The Most Popular Cities in Gangwon Province: Highlights & Things to Do

The Most Popular Cities in Gangwon Province: Highlights & Things to Do

Gangwon is more than just a winter wonderland!

Psst, we’ve got a secret to share! Not many people know about this but Gangwon Province is actually one of the most beautiful destinations in South Korea! 

Found in the northeast of South Korea, Gangwon Province offers plenty of unique experiences. Be it stunning alpine scenery, coastal views, iconic K-drama locations, or delectable local cuisine, Gangwon has it all. 

What’s more, Gangwon Province is only a short distance away from Seoul. This makes it perfect for either a day trip or as a 3D2N excursion after exploring the capital city. The REAL question is: Which location in Gangwon should you visit first? 

There are a total of seven cities in Gangwon but Chuncheon, Gangneung, and Sokcho are the best starting points. Check out our guide on the most popular cities in Gangwon and things to do there! 


Chuncheon is one of the closest cities in Gangwon to Seoul. It is the capital city of the province and lies inland, smack dab in the middle of the country between the east and west coasts. It is one of the easiest cities to get to from Seoul and offers numerous amazing attractions. 

More importantly for foodies, it is also the “Birthplace of Dakgalbi”. Naturally, it is here where you can taste some of the finest Korean cuisine in the world! Before that though, let’s check out what’s fun in Chuncheon!

Nami Island

Nami island

Image credit: Pandora Voon

I’m pretty sure Nami Island needs no introduction. It is, after all, one of the most popular destinations in all of Korea. It lies 30 minutes away from the city centre of Chuncheon and is famous for being the filming location of the ever-popular Korean Drama, Winter Sonata

Beyond being a pilgrimage site for avid K-drama fans, Nami Island boasts some of the most scenic locations in Gangwon Province. Whether it be fiery autumn foliage, colourful cherry blossoms in spring or the whimsical ambience of a fairytale forest in winter, Nami Island provides plenty of Insta-worthy sights and photo opportunities. 

One of the best experiences on Nami Island is simply to enjoy the beautiful scenery. If you don’t feel like walking, you can also rent a bicycle and cycle along the romantic paths to your heart’s content. If you’d like to add a spike of adrenaline to your relaxing day, you can also zipline across to the island from the zip wire tower nearby! 

Soyanggang Skywalk

soyanggang cities in gangwon

Image credit: Gangwon Tourism Organisation

Speaking of an adrenaline rush, Chuncheon is one of the popular cities in Gangwon that offers memorable skywalks. Soyanggang Skywalk measures around 174 metres in length and holds the record as the longest glass structure in South Korea. 

This glass-bottom walkway is built over Ulamho Lake. For those who are brave enough to walk across the glass panels, an observation deck at the very end rewards you with truly incredible views and scenery. 

Our recommendation is that you save this particular item on your Gangwon itinerary for the night. That’s because once the sun sets, beautiful lights illuminate the sculptures by the lake. Not only will it provide a totally different experience, it is also infinitely more beautiful and romantic! 

Note: Because Soyanggang Skywalk is built atop a lake, accessibility is subject to weather conditions. On days with extremely strong winds, you may not be allowed to visit so do plan ahead to avoid disappointment! 

Cheongpyeongsa Temple

cheongpyongsa temple

Image credit: Cheongpyeongsa 

One of the key attractions that make South Korea such an iconic travel destination are its ancient temples. Chuncheon has no shortage of these heritage sites either! Cheongpyeongsa Temple, located on Obongsan Mountain, was built in 973 AD. That was during the reign of King Gwanjong, all the way back in the Goryeo Dynasty! 

Along with being an intriguing part of Gangwon’s history, Cheongpyeongsa Temple also offers some therapeutic sights and locations to explore. The temple gardens, especially, are quite popular during spring when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. 

Apart from that, visitors can also get an alluring view of Cheongpyeongsa Valley and Guseong Waterfall as they stroll about the area. All in all, this ancient temple not only represents a connection to Korea’s rich history, it is also a wonderful place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and be close to the sights and sounds of nature. 

