These beautiful palaces In Seoul offer the perfect opportunity to explore cultural gems in from the Joseon era. Poised in the heart of this dynamic metropolis and capital of South Korea, they narrate tales of bygone days.
So, read more below and experience a taste of royalty in Seoul, South Korea at these incredible palaces for yourself.
CONTENTS – In this article, you will be introduced to some historical palaces in Seoul for your next Korean trip, including:
Best Places to Visit in Seoul to Feel Like a Joseon Royal
Seoul is a city in South Korea where futuristic technology coexists with a rich historical heritage. So, for history buffs and fans of historical Korean dramas, Seoul’s Joseon Era palaces are a must-visit.
These sites were once the epicenters of politics, fashion, and economy under the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1910). What’s more, the palaces have been beautifully restored and maintained.
If you want to step back in time and imagine life as a Joseon royalty, stop by these five palaces in Seoul when you visit the capital city. They’re well worth a place on your South Korea itinearay.
Let’s look at each.
1. Gyeongbokgung: The Jewel of Joseon Palaces
Gyeongbokgung, the oldest and most renowned of the Joseon palaces, dates back to the late 14th century. As the primary residence for Joseon royalty, this palace offers a glimpse into the grandeur of historical Korea.
Nestled against the backdrop of Seoul’s mountains, it features a breathtaking view from Gwanghwamun Square.
Explore its extensive grounds and don’t miss the free museum visit.
Besides, the changing of guards ceremony can easily be one of the highlights of your trip. It is truly a spectacle of living history in the palace’s central courtyard.
2. Deoksugung: A Palace at History’s Crossroads
Deoksugung, known for its smaller size but significant history, became a royal residence during the Imjin War after other palaces were damaged.
Its unique blend of traditional Korean and British-style architecture and gardens reflects a fascinating period of cultural exchange.
Moreover, it’s worth noting that this palace was featured in the widely popular television series “Mr. Sunshine.” This drama was set during the early 20th century, a period of great transition in Korean history.
Like Gyeongbokgung, Deoksugung is a popular tourist attraction in Seoul for its guard-changing ceremony and cultural events during Korean holidays like Chuseok.
Quick Tip: Visit the place at night because the local folklore about Deoksugung being haunted adds an intriguing layer to the experience.
3. Changdeokgung: A UNESCO Heritage Site
Changdeokgung is celebrated for its beautiful “Secret Garden” or Huwon, designed to harmonize with nature. This place was recognized as the primary palace for most of the 17th and 19th centuries. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1997.
You’ll especially love the garden, with its serene trees, flowers, and waterways.
Aside from serving as a peaceful escape from the city’s hustle, Huwon is also a prominent filming location for the historical drama “Moon Embracing the Sun.” The palace’s traditional architecture and natural beauty provided the perfect setting for this romance drama set in the Joseon period.
However, before your trip to Korea, remember to get a separate, timed-entry ticket for Huwon. The place can get crowded, especially during the popular spring and fall seasons.
4. Changgyeonggung: A Palace of Beauty and Tragedy
Changgyeonggung, characterized by 15th-century Joseon architecture with 20th-century styles, has a history marked by tragedy and transformation. Known for the tragic death of Crown Prince Sado, this place now attracts visitors to its historical buildings.
Besides, the palace is not all tragedy and death – it is also home to the country’s first Western-style greenhouse and botanical garden. What’s more, Changgyeonggung was featured in the drama “100 Days My Prince.”
This palace’s historical and aesthetic appeal added depth to the drama’s setting, which revolved around Joseon Era royalty and intrigue.
So, Changgyeonggung is definitely worth adding to your Korea trip itinerary.
5. Gyeonghuigung: The Hidden Gem
Gyeonghuigung, the youngest of the palaces, initially served as an extension to Deoksugung. Though much of the original complex is lost, it remains a lesser-known gem.
If you’re seeking a quieter experience when you visit South Korea, Gyeonghuigung is ideal for you. Located near the Seoul Museum of History, it offers a comprehensive look at the city’s evolution.
Feel Like a Joseon Royal When You Visit Seoul
Seoul’s Joseon Era palaces provide a unique window into Korea’s rich history, blending architectural beauty with tales of royalty and intrigue. Whether you’re a history lover or a Kdrama enthusiast, these palaces offer an unforgettable journey into the heart of traditional Korea.
However, if you want to fully immerse yourself in Seoul’s historical wonders, stay connected with an eSIM for Seoul. Having one ensures you can share your royal journey and navigate the city with ease. Perhaps you can even catch up on your favorite historical dramas after a day of palace hopping.
Where to Stay in Seoul, Korea (Interactive Map)
Or, you can use this full-featured interactive map to hone in on your preferences.
Tip: You can adjust the dates, budget, and filters, as well as zoom in/zoom out to narrow down your options. Adjust the filters to explore tours, restaurants, and other attractions here, too!
Final Thoughts on Palaces in Seoul
Embarking on a journey to unveil the beautiful palaces in Seoul is a testament to the city’s enduring charm. From the grandeur of Gyeongbokgung to the understated elegance of Changgyeonggung, each palace offers a unique tapestry of history, culture, and timeless allure. Be sure to include one or more on your Seoul itinerary.
About the Author: Jackie Gately
I'm Jackie Gately, your travel confidante and the creative force behind Enjoy Travel Life, awarded the "Best Casual-Luxury Lifestyle Blog (USA)" in Travel and Tourism by LUXlife Magazine for four consecutive years With 25 years of published expertise, I'm a seasoned writer, editor, and photographer curating inspiring travel guides and lifestyle tips for empty nesters. I hope to kindle your spirit of exploration, encouraging you to overcome obstacles and turn your dreams into reality. Learn to minimize your pre-travel angst and maximize the joy of exploration with insights from my experiences. Let's make every adventure a celebration of this exciting phase of life! Follow my social channels for more inspiration.
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