coastal walk took my breath away!

  5. So many options for FREE activities! Anyone going to Busan will need this! As a tourist these are so hard to find!

  6. I love this!! I’d love to go someday, it seems like a beautiful place and as a kdrama fan I love all the interesting sights, sounds like a wonderful place for an epic adventure! And a bookstore alley?! Oh my! 😍✨ Great post!

  7. Travel doesn’t have to be expensive, and this post proves there are countless wonderful activities to enjoy for free, making it perfect for anyone looking to explore without breaking the bank!

  8. I can’t believe how many free activities there are to do! It’s perfect for travellers on a budget like me❤️ Bosu-dong Bookstore Alley sounds like a dream😍 I’d love to visit one day!

    1. As someone who also travels on a budget, I know how difficult it can be to enjoy a place without breaking the bank, but nothing is impossible. 😉 Bosu-dong is such a lovely place, I hope you’ll get to visit Busan one day, Jodie, and thanks for your comment!

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