Seoul (map). Most journeys begin in the nation’s capital that never sleeps. This ancient place has seen centuries and wars come and go but seems to have come out stronger than ever. Popularly called the “Miracle on the Han River”, it’s one of the largest metropolitan economies in the world.
Busan (map) is the country’s second city and most significant port. Called the nation’s summer capital, Koreans flock to this city’s fine beaches, seafood restaurants and festivals. Haeundae beach (해운대, map) in Busan is the most famous in the country, with an atmosphere is comparable to southern France or California in the summer.
*Bukhansan (map) is just a stone’s throw north of Seoul and one of the most visited national parks in the world. Some 836 meters high, Mount Bukhansan is a major landmark visible from large parts of the city and the park is home to the beautiful Bukhansanseong Fortress. The popular hike to get up there is well worth it, as you’ll be rewarded with great views of the metropolis.
*Gochang, Hwasun and Ganghwa Dolmen Sites is a World Heritage and home to a significant part of all the dolmen in the world. Apart from the impressive megalithic stones, it has brought forward a highly important collection of archaeological finds.
*Gyeongju (map) Once the nation’s capital, it boasts numerous royal burial and World Heritage cultural sites, as well as relaxing resorts.
Folk villages. If you’d like to see a bit of Korean folklore, Hahoe Folk Village (map) near Andong, Yangdong, the living museum-like Korean Folk Village in Yongin (map) or Hanok Village in Jeonju (map) are among the best.
Hiking. With the country being covered in mountains, Korea is a fantastic destination with numerous hiking opportunities. Try Jirisan (지리산), *Seoraksan (설악산) or go to South Korea’s highest peak, the extinct volcano *Hallasan on Jeju island. (+ An Ultimate Bucket List for Hiking in South Korea / lifeofbrit.com)