11 Small Towns & Villages in South Korea for a Dreamy Rural Getaway

11 Small Towns & Villages in South Korea for a Dreamy Rural Getaway

Charming gems in South Korea you’ve probably never been to before!

Renowned as one of the top travel destinations in Asia, South Korea beckons with its iconic landmarks, delicious cuisine, as well as a bustling entertainment scene that attracts K-Pop and K-Drama fans worldwide. Nevertheless, beyond these, there’s a reason why the country is often called the “Land of the Morning Calm” — its breathtaking natural beauty and tranquil scenery! Aside from big cities like Busan and Seoul, there are many small towns and villages in South Korea worth visiting. 

For your next trip to this beautiful country, why not venture away from the mainstream routes, and explore hidden gems in the countryside? Here are some of the most enchanting small towns and villages in South Korea you should definitely check out!

Also read: 5D4N South Korea Itinerary for K-Drama Fans

Small towns and villages in South Korea nature enthusiasts will love

1. Ganghwa Island (Ganghwado)

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If you’re visiting in the warmer months, consider putting Ganghwado or Ganghwa Island on your list of must-visit villages in South Korea. Located in the northwest part of the country, Ganghwado is widely known for its picturesque landscapes and pre-historic buildings. 

If you visit during springtime, don’t miss out on the popular cherry blossom viewing and luge ride experience. On the other hand, if you happen to visit slightly earlier, you can also attend the Ganghwa Maehwa Festival which celebrates the blooming of the mesmerising Maehwa trees (aka plum blossoms)! 

For those who enjoy exploring the country’s rich history, visiting the Gochang, Hwasun and Ganghwa Dolmen Sites is a must. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where up to 1,000 dolmen (megalithic tombs) dating back to the seventh century BCE can be found. On the other hand, Jeondeungsa Temple, one of the oldest and most iconic Buddhist temples in South Korea, is also a popular attraction. Don’t miss out on Ganghwa Peace Observatory and Manghyangdae Pavilion, two scenic spots where you can catch a glimpse of North Korea, too!

2. Nami Island

villages in South Korea

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If you’ve been a long-time K-Drama fan, then Nami Island needs no introduction. This famous island was featured in numerous K-Dramas and movies, including the classic Winter Sonata. Nami Island is home to many tree-lined paths and gardens that boast pretty sceneries all year round. Some include the Ginkgo Tree Lane, the Maple Lane of True Love, and the Baekpungmilwon Maple Garden.

Of course, that’s not all. You can also visit the iconic Winter Sonata Statue, go on exciting rides at the Nami Island Zipline and Forest Adventure, or learn about traditional Korean culture at the Korean Folk Village. For couples visiting this stunning island, there’s also the romantic First Kiss Glass Sequoia Bridge

3. Damyang-gun (Damyang County)

villages in South Korea

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Damyang-gun or Damyang County is an ideal place in South Korea for a tranquil escape. Located in the Jeollanam-do (South Jeolla) Province, this town is famous for its breathtaking bamboo forests and cultural gems. For instance, Juknokwon, the country’s largest bamboo forest filled with towering bamboo trees and winding trails; and Soswaewon Garden, a well-preserved traditional Korean garden since the Joseon Dynasty. 

What’s more, Metasequoia-lined Road, an 8.5-kilometre-long boulevard with Metasequoia trees lined up on both sides is also another enchanting attraction well-loved by tourists and locals alike. To make your trip even more memorable, consider activities such as strawberry picking (available during springtime), or staying overnight in a traditional Korean hanok house in one of Damyang’s hanok villages.

4. Boseong-gun (Boseong County)

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Like Damyang-gun, Boseong-gun or Boseong County is another picturesque place perfect for a dreamy vacation. It’s also nestled in the Jeollanam-do (South Jeolla) Province, and is often referred to as the “Green Tea Capital of South Korea.” Given its reputation, it’s no wonder – this county is renowned for its captivating green tea fields and green tea farms.

Here, some of the most popular attractions include Daehan Dawon, the largest green tea plantation in Boseong-gun; Boseong Ganggol Traditional Village, a beautifully preserved village from the Joseon Dynasty; and Yulpo Beach, a panoramic beach with a backdrop of lush pine trees. Indulging in the finest tea amidst stunning landscapes — sounds like a long-awaited rejuvenating getaway! 

5. Gurye-gun (Gurye County)

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Another one of the best places to visit in the Jeollanam-do (South Jeolla) Province is Gurye-gun (Gurye County). This gem offers a blend of cultural heritage and enchanting natural beauty, ensuring a one-of-a-kind travel experience. Some of the most renowned locations, such as the Buddhist hermitage Saseongam Hermitage and the primary temple of Korean Buddhism, Hwaeomsa Temple, provide tourists with the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in nature while marvelling at the intricate architectural wonders.

There’s also Gurye Sansuyu Village, inviting you to delve into the cultural heritage of Gurye. Participate in workshops showcasing traditional crafts and enjoy cultural performances to enrich your experience! If you happen to visit during March or April (it varies between years), you might be able to join the Gurye Sansuyu Festival, a flower festival that celebrates the blooming of golden Sansuyu trees.

