Photo: The UNICEF train that runs on Namiseom Island
Chuncheon, well-known as a lakeside city, is a romantic travel spot. To reach the city from Seoul, hop aboard the ITX-Cheongchun Train at Cheongnyangni Station in Seoul and take in the beautiful scenery that unfolds outside the window for about an hour. Chuncheon holds the lovely meaning, "a stream that starts to flow when spring comes," but it is actually more beautiful when visited in autumn. At this time of the year, the colorful fall foliage is reflected off the waters and creates a picturesque sight. When planning a trip to Chuncheon, a relaxing two-day schedule is recommended over a rushed one-day trip.
Namiseom Island in Chuncheon, is the famous filming location for the drama, "Winter Sonata" (2000). The place was not originally an island, but formed as a result of being surrounded by water when the Cheongpyeong Dam was built. Though the island is small enough to be explored in half a day, it remains as Chuncheon’s top attraction among international visitors.
Photo: Namiseom Island entrance (left) / Metasequoia Road (right)
The Metasequoia Road and Songpa Gingko Tree Lane are two famous attractions found at the Namiseom Island. Frequently featured in dramas, movies and commercials, the two places are often picked as the top spots to visit on the island. In particular, the beauty of Songpa Gingko Tree Lane reaches its peak in late-October and early-November. The entire area is colored in shades of yellow, delivering a scenic autumn landscape.
Photo: Namiseom Island has much to see and enjoy
Not only is Namiseom Island famous for its nature, there are a variety of things to see and experience here. There are spots that cannot be left unvisited like the UNICEF Hall and the Song Museum, and catching sight of various animals including ostriches, rabbits and squirrels also adds to the fun. Another way to enjoy the island other than just looking around is taking a bike tour by visiting the bicycle center available on the island. Touring Namiseom Island on this two-wheeled gear will let you experience more than just marvelous vistas.
Photo: Art pieces made from recycled materials
In addition, tourists walking around Namiseom Island may also discover yet another interesting sight. Different areas of the island are decorated with recycled materials like glass, plastic bottles and wood. These rare pieces of art can only be found on this island and are not only fun to view but also great for taking photos.
Photo: European-style garden, Jade Garden Natural Arboretum
Jade Garden Natural Arboretum is well-known as the filming location for the movie "You Are My Pet" (2011) and the drama "That Winter, the Wind Blows" (2013). Created with the theme of "Small Europe in the Forest," a beautiful building stands right at the entrance. Designed in Tuscan style, this architecture gives a classical touch to its surroundings. The garden has three trail courses; Tree Smell Trail, Maple Tree Trail, and Forest Windy Trail, as well as 26 theme gardens that represent each of the European countries.
Photo: Rail bikes present unique experience of pedaling along railways
Gyeonggang Station, the filming location for the movie "The Letter" (1997) is an abandoned railway on the border of Gyeonggi-do and Gangwon-do. This once-small train station has transformed into a location for riding rail bikes. Gangchon Rail Park offers a 50-minute, round-trip course from Gyeonggang Station to Gapyeong Railroad Bridge. Visitors can pedal along the old railroad tracks and enjoy being in a tranquil, rural village.
Photo: Chuncheon Myeongdong Street (left) / Dakgalbi Street (right)
A wide array of shops selling clothing, shoes and accessories, as well as a movie theater are lined up along Chuncheon's busiest street. The bustling street resembles a miniature version of Myeongdong in Seoul, which is where it got its name. Dakgalbi Street, another one of Chuncheon’s famous attractions, is also found here, along with the handprints of the main actors from the popular drama "Winter Sonata."
Photo: Charming mural drawings adding more vibe at Chuncheon Nangman Market
Chuncheon Nangman (Romantic) Market is the city's best-known market that holds within it the lives of ordinary people and a warm ambience. It changed its name from Chuncheon Jungang (Central) Market to Chuncheon Nangman Market in 2010, and revamped the market space to match its name. Inside the market are buildings that have been standing for 30 to 50 years, and each store is decorated with drawings that deliver the distinct atmosphere of the shop. In different corners of the alleys, there are various sculptures and wall paintings, adding to the fun of looking around the marketplace.
Photo: The Bell Tower of Hope (left) / Café with a skywalk (right)
Gubongsan Mountain Observatory is one of the most scenic driving courses in Chuncheon, stunning with its breathtaking views overlooking the downtown area. Interestingly, it does not feature the usual observation deck. Instead, the area is lined with cafes that are great for taking in the sights. In other words, the cafés here are the observatories. Each of the cafés is decorated with different themes and styles, but all of them offer a spot to gaze out on the beauty of Chuncheon.
Photo: Design Square shop located inside of KT&G Sangsangmadang Chuncheon
The cultural complex KT&G Sangsangmadang opened its third art space in Chuncheon, following Hongdae and Nonsan. Amenities include a gallery, outdoor performance hall, music room, live studio and cafe, constantly keeping visitors occupied. Items made by designers can be purchased at the Design Square and various artworks enjoyed at the gallery.
Photo: Path to the skywalk (left) / Beautiful scenery spotted at Chuncheon Uiamho Lake Skywalk (right)
The skywalk has gained attention as the new popular attraction at Chuncheon's Uiamho Lake. The observation deck with a scenic view is located halfway along the bike path and it is a great spot to take pictures. The skywalk is a circular-shaped structure built about 12 meters above the water, and distinctly features a transparent floor and glass railings. Visitors walking around the deck get to experience both the feeling of walking on clouds and the unsettling feeling that they might plunge into the water at any moment.
Photo: Chuncheon Mulle-gil Road
There is one area of Chuncheon that cannot be explored by foot. The Mulle-gil tours the Uiamho Lake area by canoe. Many tourists have come, seeking a canoe experience after the place was introduced on popular Korean TV shows like "Two Days, One Night" and "Running Man." Several courses are offered at Mulle-gil, of which the "Bungeoseom Island (Carp Island)" course is the easiest and most popular. The canoeing section stretches across 4 kilometers and can be covered in about 45 minutes.
* This column was last updated in September 2016, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details from the official websites before visiting.
<Last updated on September 12, 2016>