If you’re a fan of Korean culture, we bet you’ve heard about Busan.
But what about its close neighbor, Geoje? This city located just off the coast of Busan is a beautiful hidden gem chock-full of gorgeous sights, fun experiences, and warm locals!
If you’ve never heard of Geoje, then you’re in for a treat because we’ll tell you exactly why you will fall in love with this alluring collection of islands. Curious to know more? Then just keep on reading!
Is Geoje worth visiting?
Geoje City is made up of several islands, the largest of which is Geoje Island. The city is located in the South Gyeongsang province near the southernmost point of the country. The name has a pretty interesting backstory, as Geoje actually means “the great rescue” in Korean!
Geoje has a long history, stretching back thousands of years. While it used to be a strategic place for warfare back in ancient times, now it stands as an underrated tourist destination filled with both incredible natural wonders and sites imbued with deep history.
Here in Geoje, there are views you’ll never see anywhere else in the world. There’s also tons of fun activities you can enjoy with the whole family–like island-hopping, snorkeling, and more. Get ready to be charmed by this lovely little group of islands as we list down 20 of the things you can do right here at Geoje!
The 20 best things to do in Geoje
1. Have A Photoshoot At Windy Hill
Up first we have one of the most popular spots in Geoje–and for good reason! Windy Hill is a unique place where you can see how the East meets the West in architecture. Dojangpo, the fishing village where this is located, is so small and quaint that you wouldn’t realize such an amazing structure can be found here.
But up here on Windy Hill, it’s like a different world. The gorgeous brick windmill will make you feel like you’ve traveled all the way to the Netherlands. Set against lush green fields and a cerulean blue ocean, the whole ensemble is just picture-perfect.
We especially recommend visiting during springtime, when the entire landscape is covered in bright camellia blossoms that will instantly perk you up the moment you see them.
This part of Korea can also get pretty hot, especially during summer, but don’t worry because this place isn’t called “Windy Hill” for nothing! It’s become a favorite among both tourists and locals for providing a cooling sea breeze even during the hottest of summer days.
For its picturesque beauty and charm, Windy Hill has become the location for many K-Dramas like Eve’s Garden and Merry-Go-Round. Variety show fans would also recognize this place from an episode of 2 Days & 1 Night!
Exact Location: Windy Hill
2. Relive Your Fairy Tales At Maemiseong Castle
Castles are no longer just a thing from fantasy novels or medieval Europe. In fact, you can find a castle right here on Geoje Island!
Maemiseong Castle, also known as the Cicadaseong Fortress, is a huge castle-like structure that draws a lot of visitors–both tourists and locals! But the origins of this castle are actually pretty interesting. Even though it looks like it was built way back in medieval times, it was actually only constructed in the 2000s!
And the most amazing part? It was built alone by the local Baek Soon-Sam–all without a single blueprint or a helping hand! The amazing design and fortitude of the structure will make you think that a whole team was behind its construction. It’s amazing to think that all this was born because a man simply wanted to protect his crops from natural disasters
Maemiseong Fortress is a wall that was built alone by citizen Baek Soon-sam to protect crops from natural disasters, who lost arable land to Typhoon Maemi in 2003. Repeatedly stacking square stones near the beach and filling them with cement has now become a castle reminiscent of medieval times in Europe. Its scale and design are so great that it is hard to believe that it was built without a single blueprint.
Get ready to relive your wildest fantasies as you explore the castle and take photos in front of the majestic structure. We recommend getting here early, as lines can get too long later in the day!
Exact Location: Maemiseong Castle
3. Go Sightseeing At Sinseondae Observatory
Geoje is an island full of natural wonders, and what better way to see these than from on top of a hill?
The Sinseondae Observatory is one of the best places to get a view of the fantastic rock formations against the coast of the island. The gorgeous views are beautiful year-round and no matter the time of the day. The bright blue waves crashing against the shore has formed amazing rock art over the years, and it’s still a sight to see to this day.
“Sinseon” actually means “supernatural beings.” This area was named that way because it was believed that mythical beings often came here to frolic and enjoy the beauty of the place. And indeed, it will definitely feel extraordinary when you come here!
