Looking for a fun Seoul Itinerary that ticks all the boxes? This guide for 3 days in Seoul by Jade of Journey Count is the perfect blend of must-do sight-seeing and activities alongside casual wandering and unmissable food stops.
The Perfect 3 Days in Seoul Itinerary
Having spent three years living in Asia and visiting all kinds of cities across the region, Seoul remains one of my favorites. Three days is a great amount of time to see the city and this Seoul itinerary will help you make the most out of every minute!
About this Seoul Itinerary
Seoul is a huge city, but much of what you’ll want to see is within a smaller area of the center.
This Seoul city tour encourages quite a bit of walking. Not only is this often the easiest way to get around, but there are so many picturesque streets in between sights that you won’t want to miss out on.
Thankfully, for those times you do need public transport, and when you need to give your feet a rest, Seoul’s public transport systems are fantastic.
You can read more tips on what transit cards to get further down in this post. further down in this post
If you just have 3 days in South Korea and aren’t visiting other cities, I would recommend opting to stay in a traditional Hanok house in the Insadong area of Seoul. This is such a unique experience and will set the scene for your time in the city.
A Hanok House offers a glimpse of traditional life in Seoul. These timber or stone houses with tiled roofs are designed to maintain the balance of their surrounding environment. They are typically designed with a river at its front and the mountains at its back.
These historic homes date back to the 14th century and many have been converted and opened to the public.
If you are looking for something a little more modern, or are planning a Hanok stay elsewhere in Korea, then check out our guide below on where else to stay in Seoul.
Where to stay in Seoul
I wrote an in-depth breakdown of all the best neighborhoods to stay in Seoul:
By clicking on the links below will take you to a break down of each Seoul neighborhood and suggested hotels
- Insadong - in the heart of Seoul, close to most major attractions
- Myeongdong - a hub of modern Korean culture close to Namsan tower
- Hongdae - a bustling university neighborhood known for its bars and restaurants
- Gangnam - this iconic area is home to skyscrapers and luxury chain hotels
- Bonus: Hanok Homes - a unique accommodation experience in Seoul
Day 1 in Seoul
We’ve created these interactive maps for each day of this Seoul itinerary to help you see where things are in relation to one another and how far you’ll be traveling each day.
You can click on it to open in another window and save for reference for your future Korea trip.
Click to see full Seoul Itinerary map here
This should make it easier to plan out your 3 Days in Seoul Itinerary.
Day 1 of this Seoul itinerary is going to take place in the Jongno-gu district of Seoul where you will be able to walk between all the main attractions.
If you are staying in the Bukchon Hanok Village, you won’t need to take public transport at all!
If you are staying in another Seoul neighborhood, the best metro stops for the following sights are Gyeongbokgung, Anguk, and Jonggak.
1. Gyeongbokgung Palace
Seoul’s royal palaces are some of the most important sights in the city, so where better to start your 3 days in Seoul than at Gyeongbokgung Palace?
This was the main palace for 200 years of Joseon Dynasty rule, and the current restoration is stunningly detailed. There were once 500 buildings spread out over this large complex but not all stood the test of time.
Gyeongbokgung is a vast complex and can get very busy, so I recommend arriving early and staying until you get hungry.
Free guided tours are available at 11 am, 1:30 pm, and 3:30 pm. If tours aren't your thing, it is still great to just wander and soak it in.
If you’ve come via metro to the Gyeongbukgung stop, you may be lucky enough to grab one of the high school and university kids offering free tours to practice their English!
My favorite area is Hyangwonjeong, the royal pavilion which sits upon a man-made lake at the rear of the palace. This is such a peaceful spot to sit and let your mind daydream about the lives of Korea's royals in the Joseon Period.
The Gate Guard Duty Performance at the main gates is at 11 am and 1 pm.
Hours: 9am-5pm, closed on Tuesdays
Subway Station: Gyeongbokgung (Orange Subway Line 3)
2. Bukchon Hanok Village
Continue your day tour of Seoul by heading out of the Geonchunmun Gate of the Gyeongbokgung Palace towards the top of Bukchon Hanok Village.
