As its harsh winter fades away, Korea comes alive with vibrant blossoms and lively festivals across the country. From wandering beneath falling cherry blossom petals in iconic locations like Jinhae and Gyeongju to frolicking through fields of azaleas and tulips in Hapcheon and Taean, spring flowers enhance Korea’s already amazing landscapes. But the magic of spring in Korea doesn’t stop with flowers. Spring festivals such as the Damyang Bamboo Festival and the Jindo Miracle Sea Parting Festival make it a great time to experience unique Korean culture, too. Here are my top 31 things to do in spring in Korea that will make your springtime trip an unforgettable adventure filled with colorful flowers, scenic excursions, and cultural experiences.
Spring in Korea: FAQs
When is spring in Korea?
Spring in Korea typically spans from March to May. During this time, Korea sees some of its mildest temperatures of the year in between its harsh winters and harsh summers. The exact timing of spring varies slightly each year, but you can usually see the first signs of spring in March, with the season reaching its peak in April and continuing into May.
What is the weather like in spring in Korea?
Here is a chart of the average weather in spring in Korea:
The chance of precipitation increases closer to summer as the monsoon season arrives. March sees occasional rain and each month after sees a higher chance of rain.
Is spring a good time to visit Korea?
Spring is a great time to visit Korea, and maybe the best time of all! The highlight of spring is the stunning cherry blossoms that blanket the gardens, parks, and river banks. Temperatures are comfortably warm, making them ideal for exploring all of Korea’s outdoor sites, from palaces and temples to mountains and rivers. Spring also brings many unique festivals, most of which celebrate the beautiful blooming flowers.
How does a snow-covered wonderland full of winter sports and festivals sound? Try visiting in the winter! Check out my guide to the top 25 things to do in Korea in winter.
When to see cherry blossoms in Korea?
The cherry blossoms arrive at slightly different times depending on the year and location. The best way to prepare for cherry blossoms is to check the cherry blossom forecast, which usually comes sometime in February. It shows popular destinations across Korea and when their first blooms are expected. About one week after the first bloom is the peak bloom. Southern South Korea, such as Jeju and Busan, usually sees cherry blossoms at the end of March or the beginning of April. More northern cities such as Seoul usually see cherry blossoms closer to the middle of April. But remember to check the cherry blossoms forecast for the specific year for the most accurate information!
What should I pack for spring in Korea?
As temperatures transition from cool to warm, it’s best to pack a mix of warmer and cooler weather attire. If you’re visiting at the beginning of spring, you’ll likely need more cooler weather attire. If you’re visiting at the end of spring, you’ll likely need more warmer weather attire. No matter when you visit in the spring, you’ll benefit by having a light sweater and a rain jacket for cool evenings and spring showers.
Spring in Korea: Things to do in Seoul & surrounding areas
1. Go hiking at Namsan Mountain
Visiting Namsan Tower is probably already at the top of your Seoul to-do list (if it isn’t, it should be!). But if you visit during cherry blossom season, walking or hiking Namsan Mountain is a must. Cherry blossoms line the walking paths and hiking trails, creating a dreamy atmosphere where it rains cherry blossom petals like in a K-drama. If hiking isn’t your thing, I recommend catching a bus to the top of the mountain and then enjoying the chill stroll down the mountain.
2. Have a picnic at Yeouido Hangang Park
1,700 king cherry blossom trees line the roads around Yeouido Island, known for its scenic park set against the Han River. This park is the perfect spot to have a picnic any time of year, but especially while the cherry blossoms are out. A picnic in Korea isn’t complete without “chimaek” (fried chicken + beer)!
3. Take a walk or bike ride at Yangjae Citizens’ Forest
Yangjae Citizens’ Forest is the most underrated place to see the cherry blossoms! The long, narrow park follows a creek with cherry blossoms lining the way. It’s a gorgeous place to bike or walk any time of year, but it’s especially magical when the cherry blossom petals are raining down on you.
4. Bike or walk around Seoul Forest
Another great place to walk, bike, or have a picnic in the spring is Seoul Forest. Other than its many cherry blossoms, Seoul Forest also has beautiful tulips in the spring. It’s more of a park than a forest, but it’s a great place to enjoy the mild weather.
5. Stroll around Seokchon Lake
Seokchon Lake is a small lake behind Lotte World Mall and surrounding the Lotte World amusement park. In the spring, cherry blossoms line the path around the lake. It’s a beautiful place to talk a walk among the falling cherry blossom petals. Be prepared for it to be crowded, though!
6. Visit the palaces while the cherry blossoms are out
Another must-visit location during cherry blossom season is one of Seoul’s stunning palaces. I recommend Gyeongbukgung, the largest and best-known palace, or Changdeokgung, the best-maintained palace with a garden.
7. Go to a baseball game
Trust me when I say that a Korean baseball game is unlike any other baseball game in the world! Instead of the laid-back games that I’m used to in the US, these games are lively and exciting because of the energy of the crowd. Most people choose to stand the entire time, and everyone participates in singing and cheering for their team. There is even a hype team for each team, including a center hype man and dancers. While you’re there, don’t forget to try the iconic stadium food, including the beer and chicken cup. This ingenious invention includes a cup of beer at the base and a circular food holder for fried chicken and fries around the straw.