Jade Garden

jade garden chuncheon

Image credit: Gangwon Tourism Organisation

On the subject of beautiful gardens, surely we mustn’t forget the ever-popular Jade Garden! Found in the heart of Chuncheon, the Jade Garden is modelled after famous European-style gardens and is a luxury arboretum that houses more than 3,000 species of flora! It’s no wonder it’s called Gangwon’s “Europe in the Forest”! 

Of course, with so many flowering plants, the best time to visit the Jade Garden is in spring when the flowers are in full bloom. There are 24 different thematic zones to discover and, as you walk along the tree-lined paths, you’ll feel as though you’ve been transported to a mesmerising floral wonderland! 

Apart from the colourful blooms, there is also a brick cottage that doubles up as a popular photography spot in the middle. In addition, you’ll also be able to sample a serving of the unique flower bibimbap at the on-site restaurant and sign up for gardening courses and experience programmes. 

Also read: Impressive Locations Across Gangwon Province to Admire Spring Flowers

Gugok Waterfalls

cities in gangwon

Image credit: Gangwon Tourism Office

A little further away from the city is the ambient Namsan-myeon area. There, you will find a modestly-sized nature recreation park that houses one of Chuncheon’s lesser-known attractions. 

The Gugok Waterfalls stand at a majestic height of 50m and is often a popular spot for locals to gather during summer. Located in a forested area, the cascading falls are surrounded by plenty of unique rock formations, including the famous Haneul Byeok Bawi Rock. 

In the summer, you can enjoy the view while digging into Sanchae Bibimbap (rice topped with mountain shoots) sold at a nearby restaurant. Paired with traditional makgeolli (rice wine) and it becomes a truly memorable experience. In the winter, those who enjoy a good adrenaline rush can attempt to climb the now-frozen waterfalls! 

Myeongdong Dakgalbi Street 

dakgalbi cities in gangwon

Image credit: Gangwon Tourism Organisation

Remember what we said earlier about Chuncheon being the “Birthplace of Dakgalbi”? Well, that’s because this famous Korean dish is said to have first appeared here! Since then, Chuncheon has become one of the most popular cities in Gangwon for foodies longing to try authentic Dakgalbi. 

If you’re wondering where exactly in Chuncheon you should head to for this popular dish, simply make your way to Myeongdong Dakgalbi Street! As the name suggests, this is the best place in Gangwon to try the beloved spicy stir-fried chicken dish. There is no shortage of Dakgalbi shops to choose from and all of them are just as good and competitively priced! 

In addition, you can finish your meal with another popular traditional Korean dish: Makguksu! 

Also read: Gangwon Food Map: Iconic Dishes Every Foodie Needs To Try


Apart from Chuncheon, Gangneung is another one of the most popular cities in Gangwon Province. Located near the eastern shore of the Korean peninsula, Gangneung is a relaxing coastal city that is most famous for fresh, delicious seafood. 

In terms of beautiful sights and places to visit, Gangneung has a multitude of beautiful beaches, enchanting pine forests, and breathtaking natural attractions. What’s more, locals also know it as the “Coffee Capital” of South Korea! 

Anmok Coffee Street

anmok beach gangwon

Image credit: Gangwon Tourism Organisation

Anmok Coffee Street is Gangneung’s beloved Coffee City. Found along the beautiful shore of Anmok Beach, Anmok Coffee Street is a mecca for all coffee lovers in Korea as well as caffeine-loving travellers. 

Here, you will find plenty of beautiful, Insta-worthy cafes. Most of them have a certain theme to the decor and feature tempting menus to satiate your appetite as well as your eyes. Some even boast incredible views of the beach, allowing you to sip on a cup of coffee while enjoying the gentle sea breeze at the same time. 

Such is the love for coffee in Gangneung that Anmok Coffee Street plays host to an annual coffee festival every October! Artisanal baristas take this opportunity to show their skills in coffee art and to introduce new brews to avid fans. If you love your coffee, this is definitely one event that needs to be on your calendar!