Turn onto Samcheong-ro, and once you reach Bukchon-ro, you can get lost in the myriad alleys of this charming neighborhood.
Bukchon’s traditional Hanok homes and buildings are absolutely beautiful and exploring here will give you an idea of what Seoul would have looked like hundreds of years ago.
A UNESCO World Heritage Centre, this is a must visit in Seoul.
Just remember that this is a residential area, so do respect people’s privacy when taking photos.
While most homes are residential, there are a few you can peek inside for a small fee and others have been turned into shops, galleries, and restaurants.
You’ll likely be hungry at this point, and the streets around Bukchon are perfect for refueling with a bit of old-world atmosphere.
Hours: You can visit anytime of day but be extra respectful after dark.
Metro stop: Gyeongbokgung or Anguk (Orange subway Line 3)
The best way to explore a new city is to join a walking tour. You can find a list of tours here at GetYourGuide. We use GetYourGuide when we want to uncover new things to do in our favorite destinations.
After a lunch break, it’s time to continue your walking tour of Jongno-gu to Insadong-gil, Seoul’s center of the creative arts!
Here you’ll find art galleries, art stores, and plenty of adorable tea shops to stop by in.
This would be a fantastic place to grab a souvenir!
One thing we never left Insadong without is a box of Korean Honey String candy.
You’ll likely hear these streetside desert vendors before you see them as they’ll be singing while making their incredible candies.
This is a royal dessert made from water, sugar, maltose and white vinegar stretched into thousands of hair-thin strands and wrapped lovingly around a center of crushed peanuts.
You can buy a box for around $5.
Metro: Anguk (Orange Line 3)
4. Jogyesa Temple
From Insadong-gil it is a short walk over to the impressive Jogyesa Temple.
Right in the heart of the city, this complex is the core of the Jogye order of Korean Buddhism and an extremely important place of spirituality for Koreans all over the country.
To learn a little more about Jogyesa and the Jogye Buddhists you can pop into the Information Centre for foreigners.
Here you can chat to the English-speaking monks whose task it is to educate visitors.
Often decorated for various festivals and events, Jogyesa is the perfect introduction to the colorful and intricate architecture of Korean temples. Don’t forget your camera!
Location: 55 Ujeongguk-ro.
Metro: Anguk (Orange Line 3) or Jonggak (Purple Line 1).
5. Gwanghwamun Square
Continuing on foot once more, make your way from Jogyesa Temple to Gwanghwamun Square.
This long and lively pedestrian area boasts unbeatable views of Gyeongbukgung Palace and Bukhansan National Park to the north and is flanked by the Sejong Performing Arts Centre and the mighty US Embassy.
Two giant statues sit upon the square, one of King Sejong and the other of Admiral Yi Sun-Shin. Both of these men have played integral parts in Korea's history - one even created the Korean alphabet!
You can pop below the King Sejong Statue down to a small but excellent museum to find out more about the lives of these great leaders.
Cost: The Square and the Museum are both free.
Metro: Gwanghwamun (Pink Line 5)
6. Cheonggyecheon Stream
By now it is likely getting towards sunset time, and Gwanghwanmun Square and nearby Cheonggyecheon Stream are the perfect places to watch from.
Both offer wide open spaces with plenty of foreground for epic sunset shots!
Interestingly, before the Korean War, this stream flowed naturally through the city but was covered up when transport needs grew too large in downtown Seoul. The stream was restored in 2005 and cost nearly a billion dollars!
Cheonggyecheon is a really relaxing place to finish this walking tour of Jongno-gu district and, if it’s warm enough, you can even take off your shoes and soak your feet in the stream!
The streets between the stream and Jonggak-ro are full of bars and restaurants, making it an ideal spot to end your first day in Seoul.
Location: Cheonggyecheon-ro adjacent to Sejong-daero
Metro: Jonggak (Purple Line 1)
#1 Money Saving Tip in Seoul
The best way that you can save money and see all of the best attractions in Seoul with one purchase is with a Discover Seoul Pass.
