Discovering the old and new in South Korea’s Seoul

Seeking an exciting destination brimming with unique experiences? A magnificent fusion of ancient culture and futuristic innovation, South Korea’s capital offers an unforgettable getaway for travellers. Want to see it all for yourselves? Get ready to explore spectacular Seoul…

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Changdeokgung Palaca, Seoul
Changdeokgung Palace is just one of five major palaces in Seoul

Uncover the city’s regal past

A destination steeped in history, Seoul offers plenty for both the culture-fiend and the history-buff. Here, you’ll find not one or two major palaces, but five: the Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung (pictured above), Changgyeonggung, Deoksugung palaces and the Jongmyo Shrine. All from the Joseon Dynasty (1392 to 1910), they’re a bit of a go-to for travellers but are well worth a visit.

The largest, Gyeongbokgung Palace attracts couples with its grandeur and incredible restored architecture. Don’t miss seeing one of the twice-daily changing of the royal guard ceremonies for a memorable experience. Also worth adding to the itinerary is joining the special ‘Moonlight Tour’ (April to October) at Changdeokgung Palace. Allowing couples to see the impressive monument illuminated in all its glory, it also includes the chance to see a brilliant cultural performance and enjoy a traditional Korean tea ceremony. 

Ikseon-dong, Seoul
Ikseon-dong is the city’s trendiest neighbourhood

Hit the pavement

Seoul isn’t a stranger to the weird and wonderful, and you’ll find plenty of both in the city’s neighbourhoods. A real hidden gem, Ikseon-dong (pictured above) in Seoul’s centre is where old-world charm and modern advancements meet. Navigate its labyrinth of alleyways and streets to discover quirky boutiques and cafes (coffee-lovers will be in their element here), plus trendy street-food outlets –there’s a reason why Ikseon-dong is known as Seoul’s trendiest neighbourhood.

About 25 minutes away, Itaewon also promises a fantastic day out. Easily Seoul’s most diverse and multicultural neighbourhood (more than 20,000 international residents live here), it’s a winner for art museums, nightlife and dining. Shopping more your thing? The ultimate Seoul spot for a little retail therapy, Myeong-dong nearby is renowned for its one-kilometre-long shopping street (the street-food here isn’t bad, either!). 

N Seoul Tower
Take in breathtaking city views from the N Seoul Tower

Tick it off the must-visit list

Can’t resist a landmark or two? Fit in time for visiting one of Seoul’s most prominent structures, the N Seoul Tower. Standing at 236-metres tall, it offers outstanding views of the city and its surrounds. There’s also a restaurant here if you fancy dinner with a sensational view.

If you haven’t yet had your fill of eyebrow-raising landmarks, check out the Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Dongdaemun’s centre. Designed by the acclaimed Zaha Hadid, the futuristic building is sure to impress Grand Designs fans!

Before you hop back on the plane, be sure to head along to one of the city’s newest attractions, Seoullo 7017. Similar to New York’s High Line, the marvellous landmark is basically an elevated park that’s been built over a former highway overpass. Stretching across a kilometre, it’s lined with 24,000 plants, creating a scene that’s uniquely beautiful – how very Seoul! 

Planning your next getaway? Find amazing destinations and accommodation here…

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