With its unique culture and delicious cuisine, Seoul has become one of the go-to destinations in Asia. However, it’s easy to get caught up in all this metropolitan buzz, especially in such a fast-paced city. What’s more, with winter approaching, there’ll be another side to the enchanting city that only the frosty months can reveal. Nevertheless, with countless hidden gems around to explore, you might want to stay an extra day or two for an exciting day trip from the city, especially in the coming months!
1. Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival
- Festival Period: January 7~29th, 2023
‘Sancheoneo’ is mountain trout in Korean. So, you’ve probably guessed it! Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival is an ice fishing festival where you can even catch these slippery creatures, even with your own bare hands! This annual festival which takes place in Hwacheon, about a two to three-hour drive from Seoul, is one of the biggest Winter festivals in Korea and was even selected as one of the 7 Wonders of Winter by CNN Travel. It is certainly a festival not to be missed as it offers a one-of-a-kind experience where you can attempt to catch your own lunch! There are many more other Winter activities such as snow sledding and ice skating available for all, so make sure to squeeze the 2023 Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival into your Winter in Korea itineraries!
2 Chilgapsan Ice Fountain Festival at Cheongyang Alps Village
- Festival Period: January 1st ~ February 12th, 2023
Chilgapsan Ice Fountain Festival annually takes place at the magical Alps Village in Cheongyang. Visitors will feel like they have stepped into a frozen kingdom with massive ice fountains, ice sculptures, igloos, and more. You can also enjoy all kinds of winter activities, such as ice sledding, snow sledding, and bobsledding. The tour to this special winter festival includes round-trip transportation from/to Seoul, English & Chinese speaking tour guide, and admission fees.
3. Eobi Ice Valley
- Tour Period: January 26th ~ February 28th, 2023
Eobi Ice Valley is a new rising tourist destination known for its magnificent frozen waterfall. This 1-day tour will take you to 3 beautiful winter destinations in Seoul’s vicinity, including Nami Island, Eobi Ice Valley, and Garden of Morning Calm. You’ll get to enjoy the Garden of Morning Calm Light Festival at night, surrounded by a sea of twinkling lights!
4. Wondae-ri Birch Forest
- Tour Period: ~ February 28th, 2023
Wondae-ri Birch Forest was selected as one of the 100 Must-Visit Spots in Korea for 2021-2022. It is popular with the locals in all seasons, particularly in winter for its snow-covered landscape. Until today, Wondae-ri Birch Forest is still very much “untouched” by foreign tourists and crowds, making the first a hidden treasure for those who have visited. On this tour, you’ll get to hike along a scenic hiking course and stop by In-je Maebawi Icewall, a stunning 100-meter-high waterfall that is frozen solid during the winter.
5. Pyeongchang Trout Festival
- Festival Period: December 30th, 2022 ~ January 29th, 2023
If you’re looking to add more than one spot to your “Visited Places” list, look no further. Gangwon-do is the #1 destination in Korea when it comes to enjoying a true Winter Wonderland experience. So, set out on a 1 day trip to places in Pyeongchang and Gangneung, such as Daegwallyeong Sheep Ranch, Jumunjin Beach, Jeongdongjin Beach, or Pyeongchang Trout Festival which offer picturesque Winter-only views!
6. Mt. Deogyusan & Maisan Winter Wonderland
One of the things that make Korea such an attractive Winter destination is probably the exquisite scenery of mountains blanketed in glistening white snow. This is also just one of the many reasons you should visit Mt. Deogyusan and Maisan this Winter. Despite being the lesser-known mountains, these tall mounds of Earth provide some of the most beautiful panoramas of Nature. The iconic Sangjeru and Tapsa Temple, at Mt. Deogyusan and Maisan respectively, create a perfect balance with the surroundings, boasting a magnificent view against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains.
7. Hongcheon River Trout Festival
- Festival Period: January 13~24th, 2023
Vivaldi Park Ski Resort is definitely one of the top destinations in Hongcheon, especially in the winter. Nonetheless, a 30-minute drive will take you to another one of Hongcheon’s winter wonderlands – the Hongcheon River Trout Festival. Featuring various activities such as trout-catching bare-handed, ice-fishing, sledding at Vivaldi Park Snow World, and many more. What makes this particular festival unique is that the trout here are fed with ginseng grown for 6 years!
