10 Winter Festivals to Get Out of the House For!

Winter is quickly approaching. The breezes are becoming chillier and the fashionable light weather jackets are being swapped for parkas and snug coats just a few weeks after autumn graced the peninsula. The colorful leaves will soon be on the ground and though the scenery will change dramatically along with the weather, there is still lots to get out of the house to do in Korea. From celebrations of snow, ice and lights lights lights, there’s plenty to see and do! Don’t miss out and plan ahead to enjoy this winter at some great festivals.

(This page contains affiliate links. That means if you click on them and purchase something, I will get a percentage of the transaction to keep up this blog and maybe if there’s a little extra to buy a bottle of red wine to go with dinner. Thanks for the support!)

1. Herb Island Lighting Festival (허브아일랜드 가을불빛동화축제)

Herb Island Lighting FestivalNovember 1, 2014 ~ April 31, 2015

Where: Pocheon-si, Gyeonggi-do (경기도 포천시 신북면 청신로947번길 35)

Looking for the perfect place to get into the holiday spirit with twinkling lights and Santa Claus images? Here’s the place. The botanical garden and herb museum on the grounds are worth a visit in their own right, but in the winter they dazzle up the place with lights lights and more lights. The area is also host to pensions and a spa and would be a great place to enjoy a leisurely weekend away.

2. Yeongdong Dried Persimmon Festival (영동곶감축제)

Yeongdong Dried Persimmons FestivalThe website currently says ‘during the month of December’. Check back for more information.

Where: Yeongdong-gun, Chungcheongbuk-do (충청북도 영동군 영동읍 성안길 11)

The ‘Holy Land of Fruit’ offers what is probably the last fruit festival of the year. This local produce festival gives visitors a good ‘ole down on the farm feel celebrating the persimmons famous in the region as well as pyogo mushrooms, walnuts and chestnuts. Expect to chow down on some good eats made from the produce and take in some cultural performances. Other activities include peeling persimmons and jam making as well as a foot bath in persimmon leaves. This is the place to get your townie fun on with some delicious local food.

3. The Garden of Morning Calm Lighting Festival (오색별빛정원전)

Garden of the Morning Calm Lighting FestivalDecember 5, 2014 ~ March 15, 2015

Where: Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do (경기도 가평군 상면 축령로45번길 49)

It is the biggest festival of lights in Korea and it’s sure to get you into the holiday spirit. Take a trip to the Garden of the Morning Calm and bask in the rays of the 30,000 lights that twinkle away in the brisk night air. The lights are lit from 5:30PM to 8:00PM everyday and extended to 11:00PM on Saturdays.

4. Busan Port Lighting Festival (부산항빛축제)

Busan Lighting FestivalDecember 26, 2014 ~ January 4, 2015

Where: Songdo Beach, Jung-gu, Busan (부산광역시 중구 용두산길 37-55)

Performances, lights and experience programs grace the port area of Busan for just a short time and though most people head down south when the whether is warmer, the city is vibrant and beautiful in the winter as well. Usually the temperatures are just a bit warmer than Seoul and if that’s not reason enough to head south, there are even hot air balloon rides at this festival. Don’t miss out on a great time to head to Busan this winter.

5. Gyeongpo Sunrise Festival (경포 해돋이축제)

Gangneung Sunrise FestivalDecember 31, 2014 ~ January 1, 2015

Where: Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do (강원도 강릉시 경포로 365)

Not only is Gyeongpo a gorgeous beach in the summer, in the winter it offers beautiful views of the sunrise. Traditionally, New Years is celebrated by welcoming the coming year by basking in the rays of the first sunrise on January 1st. If you haven’t been out to Gangneung yet, this is a great opportunity to celebrate the New Year Korean style as well as enjoy some of the areas other treats from their specialty tofu to their gramophone museum.

6. Homigot Sunrise Festival (호미곶 한민족 해맞이축전)

Homigot Sunrise FestivalDecember 31, 2014 ~ January 1, 2015

Where: Pohang-si, Gyeongsangbuk-go (경상북도 포항시 남구 호미곶면 대보리 225-2)

Homigot is a bit more famous for their sunrise festival as it is located on the easternmost point of the Korean peninsula and as such is the first place to spot the sunrise. Cultural performances, fire shows and a concert at sunrise are just a few of the many performances to enjoy at this late night, early morning festival.

7. Surak Ice Festival (대둔산 수락계곡 얼음축제)

Surak Valley Ice FestivalUsually during the month of January. Check the website for updated details.

Where: Nonsan-si, Chungcheongnam-do (충청남도 논산시 벌곡면 수락리)

Ice can be fun as long as you’re not walking down the street slipping and sliding here in there. In the Surak Valley visitors can participate in everything from ice sledding, mini-bobsledding, playing in igloos and sliding down ice slides to enjoying ice sculptures, snow sculptures and more. Open everyday from 10:00AM to 5:00PM and extended on Friday and Saturday evenings to 9:00PM, the area will provide plenty of fun and picture taking opportunities surrounded by beautiful ice.

8. Jirisan Namwon Baraebong Snowflake Festival (지리산 남원 바래봉 눈축제)

Jirisan Snow FestivalUsually during the month of January. Check the website for updated details.

Where: Namwon-si, Jeollabuk-do (전라북도 남원시 운봉읍 바래봉길 247-9)

Lasting for around 50 days, the Herb Valley and the Baraebong Peak in Namwon offer spectacular snow covered fields for picturesque views and the festival doesn’t short on activities to partake in. From snow sledding and snowman making to kite flying and snow ball fights, there’s plenty to do and see.

9. Hwacheon Mountain Trout Festival (화천산천어축제)

Hwacheon Trout FestivalJanuary 10, 2015 ~ February 1, 2015

Where: Hwacheon, Gangwon-do (강원도 화천군 화천천 및 3개읍면 일원)

Promoted as the largest winter festival in the nation, this festival encompasses activities that occur in five different villages and offers everything from ice fishing the common way and ice fishing with your bare hands as well as other fun winter time sports and activities. Oh, and don’t just catch the fish and toss ’em back. Staff is on hand to help you take the fish you either catch with a pole or with your hands to a nearby grill where you can cook them up and eat them until you’re full.

10. Taebaek Mountain Snow Festival (태백산눈축제)

Taebaeksan Snow FestivalJanuary 23, 2015~ February 1, 2015

Where: Taebaek-si, Gangwon-do

One big highlight at this festival are the large snow sculptures that sit looking down on the visitors as they take a jaunt up into the nearby mountain range. Sledding, beautiful scenery in a snow covered forest and traditional performances are just some of what you can expect to see here.



 Images in this post are from the linked websites for the festivals.

Facebook Comments

You may also like...

4 Responses

  1. Thanks for sharing these!! We normally become hermits during the cold months, but have been looking for some reasons to leave the comforts of our warm apartment. We’ve also heard of the Boseong Light Festival here in the south (Jeollanamdo) where they string lights over all of the tea fields for Christmas!

    • Hallie says:

      I’ve heard of that one as well. I have yet to get down there for it or even get down to the green tea fields in any other season which I hear are worth a visit anytime really. I hope you guys get out and about. I think you’ll enjoy the weather down there better than the weather up here in Seoul so you may manage to get out more than you think. ^^

  2. Thank you, looking forward to trying some of these!

  1. December 18, 2014

    […] the rest of the list, head over to The Soul of Seoul and plan now to get out and about this […]

What do you think?