Seoul Itinerary: All the Best Places to Go for a 5-Day Trip!

Seoul Itinerary: All the Best Places to Go for a 5-Day Trip!

Because Seoul is always a good idea.

At this point, we’re probably way past explaining why we love travelling to South Korea. Really, what’s not to love — especially with its dazzling capital city? We wouldn’t be surprised if you already have a trip planned in the near future! And when it comes to planning your Seoul itinerary, 5 days is the recommended minimum (even more so if it’s your first visit).  

Spending at least five days in Seoul allows you enough time to take in the sights and sounds and get your travel budget’s worth. And yes, we’ve got you covered with this itinerary featuring all the best things to do, see, and experience! So, shall we begin? 

Also read: 26 Seoul Airbnb Stays in Popular Areas & Neighbourhoods

Summary of this Seoul itinerary for 5 days

  • First day: Gyeongbokgung Palace → Bukchon Hanok Village → Jogyesa Temple → Insadong → Cheonggyecheon → Dongdaemun Design Plaza
  • Second day: Gangnam → Myeongdong 
  • Third day: Seoul City Hall and Seoul Metropolitan Library → Ewha Womans University → Yeonnam-dong → Hongdae
  • Fourth day: Ihwa Mural Village → Naksan Park and Seoul City Wall → National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA Seoul) → Itaewon 
  • Fifth day: Seoullo 7017 → Lotte Mart Seoul Station → Culture Station Seoul 284 → Namsan Park

The ultimate 5D4N Seoul itinerary

Day 1 – Morning

Kick off your 5D4N Seoul itinerary by checking out the most touristy (albeit fascinating) attractions.

1. Gyeongbokgung Palace

Seoul itinerary 5 days

First stop: Gyeongbokgung Palace, or what’s arguably the most famous among all Seoul attractions. Built in 1395 by King Taejo, it’s the first and largest palace from the Joseon Dynasty. This was also around the time when Seoul (then known as Hanyang) became the new capital city. Fast forward to now, you’ll see ancient structures juxtaposed with skyscrapers in the background, which makes for an interesting view. 

Image credit: Soyoung Han

Gyeongbokgung has withstood the test of centuries, having been destroyed by Japanese invasions. Fortunately, the government invested a lot in its reconstruction and maintenance; from the splendid gardens to museums and other architectural marvels. In case you were wondering: this massive complex has a whopping 330 buildings and 5,792 rooms! While you’re at it, don’t forget to drop by the National Palace Museum of Korea and the National Folk Museum of Korea, which are also within the palace grounds. 

Also read: 10 Must-Visit Royal Palaces and Fortresses in South Korea

2. Bukchon Hanok Village

seoul itinerary

Image credit: William Warby

Want to feel like you’re in the Seoul of olden days? Head over to Bukchon Hanok Village, which is just a short walk from Gyeongbokgung. As you wander through the alleys of this enchanting neighbourhood, you’ll find many hanok (traditional Korean homes) — most of which are still lived-in. That said, remember not to be noisy or rowdy while you’re here. 

Image credit: Crystal Jo

On the flip side, there are a few hanoks that now serve as shops, restaurants, or galleries that’ll allow you to peek inside! It’s also quite the favourite photoshoot location among locals and tourists alike. So, if you’re feeling extra, you can rent a hanbok and pretend you’re in a historical K-drama

Also read: 20 Stunning Hanoks in South Korea You Can Book on Airbnb

Day 1 – Afternoon

3. Jogyesa Temple

seoul itinerary

Image credit: travel oriented

Buddhism is one of the main religions in South Korea, so it’s no wonder that there’s an abundance of Buddhist structures like shrines and pagodas. For a glimpse of most locals’ spiritual life, Jogyesa Temple is your best bet. Apart from being the centre of Korean Buddhism, the compound features a vibrant array of colours, intricate architecture, and trees that are over 500 years old! One would probably forget that it’s actually situated in one of Seoul’s bustling business districts. 

Image credit: Steve46814

Drop by their information centre, where there are English-speaking monks who’d be more than happy to educate you on the temple as well as the Jogye Order. If you’re up for further immersion in Jogye Buddhism, then you might want to consider their temple stay! While the program is for free, we definitely encourage donating whatever amount you can to these kind folks. 

