The Best 3 Days in Seoul Itinerary

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With this 3 days in Seoul itinerary, you can see everything the city offers
You can see everything the city offers with this 3 days in Seoul itinerary

72 hours in Seoul is definitely enough time to see everything this fascinating city has to offer. There are many unique things to do in Seoul as it is a place where tradition meets modernity.

It is also considered to be a leading global city due to its very high quality of life and many exciting attractions that charm thousands of tourists every year. For example, it has five UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the main part of the city centre alone! It is for all these reasons and more that Seoul should be included on your South Korea itinerary.

Getting to Seoul from Incheon International Airport is also easy as trains run very often (express included), and it takes under an hour to reach the city. You may also want to purchase a Discover Seoul Pass if you intend to visit a lot of the city's tourist attractions. To discover all the things to do in Seoul, keep reading for an in-depth 3 days in Seoul itinerary!

Heading to Seoul and planning last-minute?

When visiting Seoul, book your accommodations and experiences before you go. We've pulled together top suggestions below.

Top Accommodations in Seoul

Top Tours and Experiences in Seoul

  • 3 day itinerary
  • Average of 6 stops per day

Seoul 3 Day Itinerary

Seoul Map

A map of Seoul. Use the map to explore all the days and stops.

Discover Korean Royalty

An Asian pagoda-style structure next to a path and surrounded by trees and water
The stunning Gyeongbokgung Palace is one of many places to visit on your first day

Before Korea became an empire in the 19th century, it was a kingdom with the longest-ruling dynasty, the Joseon Dynasty. The Joseon Dynasty ruled Korea for over five centuries and was responsible for moving its capital to Seoul.

The Joseon kings also built many incredible structures that praised their greatness and Korea's distinctive Asian architecture. Additionally, four of the five UNESCO Heritage Sites in Seoul are relics of the Joseon kings and queens.

On your first day in the city, you'll see some of these sites, like the Changdeokgung Palace. Other places to visit include Gyeongbokgung Palace and Jogyesa Temple. You'll also get to wander around a traditional Korean village and end the day with a fascinating ghost tour.

A temple with ornate patterns
Jogyesa Temple is thought to have been established in the 14th century

Jogyesa Temple

One of the best places to visit on this Seoul itinerary is Jogyesa Temple. The temple dates to the 14th century and is an important Buddhist temple in Seoul and South Korea as a whole. At the temple, you'll be able to admire its beautiful architecture and the colourful Matsya.

If you want to see this temple and others, you may want to opt for a temple tour. This excursion includes a trip to Jogyesa Temple as well as Gyeongbokgung Palace and the National Folk Museum of Korea.

An Asian-style temple building with red and green details
Gyeongbokgung Palace is a fantastic landmark to visit

Gyeongbokgung Palace

The first stop on your Seoul itinerary for 3 days is Gyeongbokgung Palace. This impressive palace compound, set in green gardens, served as the main palace for the Joseon Dynasty for about two centuries. The compound initially had over 300 buildings that needed about 2,000 members of staff to take care of them.

Today, visitors to this Asian landmark can see beautiful buildings, notable sculptures, and a couple of fascinating museums.

It is worth beginning your first day by watching the changing of the guard ceremony at Gyeongbokgung's main entrance. Here, you will also be able to see lots of beautifully-dressed women in traditional Korean dress known as the Hanbok.

If you are interested in learning more about the palace, you could also take a Gyeongbokgung Palace tour. This excursion includes a guided tour of the palace. You'll also be taken to Jogyesa Temple as well as the National Folk Museum of Korea, a shopping centre, and Namdaemun Market.

Small houses along a path with snow-covered mountains in the distance
Bukchon Hanok Village is a traditional Korean village that's interesting to explore

Bukchon Hanok Village

Instead of visiting two palaces back-to-back, check out Bukchon Hanok Village to break up your morning a little bit. This village is a traditional Korean village located on top of a hill. Conveniently, it is situated between three of today's sites, Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace, and Jongmyo Shrine.

