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olympic park during autumn in seoul

During autumn in Seoul, the skies are brilliantly blue, the weather is perfect and the city is painted in a kaleidoscope of spectacular colours. It’s Korea’s peak travel season for good reason.

This is the time of year I personally look forward to most. After all, what could be better than wandering down streets bursting with every brilliant shade of orange, yellow and red imaginable.

In this post you’ll find out:

  • exactly when autumn starts and ends in Seoul
  • what you can expect weather-wise, month by month
  • the best things to wear during autumn in Seoul
  • when the best time is to see the autumn foliage in Seoul
  • my tips for 8 outstanding places to visit in Seoul during autumn to see the best of Mother Nature
  • PLUS 2 bonus places to visit in Seoul during autumn for all my introvert sisters and brothers out there

*Psst… this post may contain affiliate links. Read our affiliate disclosure.

When is Autumn in Seoul?

Autumn in Seoul lasts for approximately 3 months. It starts in September, with the leaves slowly changing colour over the following 2 months. By the end of November, autumn is well and truly over. Most, if not all of the leaves have fallen from their limbs and cold blasts of air demand warmer clothes, boots and scarves.

The good news is that the changing of the leaves during autumn in Seoul, is a gradual process that happens over a few months. There’s a big window of time to catch this colourful show, but if you’re looking for the absolute peak, I recommend visiting sometime between mid-October to mid-November.

line of trees in damyang during autumn in korea

If you’ve got your heart set on seeing something like this, visit Korea from mid-October to mid-November

Keep in mind that autumn is the PEAK travel season in Seoul, so be sure to book your accommodation and the most popular tours well in advance.

Klook is one of the biggest, best value travel providers in Korea, and I use them myself to book tours. Here’s a few of their most booked attractions and tours to get you started:

  • Lotte World Theme Park in Seoul is right in the middle of the city. You can enjoy daredevil amusement rides, watch parades and shows, ice skate or eat all kinds of international cuisines. Get skip-the-line passes to one of Seoul’s most popular amusement parks here.
  • With its metasequoia path, Nami Island is one of the most popular places to visit during autumn in Seoul. Day tours providing round-trip transport, along with stops at the Garden of Morning Calm and Petite France, during autumn WILL sell out in advance.  Book your Nami Island tour here.
  • I recommend booking a hotel or hostel in Hongdae, Gangnam, or Jongno for a lively environment, excellent transport links and easy access to many different tourist sites and activities.

Here’s what you can expect month by month during autumn in Seoul.

autumn in seoul month by month

The changing of the leaves takes a few months during autumn in Seoul

Seoul in September

In the month of September, the grey skies, choking humidity and stifling temperatures of summer in Seoul finally surrender to cloudless, cobalt skies and crisp air. It’s wonderfully refreshing and like most Koreans, autumn in Seoul is, without a doubt, the season I look forward to most. Average temperatures range between 16 – 26 degrees Celsius, so it’s a very, very comfortable time to be outside.

hangang park korea

September is the perfect month to spend lots of time outside

We take full advantage of the superb weather by spending as much time outdoors as possible. Days and nights are still warm and it’s easy to while away an entire afternoon simply basking in the glow of a perfect post-summer sun.

Seoul in October

In October, the nights cool, and it’s time to cuddle up under the cozy comforters that have been stored away all summer. The days feel nostalgic and I start to crave the creamy richness of an expertly stewed seolleongtang. In the month of October, average temperatures in Seoul range between 9 – 20 degrees.

During October in Seoul, hints of yellow peek shyly through the green growths, ginkgo trees begin dropping their foul-smelling fruits, and blue trucks loaded with persimmons ply the streets with their wares.

Seoul in November

In November, the days and nights get chillier, with average temperatures ranging between 2 – 12 degrees Celsius. This is definitely the month to pull out thicker sweaters, coats and warmer shoes.

ingredients for kimjang appear in stores, and autumn in Seoul is in full swing. A wave of fall colour sweeps its way down the peninsula, dramatically transforming rocky mountains and monotone tree-lined streets into a prismatic orchestra of vivid crimsons, burnt oranges and mellow yellows.

trees lining a road during autumn in seoul

Is it cold in Seoul during autumn?

Cold is a relative concept. I grew up in Canada and I find autumn in Seoul to be incredibly comfortable. I can usually get by with just a sweater and scarf right up until winter hits Korea in December.