- 1 Day Ski/Snowboard/Snowy Land Snow Sled Tour: Vivaldi Park Ski Resort
- Ski/Snowboard Lift Pass + Equipment/Clothes Rental Package: Vivaldi Park Ski Resort
- Private Ski/Snowboard Lesson + Lift Pass + Equipment Rental Package: Vivaldi Park Ski Resort
- Seoul ↔ Vivaldi Park Ski Resort Shuttle Bus
8. Daegwallyeong Snow Festival
Daegwalleong is another must-visit winter destination for its noteworthy snowy mountain tops and sheep farms. Thanks to the heavy snowfalls in this area, the Daegwallyeong Snow Festival has been a success for many years since it first began in 1993. The main attractions at this land of snow are the colossal ice sculptures, some even made by the locals there, which are displayed throughout the festival. With various performances and many more activities to take part in, a day trip to Daegwallyeong Snow Festival will certainly be a memorable one for you and your loved ones!
- Seoraksan National Park Private Tour (+ Daegwallyeong Sheep Farm / Nami Island / Naksansa Temple / Sokcho Tourist & Fishery Market)
9. Inje Icefish Festival
- Festival Period: January 20~29th, 2023
The much-awaited Inje Icefish Festival is back again for its 20th year this winter! Taking place at Soyangho Lake, the largest man-made lake in Korea, there will be more than 2,000 holes available for people to fish bingeo (icefish) from. If you don’t know much about fishing, not to worry. In addition to the many activities prepared such as fishing, sledding, and ice soccer, there will also be various educational events for the public to take part in to learn a little more about fishing. So, head on down to the Inje Icefish Festival this winter for a day of fun and excitement!
10. Taebaeksan Mountain Snow Festival
- Festival Period: January 27~31st, 2023
The city of Taebaek comes alive each year in January, ever since 1994, for its annual Taebaeksan Mountain Snow Festival! This festival offers a great many sights to see but the main attraction is the display of the gigantic snow sculptures! They may seem small in images, but standing next to one will have you gawking at its massive size. You can even make your own mini snowmen, go down an enormous snow sledding hill and have a try at some ice sledding. For the competitive at heart, there’ll be a Taebaeksan Mountain Snowflake Hiking Competition for anyone who is up to it! Once you’ve had your share of snow-filled fun, literally chill out at the Igloo Cafe made out of ice for a warm cup of tea! This will be one of the perfect winter day trips from Seoul!
11. New Year’s Countdown & Sunrise Tours
Whether you like it or not, 2023 is coming to an end in just a few days, and what better way to celebrate the end of the year than with a bang! There are various events and tours where you can celebrate the new year in a special way. If you want to mingle and celebrate the new year with people from all around the world, join the 2023 Gatsby New Year’s Eve Countdown Party at Some Sevit Floating Island in Seoul. Dress in Gatsby-themed outfits and enjoy unlimited drinks, live performances, DJ parties, and many more.
Seeing the first sunrise is another way of greeting the new year in a Korean way. In Korea, watching the new year’s sunrise is believed to bring good luck for the year ahead. Join Trazy’s New Year Sunrise Tour to Naksan Beach, one of the most beautiful sunrise spots in Korea. You’ll also get to explore Korea’s 5 most famous destinations, Seoraksan National Park, Nami Island, Petite France, and Garden of Morning Calm, in a day.
- New Year Sunrise Tour: Naksan Beach + Seoraksan + Petite France + Nami Island + Garden of Morning Calm (Jan 1)
Jeongdongjin Beach is also highly recommended to see the first sunrise of the year. It is one of the earliest and most beautiful sunrise spots in Korea. By joining this day tour from Seoul, welcome 2023 at the “Hello 2023, Heart-Beat New Year Festival” held at DDP, the iconic landmark and cultural hub of Seoul, and then head to Jeongdongjin beach to witness the early morning sun reaching out over the ocean.
If you are in Busan, don’t worry about it! Simply join the countdown at Busan Tower and watch the sunrise at Homigot Sunrise Square. Watch the sunrise over the sculpture of Sangsaeng’s Hands that symbolize reconciliation and coexistence. With this New Year Countdown Tour in Busan, you’ll also get to visit famous attractions in Busan, such as the Gamcheon Culture Village and Mt. Hwangryeongsan.
Don’t these sound like amazing ways to spend Winter in Korea? Well, we’re predicting quite the Winter Wonderland experience this year. So, book your tours to some of the best Winter Day Trips from Seoul before it’s too late!
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