Because of its sheer beauty and accessibility, Sinseondae Observatory has also become a favorite in the entertainment industry. Several memorable commercials, dramas, and movies were filmed here, including The Big Swindle and The Windmill Palm Grove.
Exact Location: Sinseondae Observatory
4. Have a Picnic At Mundong Waterfall
Geoje also has its very own waterfalls! Mundong Waterfall is often small and humble, but after a night of heavy rain, it can become pretty majestic.
Located above the Mundong Reservoir, this place is full of lush greenery and unique animals that the whole family will have fun spotting. Don’t worry if you’re not much of a hiker either, as the road to Mundong Waterfall is well-paved and completely safe.
Enjoy the wide variety of trails in the area, or just choose a place to settle down and have a picnic with your loved ones. You can bring your own food, or get some from the nearby shops! Mundong Waterfall is a lovely little site that’s perfect for some quality time and family bonding.
Exact Location: Mundong Waterfall
5. Take A Dip At Hakdong Mongdol Beach
Geoje is rich in beaches, and one of its most unique ones is Hakdong Mongdol Beach! Instead of sand, the shores of Hakdong Mongdol Beach is decorated with tons of pitch-black pebbles. They’re even called “black pearls” by the locals who all adore this beach!
Hakdong Mongdol is the largest gravel beach in all of Korea. It’s well-loved by both tourists from all over the world, and locals who often spend their weekends here to relax and enjoy the view with their families. Locals especially love it here as Koreans are known to pay great attention to their health. Walking on these pebbles is known to stimulate certain acupressure points on the soles of your feet, which can improve your blood circulation.
Of course, no beach trip is complete without some good seafood! Thankfully, there are plenty of amazing sashimi and seafood restaurants here at Hakdong Mongdol. If you’re a big nature lover, then we really recommend visiting from Spring to Summer.
In Spring, the beautiful wildflowers bloom along the coast, giving the whole place a sweet and romantic atmosphere that’s perfect for couples. Meanwhile, visiting during Summer means you might get to encounter the colorful Pitta birds who often pass by this area! These unique and adorable birds will definitely make your trip more memorable.
Exact Location: Hakdong Mongdol Beach
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6. Have An Adventure At Maengjongjuk Theme Park
When we think of theme parks, we usually think of those heart-racing rides that only the most courageous and thrill-seeking dare to ride. But what about the kind of theme park that makes your heart rate slow down instead of speeding up? What about a theme park that’s all about making you relax?
Maengjongjuk Theme Park is exactly that kind of unique place! The theme park was designed to help guests get in touch with nature and relax through a uniquely planned attraction that features unique maengjongjuk bamboo. It’s a type of bamboo that grows thick and tall throughout the islands.
The bamboo trees are well-maintained to provide soothing bathing experiences for the guests. Aside from this, guests can also enjoy other exciting activities like Adventure Forest Games and Survival Programs. Coupled with the amazing scenery of the place, the Maengjongjuk Theme Park is definitely a must-visit!
Open all year round, admissions to the park cost just 3,000 Won ($2.30) for adults and 1,500 Won ($1.15) for kids.
Exact Location: Maengjongjuk Theme Park
7. Have A Coffee Date At Oedo Nursery Cafe
Calling all coffee lovers! Geoje has dozens of beautiful cafes, but none are as gorgeous as the Oedo Nursery Cafe. The amazing decor paired with the delicious drinks and delectable desserts makes this cafe a must-visit for anyone who wants to unwind and simply take in the view.
The whole cafe looks like a huge greenhouse with tons of bright green plants and colorful flowers everywhere. It’s the perfect atmosphere to rejuvenate you as you take a break from your travels.
When you visit, we especially recommend sitting at the amazing outdoor deck. This is clearly the best seat in the house, as it offers you an unobstructed view of the deep blue sea. For added romance, why not come during sunset and share a sweet dessert with someone you love?
Oedo Nursery Cafe offers a magical atmosphere that just can’t be missed!
Exact Location: Oedo Nursery Cafe
8. Stroll Around Geoje Botanical Garden Jungle Dome
Next up we have one of Geoje’s most prized possessions! The Geoje Botanical Garden is the largest botanical garden in the country. It also has a uniquely beautiful architecture utilizing over 7,400 sheets of glass.