However, if you grew up in a hot climate, you would definitely find Korea chilly, as it gets closer to winter. Pack accordingly, depending on which month of autumn you plan to visit Seoul. Layers are a good idea. T-shirts, sweaters, scarves, and coats can all be useful at different times of your trip.

autumn foliage in seoul

In October, my daughter wears long pants and a thin jacket. It’s enough to keep her warm.

Just Released: Limited Edition Autumn Tours

These autumn tours in Korea only take place for a few months each year, and they get booked up fast, because space and timing for them is limited. If you’ve got your heart set on seeing any of these places during autumn in Seoul, I recommend reserving a spot as soon as you can.

8 Spectacular Places to Visit during Autumn in Seoul

Where can you see autumn foliage in Seoul? The simple answer is pretty much everywhere you turn. But there are undeniably pockets of the city that really wow the senses due to the concentration or combination of trees in the area. Here are just 8 incredible places to enjoy autumn in Seoul.

Autumn in Seoul from Above

Seoul can seem like a mass of concrete blocks until you get above it. Venture to higher ground to see just how many trees there are in the city.

Gwanaksan Mountain (관악산)

Gwanaksan, with its rocky peaks, deep valleys, and easy subway access, is one of the most popular mountains to visit in Seoul. On a hike in late September, all I could think about, was how beautiful it would be when it erupted in a rainbow of autumn colours, a month later.

gwanaksan in autumn

Get thee to the top of a mountain for incredible autumn views of Seoul

There are multiple hiking trails, ranging from 1 – 4.5 kilometres long, so it’s easy to find one that suits your athletic ability.

Find more information and transport advice on their website.

Namsan Mountain (남산)

From street level, it’s difficult to get a real sense of just how many trees there are in Seoul, but from the top of this mountain in the middle of the city, it’s easy to get a birds-eye view of Korea’s glorious changing landscape.

We took an easy stroll up to the N Seoul Tower in October, and were rewarded with the startling sight of autumn colour as far as the eye could see. If the walk’s not your thing, there’s also electric buses or a cable car up to the top.

Reserve your tickets to the N Seoul Tower Observatory in advance, and you’ll skip the line AND save up to 50% off the regular price. Book tickets for the N Seoul Observatory here.

Traditional Places to Enjoy Autumn in Seoul

Seoul’s palaces and traditional sites are a draw in any season, but in autumn, they’re a real delight for the senses. These places are the ideal backdrop for renting a traditional Korean hanbok, and having a photoshoot.

Read our full post about how to rent a hanbok in Seoul at the best prices.

hanbok rental at changdeokgung

Rent a hanbok and have a photo shoot at a traditional sight, like Changdeokgung Palace

Changdeokgung’s Secret Garden (창덕궁 후원)

Behind Joseon-era Changdeokgung Palace lies the Secret Garden. Originally used by the royal family and palace women, the garden has a lotus pond, pavilions, flowers and over 100 different species of trees, some of which are over 300 years old.

There are more than 26,000 trees in the Garden alone, and that means one thing – an awful lot of leaves changing colour.

secret garden at changdeokgung in seoul during autumn

The only way to enter the Secret Garden is on a guided tour, and it does sell out. Be sure to reserve in advance on their website, ESPECIALLY during the busy autumn tourist season in Seoul.

Deoksugung Dodam-gil (덕수궁 돌담길)

Deoksugung is probably one of the least visited Seoul palaces, but in autumn, you should definitely head there to walk along the dodam-gil, or “stone-wall” road.

This 1100 metre pedestrian pathway winds next to a traditional stone wall and is lined with 130 trees. During autumn in Seoul, the street is romantically covered in a carpet of gorgeous yellow leaves.

deoksugung palace during autumn in seoul

Deoksugung Palace by traveloriented/@Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Best Parks to Visit during Autumn in Seoul

You’re guaranteed to see gorgeous autumn foliage in any of Seoul’s public parks, but here’s a few suggestions that are particularly special.

Olympic Park Seoul (올림픽공원)

Seoul’s Olympic Park was originally created in 1986, to host the Asian Games and then, the 1988 Summer Olympics. Today, it’s a popular place for visitors to spend the day, with biking trails, multiple museums, cafes and gardens on its grounds.

There’s a few extra-special places to visit in Olympic Park during autumn in Seoul though. Look out for a huge field of cosmos flowers, and a garden of pink muhly grass that only blooms during the autumn months.

