Signs and motorcycles in a quiet street in Busan, South Korea.

Three days in Busan: an itinerary for South Korea’s vibrant seaside city

Emily Adam

Contributing writer

Planning a trip to Busan? Here are our top picks...

Stay: Elmomento Gwangan

City tour: Small group 1-day tour

Experience: Hiking and rice wine tastings

Food tour: Korean cooking class in Haeundae

Day trip: Gyeongju UNESCO World Heritage site

Known for its lovely beaches, mouthwateringly fresh seafood, and beautiful temples, many fans would argue that Busan is an even better destination to visit than South Korea’s capital city Seoul.

Busan manages to strike the balance of modern city life and rich history and culture just perfectly. From scenic walks to exciting museums to great shopping and nightlife hubs, Busan has it all!

Aside from its stunning landscape, delicious cuisine, and convenient 24-hour culture, there is a great range of things to see and do in Busan.

How long should I spend in Busan?

Even though Busan is a large city with plenty to see and do, many people recommend spending less than a week here. That said, in order to travel at a comfortable pace, and not feel rushed off your feet, we recommend spending around a week here. This will give you the opportunity to do all of the sightseeing and shopping you hoped to, but also relax on the beaches and indulge in some delicious Bingsu.

If you’re visiting Busan for a short amount of time though, worry not! You can definitely make the most of the time you have in the city. For this reason, we’ve put together a short three-day itinerary, to help you make the most of your trip!

Public transport in Busan, like in Seoul, is fast and reliable, and for this reason, this itinerary has been put together based on convenient transport links and walkable areas, so you spend less time getting around, and more time enjoying the sights!

A panoramic view of Gwangalli Beach in Busan, South Korea

Day 1: Gwangalli Beach, Gamcheon Culture Village and Nampo

We recommend spending your first day in Busan visiting some of the most highly recommended tourist spots, including the stunning Gwangalli Beach, the infamous Gamcheon Culture Village, and the traditional markets of Nampo.

Gwangalli Beach

What better way to start your first morning in Busan than with a stroll along one of its most popular beaches? If your hotel doesn’t serve breakfast, one of the best ways to wake up is by grabbing a pastry and iced coffee from a nearby convenience store and enjoying your breakfast on the sands, looking out over the sea.

If you’re staying in Busan a little longer, we recommend visiting again at nighttime. Once the sun sets, you can enjoy stunning views of Gwangandaegyo Bridge which lights up at night time.

Visiting in the morning allows you to enjoy the soft sandy beach with fewer crowds, making it an excellent time for a quiet stroll, or, if you enjoy watersports, to catch a wave without facing the crowds that sometimes gather there in the afternoon.

The beach boasts access to drinking fountains, restrooms, and showers, as well as the Gwangalli Marine Sports Center, which opens at 9:30 am. Visit the sports centre to rent motor boats, banana boats, surfing and kayaking equipment.

From Gwangalli Beach, it’s easy to get to your next destination of the day, Gamcheon Culture Village, by both bus and subway. The easiest way is via a short 15-minute walk from the beach to Gwangan station (line 2), where you can take the train to Seomyeon. Then transfer to line 3, and take the train to Toseong station. From here, you can take a short bus ride or walk into Gamcheon Culture Village.

The colourful buildings of Gamcheon Culture Village in Busan, South Korea

Gamcheon Culture Village

This stunning village is truly a picturesque sight. With stunning murals lining the walls around the town, and colourful houses built in a staircase-fashion up the mountain, not only is it one of the country’s most picturesque man-made sights to see, but is also home to a few great tourist hot spots.

Nicknamed the “Machu Picchu of Busan”, it’s possible to spend hours here, getting lost in the winding streets and discovering vibrant murals and sculptures. Fans of ‘The Little Prince’ can visit the sculpture at the top of the village, where the Prince and the Fox sit together looking out over a sea of coloured houses.

There’s often a queue here to take pictures with the sculpture, so you may want to set aside some extra time if this is something you’re hoping to do. If you don’t get a chance to take a photo, worry not! There are a several shops in the area where you can buy a souvenir, many of which are Little Prince-themed!

