Visiting Seoul in Spring: what to do, where to go, and cherry blossom

Seoul in Spring

After a heavy winter, Seoul in spring transforms itself and becomes a beautiful city you can’t get enough of. If you have planned your trip for March, April, or May, Seoul won’t disappoint and you will easily fall in love with the city.

One of our favorite seasons, spring welcomes you with countless colorful flowers, but also spring-themed festivals or food. See magnolias, cherry blossoms, azaleas, tulips, wisteria, roses, and whatnot, and have your camera ready to capture it all.

Temperatures are mild, making it bliss to walk around town, cycle along the Han River, or simply go for a picnic in a park.

Wisteria in Seoul

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Things To Know When Visiting Seoul In Spring

Depending on the month you are planning to visit, it is worth knowing that you won’t be able to see all the flowers in bloom. Also, temperatures vary from one month to the other, and sometimes even from one day to the other.

Plan your outfits so that you can wear layers – easy to put on in the morning and evening, and easy to take off and carry around during the day.

Some days will be more polluted than others, and it will be hard to see the blue sky because of the fine dust. Additionally, you might see locals wearing face masks during those days. Locals and people who live in South Korea often check the Air Visual Air Quality App before heading out so that they are prepared.

Locals love picnics and there are plenty of services that will set everything up for you and even bring the food and drinks.

Before planning your trip, check out the Useful South Korea Travel Information and make your vacation as easy as it can be!

Don’t forget to plan your itineraries by following one of our comprehensive travel guides, no matter if you have 2 days, 3 days, 4 days in Seoul, or 5 days in Seoul.

VISA & K-ETA

Depending on where you are traveling from, you will or won’t need a visa. Check your Visa requirements here!

Currently, South Korea has in place a visa-free online application process for certain eligible countries (you can check the list here) that you must obtain before your trip.

K-ETA or the Korean Electronic Travel Authorization must be obtained before boarding a flight or ship. Here is some useful information regarding the K-ETA visa:

  • The approval process takes more than 72 hours, thus it is useful to apply in advance;
  • You will need to have accommodation booked before applying for the K-ETA, the address is one of the required information.
  • The validity of the K-ETA visa is of 2 years from the date of approval;
  • With the K-ETA you can stay in South Korea for 30 to 90 days;
  • However, if you are visiting for travel purposes, and plan to return after your first visit, you will have to come back and update your visa with the new hotel address;
  • One person can apply for up to 30 persons and can pay for all at once;
  • K-ETA price: 10.000 won (around 9-10 USD)

How to get from the airport to Seoul

Communication and transportation

Getting around South Korea

Other useful tips & links

Where to stay in Seoul during spring

where to stay in Seoul in Spring

Of course, the best places to stay in Seoul don’t change depending on the season. However, it would be easier if you choose to stay close to the most important attractions and places worth seeing during this season.

Look for accommodation close to the Palaces, thus anywhere around Insa-dong, Jung-gu, or Jongno-Gu.

By staying in Yongsan-gu you will be close to Namsan Mountain and the famous Seoul Tower, but also close to bridges crossing over to the south of the city.

Yeouido has mostly fancy hotels from where you will have beautiful views over the river. Additionally, you will also be within walking distance of the Yeouido Cherry Blossoms Festival.

Read also some of the other accommodation guides for Seoul:

Where to stay in Myeongdong

Where to stay in Hongdae

Where to stay in Gangnam

Where to stay close to Seoul Station

What’s the Weather like In Seoul In Spring?

As mentioned before, the weather is pleasant, with mild temperatures and low precipitation. Unlike in our home country, South Korea sees a spike in humidity during summer, with lovely springs.

Weather in March

March would be the coldest of the 3 spring months in South Korea, with temperatures between 4°C (39°F) and 9°C (48°F).

Make sure to bring a scarf and a jacket, with some extra layers.

What flowers bloom in March in Seoul: magnolias, and forsythia (the yellow flowers).

Weather in April

April starts to become warmer and nice to wander around even during the evenings or early morning. With a daily average temperature that sits around 17°C (63°F), this is the perfect weather if you ask us.

April also sees the city become greener, and many of the beautiful flooms show up everywhere around town.

What flowers bloom in April in Seoul: cherries, king cherries, tulips, azaleas, wisteria.

Weather in May

May sees temperatures rise to an average of 24°C (75°F). That is close to summer if you ask me.

Thus, your luggage will be lighter as you come into Seoul, leaving more space for cosmetics as you go back home. Trust me, you will need it!

What flowers bloom in May in Seoul: roses, lilac, tulips, daisies (in Gyeonhsangdo), and others

Seoul in Spring Packing List

During spring in Seoul, days are starting to become warmer, but mornings and evenings are still chilly. That’s why you will want to pack accordingly and come prepared for these temperature differences.