Seokchon Lake (석촌호수)

In springtime, delicate pink Yoshino cherry blossom petals romance those walking along the shores of Seokchon Lake in Seoul’s Songpa district. During autumn in Seoul however, a multitude of Yoshino Cherry and pine trees ring the water with a dramatic kaleidoscope of colour.

Seokchon Lake is stunning in autumn: Photo by: Songpa Tour

Places to see Ginkgo Trees during Autumn in Seoul

As the weather cools, the leaves of the ginkgo tree turn into a sublime shade of golden yellow. During autumn, you’ll often see groups of spunky Korean ajumma scavenging for gingko berries, as they fall from these majestic trees.

Garosu-gil (가로수길)

Garosu-gil actually means “tree-lined street,” and the moniker is pretty accurate. This street in Seoul’s Sinsa district is lined with magnificent ginkgo trees, and it’s the place to enjoy autumn colour if mountains aren’t your thing.

garosugil during autumn in seoul korea

You just might end up sipping a latte in a Garosu-gil cafe and shopping for designer clothes, instead of watching the leaves though. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Gingko Tree Path along Wiryeseong Daero (위례성대로)

This a popular spot for locals to the area, but it’s not very well-known among tourists. You’re in luck though, because there are 1320 majestic gingko trees lining this stretch of road near Olympic Park, and it won’t be overrun with people.

Head out Exit 1 of Mongchontoseong Station on Line 8, to walk under this almost 900 metre avenue of golden leaves.

BONUS: 2 Secret Places to Visit during Autumn in Seoul

The well-known autumn spots in Seoul can be rammed with people oohing and ahhing over the beauty of the trees around them. It’s understandable. But it can definitely get tiring for the introverts among us. Here are 2 secret spots in Seoul, where you can enjoy autumn foliage in relative peace.

autumn in seoul children's grand park

Looking for a little autumn solitude? It IS possible in Seoul.

Seonjeongneung Tomb

Seonjeongneung is one of Korea’s UNESCO World Heritage sites, but it’s rarely visited by tourists, who gravitate towards marquee attractions like Gyeongbokgung Palace instead. But if you should find yourself in Gangnam during autumn, definitely make the trip over to Seonjeongneung Tomb. You’ll be richly rewarded.

You’ll find the royal tombs of King Seongjong, Queen Jeonghyeon and their son, King Jungjong here, along with a huge green space, soaring trees and almost total serenity. Look out for the 500 year old gingko tree that sits next to the tomb keeper’s house!

We visited Seonjeongneung near the end of November, and most of the leaves had already fallen, but it was still incredibly beautiful (and deserted). Get there a few weeks earlier to enjoy the best of autumn.

Jamsil-dong Oh-Danji (잠실동 오단지)

I was first introduced to this “secret” spot in the shadow of the sky-high Lotte World Tower during Korea’s cherry blossom season. Nestled amongst an eyesore of old apartment buildings that seriously needs to be renovated, the trees form a canopy that feels like a cathedral.

cherry blossom trees in jamsil korea

How gorgeous will this be when autumn hits Seoul?

The truth is I haven’t actually seen this secret spot during autumn, but I just KNOW it’ll be incredible.

Did you find this post about autumn in Seoul helpful? PIN IT!

autumn in seoul

Comments:

  • October 9, 2014

    I’ve never been to Korea before but it looks gorgeous. And I am super jealous of the weather you have there!! The weather in Jakarta just stays hot and humid all the time ๐Ÿ™

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    • October 10, 2014

      Autumn is definitely the most gorgeous season here. It and spring are what everyone waits for! I’ve never lived anywhere that has no seasons, and I honestly don’t know how I feel about it. I do want to live by a beach one day, but I’m not sure how I would deal with hot and humid all the time. I think I’d have to take vacations to cooler destinations to cope. Ha! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      reply...
  • October 9, 2014

    Gorgeous pictures! I’m definitely missing the classic New England fall while in Italy and far from foliage this year. There are a couple of trees near one of the buildings where I go to class, and I always walk through the few leaves on the ground there haha. It looks like I’ll have to make a point to go to South Korea in the fall when I finally get there, though.