You can get it for 1-3 days and it includes all of these and more:
- Entry to over 35 of Seouls' best activities and attractions, plus discounts on 40 more
- Use of all public transport and a one-way airport transfer to the city with the AREX train.
With only having a short amount of time this will help you get around quickly and skip queuing for tickets. Definitely worth it.
For a more detailed outline see the How to Save Money in Seoul section below.
Day 2 in Seoul
On your second day in Seoul, it’s time to head out of Jongno-gu district and explore some of Seoul’s best views.
Seeing Seoul from above is one of my favorite things to do in the city!
Seoul Itinerary Map Day 2
7. Hike Inwangsan Mountain
Start your second day in Seoul getting involved in one of South Korea’s favorite pastimes: hiking!
The Inwangsan Peak hike is one of many easily accessible walks in Seoul.
You will be following the old city walls of Seoul up to an unbeatable view over the Jongno-gu district you explored yesterday and across the rest of Seoul.
Seeing the royal palace from above is really cool after being in the thick of it.
To get to the trailhead, take the metro to Muakje station and get out at exit 2.
From there you should be able to find the wooden steps into Muakje park and then up onto Inwangsan Peak.
Hours: It takes around 2 hours to hike Inwangsan
Metro: Muakje (Orange Line 3)
8. Gwangjang Market
After your hike, you are going to be hungry! Get back onto the metro and head down to Jongno-5-ga station. From there make your way on foot to Gwangjang Market.
This fantastic indoor food market has an incredible selection of Korean specialties and is a great place to try lots of different street food.
Korean food is absolutely delicious and really varied, so I suggest following your nose and heading to any busy food stall.
The Mungbean pancakes and Gimbap (like Korean sushi) are easy to recognize and really tasty snacks.
Hours: 8.30am - 6pm (11pm for some restaurants)
Metro: Jongno-5-ga (Purple Line 1)
From Gwangjang Market you can walk along to Dongdaemun metro station and take the metro all the way down to Myeongdong station.
Exit the station through the labyrinth of tunnels and find yourself in Seoul’s buzzing shopping district!
This area is alive with sights, smells and sounds and is just a fascinating place to get lost in.
The streets are mostly pedestrianized and it gets very busy with foot traffic! If it gets a bit much for you, head into a coffee shop (there are many!) and people watch with a perfectly brewed beverage in hand.
Coffee shops and shopping are two other favorite Korean pastimes!
Hours: Most shops and restaurants stay open until 11 pm
Metro: Myeongdong (Blue Line 4)
10. N - Seoul Tower
Namsan hill rises up just south of Myeongdong and offers another amazing vantage point over the city of Seoul, especially if you go all the way up to the N-Seoul tower on top.
If you can handle another small hike, I definitely recommend skipping the cable car to walk up to the N-Seoul tower on top of Namsan Hill.
Again, it isn’t a strenuous hike with stone steps leading up most of the way. The viewpoints along the trail more than make up the effort!
You’ll definitely want to time your visit to N - Seoul Tower with the sunset. If you are a little early, then you can grab a drink from the shop at the bottom of the tower and wait for it.
Seeing the sky turn orange, and then all the millions of neon city lights come on one by one across the crazy landscape of Seoul is incredible!
Did you know that South Korea is 75% mountainous? You'll believe it when you see the views from the N-Seoul Tower.
Hours: 10am -11pm
Cost: Entry costs just 10,000won which is just under $9. A return trip on the cable car is 9,500won.
Metro: Myeongdong or Hoehyeon (Blue Line 4)
11. Hongdae Nightlife
After you’ve made your way back down Namsan Hill, get back on the metro and get to Hongik University station for a night out in Seoul’s fun University neighborhood.
Hongdae is another crazy area of shops, cafes, bars, coffee shops and restaurants and our favorite place to be once the sun goes down.
