Seoul is an amazing city, it has a hybrid of modern and traditional culture from food to its architecture. Here is an outline of how you can see some of the best bits of Seoul in 5 days. This guide and itinerary are perfect for first-time visits on what to do, what to see and also what to eat!
Seoul in 5 days Itinerary Outline
- Hanbok Rental
- Gyeongbokgung Palace & Bukchon Hanok Village
- Joseon Gimbap
- Ikseon Goro – Icecream 익선 고로
- Photo Signature – Ikseon
- Wangbijib Jongno store
- Lotte World Adventure
- Lotte World Tower
- Seoulism 서울리즘
- Starfield COEX mall & Starfield Library
- Yeouido Hangang Park & Bike Rental
- Seoul Bamdokkaebi Night Market
- Greem Cafe
- Yonsei University
- Ewha Womens University
- Gyeongui Line Book Street
- Coconut Box
- Doma Korean BBQ
- Leeum Museum of Art
- Namsan Cable Car & N Seoul Tower
- Issac Toast & Coffee
- Myeongdong Cathedral
- Street Food Stalls
- Kyoja Main Store
- Café Hopping
- DDP (Dongdaemun Design Plaza)
- Bongeunsa Temple
- HiKR Ground
- National Museum of Korea
- Gwangjang Market
- Seoul Forest Park
Seoul in 5 days Itinerary - Day 1
Gyeongbokgung Palace & Bukchon Hanok Village & Hanbok Rental
First up starting the day bright and early to avoid the crowd. Visit the Gyeongbokgung Palace & Bukchon Hanok Village. Gyeongbokgung Palace is a beautiful and very grand palace with a huge courtyard for you to explore including a lake and a secret garden. I would recommend spending about 2 hours exploring both and even going to the Bukchon observatory if you get the chance.
The palace is closed on Tuesdays so do keep that in mind when planning and it is relatively cheap to enter and free if you’re wearing a hanbok.
Ikseon – Cheongsudang
Ikseon-dong otherwise known as the cafe and cutest area in Seoul. The place has the cutest cafés, dainty Hanok streets and tonnes of photo booths to take advantage of.
One of the most popular cafés is Cheongsudang which stands for “clear water room”. To get into the café you have to walk across a few stepping stones to enter a beautiful traditional style building. This place is busy for sure and has the rule that you have to get at least 1 drink per person to stay here. Being at this cafe felt like we were in the middle of a forest with bamboo around and a mini-ecosystem built into one of the tables. Definitely try any of the souffle if you’re here, it was warm and insanely fluffy.
Wangbijib Jongno store
After hangout out in Ikseon and looking for a hearty dinner, try one of the best KBBQs I have ever been to. Wangbijib is quite pricey in comparison to the other places in Seoul but it was worth the splurge for this one occasion. This place specialised in Galbi and the quality of the meat here is insane, the waiting staff cut and grill the food for you to make sure it’s cooked perfectly
Seoul in 5 days Itinerary - Day 2
Lotte World Adventure & Lotte World Tower
If you enjoy theme parks then Lotte World Adventure is not something to miss. The theme park is a hybrid between being one of the world’s largest indoor theme parks which and also having rides on a separate island. It is one of the most popular theme parks in Seoul and can get busy so avoid visiting on a public holiday or a weekend!
Seoul in 5 days Itinerary - Day 3
Starfield COEX mall & Starfield Library
One of the most Instagram-worthy libraries in the world. Starfield Library is a free-to-enter public library based in the centre of the underground COEX mall. You can come here and take a break, relax and read some books. Just a heads up there’s not much to do here so it can be a quick visit.
Yeouido Hangang Park & Bike Rental
Spend the rest of the day exploring this beautiful and spacious scenic park that is a hot spot for locals and tourists. There are so many things you can do here including going on cruise trips, renting bikes or even just renting mats and tables and getting street food whilst you listen to buskers.
Definitely one of the best things to do in Seoul South Korea. Perfect place to enjoy the sunset with food and an amazing view of the Han River and the iconic I Seoul U sign. They also have street food and ramen making station.
Seoul Bamdokkaebi Night Market
Finally, end the day at the Seoul Bamdokkaebi Night Market. Enjoy the buzzing night life and street food here and do keep in mind that this Market is only open Friday – Sunday from 5 pm to 10 pm.
Seoul in 5 days Itinerary - Day 4
Start off the morning with a cup of coffee at Greem Café also known as the 2D cafe in Mapo-Gu. Just be aware that this place is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays so plan this around your visits.
Greem also have a minimum order of 1 drink per person and I think that’s based on how popular this place is. When we visited it was early so the wait wasn’t too bad and we were able to take as many photos as we wanted and got to keep the photo coasters. The presentation of the food here is a 10/10 and the dessert wasn’t too sweet.
Yonsei University & Ewha Womens University
After breakfast/brunch, you can jump on the subway to Sinchon where you can visit Yonsei University & Ewha Womans University. These are two of the most prestigious universities in South Korea and both have really beautiful campuses. Full of greenery and gothic-style buildings which make it feel like you want to go to university again.
Definitely go through the front entrances as other exits have warnings not to go through as classes are still running. Also, keep in mind that there are a lot of hills and stairs so do wear comfortable shoes.
Gyeongui Line Book Street
Afterwards, make your way to Gyeongui Line Book Street which is a lovely small park where you can chill and relax and pop into any cafés nearby. This place is a great place to chill before hanging out and making your way to Hongdae in the evening where the place comes alive.
South Korea is known for this street fashion and skincare. If you’re looking to shop around Hongdae is a great place to hang out it is known as a bit of a hipster place. So they’ll be plenty of food and cafés that cater to tourists, street performers, karaoke bars and arcades.
Doma Korean BBQ
Doma is one of the popular KBBQ places in Hongdae for their premium quality meat so I would definitely recommend a visit but do keep in mind it does get really busy.
Seoul in 5 days Itinerary - Day 5
Leeum Museum of Art
Leeum Museum of Art is a bit out of the way (a 20min walk to Itewon), but great for all the museum lovers out there. The museum has a really nice mix of modern and contemporary art and is home to numerous traditional Korean art pieces. General entry to the museum is free to enter but they also do have exhibitions which you pay tickets for.
Namsan Cable Car & N Seoul Tower
You can take a bus and then the cable car up to the iconic N Seoul Tower which has been featured in a few Kdrama and is a great place to see a panoramic view of Seoul.
At the bottom of the tower, there is the Namsan Octagonal Square where you’ll see the Palgakjeong Pavilion, some performers and also the iconic love locks. The square in front of the tower is free to go to and then to go up the tower you’ll need to buy a ticket which you can do there.
Myeongdong & Myeongdong Cathedral
If you’re up for the walk – on the return of the cable car you can walk down some hills to Myeongdong. Myeongdong is an absolute must-visit if you’re planning a trip to Seoul. The streets are buzzing at night with people enjoying all the street food, skincare shopping and the wide variety of different restaurants out there.
Myeongdong Kyoja is a family-owned restaurant that has been open since 1966 with 2 branches in Myeongdong. The restaurant is famous because of the dumplings and is amazingly cheap for the great quality you’re getting. This place is even on the official Michelin guide!
Queue here can get extremely long but they have upstairs and downstairs seating. However, they are extremely efficient so the queue does go down quickly. I would say the wait for us was around 45mins.
Hope you enjoyed this first-time visitors guide to Seoul and do let me know if you have any other recommendations on what to do and where to go in Seoul.