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Finding Nature in Your City: Seoul

Exploring ways to connect with nature around the world’s largest cities

The city of Seoul is located on the banks of Han River in northern area of South Korea. The first settlement began around 4000 BC and today is home to more than 10 million people. Even with this many people, there are some wonderful nature areas around Seoul that allow you to connect with nature.

Where man and nature meet in the city of Seoul. © Adobe

Seoul City Wall

The Unesco World Heritage city wall surrounds much of central Seoul and allows visitors to access excellent views whilst exploring the mountains. The wall was originally built in 1396 and weaves it way in an 18.6km ring around Seoul over the peaks of Bukaksan, Naksan, Namsan and Inwangsan. It is possible to hike the entire wall and learn about the history of Seoul and this stunning structure.

Seoul Botanical Gardens

Situated between Dobongsan and Suraksan Mountains is the Seoul Iris Garden (also known as the Seoul Botantical Garden) The garden is approximately 52,000 square metres and boosts stunning displays of many of the world’s flowers and plants. The gardens feature an Iris Garden with over 130 different species of irises, a medicinal plant garden and also a wetland park area.

Seoul Forest and a friendly inhabitant Photo Credit:Sabrinadai

Seoul Forest

Seoul Forest is a series of parks situated in the centre of Seoul across an area of 595,000 square metres. The forest had previously served as a royal hunting ground, but in more recent years has been converted as a space for the people of Seoul. One area of the natural space is the Eco Forest which is a natural habitat areas for all types of wildlife including deer, elks, chipmunks, ducks and many more species.

 Endless green wilderness on Gwanaksan Mountain © Pixabay

Gwanaksan Mountain

Since being designated as a city natural park in 1968, Gwanaksan Mountain is a popular place for Seoul citizens to visit to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Featuring many rocky peaks, deep gorges and hiking trails, this area features lush forests and spectacular cherry blossoms.

Achasan Mountain 

Surrounded by pine trees, Achasan Mountain provides an excellent way to connect with nature with many trails that weave across the historic range. There are many excellent vantage points along the walking trails and also numerous ruins along the way.

Spectacular views over the city of Seoul. © Pixabay

Bukhansan National Park

With an area of 80km square, Bukhansan National Park is situated in close proximity to the city of Seoul and provides excellent access to a wide range of flora and fauna nestled amongst the beautiful gorges and granite peaks. One of the flagship species of the area is the Great Spotted Woodpecker that is recognised as a natural monument. There are many hiking trails that can be easily completed within a day and provide walkers with the opportunity to connect with nature.

Chiak National Park

Designated a national park in 1984, Chiak National Park incorporating Chiak Mountain provides nature lovers with magnificently deep valleys and towering mountains. Featuring several waterfalls and as spectacular forest of ancient pine trees, Chiak National Park also offers overnight camo sites for those wanting to wake up in nature.

Stunning scenery around Daechung Lake. © Pixabay

Daechung Lake

Less than 2 hours drive by car from Seoul, Daechung Lake is a man made lake and recreational park with over 220km of walking trails. Home to hundreds of species of birds and also hosting a migratory bird population in Summer, the area provides excellent recreational activities and opportunities to explore the surrounding mountains.