It’s important to remain quiet and respectful whilst you explore the winding streets and steep hills of this village. Whilst it might look like something out of a fairytale, it’s still home to a number of South Koreans, and so keep them in mind when you’re passing by their houses.

There are also some great lunch options in the village, with a range of street food vendors amongst the souvenir shops. You can grab anything from ‘tornado potatoes’ to ice cream while you're here.

Or, if you have a little extra time to spare, there are also some gorgeous cafes to relax in which sit at the top of the village. Not only do they boast stunning themed interiors and delicious refreshing beverages, but many of them also have gorgeous, sweeping views of the colourful houses that sit below.

Vendors sell Korean food at famous Bupyeong Market in downtown Busan, South Korea.


Located a 15-minute bus ride from Gamcheon Culture Village is Nampo-Dong, known simply as ‘Nampo’ It is considered the ‘old downtown’ of Busan, and is a famous spot for its historical and traditional markets.

Gukje Market is a great place to shop for cheap souvenirs, clothes, and K-pop merch, and if you’re on the hunt for some fresh seafood, then the famous Jagalchi fish market is a great spot to visit. At many of the stalls in this market, you can purchase live seafood and have it prepared on-site, so you can eat it there and then!

If seafood isn’t your thing, be sure to head to Bupyeong market for dinner, where you can enjoy a selection of delicious street foods. The night market here is another remarkable experience.

Open between 7:30 pm and 11:30 pm, you can find a selection of small food trucks and vendors, serving up delicious treats such as grilled lobster, waffles, and beef pancakes (Yukjeon). Whilst there is no seating available, standing by the trucks to enjoy your food whilst deciding on the next delicacy to sample is all part of the experience! 

Some of the vendors at Bupyeong market sell handmade goods instead of food, so if you’re on the lookout for a unique souvenir, soap, candle, or piece of jewellery, you might just find something here!

A person walking in front of the majestic Bulguksa Temple in Gyeongju, South Korea

Day 2: History and Culture Tour & Seomyeon

South Korea is a country that is teeming with amazing history and culture, and no matter which city you choose to visit, you’re guaranteed to find one of Korea’s most unique historical landmarks not too far from the city.

For your second day in Busan, take a day trip out of the city to the nearby UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Gyeongju.

Gyeongju UNESCO World Heritage Guided Day Tour

Whilst it is possible to make your own way into Gyeongju, it can be incredibly difficult to see all the amazing sights there in a timely manner, as public transport times can be few and far between, depending on the routes you’re hoping to take. This can also be the more expensive way of seeing Gyeongju, so for this reason, we recommend taking a full-day tour from Busan.

Tours to Gyeongju typically include pick-ups and drop-offs in some of Busan’s most popular spots. You’ll want to set aside a whole day for this trip, as tours typically last between 10 and 12 hours.

This tour includes a visit to Bulguksa Temple, time for lunch at a local restaurant, Yangdong Folk Village, Daereungwon Royal Tomb, Donggung Palace, and Wolji Pond.

Opt for a drop-off in Seomyeon, so you can enjoy dinner in one of Busan’s liveliest areas before heading home.


Since the day trip finishes at night, what better place to get dropped off than at one of Busan’s greatest nightlife spots - Seomyeon!

Popular for shopping, bars, great food spots, and some great nightclubs, Seomyeon is the place to be if you’re a young tourist in Busan. Think of it as the equivalent of Hongdae in Seoul, it’s fresh, vibrant, and full of style!

Whether you want to grab some dinner and drinks, feast on Korean barbeque, or party until Sunrise, Seomyeon is the place to be!

View of Sinseon Rock, rocky and steep cliff and ocean at the Taejongdae Resort Park in Busan, South Korea.

Day 3: Taejongdae Resort Park & Haeundae

Your final day in Busan is a great opportunity to see some of the most popular areas, and take it easy (or live it up!) in the evening before your departure the day after.

Taejongdae Resort Park

If you’re looking for some scenic coastal bluffs and stunning lookout points in Busan, you’ll want to head to the amazing Taejeongdae Resort Park. 

Be sure to have a hearty breakfast before getting here, as you’ll spend the better part of your morning walking, hiking, and exploring!