Gyeongpo Beach

gyeongpo beach

Image credit: Gangwon Tourism Organisation

One of the top beaches you have to visit in Gangneung is Gyeongpo Beach. Found between the East Sea and Gyeongpo Lake (itself a wonderful attraction), Gyeongpo Beach is the largest beach on the east coast, famous for its fine white sand and clear, shallow waters. 

It is especially popular during the summer months, where locals flock to the beach for a day out in the sun. But even beyond the sandy beaches, there’s plenty to explore. For one, the seaside pine forest provides a beautiful contrast to the shoreline, especially during the winter. 

Regardless of whether you like chilling on a summer day or exploring a whimsical pine forest, Gyeongpo Beach is one of the top places in Gangneung to chillax on any given day. 

Ojukheon House

gangwon cities

Image credit: Gangwon Tourism Organisation

Not far from Gyeongpo Beach is another popular tourist destination in Gangneung. In fact, this is one of the most significant locations in the entire province! 

Known as Ojukheon House, this historical building is where the Korean artist Shin Saimdang and her son, philosopher Yulgok Yi I, were born. In case you need more info, Shin Saimdang is the woman featured on the 50,000 Korean Won note!

Ojukheon House is the oldest preserved traditional Korean house (hanok) in the province. A visit to this storied building allows visitors to learn about the rich cultural history of Korea and to appreciate some of its oldest works of literary art. Some of the points of interest here at Yulgok Memorial Hall and the household shrine known as Munseongsa. 

Jumunjin Beach

jumunjin cities in gangwon

Image credit: Gangwon Tourism Organisation

Another popular beach in Gangneung is Jumunjin Beach. Unlike Gyeongpo Beach, this coastal attraction isn’t just famous for its sand and scenic views of the ocean. Rather, its biggest flex is that it is home to one of the most popular Korean drama filming locations in the country!

Jumunjin Breakwater is located towards the far end of the beach. Eagle-eyed fans of the drama Goblin (2016) will surely recognise this as the spot where the two main characters of the series first meet. 

Apart from Jumunjin Breakwater, you will also find what at first appears to be a misplaced bus stop. Fans of the popular K-Pop idol group BTS will know this as THE BTS Bus Stop which was featured as the cover of their You Never Walk Alone album. Needless to say, this is one of the most crowded areas on the beach. So, if you want to take a photo, you will most likely have to wait in line! 

Jeongdongjin Sunrise Park

Image credit: Serenesky

If you’re looking for a good place to get away from the noisy streets of Gangeung’s city centre, this is it. Jeongdongjin Sunrise Park is located 18km away from the bustling city and is reputed as one of the best places in South Korea to catch the sunrise. 

This is especially during New Year’s Day. It is somewhat of a tradition for locals to flock to this location to catch the first dawn of the year. It is said that this brings good fortune to the family for the rest of the year. 

Nearby, you will also find Hourglass Park, which features the largest hourglass in Korea. Don’t forget to stand next to it for a nice picture for the ‘Gram! 

Daegwallyeong Natural Recreation Forest

gangneung nature

Image credit: Gangwon Tourism Organisation

Gangneung’s Daegwallyeong Natural Recreation Forest is Korea’s first-ever recreational forest. It is home to Geumgang Pine Forest, one of the most beautiful forests in the entire country. We recommend visiting when it starts snowing in winter for an even more magical experience! 

The forest features plenty of mesmerising walking trails surrounded by stunning natural scenery and flanked by red pines that have existed for over 100 years! At the end of the trail, you will find an observatory near the top. There, you can enjoy panoramic views of the East Sea and Gangneung City. 

Gangneung Jungang Market

gangneung jungang market

Image credit: Gangwon Tourism Organisation

No trip to Gangneung can ever be complete without sampling some of the city’s famous seafood! And one of the best places to do exactly that is Gangneung Jungang Market. As the city’s representative market, this traditional market boasts over 40 years of history! 

More importantly, this is where to buy and taste some of the best street food in Gangneung. And, as you might expect, seafood is the go-to genre of culinary experiences here! That being said, we find the Dakgangjeong (Sweet and sour fried chicken) here to be just as tempting! 