The inside of the Botanical Garden is just as beautiful, if not more so. Over 10,000 kinds of tropical trees can be found inside the dome. There are also various galleries and exhibits such as the Seokbujak Flower Garden, Cactus Garden, and Cave of Light.
The Garden also offers various ecological experiences and workshops for guests to get the full experience. Here you will not only be able to take beautiful photos of the amazing scenery, but also learn more about the educational and cultural value of plants in the area.
Loved by both tourists and locals, this Botanical Garden contributes greatly to the preservation of nature in the area. Admission for adults costs only 5,000 Won ($3.80) and 3,000 Won ($2.30) for kids.
Exact Location: Geoje Botanical Garden Jungle Dome
9. Have A Blast At Oedo Botania
Oedo Botania is no doubt Geoje’s representative tourist destination–and for good reason! The beautiful plants and amazing structures, as well as garden sculptures and topiaries, make this place one for the books.
Oedo Botania is a breathtakingly gorgeous botanical garden located on an island in Hallyeohaesang National Park. Established over 30 years ago as a private garden, it has now expanded to cover the entire island with a collection of plants and European-style gardens. Filled with classical sculptures and statues in every corner, the garden’s decor gives a unique vibe that will definitely satisfy your wanderlust.
While this place is amazing all year round, we definitely recommend visiting in April because that’s when most of the garden blooms in a kaleidoscope of flowers. This garden is not just beautiful, it’s also incredibly important prehistorically! Recently, a set of dinosaur footprints were found on the island. That means when you walk these paved roads, you’re walking on the same paths as some of the most fearsome creatures of all time.
There are also plenty of cafes and shops right here on this island, so it really has everything you might need. Oedo Botania is only accessible via ferry. Admission to the gardens cost 11,000 Won for adults ($8.40) and 5,000 Won ($3.80) for kids.
Exact Location: Oedo Botania
10. Learn At The Geoje Shipbuilding Marine Cultural Center
One surefire way to get to know a place is to visit its museums. Luckily, Geoje has them in abundance! And not just any kind of museum, either–No, Geoje takes pride in having a variety of different museums that are designed to both enlighten and entertain!
The Geoje Shipbuilding Marine Cultural Center is one such museum specializing in the island’s unique maritime culture. It was independently established as a combined Fishing Village Folk Museum and Shipbuilding Theme Park located in Jisepo Village.
With a variety of fascinating exhibits including “The Living Sea” and “Renaissance of the Sea,” you’ll surely be able to appreciate Geoje’s deep love of their natural resources. A variety of different activities can also be done here, ensuring an entire day of fun for the whole family!
Exact Location: Geoje Shipbuilding Marine Cultural Center
11. Visit Haegeumgang Rock
Haegeumgang is widely known as one of the most impressive feats of natural beauty you can find in Geoje!
Known as one of the most famous landmarks of Geoje, the majestic cliffs will catch your eye from a mile away. Marvel at the strange unique shapes and natural caves of the cliff. It’s also been dubbed as the “Lion Rock” by the locals due to the different shapes and shadows it casts depending on the light hitting it.
You can only visit the cliff by boat but don’t worry because this boat will take you very close to the cliffs to admire the rocks.
Locals especially adore this rock formation, and they even call it as the “diamond of the sea.” It stands out even among other rock formations for its unique beauty.
Exact Location: Haegeumgang Rock
12. Enjoy The View At Ujebong Observatory
No trip is complete without taking the perfect pictures, so now we will talk about one of the most picturesque spots on the island! Ujebong Observatory is known to be a great photo spot that offers you an amazing and unobstructed view of Haegeumgang Island as well as other small islands in Geoje.
They even have a fun photo frame to complement your shots! Every pic you snap here will be Instagram-worthy.
Aside from picture-taking, this spot is also famous for trekkers and birders. Considered a pretty easy trail, Ujebong is beginner-friendly but very satisfying once you complete the walk. If you’re lucky, you can also spot many cute and colorful birds nesting around the area!