You can buy Korean baseball tickets from Interpark or specific team websites. You can also buy tickets at the stadium before the game, which I recommend if you don’t speak any Korean. Just be sure to show up early to make sure they aren’t sold out.
8. Visit Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) during Seoul Fashion Week
Seoul Fashion Week is a global fashion event that takes place every March and October. It’s a huge event for the Korean fashion industry but isn’t limited to local designers. While tickets aren’t usually open to the public, it’s a great time to visit Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP). This famous landmark in Seoul is where most of the Fashion Week events are held, creating a lively atmosphere where you can appreciate some killer looks.
9. Enjoy global jazz performances at the Seoul Jazz Festival
Every May, famous jazz artists from around the world come together for 3 days to perform at the Seoul Jazz Festival. It’s one of Korea’s largest music festivals and Asia’s largest jazz festival. In 2024, the festival will run from Friday, May 31st – Sunday, June 2nd. Tickets are available here.
10. Try your hand at drumming at the Seoul Drum Festival
Another annual music event in May is the Seoul Drum Festival. Over 2 days, the free festival features learning opportunities and hands-on activities. It also has live performances from both Korean and international artists. Check the official website for more information.
11. See thousands of colorful lanterns at the Lotus Lantern Festival
The Lotus Lantern Festival is an annual spring festival to celebrate Buddha’s Birthday, which usually falls in April or May. Colorful lanterns are strung up around Seoul and over 100,000 more lanterns are lit and paraded down the streets. The festival includes an exhibition of traditional lanterns, traditional cultural events and performances, the lantern parade, and more. This year, it will run from Friday, May 10th to Sunday, May 12th. For more information, check out the official website here.
12. Visit a temple for Buddha’s Birthday
Buddha’s Birthday is a great time to visit temples in Korea because they are decorated with colorful lanterns and locals are engaging in Buddhist rituals. The best temples to visit in Seoul include Bongeunsa, Jingwansa, Jogyesa, Suguksa, and Bongwonsa. As a visitor, please remember to be respectful to those practicing their religion at the temples.
13. Feel the thrill at the Everland Tulip Festival
Everland, Korea’s largest theme park, is one of the best destinations to visit in spring. Located in Yongin, Gyeonggi-do, Everland is only an hour outside of Seoul. From March to April every year, the Four Seasons Garden comes alive with a variety of spring flowers, including colorful tulips. It’s also a great time to enjoy the amusement park while the weather is mild.
14. Frolick through a hillside of azaleas at the Wonmisan Azalea Festival
Just south of Seoul, Wonmi Mountain becomes covered in azaleas each spring. The hillside is a gorgeous place to walk among hundreds of bushes of azaleas. Although their blooming time varies each year, they usually arrive at the end of March and stay into April.
15. Take a day trip to Nami Island
This scenic island, made famous by the Korean drama “Winter Sonata,” is not only a winter destination. In the spring, trees and flowers bloom all over the island. The colorful cherry blossoms and other spring flowers add to the gorgeous landscape. You can even zip line onto the island if you’re feeling brave!
16. See bright yellow trees at the Icheon Baeksa Sansuyu Festival
If you don’t want to go all the way to Gurye to see gorgeous yellow sansuyu trees, Icheon offers a closer alternative. Perfect for a day trip, Baeksa Village in Icheon is home to thousands of Japanese cornel trees that are 100 to 500 years old. At the festival, you can participate in Korean traditional folk games and watch the sansuyu flower parade.
Spring in Korea: Things to do outside of Seoul
17. Visit Korea’s top cherry blossom festival in Jinhae
Jinhae is a small region in Southeast South Korea, just an hour outside of Busan and 4 hours from Seoul. Its claim to fame is its annual Cherry Blossom Festival, known to be the most popular cherry blossom festival in Korea. There are more than 360,000 cherry blossom trees planted all over the city! The two most famous cherry blossom viewing spots are Yeojwa Stream and Gyeonghwa Station.
18. See historic sites set against pink flowers in Gyeongju
Gyeongju, the ancient capital of the Silla Dynasty, is easily my favorite place I’ve visited in Korea after living here for 3 years. It’s full of history, culture, and modernity. If you can time your visit to Gyeongju for cherry blossom season, you’re in for an extra special treat. The city becomes covered in these beautiful pink flowers, with the best viewing spots being Bomun Lake and the Downtown Historic Center. You can also catch exciting events like live music, fireworks, a beer festival, and the cherry blossom marathon.
Need help planning your trip to Gyeongju? Check out my top 9 things to do in Gyeongju + a 2-day itinerary.
19. Experience the beauty of the Korean countryside at the Hwagae Cherry Blossom Festival
Hwagae is a rural, countryside town in Gyeongsangnam-do in Southern South Korea. During cherry blossom season, the town comes alive as visitors flock to appreciate the 4km/2.5 miles of cherry blossom trees. This makes it the largest cherry blossom festival in the country.
