Join Us »

The Best Hiking and Cycling Experiences in Korea for Culture Seekers

Posted: July 10, 2024


Trails with more than just a view

For avid cultural explorers and outdoor enthusiasts seeking a new travel destination in Asia, South Korea is quietly emerging as an overlooked gem and quickly climbing the ranks of bucket list destinations among travelers.  Since outdoor activities are one of the best ways to experience any new destination, this article features a selection of hiking and cycling adventures that can be easily added to an itinerary as day trips or half-day excursions. This curated list includes six exceptional cycling and hiking activities across three of the most visited destinations in Korea: Seoul, Busan, and Jeju Island. 


In the lively metropolis of Seoul, the Hangang River Cycling Trail, and Bukhansan National Park provide a refreshing departure from the urban excitement, providing both cultural stops and serene natural vistas along the path. 

  • Cycle the Hangang River Trail for a scenic ride along Seoul's iconic Han River. The trail offers both leisurely and challenging routes, catering to cyclists of all levels. The path encompasses numerous parks for cultural stops. Bicycle rentals are conveniently found at any Han River park, making it easy to customize and personalize your route. 
  • Visit Bukhansan National Park, a popular natural retreat sprawling over 12,000 acres / 79 square kilometers within Seoul's city limits. Accessible via public transport, the park offers an extensive network of hiking trails, ranging from leisurely walks to challenging climbs. For the best panoramic views of Seoul, hike to Baegundae Peak, the highest point in the park; or, for a focus on cultural highlights, hike to a UNESCO World Heritage site, Bukhansanseong Fortress, and visit Buddhist temples nestled in the landscape along the way.


Busan is a dynamic coastal port city known for its sweeping and picturesque beaches, which contrast against the city's modern skyscrapers. Through hiking and cycling adventures, travelers can get a real sense of Busan's local culture and its blend of natural beauty and coastal charm.


The popular Jeju Island is off Korea's southern coast and is known for its volcanic terrain, pristine beaches, and rich cultural heritage. Its scenic coastline is best experienced on the Jeju Olle Trails, and the Gwaneumsa Trail offers the best summit view from Mt. Hallasan, South Korea’s tallest mountain. 

  • The Jeju Olle Trails are a network of 27 numbered walking and cycling paths that wind along the coast of Jeju Island, covering a total distance of approximately 262 miles / 422 kilometers. Try part of Route 21, which starts at the Haenyeo Museum, to learn more about the incredible female free divers and the island's matriarchal heritage. 
  • The Gwaneumsa Trail is a popular hiking route on Jeju Islan that leads to the summit of Hallasan Mountain, South Korea's highest peak. The trail spans approximately 5.4 miles/ 8.7 kilometers and offers a challenging yet rewarding climb. At the base of the trail is the Gwaneusma Temple, one of Jeju's oldest and most significant Buddhist temples. The temple features traditional architecture, beautiful stone pagodas, meditation halls, and temple stays.

From the coastal port city of Busan to the dynamic capital of Seoul and the scenic Jeju Island, these hiking and cycling excursions are just a few of the many outdoor activities and adventures for culture seekers in Korea. And for those seeking even more Korean culture, try one of these incredible immersive experiences or culinary adventures for an even deeper connection to local traditions and flavors.