Haslla Art World 

Haslla world

Image credit: Gangwon Tourism Organisation

If there’s one standout attraction in Gangneung that you won’t find anywhere else, it’s Haslla Art World! Basically, it is a unique cultural park that is located atop a cliff overlooking the East Sea. You’ll recognise it by the many sculptures scattered throughout the area. 

Here, you will find a museum showcasing incredible works of art by local artists as well as a hotel and wedding hall with stunning coastal views. What’s more, the popular Pinocchio Museum can also be found here and it will surely be a hit with children and the young at heart. 

All in all, Haslla Art World is a truly unique travel experience that art lovers cannot afford to miss! 


Sokcho is one of the more underrated cities in Gangwon Province. It lies in the very northeast section of the province and is famous for chilly winters and coastal vistas. While Sokcho may not be as famous as Chuncheon or Gangneung, it certainly houses its fair share of hidden gems. 

Let’s check them out now!

Seoraksan National Park

seoraksan cities in gangwon

Image credit: Mirko Blicke

Seoraksan is easily the most popular destination in Sokcho. In fact, you can even say it is one of the most well-known locations in the country! 

Seoraksan (or Seoraksan National Park) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that features a plethora of beautiful hiking trails. These trails often cut through verdant valleys and dense forests as you make your way up what is arguably one of South Korea’s most famous mountains. 

While Seoraksan features lovely scenery throughout the year, we would recommend visiting either in autumn or spring. After all, this is when the weather is perfect for a hike. What’s more, visiting during these times will allow you to admire either incredibly colourful flowers or stunning autumn foliage. 

Sinheungsa Temple

cities in gangwon

Image credit: Gangwon Tourism Organisation

Sinheungsa Temple is one of Sokcho’s most important historical sites. This Buddhist temple was founded all the way back in the Silla Dynasty by the Buddhist monk, Jajang. It is home to many cultural heritage sites. Among them are Geungnakbojeon Hall, and the Three-story Stone Pagoda at Hwangnyongsa Temple. 

For travellers who want to fully immerse themselves in a cultural experience, Sinheungsa Temple also offers a temple stay programme where you can experience life as a Buddhist monk. You’ll live, eat, and sleep like the monks do, waking up every morning to a serene ambience and experiencing the simple life. To me, that sounds like a dream! 

Fun fact: The original temple was actually severely damaged and the one that exists now is actually the result of restoration work carried out during the Joseon Dynasty. 

Sokcho Beach

sokcho beach

Image credit: Gangwon Tourism Organisation

Of course, when it comes to the most popular destination in Sokcho, it has to be Sokcho Beach. 

Sokcho Beach is most famous for its white sandy beaches as well as its awe-inspiring views of the East Sea. As you lay on the sand under the sand, why not order some chimaek (fried chicken and beer) to add to the experience?

What’s more, Sokcho Beach is also where visitors can access Oeongchi Badahyanggiro. What it is is a beautiful walkway that wraps around the cliff on the way to Oeongchihang Port. Along the way, you’ll be able to enjoy some incredible views that will make the short walk even more enjoyable! 

Sokcho Jungang Market

sokcho junggang market

Image credit: Gangwon Tourism Organisation

Sokcho is a city that is famous for seafood. And one of the best places to sample fresh seafood here is at Sokcho Jungang Market. Also known as Sokcho Tourist & Fishery Market, it houses some truly mouth-watering delicacies. We especially like the fried seafood twigim and dakgangjeong

Apart from filling your belly, there are also a handful of souvenirs that you can pick up here. Our advice is to look for traditional handmade souvenirs that you won’t find anywhere else! 

Want to know the best way to hop between the most popular cities in Gangwon? Look no further than the ever-convenient Gangwon Tourist Taxis! Offering a fun and pleasant way to explore Gangwon Province, Tourist Taxis are the best way to get around in the area, especially when travelling in small groups! 

Not only will you have the convenience of a personal chauffeur, you can also customise your journey with your own self-made itinerary! And, at an affordable rate of 20,000 KRW/three hours, it is easily one of the best transport options in the province! 


