Take your Seoul adventures to the next level! Discover hidden gems and iconic sights perfect for Instagram-worthy photos.

With the global rise in popularity of K-pop, K-dramas, and Korean cuisine, tourism in South Korea has skyrocketed. More than ever, people are making Seoul a bucket-list destination to experience the vast variety of experiences this city has to offer. With a blend of rich, traditional culture and futuristic technology, Seoul has something for everyone. 

The city of Seoul is a photographer’s haven. As well as the historical and modern buildings that can be found in plenty around the city, the streets offer a whole new realm of photographic possibilities when the sun sets. Adorning many buildings are beautiful neon lights with vibrant colours reflecting from every surface, offering you the chance to take photos all night long.

The capital is also incredibly mountainous, meaning that even landscape photographers will be able to enjoy themselves inside the city. It’s safe to say that there is something for everyone in Seoul, so let’s take a look at some of the most popular Instagram-worthy spots and even a few hidden gems. 

가자! — Gaja! — Let’s Go!

1. Gyeongbokgung Palace

At the heart of Seoul lies Gyeongbokgung Palace, the largest of the Five Grand Palaces built during the Joseon Dynasty. Travel back through time as you explore the grounds of this beautiful historical structure. Experience for yourself the changing of the guard ceremony that happens throughout the day, where the vibrant costumes and detailed choreography provide a memorable spectacle. It is just one of the many photo opportunities that can be captured in the palace.

Photography Tip: For the best lighting, aim for shots during golden hour where the glow of the sun bathes the palace in warm hues. Traditional Korean dresses, known as hanboks, may also be hired and will allow you to capture the rich culture of South Korea.

Seoul Instagram Spots You Shouldn't Miss | Skylum Blog(2)Gyeongbokgung Palace illuminated during golden hour

2. Bukchon Hanok Village

Nestled between Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung palaces, explore the quiet narrow alleys of Bukchon Hanok Village, a quaint village of traditional Korean houses known as hanoks. This area not only gives you a glimpse of the past but starkly contrasts the sleek skyscrapers. The beautifully preserved architecture in the village gives you respite from the hustle and bustle of the city, providing peace and quiet to enjoy photography. 

Photography Tip: Aim to arrive at sunrise, as during the day this area can become quite popular. Arriving as early as possible will allow you to capture the village’s narrow lanes free of crowds, and provide time to appreciate the intricate details of hanok designs.

Seoul Instagram Spots You Shouldn't Miss | Skylum Blog(3)Look for the intricate details of the hanoks and the colourful plants and flowers that are usually on display.

3. N Seoul Tower

Perched atop Namsan Mountain, N Seoul Tower combines as both a broadcasting tower and a vantage point offering panoramic views of the entire city. From the observation deck, you can take in the urban sprawl of Seoul, especially at night with the city lights offering a dazzling display.

Photography Tip: Bring a tripod to capture long-exposure shots so you can create stunning cityscapes with the city lights and traffic below creating intricate patterns.

Seoul Instagram Spots You Shouldn't Miss | Skylum Blog(4)N Seoul Tower pictured on the top of the mountain provides breathtaking views of Seoul.

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4. Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP)

Completely juxtapose your batch of traditional architecture shots with the spaceship-like design of the DDP. Created by renowned architect Zaha Hadid, the curvaceous metallic facade of this building is a hub for design, art, and technology, and provides excellent opportunities for architecture photographers. Exploring the DDP both inside and out is not to be missed.

Photography Tips: The DDP comes alive at night with a spectacular light show, thanks to the myriad of LEDs embedded in its walls. Make sure to visit both day and night for stunning dynamic shots. 

Seoul Instagram Spots You Shouldn't Miss | Skylum Blog(5)The design of DDP enables photographers to spend hours finding unique angles. 