4. Insadong

Insadong Street | Image credit: S h y numis

Just a few blocks away from Jogyesa is Insadong, where you’ll get your first dose of Seoul’s creative culture! This market district has a great balance of historic buildings and modern structures, with countless shops selling all sorts of traditional goods. That said, get ready for your first round of souvenir shopping here. But just a heads up: Most items are on the pricier side, so you might want to hold back a bit! 

Image credit: Katie Haugland Bowen

Stroll through its myriad alleys that feature galleries, antique shops, restaurants, and teahouses. For art enthusiasts, this is the best place to buy traditional Korean fine art like paintings, ceramics, and handicrafts. Meanwhile, Insadong Street (aka the area’s main street) has countless street food stalls when you’re craving a mid-afternoon snack or two. And if you’re lucky, you might even come across a lively dance performance by locals. 

Also read: 15 Unique Cafes in Seoul for Coffee, Brunch, & More!

Day 1 – Late afternoon to evening

5. Cheonggyecheon

Seoul itinerary 5 days

Image credit: Chris Putnam via Canva Pro

Cheonggyecheon, otherwise called the Cheonggye Stream, is ideal for a late afternoon stroll. Watch the colours of the sky change into gorgeous shades as the sun sets. This 11-kilometre stream runs through downtown and doubles as a recreational area. It’s also a great route to take for several Seoul attractions, if you’d like to avoid the traffic on the road above. 

Image credit: pat138241 via Canva Pro

Don’t miss Cheonggye Plaza, the starting point where you’ll find a two-tiered waterfall called Candlelight Fountain. It’s extra lovely at night with its multi-coloured lights! Though, if you’d like to see a lot of these stunning light fixtures, the best time to go would be in November for the Lantern Festival or in December for the Christmas Festival. Either way, it’s definitely a must-add stop to your Seoul itinerary for five days.

Also read: 8 ‘Futuristic’ Urban Parks in the World That Are Anything But Ordinary

6. Dongdaemun Design Plaza

Seoul itinerary 5 days

Image credit: LuquePark

Raring to see an architectural marvel from the current century? Look no further than Dongdaemun Design Plaza, or DDP for short. Designed by the famous Zaha Hadid, it carries a distinctively Neo-futuristic style with its very unusual shape amidst a sleek aluminium facade. By nighttime, the building itself transforms into an animated light show, so you might want to wait for that.

seoul itinerary

Image credit: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra

As one of the most famous Seoul attractions for all things design-related, DDP serves as the venue for various exhibitions, conferences, and fashion shows (Seoul Fashion Week anyone?). Aside from massive exhibition spaces, it also features retail stores, walkable parks on the roof, and even some parts of the historic Seoul City Wall! Pretty cool, right?

Also read: 15 Places in Seoul That You Can Visit For Free

Day 2 – Morning to mid-afternoon

On the second day of your Seoul itinerary for 5 days, let’s focus on two main areas: Gangnam and Myeongdong. Trust us, you’ll want to take your time exploring both of these!

7. Gangnam

Image credit: Terrazzo

Make your way to the other side of the Han River and into Gangnam, whose name translates to “south of the river.” Guess what you should do upon arriving at Gangnam Station Exit 5? Why, dance to that famous (and LSS-inducing) song Gangnam Style, of course! Okay, we’re half-kidding — you don’t have to do that, but it does make for a fun touristy experience! 

seoul itinerary

Sinsadong Garosu-gil Road | Image credit: Visit Seoul Official Website

We recommend allotting at least six hours to explore this upscale district, especially since it’s far from other places on your Seoul itinerary. Grab breakfast and coffee at one of the trendy cafes (some are even run by designers!) on Sinsadong Garosu-gil. Afterwards, proceed to Apgujeong Rodeo Street for some luxury shopping. 

Skincare junkies, on the other hand, might want to book a treatment at Sulwhasoo Spa inside the brand’s flagship store. It’s also just a few blocks from Apgujeong Rodeo Street.

Seoul itinerary 5 days

Starfield Library in Starfield COEX Mall | Image credit: rawkkim

If you like having more options, there’s Starfield COEX Mall. This shopping centre boasts an aquarium, a giant library, and even a kimchi museum! With over 300 establishments scattered throughout four storeys, it’s the largest underground mall in Asia. 