6. Namwon-si (Namwon)

villages in South Korea

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Namwon-si or Namwon is a small city situated outside of the iconic Jirisan National Park. While Namwon is a city, it presents visitors with a plethora of slow-paced recreational activities, including a serene tour of the Namwon Traditional Healing Village, a soak in the rejuvenating Namwon Hot Springs, and opportunities for hiking and biking in the charming Namwon Nature Recreation Forest.

In addition to the relaxing natural beauty, there are also other attractions where visitors can experience Namwon’s history and culture. For instance, Gwanghallu Pavilion, a pavilion constructed back in the 14th century; as well as Kim Byung Jong Art Museum, a museum housing both Korean and international artworks.

7. Sokcho-si (Sokcho)

villages in South Korea

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Any time is a good time for a trip to Sokcho-si (Sokcho), one of the most charming villages in South Korea. Home to some of the country’s top attractions, this vibrant city has something for everyone. For nature lovers, head to Seoraksan National Park, the pride of Sokcho, showcasing majestic mountains, cascading waterfalls, and tranquil temples like the popular Sinheungsa Temple. Alternatively, explore Sokcho Beach, a charming shoreline that looks additionally stunning during sunsets and offers a range of watersports, or unwind at the Cheoksan Hot Springs.

Also read: 10 Beaches in South Korea to Visit For a Fun-Filled Adventure

8. Mokpo-si (Mokpo)

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Make the most of your peaceful getaway by checking out Mokpo-si or Mokpo, a laidback city abundant with natural attractions and enjoyable things to do. Taking the Mokpo Marine Cable Car up to Yudal Mountain (Yudalsan) would definitely be the highlight of your trip here! Savour the breathtaking views of the city and ocean from the cable car. Upon reaching Yudal Mountain,  a plethora of attractions await your exploration, too!

Other popular attractions in Mokpo include the Gatbawi Rock, a natural sandstone formation that resembles a traditional Korean hat, and the Mokpo Bridge. What’s more, there’s also the Temple Stay program at Doseonsa Temple for those seeking a genuinely undisturbed experience.

9. Suncheon-si (Suncheon)

villages in South Korea

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Speaking of lesser-known yet serene cities and villages in South Korea, Suncheon-si (or Suncheon) undoubtedly deserves a spot on the list. It is home to the gorgeous Suncheon Bay National Garden, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve and South Korea’s very first national garden. Other attractions worth paying attention to include Naganeupseong Folk Village, a meticulously preserved walled town from the Joseon Dynasty, and Seonamsa Temple, a captivating Buddhist temple.

How about a deeper dive into the natural wonders? There’s the Suncheonman Bay Wetland Reserve, South Korea’s largest coastal wetland. This 8,772-acre huge wetland includes the unique tidal flats, Suncheon Mudflats. Here, you can watch mudflats transform from glistening mud under the sun to vibrant feeding grounds for birds during high tide, and say hi to various bird species and other marine species like mudskippers and crabs. 

For travellers who plan on visiting during springtime, explore the enchanting Dongchun River filled with a delightful display of cherry blossoms. Remember to get your camera ready and capture the most romantic moment!

Also read: 12 Beautiful Places in South Korea for a Romantic Getaway

10. Jinhae-gu

villages in South Korea

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For a truly rejuvenating and whimsical experience that caters to all types of travellers, a visit to Jinhae-gu in Changwon City is a must! This district is primarily famous for its annual cherry blossom festival, typically held from March to April every year. Additionally, the Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival is also the largest and most popular festival in South Korea to view the iconic blooms! Visit stunning places like Gyeonghwa Station (Cherry Blossom Road), Yeojwacheon Stream, and Jinhae NFRDI Environment Eco-Park to experience the ultimate beauty of the alluring pink cherry trees.

Of course, beyond the pink cherry flowers during springtime, Jinhae-gu welcomes visitors during the summer and autumn seasons as well. Indulge in fun water activities like swimming and kayaking at Hwamyeong Beach during summertime, while the vibrant fall foliage graces the aforementioned locations in autumn, too!

11. Buyeo-eup

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Buyeo or Buyeo-eup is an idyllic countryside town in South Chungcheong Province that is known for its rich cultural significance. Besides the must-visit Baekje Cultural Land, this small town is also home to lush green fields and the beautiful Baengmangang River. The best part? It’s the only place in South Korea where you can fly in a hot-air balloon! Read more about TripZilla’s one-day trip to Buyeo here.

Also read: My 5-Day Daejeon Itinerary (2023, With Photos)

There you have it: a list of alluring small towns and villages in South Korea awaiting your exploration. So, which one of these charming places excites you the most? Share with us your thoughts on our Facebook page and follow us for more travel guides!

About Author

Cecelia Chang
Cecelia Chang

Born in a new village in Selangor, Malaysia, Cecelia loves three things in life: Good food, good views, and good deals. She also enjoys exploring new places and experiencing new things on her travels.