You can bar-hop in Hongdae until the early hours and try all of Korea’s unique alcoholic beverages, including Soju and Makgeolli.
This is a great place to get Korean BBQ or Korean Fried Chicken for dinner - I bet you’ll be craving both once you leave!
One more classic Korean activity to seek out in Hongdae is karaoke.
Metro: Hongik University (Green Line 2)
Recommended Day Trips from Seoul
Travelling to Seoul but not sure when and where to book tours? Make sure you don’t miss out on these incredible experiences and use a booking service like GetYourGuide to book tours, attractions, excursions & activities - either in advance or on the spot. You can find some suggestions below or simply search for city tours on your next Seoul trip.
North Korea is in the news a lot these days and everyone is fascinated with knowing more about this unknown country. Book a trip to the Joint Security Area and learn about how the demilitarized strip of land came about. Get a rare glimpse of North Korea from the Dora Observatory.
Visit the most popular temple in Korea and hike to the top of Korea's third highest mountain on this Seoraksan National Park and Naksana Temple Tour. This 12-hour tour takes you through the Baekdam Valley to the Buddhist temple of Baekdamsa and the ancient Naksansa Temple.
All trips have easy cancellation up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund.
Day 3 in Seoul
The final day of your 3 days in Seoul begins with another top attraction before moving on to discover the modern sides of the city and new neighborhoods.
Seoul Map Day 3 Itinerary
After a potentially heavy night in Hongdae, wake up slowly and then spend a relaxing morning exploring Seoul’s secondary Palace, Changdeokgung.
Set on extensive grounds, Changdeokgung is another stunning example of Joseon-era architecture. Along with Gyeongbukgung, it is one of five royal palaces in the city.
While I love Gyeongbukgung, there is something even more special about Changdeokgung and the beautiful gardens that stretch out around it.
There are hundreds of different tree species in the Changdeokgung Huwon garden and some are more than 300 years old.
In Spring, when the cherry blossoms are in bloom, it is spectacular.
This palace is also a little more peaceful, with fewer crowds.
Metro: Anguk (Orange Line 3)
13. Dongdaemun Design Plaza
From old to new, head from Changdeokgung Palace to Dongdaemun Design Plaza.
This is one of Seoul’s greatest architectural wonders.
Designed by Zaha Hadid, the first female to win the Pritzker Architecture Prize, it is an inspiring place to take photos with a backdrop of modern Seoul.
While the outside is definitely the main reason to go to Dongdaemun, don’t miss the chance to go inside and see what creative exhibitions are on at the time of your visit.
This is the center for Seoul’s creative industries and there is always something interesting to see.
Cost: Entry is free.
Location: Eulji-ro 45-gil
Metro: Dongdaemun History and Culture Park, exit 1
Ihwa Mural Village
Wikipedia CC Photo by Wei-Te Wong from Taipei City, Taiwan [CC BY-SA 2.0]
Just 15 minutes (including metro and walking) from Dongdaemun Design Plaza is the Ihwa Village was designed to revitalize one of Seoul's oldest and poorest neighborhoods.
70 artists came together to design street art to attract tourists and spice up the area.
Many movies are starting to film in the area for its artistic flair.
Metro Line: Hyehwa Station (Subway Line 4) Follow the signs for about 15 minutes after you exit the Subway at exit 2.
After exploring Dongdaemun, it’s time to take your longest public transport journey yet and head over the Han River to Gangnam.
Take exit 5 from Gangnam metro station and you can get straight into the spirit of the area by singing along to Psy’s top hit "Gangnam Style" on the streets that influenced the lyrics!
It’s a silly thing to do but fun all the same!
If you are a big Kpop fan, you can actually pay visits to some of Korea’s biggest entertainment companies in the heart of Gangnam.
Shopping is the biggest draw of Gangnam and here you can explore one of the largest underground shopping malls at COEX. The Kimchi Museum and Instagram-famous giant bookstore are both well worth stopping at.
Gangnam isn’t just Kpop and shopping though, there is so much to do in this area south of the river.