For the travelling hallyu fanK-Star Road is a must-visit. This star-studded street is lined with buildings housing entertainment companies, as well as life-size toy statues representing iconic K-pop groups. The latter is collectively called Gangnamdol, a portmanteau of “Gangnam” and “idol.”

Alternatively, you can spend most of the day in Lotte World. This massive complex is home to the world’s largest indoor theme park, as well as an observation tower, an outdoor amusement park, sports facilities, and more.  

However, if you’d like a quiet park for some natural scenery, then we recommend Jamwon Han River Park. It is especially lovely in autumn with its pink muhly grass

Also read: 15 South Korea Theme Parks & Amusement Parks Worth Visiting

Day 2 – Late afternoon to evening

8. Myeongdong

Image credit: Starcevic via Canva Pro

Welcome to the famous Myeongdong, your last stop for today’s Seoul itinerary! Explore a neon maze of countless stores brimming with vibrant energy and aroma of mouth-watering food. Coming here is like stepping into an electro-pop music video or an Asian rom-com (whichever floats your boat). Either way, it’s definitely one of the most exciting areas to visit during your five days in Seoul — especially on weekends.

After a tiring day, we’re sure you’re probably famished. How about feasting on Korean fried chicken and beer? You can check out our top picks here. There’s also a lot of street food to try, such as tteokbokki, mandu, odeng, pajeon, cheese tteok-kocchi, and more! (Feel free to Google and drool.)

Image credit: Marcy Miniano

As for shopping, well, one look and you just might feel dizzy (in a good way!) from all the options. From big brands to indie boutiques, K-beauty finds to quirky cartoon items; it’s practically impossible to leave empty-handed! And if you ever need to take a breather from all that walking and browsing around, you can always stop by a cafe for a cuppa or two. 

Also read: 10 Tips for Shopping in Seoul, According to Frequent Travellers

Day 3 – Morning

Make the most out of your third day by adding the most visually fascinating spots to your Seoul itinerary for 5 days. From stunning contemporary architecture to trendy neighbourhoods, this day is all about taking lots of shots worthy of a thousand Instagram likes.

9. Seoul City Hall and Seoul Metropolitan Library

Image credit: NicolasMcComber via Canva Pro

We bet you haven’t seen a government complex as cool as the Seoul City Hall! A fine example of the old embracing the new, it features a wave-like glass structure towering above the classic Imperial Crown-style building, which was the original city hall. Now, the latter serves as the Seoul Metropolitan Library, while the former houses the metropolitan government.

Inside this new city hall, you’ll find a spectacular vertical garden that spans seven floors and carries over 65,000 plants! How cool is that? 

Also read: 12 Most Amazing Buildings in Seoul

10. Ewha Womans University

seoul itinerary

Image credit: Farrel Nobel

In all honesty, wonderful college campuses are far and many in South Korea. But if you only had to pick one for your Seoul itinerary for five days, then Ewha Womans University is your best bet. Make sure to stop by Ewha Campus Complex: an avant-garde building designed by Dominique Perrault: the same architect who designed the famous French National Library!

Also read: 5 Prettiest Universities in Seoul That Will Make You Want to Study There

Day 3 – Afternoon

11. Yeonnam-dong

Seoul itinerary 5 days

Gyeongui Line Book Street | Image credit: Visit Korea Official Website

Spend lunchtime and the rest of the afternoon in Yeonnam-dong: a burgeoning neighbourhood catered towards the city’s cool 20-something crowd. It’s located in Mapo-gu and is a few blocks from the more popular Hongdae area (more on that in a bit). Explore its alleyways filled with chic dining spots, artisan boutiques, indie bookshops, galleries, and more.

Feel free to take a breather in Gyeongui Line Forest Park, where you can people-watch while enjoying the lush scenery. You can also have a picnic here by taking out food and drinks from a nearby cafe or restaurant. Speaking of which, make sure to drop by Greem Cafe (formerly called Cafe Yeonnam-dong 223-14): a unique coffee shop with 2-D optical illusions! 