Exact Location: Ujebong Observatory
13. Have An Underwater Adventure At Gujora Beach
Geoje has a variety of beautiful beaches, each with something unique to offer to each guest! Here at Gujora Beach, it’s perfect for thrill-seekers and adventurous swimmers!
If the sparkling blue water and fine sandy shore are not enough for you to book a trip to this beach immediately, then we present you with the Geoje Yacht Academy! It’s a company focusing on giving you the best water sports experiences right here at Gujora Beach.
You can choose from a wide variety of activities like fishing, sailing, and even snorkeling! Be amazed at the wonderful underwater world right here at Gujora Beach. The clear water and colorful corals make for an amazing adventure!
Exact Location: Gujora Beach
14. Go Surfing At Heungnam Beach
Another great adventure spot is Heungnam Beach! This gorgeous beach is perfect for beginners due to its small size and relatively calmer waves.
Here you can find all the surfing equipment you need, as well as excellent guides to make sure you’re ready for the waves. We recommend the shop Soul Surf where you can rent surfboards and other equipment.
As we know, surfing can get pretty dangerous if the weather isn’t right for it. You can check out this website to find out the weather during the day of your trip and see if it’s appropriate for surfing!
Exact Location: Heungnam Beach
15. Explore The Geunpo Tunnels
The Geunpo Village Tunnels have become popular lately, especially the Geunpodonggul Cave which can be found here. They are a collection of five tunnels behind Geunpo Village which make for some amazing photo spots!
The romantic view makes this especially popular for couples. We recommend taking your pictures during sunrise or sunset. Your silhouette will look amazing against the backdrop of the colorful sky. Also, try to visit after a rainy night because the water pooling on the floor will make you take better photos as it reflects the gorgeous landscape!
As this spot has gotten more and more popular, we do want to warn you that the lines for photos can get long. But we still think it’s worth it to take these magical photos!
Exact Location: Geunpo Tunnels
16. Go Island-Hopping
As we’ve mentioned, Geoje is a fantastic collection of islands–so what better way to explore than to go island hopping?
Geoje is composed of 9 islands each with something new to offer for every excited tourist. We especially recommend these two islands as they are some of the “hidden gems” here at Geoje!
First, we recommend Jismido Island. This island is known as “The Island of Wild Camellias.” These vibrant flowers bloom during winter, covering the entire island in shades of crimson and ruby. Aside from camellias, the island also has many other natural wonders.
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You can reach Jismido Island by taking a boat from the port of Jangseungpo. The trip only takes about 20 minutes.
Exact Location: Jismido Island
Next up, we recommend visiting Naedo Island! The island is known for its unique turtle shape. It’s also covered from top to bottom with incredible medicinal plants, lush green forests, wild camellias, and gorgeous silver magnolias!
Aside from the amazing scenery, there’s also a variety of things you can do on this island. The rocky terrain makes it perfect for hiking and trekking, and Naedo Island is also known as a popular fishing spot.
You can reach Naedo Island by boat from Gujora Beach or from Jangseungpo Port.
Exact Location: Naedo Island
17. Discover the Historic Park of Geoje POW Camp
Learning about history is important, but it can get a little tedious if you’re just reading from history books. Recognizing this, the Historic Park of Geoje POW Camp was built to educate guests in a new and innovative way.
Back in the Korean War of the 1950s, this place was the largest camp for prisoners of war (POW). It housed over 300,000 people from China and North Korea during such a tumultuous time in the country’s history.
Here you can see detailed replicas, exhibition halls, and video rooms to allow you to immerse yourself in the lives of the former POWs. Relics from the war such as tanks, trucks, and other equipment are also displayed here.
As this is quite a heartbreaking place, we do implore you to be respectful when visiting. It’s an important piece of Korean history that Geoje doesn’t shy away from.
Admissions cost 7,000 Won ($5.30) for adults and 2,000 Won ($2.30) for kids.
Exact Location: Historic Park of Geoje POW Camp
18. Ride The Goeje Tourism Monorail
From the POW Camp, you can also ride the famous Geoje Tourism Monorail to reach the peak of Gyerongsan Mountain!
Opened in 2018, the monorail has since become one of the most popular spots here at Geoje. Everyone wants to catch a view on top of the mountain that’s over 500 meters tall! Tickets are often sold out on the day of, so we recommend that you book some tickets in advance through their website here.