As you explore the village, you will find many charming windy alleys and traditional Korean houses. Take your time wandering around this attraction that is a favourite among both locals and tourists!

You could also go on a Bukchon Hanok Village tour. Your guide will offer more information on the history of the area and take you to some hidden spots. This excursion also includes a guided tour of Gyeongbokgung Palace.

A small red temple surrounded by greenery
Changdeokgung Palace was constructed by Joseon dynasty kings

Changdeokgung Palace

Changdeokgung Palace is another example of the "Five Grand Palaces" that were built in Seoul by Joseon dynasty kings. It is often described as the most beautiful of all of Seoul's palaces and the most favoured by the Joseon princes.

The palace can be found in Jongno-gu Park - an area filled with many administrative and residential buildings, with Changdeokgung Palace somewhere in between. To explore the Palace and its famous Secret Gardens, you will need to book a Changdeokgung Palace tour with a guide.

National Palace Museum of Korea

Located right next to Changdeokgung Palace, the National Palace Museum of Korea is a must-see for all those interested in Korea's royal heritage. The Museum features about 40,000 artefacts from the Joseon Dynasty and the Korean Empire periods.

These artefacts include 14 of the National Treasures of Korea, such as the Golden and Bronze Statues. The Museum is also divided into a number of permanent exhibits and occasionally features special ones as well.

Are you looking to discover the National Palace Museum of Korea?

A small red temple with a black roof next to bare winter trees
Jongmyo Shrine is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Jongmyo Shrine

A short walk away from Changdeokgung Palace, you will find a neighbourhood park with another UNESCO Heritage Site in it, the Jongmyo Shrine. The Jongmyo Shrine is the oldest preserved Confucian shrine, having been established in the 14th century.

It was dedicated to the kings and queens of the Joseon Dynasty and is still currently being used for events and rituals. One of the most famous rituals it is used for is the Jongmyo Jerye, which involves ancient court music ('Jerye-ak') and a traditional dance performance ('Ilmu').

Seoul Ghost Tour

Seoul has a great nightlife scene, but you can also find some things to do that are more unique than going to a club or restaurant. For example, those interested in the paranormal can go on a ghost tour.

During this unique experience, your guide will take you to some of the most haunted areas in the city. At each stop, you can learn more about the spooky stories related to them. This ghostly sightseeing tour offers a memorable way to explore Seoul!

Taking Traditions to New Heights

A tower next to a smaller structure on a greenery-covered hill
You can go to Namsan Mountain and Namsan Seoul Tower on day two in Seoul

On day two in Seoul, you will visit a variety of sites, from parks to markets and traditional Korean villages. Your first stop on your second day in Seoul is Namsan Mountain, where you can go for a scenic walk and take in views of the city skyline. Next, you will see the city from up high by going to the observation deck at Namsan Seoul Tower.

For lunch, you will visit Namdaemun Market, where you can get delicious Korean street food. In the afternoon, you will wander around Namsangol Hanok Village and see the stunning Dongdaemun Design Plaza. Finally, your day will end in a unique way by going on a Korean cooking experience. You will visit a local market with your guide and learn how to cook traditional Korean dishes.

A park with an observation tower, greenery, and colourful flowers
Namsan Park is a scenic place to explore and features Namsan Seoul Tower

Namsan Mountain

After a first day spent familiarizing yourself with Korean royalty, it may be nice to spend some time connecting with Korean nature. You can do this by visiting Namsan Mountain.

Namsan Mountain, or Nam Mountain, is a 200-metre high peak in central Seoul. It offers hiking paths, picnic areas, and panoramic views of the downtown Seoul skyline.

Many residents feel that Nam Mountain is the most scenic place in Seoul. As you explore, don't forget to take lots of photos, especially of the skyline. There is also a cable car system here, the Namsan Cable Car.

An observation tower next to green trees and a clear blue sky
The N Seoul Tower features an observation deck with views over Seoul

Namsan Seoul Tower

If you're wondering what to do in Seoul for 3 days, a trip to N Seoul Tower, or Namsan Seoul Tower, has to be on your to-do list. The communication and observation tower is located right on top of Namsan Mountain. It is an iconic feature on the skyline and is also the highest point in Seoul.