The majority of Taejeongdae Park, located on the southern end of Yeongdo Island, is made up of stunning, luscious evergreen forest, and is home to a couple of stunning temples, so be sure to set aside plenty of time to explore this area if you’re a fan of nature. If you’re looking for the famous coastal views, however, you’ll want to head towards the Taejongdae Observatory and the Yeongdo Lighthouse.

If you want to explore the stunning park without walking too much, you can hop aboard one of the cute and colourful “Danubi trains” which stop at 3 of the park's most beautiful spots. Tickets for these are incredibly cheap, and in summer, they pass by the three stops every 20 minutes or so. If you’re visiting in winter, you may want to bring your hiking boots though, as the trains run less frequently, and can be cancelled in rainy or icy conditions.

Looking for an adventurous lunch? Head along the trail down the side of Yeongdo Lighthouse, where you can find a rocky platform, where a few tents sell local raw seafood dishes, including raw sea cucumbers and sea pineapples (meongge).

People walking on Haeundae Beach in Busan on a sunny day


After some exhilarating exploration in the morning, you’ll likely want to spend your afternoon soaking up the sunshine (if you’re visiting during the warmer months) and relaxing.

One of the best ways to relax in Busan is with a trip to Haeundae Beach!

If you’re visiting in late May or early June, you’ll be here just in time to see the Haeundae Sand Festival. Each year, huge sand castles are created by local artists, all adhering to a particular theme - whether it’s famous musicians, or beloved children's movies, these incredible artworks only last until the rain washes them away.

If you’re visiting during the later summer months, this is the best time to relax and play in the water. You can rent mats on the beach underneath a parasol if you intend on staying here for quite some time, and even rubber rings if you plan on going into the waves!

One of the best things on offer at this time of year though is the pat bingsu! Whilst there are plenty of restaurants and cafes nearby that sell variants of this delicious shaved ice desert, there’s nothing quite like having the most authentic version made right before your eyes by hand!

Once you’ve finished relaxing on the beach, hose off and head up the main street to find a delicious restaurant for dinner. Whether you’re craving Korean BBQ, Korean Fried Chicken, more fresh seafood, or other popular Korean dishes, there’s a great selection in the popular area surrounding Haeundae Beach.

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple at sunset in Busan, South Korea

If you have more time in Busan

Busan is teeming with great things to see and do, so if you have a little more time here, be sure to check out the following:

  • Haedong Yonggungsa Temple: Located on Busan’s East Coast is one of the most iconic landmarks - The temple by the sea. Here you can witness locals coming to say their prayers, and stunning views of fresh hydrangea and the temple overlooking the sea.

  • Take a cable car ride: Enjoy sweeping views of the sea down below as you travel to a 282-foot height on the Busan Cable Car experience. From here you can see many of the city's iconic landmarks such as Songdo Beach and Namhang Bridge.

  •  Take the Haeundae Beach train or Sky Capsule: Ride along this raised tram in a cute little train to enjoy scenic views of both Songjeong and Haeundae Beach. The ride lasts for 30 minutes and is a must-do for anyone who loves to see the sights in a unique and fun way!

  • Running Man Challenge: A must-do for fans of this popular Korean TV reality show, the Running Man Challenge includes missions and time-based races to enjoy over the span of an hour.

  • Sea Life Busan: If you’re an aquarium fan, Sea Life Busan is one of the country’s top aquariums. Home to over 10,000 ocean animals, you can experience feeding sharks and rays here too!

  • Shinsegae: Ever wanted to visit the largest department store in the world? Well, now you can! Holding the Guinness World Record at 3,163,000 square feet, this Shinsegae department store boasts luxury shopping, a Multiplex Cinema, an Ice Rink, a huge Starbucks, a Spa, and even an outdoor theme park located on the 9th floor!

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Emily Adam

Author - Emily Adam

Emily is a travel writer from the UK with a passion for exploring the world and experiencing the local foods, traditions, and history of the places she visits. Emily has a degree in Asia Pacific Studies and has studied and lived in Seoul and Busan in South Korea.

Growing up, Emily travelled annually with her family, typically to all-inclusive resorts around the world, and small Spanish seaside towns. Since then, she has travelled widely across Asia, the United States and Europe.

Last Updated 20 April 2024

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