Busan, a city dear to my heart, has that unique beauty of a coastal city. So, as you can imagine, compiling this list was a real ordeal for me. Nevertheless, and after much reflection, here are my most overrated and underrated spots in one of my favorite cities in the whole of South Korea!

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The Most Overrated Places in Busan

Busan, or Pusan, is South Korea’s second-largest city, so it’s easy to guess that, like Seoul, the capital, it’s also deeply rooted in dynamism and modernity. However, whereas I found Seoul (see my other post here) stressful and rather difficult with its fast-paced environment, Busan is quite the opposite.
But, as always, some places are often overemphasized and overshadow other lesser-known and beautiful spots.

1. Haeundae (해운대)

Haeundae in Busan

Being called “Busan’s most famous beach” doesn’t actually give it any appeal in my eyes. Yes, the beach is quite beautiful, but when summer arrives, you can’t expect peace and quiet, as most of the city’s inhabitants come here to sunbathe. Another reason why I’m not a big fan of Haeundae may be that it reminds me of Gangnam in Seoul. Tall skyscrapers, fine restaurants and luxurious hotels have made this place popular, at least for some people.

For me, Haeundae is mostly the place to be for summer festivals, but that’s about it.

Blueline park in Busan
Blueline Park

Pro tip: if you’re anywhere near Haeundae, you should check out Blueline Park, which is, in my humble opinion, the best thing to do in the area. Walk from Mipo to Songjeong beach and take the sky capsule on the way back for a picturesque experience!

2. Songjeong Beach (송정해수욕장)

Busan's beach

I love beaches, but this is another place that’s a victim of its own success. Here, tourists come to take photos not only of the landscape but above all of the famous photo spots: castle, lighthouses…, to the detriment of the beautiful surrounding nature.

Pro tip: if you like surfing or any other water sport, Songjeong beach is in fact an ideal place to try it out. Even more so for beginners, thanks to its shallow waters!

3. Jagalchi Market (자갈치시장)

Jagalchi market in Busan

Address: 52 Jagalchihaean-ro, Jung-gu, Busan

I’m not going to lie, it’s a great experience to wander around Korea’s largest seafood market, but I get the impression that it’s not a must-see that absolutely has to be on your itinerary. Include it at all costs if you have the time, if not, you can also skip it.

On the plus side, you get to see different species of fish, but you’ll be eating sashimi at a pretty hefty price, so while it’s an interesting experience, it might be worth thinking twice before going. I’ve also got better places to eat fresh seafood at a reasonable price, and believe me, you don’t have to be in Jagalchi for that!

Pro tip: it’s better to order your food directly from Level 2 (where the restaurants are) rather than Level 1, unless you want to be charged a higher price.

4. Shinsegae Centum City (신세계 센텀시티)

Shinsegae centum city, Busan

Address: Centum jungang-ro, Haeundae-gu, Busan

Located in Haeundae, you may have already guessed why I put it in the most overrated places, right? Simply because, in addition to the luxury boutiques, the world’s largest department store was, well, a little too expensive for my budget. With its 14 floors and beautifully designed architecture, it’s enough to make you dizzy. I regret, however, that the overall design of the place didn’t remind me more of Korea.

Pro tip: if you can, you should definitely try Spa Land: Jjimjilbang or Korean-style spa, but more sophisticated ($15 for 4 hours). A unique, relaxing experience guaranteed!

5. Gamcheon Culture Village’s Little Prince (감천문화마을)

Gamcheon in Busan

Address: 203 Gamnae 2-ro, Saha-gu, Busan

You’ll see that I’ve specified The Little Prince here. Why? First of all, because Koreans are real Little Prince fans, which is way beyond me. I don’t know why, and I don’t understand the craze. Of course, there’s no exception in Gamcheon, which has its own statue. People line up in front of it just to pose and have their photo taken.
But why is it cute? I don’t know! Anyway, as much as I love the place, I think it’s become far too popular in recent years, largely because of this “famous” figure.

6. Millac the Market (밀락더마켓)

Millac the market in Busan

Address: 56 Millaksubyeon-ro 17beon-gil, Suyeong-gu, Busan

Opened in 2022, this brand-new market offers a pretty view of the Gwangan Bridge, but that’s about it. I wasn’t amazed or even convinced by this famous, trendy place, and to tell you the truth, I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about either! There aren’t many stores or restaurants, and you’ll finish your visit pretty quickly even if you take your time.
I have to admit it was a bit disappointing, but on the bright side, at least I was close to one of my favorite places: Gwangalli!

7. Seomyeon (서면)

Seomyeon by night

Seomyeon is ideal for two things: going out and eating! If you’re familiar with the area or have heard that it’s the best place to buy clothes, I regret to say that I strongly disagree with that statement. Yes, the underground mall is quite nice, but I found it hard to find unique and original clothes, as the stores all sold pretty much the same thing.
There are other lesser-known areas that offer much more choice at equally good prices!

Pro tip: go shopping at Pukyong or PNU University!

