Travel Highlights

Exciting 2017-2018 Winter Festivals

  • Tag Event Tour
  • Date11/20/2017
  • Hit184465

Winter, the season of celebrations

Winter in Korea means plenty of festive gatherings, from Christmas to New Year’s Eve parties. As December comes to an end and the year draws to a close, people gather at sunrise festival locations across Korea to welcome in the first sunrise of the New Year. January and February are perfect for reveling in the chilly weather by visiting snow and ice festivals. Each region has its own unique winter culture and specialty products, for endless opportunities to enjoy an active winter in Korea.

December’s Lighting Festivals

Lighting Festival at The Garden of Morning Calm

Credit: The Garden of Morning Calm

  • Period: December 8, 2017-March 25, 2018
  • Location: The Garden of Morning Calm, Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do
    (432, Sumogwon-ro, Sang-myeon, Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do)
  • Description: Held at the Garden of Morning Calm, the Lighting Festival is one of the biggest festivals of lights in Korea, covering nearly 330,000 m2 with lights. The gleaming lights add a festive glow to the natural beauty of the garden during the winter season.

Boseong Green Tea Plantation Light Festival

  • Period: December 15, 2017-January 14, 2018
  • Location: Areas of Yulpo Beach and Korea Tea Culture Park, Boseong-gun, Jeollanam-do
    (Korea Tea Culture Park, 775, Nokcha-ro, Boseong-eup, Boseong-gun, Jeollanam-do)
  • Description: The magical allure of the Boseong Green Tea Fields grows tenfold in winter as bright Christmas lights cast a cheery glow over the expansive fields. The themed spaces and exhibits bring “Christmas decorations” to a whole new level.

New Year’s Sunrise Festivals

Seongsan Sunrise Festival

  • Period: December 30, 2017-January 1, 2018
  • Location: Area of Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
    (284-12, Ilchul-ro, Seongsan-eup, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do)
  • Description: Join the countdown and welcome in the New Year at Jeju’s premier sunrise attraction, Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak (also known as “Sunrise Peak”). In addition to the beautiful sunrise, the festival will also feature parades, performances, firework shows, the distribution of tteokguk (rice cake soup), and other events.

Ganjeolgot Sunrise Festival

Credit: Ulsan-si

  • Period: December 31, 2017-January 1, 2018
  • Location: Area of Ganjeolgot Cape Park, Ulsan
    (Daesong-ri, Seosaeng-myeon, Ulju-gun, Ulsan)
  • Description: Ganjeolgot is known as the location where one can witness the first sunrise in Korea. People all across the nation gather to celebrate and watch the first sunrise of the New Year here. New Year's celebrations also include a wide array of events such as fireworks, eating tteokguk (rice cake soup), and a wide range of performances. Nearby attractions include thick groves of pine trees, oddly-shaped rock formations and Oegosan Onggi Village.

Homigot Sunrise Festival

  • Period: December 31, 2017-January 1, 2018
  • Location: Homigot Sunrise Plaza, Pohang-si, Gyeongsanbuk-do
    (Daebo-ri, Homigot-myeon, Nam-gu, Pohang-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do)
  • Description: Homigot Cape and its beach area, where the Homigot Sunrise Plaza is located, is definitely one of the most popular places for watching the New Year’s sunrise due to its brilliant yellow and golden sunrise scenery. People can see a variety of performances and fireworks in the sky when the New Year's Day approaches.

Jeongdongjin Sunrise Festival

  • Period: December 31, 2017-January 1, 2018
  • Location: Area of Sandglass Park at Jeongdongjin Beach, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do
    (San2-ri, Jeongdongjin-ri, Gangdong-myeon, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do)
  • Description: The first thing to be seen when stepping off the train at Jeongdongjin Station is a beautiful beach and the large sandglass nearby. The beach's sandglass is so big that it takes one full year for the sand at the top to fall to the bottom. As 12am on New Year's Eve approaches, the last grains trickle down and the sandglass is turned over once again as part of a grand ceremony, kicking off the brand-new year.

Gyeongpo Sunrise Festival

  • Period: December 31, 2017-January 1, 2018
  • Location: Area of Gyeongpo Beach, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do
    (San1-1, Anhyeon-dong, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do)
  • Description: Gyeongpo Beach is well-known for its beauty, which shows itself in different lights throughout the year. On New Year's Day, people gather for a huge celebration counting down the seconds until the New Year, watching fireworks and participating in an array of programs and cultural events.