Bonus: Pyeongchang County

In addition to bustling cities, Gangwon is also home to some wonderful counties that boast one-of-a-kind attractions. While there are 11 counties in the province, the most popular one, especially among tourists, is Pyeongchang County. It is one of the best destinations in Gangwon to visit during winter. 

Alpensia Ski Resort and Yongpyong Resort

gangwon ski resort

Image credit: Republic of Korea

The reason why Pyeongchang County is generally known as a winter destination is because of its world-class ski resorts. Alpensia and Yongpyong are among the most famous ski resorts in the country and are one of the reasons why Gangwon is known as Korea’s ski paradise. 

Both resorts offer plenty of snowy scenery and ski trails that will make your blood pump. Of course, there are also other winter activities such as ice-skating and sledding to experience too!  As you board a ski lift to the slopes, you can take the opportunity to take in the whimsical alpine scenery. We guarantee that you’ll be extremely impressed by the view! 

What’s more, Yongpyong Ski Resort has also been featured in K-Dramas such as Winter Sonata and Goblin, a bonus point for Korean Drama fans! A newer attraction at Yongpyong is the hair-raising experience of Balwangsan Skywalk. 

yongpyong skywalk

Image credit: Gangwon Tourism Organisation

Built atop the majestic Balwang Mountains at 1,458m above sea level, the Skywalk is a glass-bottom bridge that allows you to walk among the clouds! At the end of the platform, you’ll be able to enjoy a panoramic view of the mountains which will give you an immense feeling of satisfaction. 

To get to the Skywalk, simply hop aboard the gondola at the base of the mountain. It is open throughout the year, even when skiing isn’t available at the resort. 

Daegwallyeong Pass

cities in gangwon

Image credit: Piotr P

However, a ski resort isn’t the only way to admire the alpine beauty of Pyeongchang. Daegwallyeong Pass is one of the most alluring alpine destinations in all of South Korea. Even on its own, it deserves a spot on any travel bucket list. 

Here, not only can visitors get lost in the beautiful sight of snow-capped mountains and magical winter scenery, but they can also interact with fluffy sheep at Samyang Ranch. Amidst the frolicking sheep, you’ll notice a few familiar-looking wind turbines in the background. Make no mistake about it, this is where BTS’s 2021 Winter Package was filmed! 

bts gangwon

Image credit: Weverse

In addition to beautiful scenery, Daegwallyeong Pass also plays host to the annual Daegwallyeong Snow Festival. During the festival, visitors can take part in competitions, participate in fun activities and simply enjoy a fun time with their family and friends. 

Woljeongsa Temple

woljeongsa temple

Image credit: Gangwon Tourism Organisation

Finally, located in a beautiful forest valley on Odaesan Mountain is one of our personal favourite locations in Gangwon Province: Woljeongsa Temple. 

Eagle-eyed fans may notice that this is another one of the prominent filming locations of Goblin but for us, it’s way more than that. As one of the important religious sites in Pyeongchang, Woljeongsa Temple houses plenty of religious and cultural attractions such as the Octagonal Nine-story Stone Pagoda and the famous Painting of Three Bodhisattvas.

cities in gangwon

Image credit: Gangwon Tourism Organisation

Outside the temple complex, there is a magical fir tree path leading towards the temple that is simply out-of-this-world when it snows in winter. On the other hand, when spring brings with it the blossoming of countless cherry blossom trees, making this truly one of the most beautiful locations in the area! 

And there you have it: A proper guide to the most popular cities in Gangwon! Whether it’s hunting down famous K-Drama filming locations, sampling authentic Korean food, skiing, or simply basking in the sun on the sandy beach, Gangwon’s beautiful cities have something to offer every type of traveller! 

So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your Gangwon escape now! 

Brought to you by Gangwon Tourism Organisation 

About Author

Darren Yeoh
Darren Yeoh

Darren enjoys the finer things in life and loves exploring unfamiliar places on foot, guided with nothing but instinct and a good-old fashioned map. He enjoys cultural experiences and exciting adventures and is not a stranger to travelling alone. When he's not putting his travel experiences into words, he's probably sitting behind his laptop, planning his upcoming adventure.