South Korea, with its spectacular fusion of old and new, is quickly becoming a travel hotspot. But, when is the best time to go?
With thriving cities, where futuristic skyscrapers rub shoulders with centuries-old temples, and a rugged, mountainous landscape, South Korea is a delightful mix that continues to surprise and captivate first-time visitors.
South Korea experiences four distinct seasons, each with their own benefits. Summer is humid and hot around the country – the temperatures heat up in June, and in July and August, more than half of the country’s annual rainfalls. Thanks to South Korea’s many modern efficiencies, air conditioning isn’t too hard to find. Explore the high-tech buildings and historic markets of capital Seoul in temperatures around 29 degrees celsius.
The glistening beaches and bars of Busan, Korea’s second-biggest city, are idyllic in the summer, when temperatures average 27 degrees celsius. Head north-east to Daegu at this time to peruse some of the country’s best fashion districts in around 30 degrees.
Autumn is one of the most beautiful times of the year to experience South Korea, as the country is cloaked in crimson foliage. Ride the cable car to the top of Palgongsan Mountain near Daegu for panoramic views of the red, gold and orange canopies. With mild temperatures and little rainfall, autumn is a comfortable time to wander Seoul's traditional villages, ancient temples and dynamic street markets for a taste of local life. In the middle of Autumn, Seoul averages around 20 degrees, and Daegu and Busan both hover around 22 degrees.
In November, temperatures begin to drop with the onset of winter. Put simply, winter in South Korea is dry and freezing, with regular snowfall. However, the country is well-equipped to cope with the weather, so if you're prepared to rug up, you'll have access to all the best sights, minus the summer crowds. Despite temperatures just above freezing, Seoul offers plenty of ways to keep warm, from traditional tea-houses to hearty winter feasts of galbi-jjim (braised short ribs) and sundubu jjigae (spicy tofu stu). Busan tends to be warmer, around 8 degrees, and Daegu around 5 degrees, with plenty of opportunities to build a snowman no matter where you visit.
The winter is long in South Korea, but come April, the barren, snowy landscape brightens with seasonal blooms.
Spring is one of the prettiest times to experience South Korea. It boasts the famous cherry blossom season, where much of the country is awash with pink and white petals. The event attracts visitors from all over the world and most corners of the country enjoy stable, sunny weather, ideal for taking in the spectacle. It is the perfect season to explore some of South Korea’s significant culture and history, from Gyeonju’s traditional folk village, to the Daereungwon Royal Tomb – sites that really make you appreciate the nation’s 5000-year-old heritage.
Cherry blossom season in Seoul and Busan is typically around 18 degrees, while Daegu averages 20 degrees.
South Korea will win you over with its dynamic mix of past and present.
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