The tower was built in 1971 to provide radio and TV to all Seoul's residents. Today, it is still used by major media networks in Korea. It also features an observation deck, where visitors can enjoy an expansive 360-degree view of the city.

Visitors can even dine at one of the tower's seven restaurants, where you can enjoy food and drinks with stunning views. Eateries include a French restaurant, those serving Korean dishes, and more!

Do you want to join a tour to explore the N Seoul Tower?

A colourful market with products and a South Korean flag on display
Namdaemun Market has stalls with clothing as well as many food vendors

Namdaemun Market

You can find an array of fantastic street markets in Seoul, like Namdaemun Market. The name of this traditional market comes from its location as it is right next to Namdaemun, which is a gate in the Fortress Wall of Seoul that used to serve as the city's main southern entrance.

Notably, Namdaemun Market is one of the oldest still-running markets in Seoul. It is also one of the city's largest markets. As you walk through Namdaemun Market, you can enjoy the atmosphere and will notice some elements that relate to the market's founding at the beginning of the 15th century.

Of course, you can also try some of the amazing Korean street food that Namdaemun offers. Dishes on offer include 'Kimchi Mandu,' Korea's take on Asian dumplings, and 'Kalguksu,' a Korean soup made with seafood broth and topped with hand-cut wheat noodles.

Those interested in exploring more food markets may want to book a private Seoul food tour. Your guide will take you to the best stalls at the city's top markets, many of which tourists don't know about.

A small Korean village with houses next to a more modern city
Namsangol Hanok Village has many buildings that resemble those from the Joseon Era

Namsangol Hanok Village

Namsangol Hanok Village is located in the northern corner of Namsan Park and is known as the "Village of Traditional Houses." Its name basically says it all; the buildings located in the area were restored, preserved, and furnished to resemble a village from the Joseon Era.

Visitors can take part in various activities here, experiencing for themselves what life in Korea was like during this period. For example, you can dress up like royalty for a couple of hours if you wish!

Again, you can book a guided tour around Namsangol Hanok Village if interested in learning more about the area.

Dongdaemun Design Plaza

Art and architecture enthusiasts will want to stop by Dongdaemun Design Plaza when in Seoul. The Dongdaemun Design Plaza is a stunning piece of architecture that was opened in 2014. Renowned architect Zaha Hadid designed the structure.

As you look around the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, you'll also see many art installations, and there are often galleries with unique art displays.

Korean Cooking Class

For dinner on your second day in Seoul, you'll attend a cooking class with a full-course meal. After getting ingredients at a nearby market, you'll learn how to make a variety of traditional Korean dishes. Things you may make include Bibimbap, Dakgalbi, and Doenjang Jjigae.

You'll also get to try some street food at the market and learn more overall about Korean cooking and culture. While there are many fantastic restaurants in Seoul to eat at, cooking delicious dishes with a local is much more memorable!

Han River's South Bank

A modern tower next to other city buildings under a blue sky with clouds
A trip to Lotte World Tower is on the itinerary for your last day in Seoul

On your last day in Seoul, you should check out the South Bank of the Han River, which features wealthy neighbourhoods, Buddhist temples, and world-class skyscrapers. The sites on day three are a little further apart, but there is a great variety of public transportation that can take you from one stop to the next in about ten to 15 minutes.

Places to visit on your last day in Seoul include Lotte World Tower and Bongeunsa Temple. You can also take a half-day trip to the interesting Joint Security Area in the DMZ before heading back to Seoul to wander around Olympic Park.

A street with a shop with polka dots on it next to a Korean flag and flowers
Apgujeong-dong is a popular shopping area with many stores and cafes

Apgujeong-dong (ApRodeo Street)

Apgujeong-dong is one of South Korea's most expensive neighbourhoods. It is filled with high-class department stores and famous name-brand shops.