You can visit tranquil Bong Eun Sa Temple, surrounded by highrises or wander among the tombs and trees of Samneung Park.
Metro: Gangnam (Yellow Bundang Line) and Samseong (Green Line 2)
15. Common Ground
Round off your final day in Seoul with a little more of Seoul’s modern-day delights at Common Ground, back across the Han River.
This collection of containers is its own little hipster village, full of cafes, shops, restaurants, and pop-up exhibitions.
The outdoor seating and lively atmosphere make this a fun place to grab dinner and people-watch.
Seoul may be full of history and tradition, but it is also one of South Korea's most forward-thinking, youthful cities and visiting places like this helps give visitors a complete picture of the city.
Cost:Entry is free
Metro: Konkuk University (Green lines 2 and 7)
Wow, three days in Seoul goes so fast!
But, this itinerary involves a whole lot of exploring and shows you all the sides to Seoul’s vibrant personality.
If you are a super efficient traveler and get through this itinerary quicker than my suggested times, check out this post to find more incredible things to do in Seoul.
And, if you have longer in Seoul, why not consider taking a day trip out of the city. There is so much to see in this amazing little country.
For more tips and advice for traveling in other areas of South Korea, go check out Jade's Korea blogs.
If you have more time and are looking to add a fourth day to your Seoul Itinerary an excellent choice for day trips ist to Nami Island just outside of Seoul. Get Your Guide offers a 10-hour day tour to explore three popular attractions in South Korea, Nami Island, Petite France and The garden of the morning calm. You can book in advance, but there is easy cancellation up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund.
3 Days in Seoul Itinerary Resources:
What Time of Year Should I visit Seoul?
Spring is blossom season in Korea and Seoul is full of colour and warm days. If you are an avid photographer, this is a fantastic time to visit Seoul.
Summer can get very hot in Korea but plenty of sunshine means lots of time outside. There's no better time to visit Seoul's many outdoor, public spaces.
Autumn is also full of colour when all the trees change to shades of orange, yellow and red. Evenings will be cooler but there will still be plenty of sun.
Winter is definitely off-season in Korea and visiting in the cooler months, you'll be more likely to have many attractions to yourself.
Before You Go
- South Korea Travel - Visa requirements. Most countries do not require a visa to travel to Korea. A valid passport will do. You can check here for Visa requirements for you country.
- Ready to fly to Seoul? Check out Cheap Flights here.
- Make sure you have travel insurance. We never travel without it and recommend World Nomads for short-term trips. If you are looking for something more long-term check out Allianz Travel Insurance. Read more about the value of Travel Insurance here.
- Need Data? KnowRoaming offers unlimited data and roaming for $7.99 per day. PlanetD readers receive a 50% discount with code DDSave30. Read our review here.
- Seoul uses the South Korean Won and 1,000 Won is around 1,116 USD. For up to date conversions get the XE Currency Converter App.
How do I get Around Seoul
Hopefully, this itinerary has shown you that Seoul is a very walkable city and public transport is widely available, affordable and easy to navigate too.
If you purchase the Discover Seoul Pass to save money on attractions, then it also doubles at a Transit card that you can load at your discretion.
If you just want to go with the travel card you can get a T-Money or Cashbee Card, that you can load at most convenience stores.
Getting to and from the Airport: The Discover Seoul Pass includes a one-way transfer to the city centre on the AREX train and you can return the same way for 8,000 Won, under $8.
How to Get To Seoul
Several flights fly into Seoul Incheon International Airport. Search for how cheap you can fly to Seoul below!
Did you enjoy this post on what to do in Seoul? Why not Pin it on Pinterest for reference on how to plan your own Seoul Itinerary?
And that is my three-day itinerary for Seoul. You can easily spend more time in the city but this guide will give you an excellent start to begin planning your own Seoul Tour.
So start planning today! It's time to visit and hopefully, you'll be able to see more of Seoul and get a chance to explore Korea too!
Jade House is a freelance writer who has spent the last few years in Asia.
Follow the day by day journey on Instagram.