Autumn in Seoul | 10 Spectacular Places to Visit in Seoul during Autumn
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
Jump to what you want.
- 1 When is Autumn in Seoul?
- 2 Autumn in Seoul: Weather Month by Month
- 3 Is it cold in Seoul during autumn? | What to Wear
- 4 Just Released: Limited Edition Autumn Tours
- 5 8 Spectacular Places to Visit during Autumn in Seoul
- 6 Autumn in Seoul from Above
- 7 Traditional Places to Enjoy Autumn in Seoul
- 8 The Best Parks to Visit during Autumn in Seoul
- 9 Places to see Ginkgo Trees during Autumn in Seoul
- 10 BONUS: 2 Secret Places to Visit during Autumn in Seoul
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.
* IMPORTANT INFO *
Autumn is the PEAK travel season in Korea, so be sure to book your accommodation and the most popular tours well in advance, to avoid missing out.
Klook is one of the biggest, best value travel providers in Korea. I use them myself to book tours and tickets all around Asia because there are great discounts, and the convenience and customer support make it super easy to use.
Here’s a few can’t miss activities and places in Seoul to check out in autumn to get you started.
- You’ll find Lotte World Theme Park right in the middle of gorgeous Seokchon Lake. You can enjoy daredevil amusement rides, and watch parades and shows, all while admiring some incredibly colourful trees. Get skip-the-line passes at nearly 50% off (32,000 won vs 59,000 won on-site) for one of Seoul’s most popular amusement parks here.
- During autumn in Seoul, Nami Island turns into a dreamy fall foliage wonderland. It’s so gorgeous I’ve visited TWICE! Day tours providing round-trip transport, along with stops at the Garden of Morning Calm and Petite France, WILL get booked up quickly. Be sure to 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.
Autumn in Seoul: Weather Month by Month
After the heat and humidity of summer, autumn seems to hit Seoul overnight, but the changing of the leaves still takes a few months to reach completion. There’s plenty of time to see autumn foliage at every stage of its colourful transition.
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.
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.
The ingredients for kimjang appear in stores, and autumn in Seoul is in full swing and nearing the finish line. 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.
Is it cold in Seoul during autumn? | What to Wear
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.
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.
> A few years ago, pink muhly grass took over the IG feeds of Korea and there’s no end in sight for this craze. If you should find yourself on Jeju Island in October, be sure to visit Hueree Park (discounted tickets here), Sanghyowon Botanical Garden (tickets here) OR Hallim Park (tickets here) for the ultimate pink fix.[/caption]
> Seoraksan is considered one of the most beautiful places in all of Korea to see autumn foliage. This autumn foliage trekking tour to Seoraksan includes round-trip transport from Seoul, an english speaking guide, bottled water, lunch, and a snack. On the way back, you’ll cap off your day with an ultra-cute stop at Alpaca World. This tour is ONLY offered on October 16th and 23rd, 2021. Be sure to book at least 2 days in advance to avoid being disappointed.
> If you’re interested in seeing autumn foliage in Gyeongbuk-do, join this limited edition trekking tour from Seoul. This limited edition tour visits Myungyeongsaejae (the filming location for the Netflix series Kingdom) on October 30th, 2021 ONLY. To see Yeongju Beosuksa Temple instead, join the tour scheduled for November 6th, 2021. Book an autumn foliage trekking tour to Gyeongbuk-do from Seoul here.
> Naejangsan Mountain in North Jeolla Province is known for incredible autumn foliage. This tour only runs from October 21st – November 15th, and has already been booked over 1000 times. Reserve a limited edition tour to Naejangsan Mountain.
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.
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.
TIP | 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 on Namsan Mountain 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.
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.
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.
TIP | If online reservations are fully booked, you can still see Changdeokgung Palace, its stunning Secret Garden, and Bukchon Hanok Village on a guided walking tour. This tour includes the entrance fees for both the Palace and the Secret Garden, as well as an english speaking guide. This tour needs to be booked at least FOUR days in advance. Join the Seoul by Foot walking tour here.
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.
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.
TIP | Take advantage of everything available at Seokchon Lake, with the amazingly priced Songpa L Pass. Go thrill-seeking at Lotte World Adventure, gape at views from the top of Korea’s tallest building at Seoul Sky Observatory, and admire over 55,000 sea creatures at the Lotte World Aquarium. You’ll pay just 65,000 won (vs 119,000 won on-site) to see all three attractions! Score your Songpa L Pass by clicking here.
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.
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.
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.
You just might end up sipping a latte in a Garosu-gil cafe and shopping for designer clothes, instead of watching the leaves though. 😉
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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.
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.
The truth is I haven’t actually seen this secret spot during autumn, but I just KNOW it’ll be incredible.