Whenever I travel during spring, no matter the destination, I always like to pack clothes that would offer me the possibility to layer them.

Here is a rough overview of an example of Seoul spring packing list:

Some comfortable shoes – I would always go for some sneakers that I can also wear with a dress. I’m a Converse fan, but I also love the Veja sneakers.

Long pants – 1-3 pairs depending on the time you have in South Korea

Long Sleeve Dresses – I would always choose dresses over pants, but that might be just me. I usually pack one dress for each day, but you can go with less when you take also pants with you.

A nice spring jacket or coat – something that you can easily take off and carry in your backpack

3-4 Long Sleeve Tops you can pair with your jeans or pants.

2 sweaters – they will keep you warm and they can be very stylish when paired with a simple white shirt.

1 pair of leggings to wear with your dresses

1 nice scarf

A backpack

Things to do in Seoul in Spring

Seoul is such a vibrant city, with so many things to do and see throughout the year. Yet, spring will offer much more and will make it hard for you to choose where to go when you only have a limited amount of time in the city.

Chase the flower blooms

If you’ve read this far, you’ve understood that no matter the month you choose to visit Seoul, there will be flowers around. Here are only a few of the most popular flowers and destinations within Seoul:

Eungbongsan Mountain Forsythia – next to the Han River and Seoul Forest, the small mountain is covered in yellow flowers foretelling spring. Many photography passionates head to this place to capture the subway passing by the mountain.

Magnolias – my favorite flowers and some of the earlier ones. You can find them anywhere around Bukchon Hanok Village or Yeonnam-dong. There is even a famous cafe with a swimming pool and a window in front of 2 magnolias, that gets crazily crowded even during the week – Coffee Conhas if you want to give it a try.

spring in Seoul

Cherry blossoms – you can find them everywhere around town, but there are some places more popular than others. We will touch on those points further in the article.

Azaleas – to our surprise, azaleas are almost everywhere in Seoul, especially in residential neighborhoods like the one we lived in. Parks are packed with different colors of azaleas, you can also find them on the street, in surrounding buildings, and in their small gardens.

Tulips – You don’t have to go all the way to the Netherlands to find colorful tulips, all you have to do is head to Everland, Seoul Forest, Nami Island, Garden of the Morning Calm, or Seonyudo Island Park inside the Han River.

Canola in Hangang Seoraeseom.

Roses – the last to the party, you can find roses all over the city, and Koreans also have rose festivals to attend. Seoul Rose Festival in Jungabg Rose Park, the Rose Village in Cheonho-dong, Seullo, and Seoul Grand Park, are only a few of the places to visit for roses in bloom.

Visit Namsan Tower

Plan your visit to the Namsan Tower and Namsan Park with our guide on how to get to Namsan.

While you can just go for a stroll through Namsan Park, climbing to the top of the mountain is a must when you want to see the cherry trees in bloom.

I would encourage you to consider going for a hike because it only takes around one hour, but you can always take the cable car as well. Read the full guide here.

Go on a Han River Cruise

Cruising the Han River is the best way of admiring both sides of the city and its skyline. Choose to go for sunset and see the sky transform before your eyes.

There are several options to choose from when it comes to boat size, departure point, and services.

The Eland Cruise is a big ship where you can enjoy a delicious buffet dinner as you listen to live musicals. There are several types of cruises every day, it leaves from Yeoido, and the cruise’s duration is of 40 minutes.

If a big cruise-like boat is not what you want, there are yacht options as well! It is a private experience you won’t have to share with hundreds of other people, and you can simply sit back and enjoy the view.

Even though it is a private tour, you won’t have to break the bank to afford it.

You can choose from 14-time options, and the cruise lasts for approximately 1 hour.

Chase magnolias in Bukchon Hanok Village

Visiting the Bukchon Hanok Village with its traditional Korean houses and narrow streets packed with cafes, restaurants, and art galleries shouldn’t be skipped.

However, during spring, the whole area gets even prettier if that is possible. Go aimlessly because chances are you will find a pretty house, street, or tree at every corner.

Wear a hanbok at the palaces

The Korean hanbok is a dress for semi-formal or formal attire during traditional occasions. The term literally means “Korean clothing”, but the term used today makes reference specifically to the clothing worn during the Joseon dynasty period.

Hanboks are extremely beautiful and will catch your attention on the street, especially at the palaces and in the Bukchon Hanok Village.

Read my comprehensive guide for renting a hanbok in Seoul!

Deoksugung Palace

Even if you won’t be able to visit all 5 palaces in one day, especially while wearing your hanbok, try to make time to see at least one or two and their beautiful gardens.

If the Changdeokgung Palace is on your list and you want to see the Secret Garden as well, make sure to book your ticket ahead of time. There are only guided tours available, and there is a limited number every day. Check this out for more information!

