It’s no secret that hiking is like a national sport in South Korea, and with 70% of its territory being mountainous, I was delighted to discover as much as I could. Let’s start right away with the capital and these superb hikes for all levels!

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1. Achasan (아차산)

Achasan in Seoul
Photo by Soyoung Han on Unsplash

Best for beginners and weekend adventurers

Altitude: 295.7m
Location: you can take a village bus (the little green buses) or simply take line 5 (purple line), stop at Achasan station and walk to the base of the mountain (20mn walk).
Difficulty: on the easy side

Achasan is one of the most popular hikes among Seoulites, as it’s a fairly easy one that should take you less than an hour. It also offers beautiful panoramic views of the city and the Han River!

Pro tip: if you want a bit more of a challenge, try the popular trail from Yongmasan to Achasan or vice versa. It should take you less than 3 hours and take you past man-made waterfalls and scenic views!

2. Namsan (남산)

Namsan in Seoul

Best for romantics

Altitude: 265.2m
Location: from the line 3 (orange line), get on the shuttle bus 1 to Namsan Seoul Tower
Difficulty: beginner level

After getting off the bus and making the 35-minute climb to the top of the mountain, let yourself be rewarded with breathtaking views! Whether you’re here with your partner and want to put on a padlock to show your love, or just solo or with friends, Namsan is a must-see in Seoul. The panorama, the loving atmosphere and the tranquility of the place will seduce you instantly!

Pro tip: come here before sunset to enjoy the beauty of the golden hour and its romantic views!

3. Bukhansan National Park (북한산국립공원)


Best for thrill-seekers

Altitude: 835.6m
Location: you can take the line 4 (light blue line) and take a bus to the entrance of the park
Difficulty: moderate to difficult

Whether by the main road or another trail, Bukhansan is a unique experience and the first one where I felt a little dizzy for a while… I mean, I didn’t expect the hike to turn into a climb towards the end (you’ll need a lot of arm strength in the last part of the ascent to the summit). You can imagine how shaky my legs were on the way back!
But it was a memorable adventure, because even if it was difficult, the journey and the scenery at the summit were worth it!

Pro tip: the Baegunbongammun and Dobongsan trails are great alternatives to the main course!

4. Naksan Park (낙산공원)

Naksan Park

Best for night views over Seoul and for enjoying a nice walk along the walls

Altitude: 124m
Location: situated next to the line 4 (light blue line), you can stop at Hyehwa station and walk around 10mn to the entrance of the park
Difficulty: easy

Located at the top of a hill, it’s the ideal place to get a panoramic view of Seoul! For the best experience, go at night and admire the magnificently illuminated city.


Pro tip: if you follow the walls, you’ll eventually reach Dongdaemun, where you can end the day shopping, dining and contemplating the futuristic DDP (Dongdaemun Design Plaza).

5. Inwangsan (인왕산)

Inwangsan mountain

Best for a less crowded and scenic experience

Altitude: 338.2m
Location: take the line 3 (orange line) and stop at Chungmuro station before walking 20mn to the beginning of the hike
Difficulty: moderate

A unique, peaceful and incredible panorama is how I would describe this hike. Once again, you’ll follow the walls of Seoul until you reach the top of the mountain and are rewarded with a superb view of your surroundings. What makes this trail special is that you’ll be able to see other mountains (Bukhansan, Ansan…) as well as Gyeongbokgung Palace. You might even be lucky enough to encounter some non-venomous snakes along the way!
One of my favorite hikes in Seoul, and one I can’t recommend highly enough!

Pro tip: as usual in South Korea, try to avoid doing the Inwangsan hike during weekends, as it’s quite popular with the locals. On weekdays, however, you’ll most likely have the trail all to yourself.

Some quick and essential hiking tips

  • Wear comfortable hiking shoes: getting blisters is one of the most dreaded situations for hikers, so take care of your feet and you’ll be able to go on many more hikes.
  • Hike in the mornings: firstly because there are fewer people, but also because it’s not as hot as mid-afternoon. Blisters and sunstroke are not usually on my agenda when I want to enjoy a hike!
  • Bring plenty of water: whether it’s summer or not, you should always stay hydrated. This will help you feel less tired too.
  • Grab some snacks beforehand: it’s important to recharge your batteries during a hike. I advise you to always have protein bars or sugar on hand for a quick energy boost. And having a snack at the summit is actually one of my hiking habits: it’s sort of my little reward after the effort!
  • Always wear sunscreen: the sun is no joke and you don’t want to look like a lobster at the end of your hike.
  • Check the Air Quality Index (AQI): I don’t usually check these indicators, but Seoul’s air is sometimes very polluted and hiking in these conditions is far from the best for your health.
  • Buy a SIM card: the network is excellent in Korea, even in the mountains, so don’t forget to buy a SIM card. It’ll come in handy if you need to know which bus or subway to take to get home.

And that’s it for the 5 best hikes in Seoul! Korea is a paradise for hikers, with mountains everywhere, so it’s not hard to find one that suits you! What’s more, the hikes are generally of moderate difficulty, so there’s plenty of opportunity for everyone to get some exercise while enjoying a breathtaking view of the city!

Want to know my favorite hikes and trails in the beautiful coastal city of Busan? Click here!

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