There are a million different ways to enjoy 2 days in Seoul, so it can be hard planning a decent trip to this wonderful bustling Korean city. However, I’ve spent countless weekends enjoying the best sights and I feel pretty confident this is the only 2 days in Seoul itinerary any first timer needs! I recommend coming in the warmer months to enjoy the greenery and avoid the cold winters, but anytime of year in Seoul is lovely.
Seoul Itinerary Day 1
Gyeongbokgung Royal Palace, Cheonggyecheon Stream, Gwangju Traditional Market, Insadong Shopping Street
Day 1 is a jammed packed day filled with the key tourist attractions in the city. When done in this order, you can actually walk the entire route if you’re up for it! Just don’t forget your walking shoes.
Start your day off by walking, busing or taking a cab to Gyeongbokgung Palace. This is the largest and most popular palace to see in Seoul. Entrance is only 3,000 won / $2.50 USD and many people enjoy renting hanboks, Korean traditional dress, to wear around the palace for photos. The grounds are quite large and you can spend 1-2 hours exploring the area. The palace is open between 9 am – 6 pm.
After you’ve had your fill of the palace, walk straight out of the entrance along Sejong Daero to see the famous statue of King Sejong, an iconic historical figure in Korean history. He is revered by his people for the creation of the Korean alphabet. This street will lead you to the Cheonggyecheon Stream where you can walk along and enjoy the greenery and art murals. Continuing your stroll along the stream until you see signs for Gwangju Traditional Market.
Gwangjang Traditional Market
Gwangjang is one of the oldest traditional markets in Korea. It’s famous for its many food stalls selling dumpling soup (mandu-guk / 만둣국), build your own rice and veggie bowls (bibimbap / 비빔밥) and mung bean pancakes (bindaetteok / 빈대떡), which in my opinion are some of the best Korean foods. It’s a perfect place to stop in for lunch and to sample different traditional Korean goodies.
Insadong Shopping Street
After you’ve refueled with some fresh fruit juice and Korean snacks at Gwangjang market, it’s time to do some shopping! You can opt to walk the 30 minutes, about 1.5 km/1 mile, distance to the neighborhood or opt for a quick bus or taxi ride. I quite enjoy the walk if the weather is nice to see more of the city.
Insadong is home to traditional Korean shops and cafes. As mandated by law, all the shops must be written in Korean so it’s home to the only Starbucks in the world whose sign is not in English. Wander around the enjoy the various souvenir shops. I recommend stopping to watch the street vendors make King’s Candy and taking a rest at Insadong Chatjip Teahouse for a bit of traditional Korean tea.
Seoul Itinerary Day 2
Myeongdong Shopping Street, Trick Eye Museum + Caface, N Seoul Tower
With only two days in Seoul, you want to make sure you see the modern side of the city as well! Take a casual day enjoying the cute cafes and fun museums.
Brunch in Hongdae
Hongdae is the young and vibrant area of Seoul where college kids like to hang. Spend the morning having a delicious brunch at one of the many amazing brunch places in the city. I personally can’t recommend Grain enough, but there are plenty to choose from.
Trick Eye Museum
After you’ve had your fill of brunch, make your way to the Trick Eye Museum for a bit of photo fun! The entire museum is filled with optical illusions and 3D paintings that make your photos come to life. Entrance is 15,000 won / $13 USD and they are open between the hours of 9 am – 9 pm. The building is also home to a love museum and ice museum if you’re up for more fun and NSFW exhibits.
Located in the basement of the Trick Eye Museum, is one of the most unique cafes I have ever visited! Visitors come, take a selfie, and get their beautiful faces printed in the foam on top of their hot lattes. Their coffees are a little expensive, but your face is worth it! Korea is famous for their fun and wacky cafes, so this is an experience I definitely recommend.
After you’ve taken the time to snap your next social media post at the Trick Eye Museum and Caface, wander around the main shopping area of Hongdae and be sure to stop to marvel at the many singing, dancing and street performers in the neighborhood. Young Koreans come to show off their talents in hopes of being discovered or just to practice their craft. It’s so fun to watch!
Myeongdong Shopping Street
No two days in Seoul is complete without a visit to bustling Myeongdong Street. This area is home to tall buildings, countless neon signs and all of the best Korean street foods money can buy. I recommend trying the egg bread (gyeran-ppang / 계란빵) while you’re there – it’s one of my favorites! Stop for a Korean lunch or fill up on the street foods. Bring your shopping bags as well as this is the place for hip and cool new Korean trends and the best Korean souvenirs.
N Seoul Tower
Finish off your two days in Seoul by visiting the iconic N Seoul Tower. It’s located near Itaewon at the top of Namsan Mountain. You can choose to take the cable car up to the top or hike the 45 minutes up the never ending stairs. The cable car is a pretty cool experience, but there is almost always a very long line! I recommend skipping unless you’re ok with waiting or you get lucky and visit without crowds. At the top, you get a 360 degree view of the city.
Try to come in the evening and staying to see the sunrise. That way you get both views – the day and night. This tends to be the busiest time to visit, but in my opinion it’s worth it. Entrance to the tower is 10,000 won / $10 USD and they are open 10am – 11pm.
Where to Stay in Seoul
Myeongdong is probably the most central and tourist friendly place you can stay in the city. Prices for hotels and hostels will be a little bit more expensive than the other neighborhoods, but it shouldn’t be by too much! There are also plenty of restaurants and shops in this area to entertain you.
Hongdae is a bit more off the beaten track is a great place for a young and hip scene. This area is home to some of Seoul’s cutest and best cafes and shopping. I recommend for foodies and young budget travelers.
Itaewon is the international neighborhood home to all the international cuisine you could ever want. This area attracts expats and has some of the best nightlife and bars in the city. If you’re looking for a party or just a good drink, Itaewon is the place to be.
48 hours is really not much time to spend in a new place, but if you only have 2 days in Seoul, this is truly your perfect itinerary to see the best of the city! And to make the most of your 2 days in Seoul, come parpared with my top 20 travel tips for South Korea.
Originally from the states, Brit is an English teaching who has lived and taught in South Korea for the past two years. She loves hiking, photography and writing. She documents her favorite travel tips and guides on her travel blog at lifeofbrit.com. For more South Korea and Asia travel inspiration, check her out! Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.
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