You can also find many unique restaurants and coffee shops to stop at for food and drinks. If you are starting your day in this area, stopping at one of the local coffee shops for breakfast is a great idea.

After getting breakfast, you can explore the rest of the area. The most famous street in this neighbourhood is Apgujeong Rodeo Street, which symbolizes youth and trendiness in the city. You will definitely want to spend some time wandering along Apgujeong Rodeo Street when in Apgujeong-dong!

A stone statue next to a square and skyscrapers at sunset
The Bongeunsa Temple is another amazing temple to visit during your trip to Seoul

Bongeunsa Temple

Another can't-miss stop on this Seoul in 3 days itinerary is Bongeunsa Temple. Bongeunsa is a Buddhist temple that sits on the slope of Sudo Mountain. It has been around since the middle of the 8th century. Despite being mostly unused during the Joseon Era, it served as the main Buddhist temple from the mid-16th century to the mid-20th century.

Unfortunately, visitors today cannot admire its full glory as the Temple was severely destroyed by fires during the Korean Wars. However, Seoul's authorities are putting a lot of work into reconstructing this magnificent Temple, and the reconstruction itself is quite impressive!

Are you looking for an easy way to see Bongeunsa Temple, COEX North Gate?

Two small blue buildings with a soldier standing between them
The Joint Security Area sits on the border between South Korea and North Korea

Joint Security Area

The Joint Security Area and Demilitarized Zone is a one-of-a-kind place to visit when in South Korea. The area is the only place where military forces from South and North Korea stand face-to-face.

Tourists can see the area by booking a DMZ tour. This four-and-a-half-hour sightseeing tour will also take you to some other sites like Imjingak Pyeonghwa-Nuri Park, the Bridge of Freedom, and the Dora Observatory.

Your guide will also provide an array of information on all the areas you see, and you'll learn some unique facts about the Demilitarized Zone.

A tall mirrored tower next to other buildings and a lake
The Lotte World Tower has an observation deck and many other attractions

Lotte World Tower

You can't speak of Seoul's impressive growth and modernity without mentioning its tallest skyscraper, the Lotte World Tower. This interestingly-shaped building stands 555-metres tall over the capital. It was opened to the public in 2017 and is now the sixth-tallest skyscraper in the world.

Not only can you admire this landmark from street level, but you'll also find many attractions to check out within the tower. Seoul Sky, located on the top six floors of the structure, features an array of tourist attractions, such as the Sky Terrace and Sky Café.

There's even an art museum, the Lotte Museum of Art, and a cinema, concert hall, and shopping mall. No matter what you do in the tower, you will be able to admire stunning panoramic views of Seoul.

An arch-type structure next to a path and greenery
World Peace Gate is one of the attractions to see in Olympic Park

Olympic Park

Seoul Olympic Park was built to host the Summer Olympics in 1988. It features many sports facilities as well as an Olympics Museum.

It also has a sculpture park that has about 200 sculptures from around the world. Additionally, you can see the famous World Peace Gate, which was built to celebrate the peace and harmony of the Seoul Olympic Games.

All of these attractions are set in a serene and beautiful green park, which is surrounded by an ancient fortification - Mongchontoseong. Wandering around the park and enjoying the fresh air is a great way to unwind after a busy few days exploring the city.

In Conclusion

Seoul is an excellent destination to visit, with an array of things to do for all types of travelers. If you have some extra time in the city, you may also want to visit Myeong-dong, a shopping district that begins at Myeong-Dong Station.

The city is also incredibly easy to navigate, with many metro stations within the central part of the city. Taxis are available as well if you need to travel further distances.

Additionally, you could plan some day trips around this part of Asia. A few of the best places to visit include Nami Island, Seoraksan National Park, and Petite France. You could also check out Bukhansan National Park, which sits on the edge of central Seoul.

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Written by Loredana Elena

loredanaelena STAFF Since leaving Vancouver, Canada, in 2015, Loredana has visited numerous countries. She is currently based in London, UK, and enjoys exploring Europe with her camera. She is also passionate about mental and physical health (fitness) and photography.

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