20. See spring’s first awakening at the Gwangyang Maehwa Plum Blossom Festival
If you’re visiting in early spring and will miss the cherry blossoms, you’re in luck! The Gwangyang Maehwa Festival is one of the first spring flower festivals of the year, celebrating plum blossoms. Plum blossoms are different from cherry blossoms, but they look very similar. The festival takes place in Seomjingang Village, home of the most plum blossom trees in Korea.
21. Snap the perfect spring photo at the Taean Tulip Festival
Taean Tulip Festival is the largest flower festival in Korea and one of the world’s top 5 tulip festivals. There’s an endless sea of colorful tulips set against aesthetic backdrops, making it a great place to get the perfect spring shot. It usually takes place for most of April, and you can check the dates here.
22. See 1004 rose varieties at the Gokseong Rose Festival
Gokseong-gun in Southwest South Korea is known for its train village and the annual rose festival it holds inside the train village. The festival features 1004 rose varieties from all over the world. There are hands-on activities and live music events. This year, it will run from Friday, May 17th – Sunday, May 26th. You can check the official website for more information.
23. Wander through a pink mountainside at the Hapcheon Hwangmaesan Royal Azalea Festival
Hwangmaesan is a mountain in Gyeongsangnam-do that’s famous for its azalea field in the spring. Every May, visitors flock to Hwangmae Mountain to see the pink mountainside filled with thousands of azaleas. CNN Travel even named it one of the “50 Beautiful Places to Visit in Korea.”
24. See the cherry blossoms and canola fields on Jeju Island
In the spring, Jeju comes alive with spring flowers. Other than cherry blossoms, Jeju is well-known for its bright yellow canola flowers that start to bloom at the end of winter and last through spring. Together with the cherry blossoms, Jeju’s landscape turns pink and yellow in a way that looks straight out of a fairytale.
25. Play with fire at the Jeju Fire Festival
A spring festival that isn’t about flowers?! The Jeju Fire Festival is held every March at the Saebyeoloreum Volcanic Cone. The festival celebrates the creation of Jeju Island, which was formed through volcanic eruptions. The festival features a torch march, a fire show and media show, various programs, and food trucks.
26. Visit Korea’s #1 national greenspace at Suncheon Bay National Garden
Suncheon Bay National Garden in Jeollanam-do was created to protect Suncheon Bay, a wetland preserve that’s home to over 140 species of birds. It was the first national garden in Korea, with 790,000 trees of 505 types and 3.15 million flowers of 113 types. The garden is at its peak in the spring when tulips bloom and a large field of canola flowers comes to life.
27. Indulge in green tea galore at the Boseong Green Tea Festival
Boseong in Jeollanam-do is home to 26.71 hectares of land dedicated to the production of green tea. Every May, the Boseong Green Tea Festival celebrates green tea in Boseong. While the green tea fields are green all year round, the festival offers lots of different green tea experiences, activities, and demonstrations. This is a great time to visit and learn about green tea production in South Korea.
28. Walk beneath over 30,000 yellow trees at the Gurye Sansuyu Festival
Another early spring flower is sansuyu, a tree famous for its yellow blossoms. Gurye is a remote yet picturesque farming town in Jeollanam-do that hosts its Sansuyu Festival every March. Gurye makes up almost 75% of Korea’s overall sansuyu production, with the main festival grounds housing over 30,000 trees. You can visit the exhibition of local products made from sansuyu and see traditional music and dance performances.
29. See why Korean strawberries are recognized worldwide at the Nonsan Strawberry Festival
Did you know that strawberry season in Korea runs through winter and spring? This is the best time of year to get your hands on some delicious, juicy, red strawberries. The Nonsan Strawberry Festival is held in March or April in Nonsan, a city in Chungcheongnam-do. It’s the largest strawberry production region in Korea. The festival holds many strawberry-related programs like strawberry picking, strawberry cake baking, strawberry jam making, and more. This year, it’s Thursday, March 21st – Sunday, March 24th.
30. Find peace in a bamboo forest at the Damyang Bamboo Festival
Every May, the Damyang Bamboo Festival celebrates the beauty and value of Damyang’s natural bamboo forest. Damyang in Jeollanam-do is home to Korea’s best and most beautiful bamboo forests. Its Bamboo Festival is the only bamboo-themed festival held across the world. Visitors can ride bamboo canoes and rafts, try bamboo basket fish catching and bamboo water-gun making, go to exhibitions and sales of bamboo products, and see traditional art and cultural performances, to name just a few.
31. Witness a miracle at the Jindo Miracle Sea Parting Festival
The Jindo Miracle Sea Road is a 2.8 km/1.7 mile-long path connecting two islands that only appears once a year for about an hour. It lasts long enough for visitors to walk across the path, and then you can enjoy other programs including a Jindo dog show, a Holi color event, and an evening EDM party. It’s one of the three biggest festivals in Korea!
With this list of the top 31 things to do in spring in Korea, it’s easy to see why spring is often cited as the best time of year to visit. Blooming flowers and festive celebrations create a lively atmosphere across the country as the country defrosts. Every season in Korea has its unique charm, but spring is an especially memorable time to enjoy time outside among the spring flowers and warm weather.