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    • October 10, 2014

      Thanks Michael! Lol, really? Walking through the few leaves on the ground…. you must really be desperate. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      When I lived in Canada, we hardly had any autumn at all.. It was basically 2 weeks and then winter, so I really love it here, where the leaves slowly change across the country. There’s a REAL autumn feeling. And yes, when you make it here, I def recommend visiting anytime from mid-September to November. It’s the best time for sure…

      reply...
  • October 9, 2014

    Lovely! I definitely want to go to Korea one of these days ๐Ÿ™‚

    reply...
    • October 10, 2014

      Hi Cecilia! ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s sooo beautiful right now! I just want to spend every single day outside just walking around and enjoying the atmosphere.

      reply...
  • October 17, 2014

    Absolutely beautiful shots, Shelley! Made me want to run out the front doors of my school and go for a hike right now!! ๐Ÿ˜€
    ~ Andrea <3

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    • October 18, 2014

      Here in Seoul, the average temperature just dropped about 5 degrees over the last few days, so full fledged danpoog may be upon us soon! Things are still pretty green, but I’ve definitely been crunching through a few leaves here and there… now if we could just skip the winter part! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  • October 26, 2014

    I’m glad you liked my post cause this one was so magical to come across! Autumn is absolutely gorgeous and you couldn’t have put it better!

    reply...
    • October 27, 2014

      Thanks Chantelle!! ๐Ÿ˜€ LOVE autumn in Korea, it’s definitely my favourite season (though spring runs a close second). Leaves seem to be really changing now…

      reply...
  • October 28, 2014

    Beautiful post and some incredible images ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thank you so much for sharing…

    reply...
    • October 28, 2014

      Thanks for your kind words Sreejith! ๐Ÿ™‚ Can’t wait for all the leaves to change here so we can see the beautiful colours in person!

      reply...
  • October 30, 2014

    Ahh this post really has made me feel nostalgic! There are all places I visited in Korea and I have so many memories from all of them. Seoraksan was definitely an autumn favourite of mine as was Changdeokgung. I usually ended up shopping in Ewha… no matter what time of year!

    Beautiful photos ๐Ÿ™‚

    reply...
    • October 30, 2014

      Hi Natalie! Thanks for dropping by and glad the post reminded you of your time here. ๐Ÿ™‚ Would you believe I’ve lived in Korea for 5 years and still haven’t made it to Seoraksan?! Yeah, I’m a bad expat. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But I’ll be remedying that soon and heading there in the next few weeks… and funnily enough I was just at Changdeokgung yesterday!

      reply...
  • September 19, 2016

    Awesome! I wish I can see all of those beautiful foliage on this autumn. Thank you for sharing. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • September 22, 2016

      Glad you enjoyed! It just started to get a bit cooler here in the last week, but the trees are all still green! ๐Ÿ™‚ Soon enough though, I’m sure the leaves will starts turning.

      reply...
  • November 15, 2016

    So many beautiful places! Sigh! We climbed Namsam on Sunday, but we were too late. It was dark by the time we reached the tower. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • November 15, 2016

      Especially since it’s getting dark by like 5pm these days. Ugh. Thank god it’s sunny today…all the grey was starting to get me down. ๐Ÿ™ Apparently Nami Island is gorge for fall colour too…

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      • November 15, 2016

        Exactly! It was only 5:40 by the time we were somewhere near the top! I’m feeling so much positive today with the sun! Let me see if we can go to Nami island. If it’s raining I feel too lazy! lol! Did you check the moon yesterday? Not as big as the online portals claim, but fantastic anyway! ๐Ÿ™‚

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        • November 16, 2016

          The sun makes such a difference doesn’t it? We didn’t do anything in the rain either…just laid around the apartment, staring listlessly at each other and trying to make it through the day. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  • July 31, 2018

    This looks amazing! – Is Seoul and surrounds tourist friendly? ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • December 1, 2018

    I have not been to Korea, just a gorgeous place and your photos and blog are so inspiring. I have added it on to my bucketlist. Thank you so much for this post.

    reply...
  • faecelinee

    August 30, 2019

    We were supposed to visit Seoul last year during the autumn season but we went to Singapore instead. I hope this year, I can finally visit Seoul and experience autumn for the first time. I live in a tropical country haha

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      • faecelinee

        September 9, 2019

        I just booked flights to Seoul yesterday! I am so excited to visit Seoul for the first time and to also see gingko and maple trees for the first time, definitely saving this post for later <3

        reply...

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