Korea has four seasons, with a wet monsoon/summer season in the middle of the year, and a cold winter from November to March. The island of Jeju off the southern coast is the warmest and wettest place in the country. The ideal time to visit Korea is during the autumn months (September-November). During this time, the country experiences warm, sunny weather, skies that are cobalt blue and spectacular foliage that is perhaps the biggest draw. Winters are cold and dry and are a good time to visit if you are interested in winter sports as there are numerous ski resorts. Spring (April-May) is also beautiful with all the cherry blossoms in bloom. However, it is very busy and one needs to book in advance to ensure accommodation is available. The summer months are muggy and hot, and rather crowded. It is also when the monsoon season begins so many activities are subject to the fluctuations of heavy rain.
Four Distinct Seasons
Korea's climate is regarded as a continental climate from a temperate standpoint and a monsoonal climate from a precipitation standpoint. The climate of Korea is characterized by four distinct seasons: spring, summer, fall, and winter.
Spring lasts from late March to early May. Temperatures are mild and pleasant. It is the ideal season to witness cherry blossoms, forsythia, azaleas, magnolias and lilacs blooming during the peak season between March and May.
The cold winds and freezing temperatures of winter have passed and spring is welcomed with a grand entrance. In Korea the average spring temperatures range from 5℃ right up to 20℃, and this warm weather sees wild flowers blooming all over the country. As the weather improves so do people’s spirits and springtime festivals are held throughout the country. There are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the good weather by participating in Korea’s flower, food, and culture festivals that are sure to enchant and inspire visitors.
Spring Flower Festivals Signal the Change of Seasons
Spring announces its arrival in Korea with a blanket of yellow and white blossoms spreading throughout the country. Cherry blossoms, apricot flowers, and cornus fruit trees bloom from the beginning of March when the air is still chilly. From mid-March the warm season sees a host of festivals take place in Korea where visitors can stroll amidst the glorious blossoming flowers and see the country at its best.
The hot months of summer last from June to early September. Half of the annual rainfall occurs during the monsoon season from late June to early July. Mid-July through mid-August is the hottest period and the most popular time for Koreans to go on vacation.
From June the temperatures start to climb in Korea, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun outdoors. Korea’s beaches offer visitors a chance to cool off, have fun in the water, and enjoy some beautiful scenery. Korea is surrounded by water and so there are plenty of good beaches to choose from. Visitors to the west coast can watch the sunset over the vast tidal flats, while on the east coast you can soak up the sun on dazzling white beaches. Jeju Island’s beaches even offer you a taste of tropical paradise.
High season for hitting the beaches in Korea is from early July to the end of August. During this time festivals are often held, and visitors can try out fun activities like water skiing or banana boats. Even during the off-season visitors can still enjoy the beautiful scenery of Korea’s beaches and visit other tourist attractions in the area.
Whether you want to swim, sunbathe, or watch an unforgettable sunrise, a trip to Korea’s beaches is a refreshing escape from everyday life. VisitKorea has prepared a guide to the best beaches in Korea.
* How to choose your perfect beach
Depending on where they are located, Korea’s seashores have distinctive characteristics. The East Sea has a fairly flat coastline, with clear, deep seawater.
These wide beaches have white sand, and visitors can enjoy a barefoot stroll or just relax on the warm soft sand.
The West Sea has a more rocky coastline, shallow seawater, and wide tidelands. Visitors can have fun discovering sea creatures on the seashore, and the area is famous for its beautiful sunsets.
Korea’s south sea contains countless islands with many beautiful beaches. Each of these beaches is different according to the characteristics of the islands on which they are located. Some of the most beautiful beaches can be found on Jeju Island, one of Korea’s most popular tourist destinations. The climate of Jeju Island is close to subtropical, so visitors will enjoy white sands, turquoise waters, and palm trees.
Lasting from September through November, the mild days of fall make it the most pleasant time of the year. The temperature varies greatly from day to night. The mountains, when blanketed with vivid golden and red autumnal leaves under the clear blue sky, are breathtaking.
Autumn Getaways - Recommended Travel Highlights For The Autumn Season
The roads leading to rivers, lakes, and seas always seem to be crowded with vacationers during the summer months. Yet, in the fall, the roads leading to the mountains become especially busy. Korea’s best autumn travel destinations are the mountains colored with autumn foliage. The skies turn cobalt blue and the leaves a deep crimson color creating a beautiful contrast. Although the leaves change their hues at slightly different times every year, it usually begins in the northern regions in late September and moves southward.
The best time to see the autumn leaves change color is from mid-October to mid-November. Koreans enjoy the autumn foliage during this particular time of year with their friends, families, and loved ones in the form of hiking trips. Then after taking in the beauty of the autumn scenery, they soak in some hot springs to finish off the day. Although this can be enjoyed all year round, the best time to visit the hot springs are during the fall and winter. The warmth of the hot springs in the chilly air offers an experience you don’t want to miss! The various minerals in the hot springs are good for both your general health and skin. Let’s take a journey to some of Korea’s best spots for checking out the fall colors and the most popular hot springs.
Korean winters last from December to early March and the weather is usually cold and dry. Heavy snow in the north and east makes for great skiing conditions.
Winter Getaways: Ski Resorts in Korea
Many of the ski resorts of Korea are scattered throughout Gangwon-do Province, the region that gets the most annual snowfall. However, skiers based in Seoul will be happy to know that there are a number of great ski facilities just past the city limits, allowing for quick, convenient ski trips during the weekend.
Most ski resorts are large leisure centers that offer pleasant accommodations and convenient facilites to visitors throughout the entire year. Of course, the most popular time to visit the resorts is during the peak ski season from mid-December to the end of February. During this time, prices for accommodations go up and rooms fill up fast, so visitors who are unable to get lodging within the resort complexes are advised to check out hotels, motels, or pensions (inns) in the surrounding area.
All of the resorts on our list offer both skiing and snowboarding, with new snowboarding facilities constantly being added to keep up with the increasing demand for this popular new sport. Skiing & boarding facilities at the resorts are usually open from mid-November/early December until March or April. During these times, Korea’s ski resorts become the nation’s vacation hotspots, attracting visitors from home and abroad to the pristine mountainsides for unforgettable wintertime fun, whether that be adrenaline-packed runs down the mountain, sledding with the kids, or long, luxurious soaks in slopeside hot tubs.
Winter Getaways: Spa Trips in Korea
If you are planning a trip to Korea this winter, the spa is definitely the best place to go. Spas are not only good for your physical health, but also for your mental health. Just by sitting in a hot spa, you can feel your body relax and all your troubles slowly slip away. Spa getaways are particularly popular among Koreans in the winter in order to relieve stress and keep skin from getting dry.
Korea is a spa paradise!
There are a wide variety of spa facilities throughout the country - from urban spas in convenient city locations to health spas for rejuvenating your mind and body; open-air spas overlooking majestic sunrises and sunsets; spa resorts where you can de-stress in a quiet, soothing environment; and, water amusement parks with a variety of fun water rides. Spas are located near almost every major tourist attraction, adding another unique and enjoyable element to your stay in Korea!