Yeosu Hyangiram Sunrise Festival

  • Period: December 31, 2017-January 1, 2018
  • Location: Areas of Impo Village and Hyangiram Hermitage, Yeosu-si, Jeollanam-do
    (Yullim-ri, Dolsan-eup, Yeosu-si, Jeollanam-do)
  • Description: Hyangiram Sunrise Festival is an annual overnight festival attended by those who want to enjoy the sunrise scene. Various events like lighting wishing lanterns and a candle ceremony are prepared for visitors to enjoy.

Active Festivals to Keep Warm

Pyeongchang Trout Festival

Credit: Pyeongchang-gun

  • Period: December 22, 2017-February 25, 2018
  • Location: Area of Odaecheon Stream, Pyeongchang-gun, Gangwon-do
    (3562, Gyeonggang-ro, Jinbu-myeon, Pyeongchang-gun, Gangwon-do)
  • Description: At Pyeongchang Trout Festival, visitors can cut a hole through the ice covering the frozen river to catch their own fish. Other fun events to try include bare-handed fishing, sledding, and more! The festival is also close to Alpensia Ski Resort and Yongpyong Ski Resort, official venues of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games.

Jaraseom Singsing Winter Festival

  • Period: January–February, 2018 (Planned; dates not set)
  • Location: Area of Gapyeongcheon Stream, Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do
    (60, Jaraseom-ro, Gapyeong-eup, Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do)
  • Description: The Jaraseom Singsing Winter Festival is famous for ice fishing for trout, and your catch can be eaten right away, raw or grilled! Other activities include ice sledding, riding bumper cars on snow, traditional experiences, and more. It is easy to reach Gapyeong simply by taking the ITX Cheongchun train from Yongsan Station. There are also popular attractions nearby such as Namiseom Island, The Garden of Morning Calm, and Petite France for visitors to explore.

Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival

  • Period: January 6–28, 2018
  • Location: Area of Hwacheoncheon Stream, Hwacheon-gun, Gangwon-do
    (137, Sancheoneo-gil, Hwacheon-eup, Hwacheon-gun, Gangwon-do)
  • Description: The Sancheoneo Ice Festival is held in the pristine natural environment around Hwacheoncheon Stream, the natural habitat of mountain trout and otters. One of the most popular programs at the festival is ice fishing, where people cut a hole through thick ice and try their luck at catching trout. If you want to brave the icy water, you can also try catching fish barehanded! Helpful staff are available to ensure that even first-timers get a catch. After fishing, enjoy your freshly caught bounty, raw or grilled, on site.

Inje Icefish Festival

Credit: Inje-gun

  • Period: January 27-February 4, 2018
  • Location: Area of Bingeoho Lake, Inje-gun, Gangwon-do
    (555-2, Bupyeong-ri, Nam-myeon, Inje-gun, Gangwon-do)
  • Description: At Inje Icefish Festival, visitors can enjoy ice fishing and other exciting programs such as ice sledding, a large icefish sled, and snow slides. All the icefish caught by participants can be served as hoe (sliced raw fish) or deep-fried for a warm treat.

Taebaeksan Mountain Snow Festival

Credit: Taebaek-si

  • Period: January 19-February 11, 2018
  • Location: Areas of Taebaeksan National Park and Hwangji Pond, Taebaek-si, Gangwon-do
    (162, Cheonjedan-gil, Taebaek-si, Gangwon-do)
  • Description: Taebaeksan Snow Festival offers guests an array of events and activities that are sure to amuse and entertain everyone. In addition to performances and exquisite snow sculptures, visitors can participate in snow sledding with the beautiful Taebaeksan Mountain covered with snow as their backdrop.

Jeju Fire Festival

Credit: Jeju World Natural Heritage Center

  • Period: March 1-4, 2018
  • Location: Area of Saebyeol Oreum, Bongseong-ri, Aewol-eup, Jeju-si, Jeju-do
  • Description: The Jeju Fire Festival is held in order to pray for a healthy and prosperous new year. Long ago, Jeju farmers would set fire to their fields to kill harmful bugs and encourage new grass for their cattle. This tradition is reenacted by setting an entire side of the mountain ("oreum") on fire. Festival-goers can also experience the traditional lifestyle and practices of Korea's farmers, including a traditional wedding ceremony at the festival.

Festival programs and schedules are subject to sudden changes based on the weather. Please check the information before visiting.

This column was last updated in October 2017, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details before visiting