Go to an afternoon tea or a strawberry buffet 

After living for over 2 years in Hong Kong and in Seoul, I’ve come to understand that afternoon tea is a thing in this part of the world. Especially at 5* luxury hotels.

The menus change with every season, and during spring everything revolves around the cherry blossoms and strawberries. You can choose an afternoon tea set or a buffet with pink everything!

If you haven’t tried that before, I strongly encourage you to do it during your visit to Seoul.

Some of the most popular ones are held at Conrad Seoul, Lotte Hotel, Grand Walkerhill Seoul, and the W Marriott Dongdaemun Square.

Make sure to book ahead of time directly with the hotel.

Head over to Daiso or Starbucks

If the strawberry buffet is too expensive or you simply cannot eat so many cakes, there is always Starbucks!

In South Korea, Starbucks seasonal drinks you can only find here! The Pink Peach Crème Frappuccino comes with meringue in the shape of a pink cherry tree flower. They also have cherry tree coffee mugs and other such things you can buy as souvenirs to take home.

Daiso is a Japanese chain store popular in South Korea, that carries pretty much anything. During the cherry blossom season, you will find plenty of pretty and pink things to choose from.

Go on a day trip to The Garden of Morning Calm, Nami Island, and Petite France

This is for sure one day trip you shouldn’t skip even if you are not visiting Seoul during spring, but this season along with fall is the best time to go.

Nami Island and the Garden of the Morning Calm are both great locations for nature lovers. Set in the mountains a few hours outside of Seoul, the whole trip will be worth it as soon as you get there!

Go on a day trip to Goyang for the flower festival

Not far from where we lived, Goyang is part of Seoul’s Metropolitan Area and you cannot really tell when exactly you leave the capital and arrive in Goyang.

Here you will find an Ikea, a huge Shinsegae Shopping Mall with the best Korean SPA, and also the Goyang flower festival.

It usually takes place at the end of April and the beginning of May, but you should check the official calendar here.

How to get to Goyang from Seoul Station: take the subway – Gyeongui-Jungang line and get off at Haengsin Station; from there, take the green bus number 11 all the way to Goyang.

Go on a day trip to Chuncheon and bike around the lake

Getting to Chuncheon by train is relatively fast and very easy. From the train station, rent a bike and head to the lake with its 3 small islands in the middle.

While the city of Chuncheon doesn’t have so much on display, the beauty of the blue lake surrounded by cherry trees it will make the visit worth it.

Try to get here during the week, because I can imagine this place getting packed with people in the evenings and during the weekend.

There are bicycle lanes around the lake and you will receive a map as you rent a bike.

How to get from Seoul Station to Chuncheon: take subway line number 1 to Hoegi Station, and from there take the Gyeonchun Line to Chuncheon. The train ride will be around 2 hours.

10 best places to see cherry blossom in Seoul

If you haven’t understood by now, cherry blossoms in South Korea are a huge deal.

We know that Japan is the Asian hot spot for flower lovers, but South Korea is as charming, if not even more so.

Thus, if you are interested, here are the top 10 places to see cherry blossoms in Seoul.

Yeouido Cherry Blossoms Festival

If you are wondering which one is the most crowded place in Seoul during the cherry blossom season, this is your answer!

As you exit Yeouido Station, the sidewalk is covered by cherry trees, and here is where the famous Yeouido Cherry Blossom Festival takes place.

Seokchon Lake Cherry Blossom Festival

In Gangnam, right behind the Lotte Sky Tower, steps away from the subway station, you will find Seokchon Lake surrounded by cherry trees.

A walk around the lake is a great way to start your day, along with tens of other Koreans.

The Palaces In Seoul

No matter which one you choose to visit, you won’t be disappointed!

Check out our 4 days in Seoul itinerary for a comprehensive guide and all the information you need to plan your palace itinerary.

Yangjaecheon Stream

You can walk from the Lotte Tower or travel there by public transportation, but strolling along any of the streams in Seoul will offer you a great spring view.

N Seoul Tower

Maybe the most touristic place on the list, the N Seoul Tower is set on top of the Namsan Mountain. During spring, you will find plenty of cherry trees leading you to the tower, while during fall, the foliage is unforgettable.

Seonyudo Park

In the middle of the Han River, close to the National Assembly Building, the island is strikingly beautiful during spring.

Cherry trees, magnolias, tulips, and azaleas, along with some pretty cats and a lady playing the piano were all waiting for us when we visited.

You can walk from Hapjeong or Dangsan subway stations, or you can also take a bus that will leave you in the middle of the bridge.

Seoul Children’s Grand Park

Seoul National Cemetery

Seoul Forest

Yonsei University and Hapjeong-dong

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