5. Ihwa Mural Village

If your legs can handle more exploration after traversing the city, then Ihwa Mural Village is a must-visit on your itinerary. Nestled on a steep hillside, this charming village is a canvas of colourful murals and art installations. This location is perfect for art enthusiasts, who can spend a whole day discovering the vast amount of creative works on display. 

Photography Tips: Seek out the famous angel wings mural and the fish swimming upstairs for iconic shots. Just like the Bukchon Hanok Village, visit this area early in the morning or towards sunset to avoid mid-day crowds and the best lighting for your shots. Seoul Instagram Spots You Shouldn't Miss | Skylum Blog(6)Have fun discovering the many murals and art installations around Ihwa with friends!

Exclusive Peek: 3 South Korean Hidden Gems

1. Euljiro

Once the sun has set, head over to Euljiro for a large concentration of neon lights. Also an area for workshops, this area has steadily become one of the most popular places in the city for young people to enjoy drinks and food during the evening–so much so that it is now nicknamed “Hipjiro”. The maze of narrow alleys will keep you entertained for hours as you explore these neon-lit streets. Take care though, night photography can be tricky so be sure to read these tips for how to get the best shots in low-light conditions.

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Photography Tip: Who said it was unlucky if it rained during your vacation? You’re in for a treat if it rains in Seoul at night, the neon lights vibrantly reflect on the road's slick surfaces offering a visual spectacle and greatly enhancing your photos. So grab an umbrella and head out!Seoul Instagram Spots You Shouldn't Miss | Skylum Blog(7)Hopefully it rains when you’re in Seoul, and if so, head to Euljiro to see the lights reflect on the streets.

2. Haebangchon 

A quiet but lively neighbourhood with a thriving art scene, Haebangchon is a lesser-known side of Seoul to those visiting for the first time. Be warned, this area is extremely hilly, but that can only mean that it offers fantastic views of the city once you reach the top. Stationed just below N Seoul Tower you can add this to your itinerary to see both during the same day. With stunning views and interesting streets and marketplaces, Haebangchon can certainly be considered a hidden gem.

Photography Tip: This neighbourhood is worth seeing both day and night!Seoul Instagram Spots You Shouldn't Miss | Skylum Blog(8)Keep an eye out for the hidden alleyways of Haebangchon for interesting photo opportunities.

3. Inwangsan

When searching for mountains to hike in Seoul, Bukhansan Mountain often tops the list being the highest viewpoint in the city. However, Bukhansan can become incredibly crowded, especially during peak seasons during spring and fall, with long queues waiting to reach the top. Right beside it lies Inwangsan Mountain, a stellar alternative that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Offering stunning views of the city, the mountain is accompanied by the Seoul City Wall along its ridges. This defensive wall, constructed at the end of the 1300s, serves as an excellent feature for your shots, with the wall acting as a leading line to help merge landscapes and cityscapes seamlessly.

Photography Tip: While the golden hour is the prime time for landscape photography, Inwangsan also presents a unique opportunity for night hikes. The path along the Seoul City Wall is illuminated, allowing hikers to follow the path and be rewarded with breathtaking nightscape views of Seoul’s vibrant lights.Seoul Instagram Spots You Shouldn't Miss | Skylum Blog(9)It’s very easy to escape the city within the city! The mountains offer unique views blending landscape and cityscape photography. 

The Bottom Line

One of the best attributes of Seoul is that it’s an incredibly safe city, inviting endless exploration and spontaneous adventures. I often find myself choosing a direction to wander in or getting off the subway at a random station to discover hidden gems.

The city is full of stunning and popular tourist attractions which are a must-see, but getting off the beaten track will reveal treasures. From quaint coffee shops, and narrow streets to the many palaces and temples that call this amazing city home, Seoul has something for everyone.

Whether Seoul was already on your list of dream destinations or you’re now considering it more, be sure to bring your camera for the plethora of photographic possibilities that this incredible city has to offer.

Seoul Instagram Spots You Shouldn't Miss | Skylum Blog(10)

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