Seoul, the vibrant capital of South Korea, is a city where modernity and tradition harmoniously intertwine. While it's easy to be swept away by the bustling shopping districts and impressive skyscrapers, the city also offers a plethora of free activities that allow you to experience its rich culture, history, and natural beauty without emptying your wallet. Here, we delve into five free things to do in Seoul that will make your visit both enriching and budget-friendly.
The Seoul City Wall, also known as the Fortress Wall of Seoul, presents an excellent opportunity for hiking enthusiasts. Constructed in 1396, this location spans nearly 19 kilometres and has become a popular spot for casual strolls and romantic outings. The site is especially captivating during the evening hours.
Following the contours of four surrounding mountains—Bugaksan, Inwangsan, Naksan, and Namsan—this historic wall provides a unique vantage point. Access to this destination is free of charge, ensuring a delightful experience. The wall, varying from 5 to 8 meters in height, symbolises the historical importance of city walls for capital cities—a legacy that continues in modern-day Seoul.
One of the enjoyable free activities in South Korea is exploring Bukchon Hanok Village. This area is home to numerous traditional Korean houses known as hanoks. Some hanoks are still inhabited, while others have been transformed into museums, cafes, and other attractions. The village has a timeless charm, and even if you're not interested in the restaurants, taking a leisurely walk around the neighbourhood will transport you to the Korea of the Joseon dynasty era (1392-1910).
Situated on the 13th floor of Seoul City Hall Seosomun building, Jeongdong Observatory has a café within its premises. Here, visitors can savour a beverage while enjoying the aerial view of Deoksugung Palace. Adding to the cafe ambience are the vintage photos of the historic Jeongdong.
Cable cars take you between Namsan Park and N Seoul Tower on Mount Namsan. But if you are up for a free adventure, there are walking tours to the tower's top, too. These trails have stairs, so bring water and snacks with you. The views at the summit are truly worth it.
The Yun Dong-ju Literature Museum is a tribute to the Korean poet Yun Dong-ju. Originally a pressurization facility, the museum now houses his old photos and first poem editions in three rooms. Yet, the true attractions lie in its unique designs and ambience. Recognised with the Korea Public Architecture Award (2012) and the Seoul City Architecture Award (2014), it was also designated a memorial facility in 2015.