As for bibliophiles, an absolute must-visit would be Gyeongui Line Book Street. This cultural oasis stretches over six kilometres on the site of abandoned railroad tracks. Here, you can expect a fine selection of bookshops and public art installations that you can spend all afternoon admiring. 

Day 3 – Evening

12. Hongdae

seoul itinerary

Image credit: Patrick

Few other Seoul attractions pulsate with as much youthful energy as Hongdae. We recommend this especially for travellers on the younger (or young-at-heart) side — but hey, don’t let us stop you! The place derives its name from the nearby Hongik University; Hongdae is a combination of Hongik and daehag (the Korean word for “university”).

While you’re here, why not indulge in juicy, high-quality yet affordable meats? We’re obviously talking about K-BBQ! Among the crowd favourites are Piggy Bank Stone Grill, Dwe-ji-sang-hwe, and  Doma Korean BBQ. Afterwards, walk to Eoulmadang-ro (or Eoulmadang Street) for amazing street performances ranging from dancing to live music. 

Image credit: Ken Eckert

Cap off your day by experiencing the nightlife in Hongdae! Compared to the bars and clubs in other party districts, the ones here have cheaper drinks. But if that’s not your thing, there are other equally fun alternatives like noraebang (karaoke), cosy dessert cafes, and even more street food in the area. You can also check out Hongdae Shopping Street, where you can score unique vintage finds you won’t find anywhere else! 

TripZilla Tip: Bookmark this Korean clothing size guide for when you go shopping, especially in small boutiques. 

Day 4 – Morning to noon

Spend the second-to-the-last day of your Seoul itinerary further immersing in the city’s history and culture. Visit heritage sites and museums that’ll take you through various decades (or centuries, even). Afterwards, go on and let loose with a fun evening; you deserve it!    

13.  Ihwa Mural Village

How about starting your day by visiting a lesser-known gem like Ihwa Mural Village? Situated in the northern part of Seoul, this hillside neighbourhood has plenty of spots here to take cute photos for your ’Gram! Decorating this place are works by local artists, from vibrant murals on walls and staircases to mosaics and sculptures. 

However, similar to Bukchon Hanok Village, this is mainly a residential area. So, remember to minimise your noise and be considerate of the locals living here. 

Also read: 15 Underrated Places in South Korea That You Should Experience

14. Naksan Park and Seoul City Wall

Image credit: kamponwarit via Canva Pro

From Ihwa Mural Village, take a short walk to Naksan Park, where you can walk a portion of the Seoul City Wall. Here, you can learn more about the different phases of the wall’s construction that took place across several centuries. Not to mention, the gorgeous panoramas of the city will leave you in awe. 

You can either explore the entire Naksan Mountain Trail (which will take about an hour) or simply hang out at the viewing point. Either way, nature lovers and history geeks alike should certainly add this to their Seoul itinerary for 5 days!

Fun fact: Naksan Park also served as a filming location in the popular ’00s K-drama, The Heirs.  

Day 4 – Mid-afternoon

15. National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art

seoul itinerary

Image credit: Marcy Miniano

The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art actually has four locations around South Korea, but the one in Jongno-gu (otherwise called MMCA Seoul) is the newest. It’s by far one of the more underrated places to visit during your five days in Seoul. Oh, and here’s a fun fact: It used to be the Defense Security Command compound!

seoul itinerary

Image credit: Marcy Miniano

MMCA Seoul has a total of six floors showcasing the best of both Korean and international contemporary art. Not to be outdone, the architecture is also a sight to behold; a fascinating blend of 20th-century Modernist and Brick Expressionism. What makes it extra interesting is that it’s a contemporary structure nestled somewhere between the more traditional Gyeongbokgung Palace and Bukchon Hanok Village. 

Note: Wondering why it looks familiar? You’ve probably seen it on the hit K-drama, What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim? (BRB — ’bout to find a PSJ lookalike amongst the galleries.) 

Day 4 – Evening

16. Itaewon

Even before it catapulted to mainstream popularity thanks to that hit K-drama, Itaewon was already known as the city’s most diverse area. Add this multicultural mecca to your Seoul itinerary and experience the cosmopolitan dining and party scene on your last night!

