The breezy, bucolic beach town of Gangneung is about two hours by train from Seoul. Compared with the bright lights and K-pop beats of the capital, it makes a stark contrast – and a serene side trip. But if you only have a day to spare, opt for one of these tranquil and easily accessible day trips from Seoul instead.
Chiaksan National Park
Located in Wonju, this small national park has scenic but challenging hiking trails lined with old oak trees. It can be reached in an hour by the same train that goes from Seoul to Gangneung.
This is a UNESCO-listed, 18th-century fort in Suwon, where visitors can spend hours exploring its floodgates, bridges and watchtowers. It can be reached by a one-hour subway ride from the centre of Seoul to Suwon station.
Garden of the Morning Calm
This calming arboretum in Gapyeong county is the country’s oldest private garden. It can be reached by taking the subway from Seoul’s northeast to Cheongpyeong station, which takes about
In the city of Paju, Imjingak is the last village before the demilitarised zone between the two Koreas, featuring a peaceful park dedicated to unification (above right). Take an hour-long subway ride from central Seoul to Munsan station and then a 15-minute taxi to the park.
This story was originally published in March 2019 and updated in September 2020