The Most Underrated Places in Busan

8. Dadaepo Beach (다대포해수욕장)

Dadaepo beach

There’s no bad time to go to Dadaepo beach! Whether you come for sunrise, sunset or simply to enjoy its beautiful scenery, one thing’s for sure, you won’t be disappointed. It’s one of my havens whenever I want to take my mind off things and admire the ocean!
It’s also a great place for walks, good restaurants and beautiful night views!

Pro tip: take a walk around the Morundae peninsula and admire the scenery!

9. Samgwangsa Temple (삼광사)

Samgwangsa

Address: 77 Choeupcheon-ro 43beon-gil, Busanjin-gu, Busan

This Buddhist temple is quite simply one of Busan’s gems (see my temple guide here)! Nestled atop a hill, escape the hustle and bustle of the city, relax and enjoy the surrounding tranquility! Impressive, secluded and splendid, this is the kind of place you don’t want to miss on your visit!

Pro tip: visit in May for the Lotus Lantern Festival celebrating Buddha’s birthday!

10. Huinnyeoul Culture Village (흰여울문화마을)

Huinnyeoul Culture Village

Address: 605-3 Yeongseon-dong 4-ga, Yeongdo-gu, Busan

Another art village where you’ll have fun meandering through its many colorful alleyways with the ocean as the perfect backdrop for this utterly charming place.

11. Songdo Cloud Walk (송도 구름산책로)

Busan's Sky Park

Address: 181 Amnamgongwon-ro, Seo-gu, Busan

This is the ideal kind of walk: rather easy, picturesque and pleasant. You can start your exploration at the beach before heading to Sky Park. Start with the Sky Walk (less than a dollar) for a beautiful view of the ocean and Busan before ending your day by jumping straight into the marine cable car.

Sky walk

Let your feet dangle above the transparent glass (not recommended for people with vertigo) and enjoy the ride.

Songdo marine cable car

Pro tip: try riding the cable car at golden hour for an even more beautiful experience!

12. Bongnaesan (봉래산)

Bongnaesan

Address: San3, Sinseon-dong 3(sam)-ga, Yeongdo-gu, Busan

Fancy a spectacular view of the magnificent city of Busan? Look no further than Bongnaesan. The hike to the top is also easy, so you won’t need any special training to tackle this superb trail!
I instantly fell in love with the place as soon as I stood in front of this extraordinary view, so do yourself a favor and put Bongnaesan on your bucket list!

Pro tip: hike in spring to enjoy the cherry blossom-covered parts of the trail!

13. Yunsan (윤산)

Yunsan

Address: Geumjeong-gu, Busan

If you’re looking for a simple hike, away from the crowds, but where you’ll be rewarded with incredible views and tranquility, then Yunsan awaits.
After spending quite some time looking for signs to the summit, I finally found myself at the foot of a staircase. When you see stairs in Korea, it usually means you’re on the right track and very close to the summit, so it was of course a great relief to finally be able to enjoy this kind of scenery!

14. Dakbatgol Mural Village (닥밭골벽화마을)

Dakbatgol mural village

Address: 동 Mangyang-ro 170beon-gil, 동대신2 Seo-gu, Busan

Do I like villages in Korea? Of course, especially when there’s no one around! This place is a perfect little stroll through a charming village filled with murals and art installations!

So, if you don’t know what to do and find yourself in the area, give it a shot!

Pro tip: hop on the free monorail run by friendly locals and take your time exploring this little neighborhood!

Bonus: Uam-dong Urban Forest (우암동도시숲)

Uam-dong urban forest

Address: 6, Donghang-ro 106beon-gil, Nam-gu

I always say that the best places are the ones you’ve never heard of before, and Uam-dong Urban Forest is concrete proof of that. It’s my “hidden” spot and probably my favorite in Busan. The view and the setting are unbeatable for me and the icing on the cake is that you don’t have to walk for hours to find it. You may need your GPS if you’re not patient enough to wait for the bus. Just keep walking uphill and you’ll find it!

Pro tip: needless to say, come here at sunset!

In conclusion

I’m not really a city girl, but Busan was actually the perfect compromise for me, as the city offers the perfect combination of dynamism and laid-back lifestyle. There are, of course, many other places worth visiting in Busan, often overlooked in favor of its big sister, Seoul. So, if you like coastal walks and a relaxed atmosphere, come and visit the port city and its many charms.

If you’re looking for the Seoul version, read it here!

And to help you prepare for your trip to Korea with peace of mind, here’s my travel checklist, just for you!

🎯 Would you like to go straight to my recommendations?

🛌 Hostels:
– Nampo (best for food and quiet): Elephant Hostel Nampo
– Busanjin-gu (best for shopping and entertainment): Dynamic Guesthouse
– Haeundae (best for the beach vibes): O’guest in Haeundae

🗺️ Recommended Tours:
Busan One-Day Tour (with Blueline Park)
Busan Air Cruise Cable Car Ticket
Busan Night Tour with Gwangalli Beach

♨️ Relaxing Experience in a traditional (more sophisticated) South Korean sauna
Spa Land Ticket

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6 Comments

  1. Engaging read! Thanks for the insights on overrated and underrated places in Busan. Looking forward to exploring the gems you’ve recommended 😄🥰

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