For Korean cuisine with specialised international fusion, check out Midnight Bistro Jubari Project. Craving good ol’ brisket? Manimal Smokehouse is the way to go. Of course, Itaewon also has halal restaurants wherein most of the chefs are actually expats from Middle Eastern countries! We recommend Petra Palace and Kervan Turkish Restaurant, for starters. And if it isn’t obvious, these are just some of the many exciting food options here!

As for the nightlife, start your club-hopping at Club Made and Cakeshop: two of the local crowd faves. However, if you prefer to have a quiet time over craft cocktails at a rooftop bar, head over to Privilege Rooftop Bar. There’s also All That Jazz, aka South Korea’s oldest jazz bar, which is a great spot for a nightcap! 

Oh, and if you’re ever visiting Seoul in October, don’t miss out on the Itaewon Global Village Festival. There, you’ll get to see various exhibitions, cultural activities, food pop-ups, and perhaps even a surprise performance from top K-pop artists!

Day 5 – Morning to mid-afternoon

For your last day, how about filling your Seoul itinerary with a nature spot and a bit more shopping and sightseeing? Oh, and if you spent the previous night partying — better cure that hangover first thing in the morning!

17. Seoullo 7017

Image credit: GoranQ via Canva Pro

Take a scenic morning stroll along Seoullo 7017, a former road overpass turned futuristic pedestrian walkway. It was built in 1970 and then repurposed in 2017, hence the name. Apart from urban gardens, you’ll also find several cafes where you can have breakfast while gazing at the cityscape. From here, your next stop is less than a 10-minute way away!

18. Lotte Mart Seoul Station

Image credit: Lerk

Just so we’re clear: Lotte Mart is totally different from the aforementioned Lotte World, okay? Oh, and for this Seoul travel itinerary, we’re talking about the branch in Seoul Station. Now that we got those cleared, let us say that it has one of the coolest supermarkets ever for souvenir shopping! Aside from food and drinks, you can also score other high-quality goods like clothes, shoes, electronics, homeware, and more. 

And the best part? They offer tax refunds, EMS international delivery, and even locker service! The latter is especially convenient when you’re planning to explore a few more spots before leaving for the airport. And in this case — yes, you will.

19. Culture Station Seoul 284

Right next to the current Seoul Station is the site of the old one: Culture Station Seoul 284. A fine example of adaptive reuse, this grand historic building was converted into a cultural hub in 2011. It currently serves as a multipurpose space for various events showcasing South Korea’s traditional and contemporary art forms. Think creative exhibitions, workshops, cultural performances, and more. 

There are also occasional interactive installations, which is surely a plus for those travelling with kids! Oh, and did we mention that entrance here is free? 

Day 5 – Late afternoon

20. Namsan Park

seoul itinerary 5 days

Image credit: Jordi Sanchez

Cap off your five days in Seoul by basking in the scenery of Namsan Park! It’s the largest one in the city, where you’ll find a variety of flora and fauna as well as idyllic walking trails. There’s even a Cherry Blossom Path during spring, specifically in April. Nonetheless, the park is just as marvellous during other seasons. 

Image credit: Kokkai Ng via Canva Pro

The main event, however, is the N Seoul Tower. As the name suggests, it offers panoramic views of the city! You can take a cable car to get to the top of the hill, or climb up the stone stairs. Don’t worry, it’s a fairly easy hike and the views along the trail make it worth the effort. The sunset scene from here is all kinds of breathtaking, as you watch the dazzling city lights go up. 

Also read: Seoul Cherry Blossom Season Guide: Everything You Need to Know for Your Trip

Doesn’t this Seoul itinerary for five days make you want to book a flight ASAP? 

In the meantime, how about brushing up on your basic Korean skills to make your future trip smoother? If you’re travelling on a budget, make sure to check out our top tips here. Don’t forget to read up on the do’s and don’ts before your trip (whenever that is)! 

Featured image credit: Soyoung Han | Unsplash

About Author

Marcy Miniano
Marcy Miniano

A fast-talking caffeine-dependent wordsmith, Marcy has never been one to shy away from sharing a good story or two. If she’s not in a quiet coffee shop somewhere, she enjoys spending afternoons in a museum or art gallery — whether it’s around Metro Manila or a foreign city she’s visiting. She wishes to retire in a winter village someday, so she can fulfil her lifelong dream of wearing turtlenecks all year round and owning a pet penguin.