The monorail ride is pretty thrilling and you get rewarded with a breathtaking view afterwards. It takes about 25 minutes to reach the top. Some people also prefer only taking a one-way trip, and then they hike up or down the mountain instead of riding. This is also a great option if you want to explore and get more hands-on with your trip.
Tickets cost about 12,000 Won ($10) per person for a round-trip ride!
Exact Location: Geoje Tourism Monorail
19. Go Cafe-Hopping Around Geoje
As we’ve already established, Geoje is home to some stunning cafes, but we haven’t talked about all that the island has to offer yet! For coffee lovers and those with a sweet tooth, we recommend going cafe-hopping so you can sample some of the island’s most delectable treats!
Up first we recommend Simhae Cafe. It’s quite a new cafe where you can get a great view of the beach and the ocean. They also have quite a selection of yummy pastries as well as expertly brewed coffee. It’s the perfect spot to grab a bite, unwind, and just admire the view.
Exact Location: Simhae Cafe
Another cafe you shouldn’t miss is On The Sunset! The outdoor patio and bridge are some of the best seats in the house, and will definitely make you feel like you’ve arrived in paradise. They also offer delicious coffee and tasty food options that range from light snacks to full meals.
Exact Location: On The Sunset Cafe
Lastly, we can’t miss talking about Anamura Cafe! This cafe became famous due to its unique “stairway to heaven” recently becoming a popular photo spot. It offers especially great views during sunset when the sky transforms into a kaleidoscope of colors. The cafe also offers yummy sandwiches and refreshing drinks!
Exact Location: Anamura Cafe
20. Meet The Dolphins At Geoje Sea World
Last up, we have one of the most fun-filled attractions in Geoje! Geoje Sea World is proud to be the largest dolphin facility in the entire country. Here you can have amazing interactive experiences with dolphins and belugas.
Don’t be scared because the animals are handled well by expert and compassionate guides. This theme park offers a one-of-a-kind experience that helps you get in touch with nature and get up close and personal with some of the island’s loveliest and friendliest creatures.
Geoje Sea World also offers tons of activities including dolphin performances, healing programs, and workshops so you can learn more about these incredible creatures. A visit to Geoje Sea World is sure to be a fun and educational experience for the whole family! You can check out their website here to know more.
Exact Location: Geoje Sea World
Where to stay in Geoje?
Sang Sang Hotel
Sang Sang Hotel is one of the top hotels in Geoje Island. Known for their commitment to hospitality, Sang Sang Hotel is guaranteed to provide you with a comfortable stay.
Several rooms come with amazing sea views and even terraces. Guests can also enjoy delicious meals at the restaurant and the unique barbecue place of the hotel!
With clean and modern rooms done in a chic and classy design, Hotel Sang Sang is one of the best choices you could go with here in Geoje.
Book It Now: Sang Sang Hotel
No, that’s not a picture of Santorini, Greece! Oceanterra’s beautiful and pristine white exterior will make guests enjoy the luxury of their stay. Oceanterra is a top-notch hotel dedicated to providing the best comfort and service for their guests.
Complete with a spa, sauna, and wellness center, Oceanterra has everything you might need. The hotel also offers amazing meal selections fit for every cuisine and taste. If you fancy making your own meals, there’s also a mart right inside the hotel.
Each room grants you a gorgeous view of the ocean and will ensure a comforting rest after a day of travel.
Book It Now: Oceanterra
How to get to Geoje?
Getting to Geoje is pretty convenient. From Nambu Bus Terminal in Seoul, you can just take an inter-city bus that will take you directly to Jangseungpo Intercity Bus Terminal in Geoje.
As Busan is quite near to Geoje, it’s also convenient to reach the island from Busan. Just take the bus from the Busan Seobu Intercity Bus Terminal and get off at the Jangseungpo Intercity Bus Terminal.
What did you think of our post? Are you excited to travel to Geoje? Let us know in the comment section!
Geoje is another one of those hidden gems that don’t usually get the spotlight, but definitely deserve some love as well. It’s a gorgeous city with so much to offer–from amazing natural beaches to fascinating history.