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Seoul is the bustling capital of South Korea. It’s an incredible mix of traditional and modern. Ancient history is well preserved among modern skyscrapers and days can be spent exploring its vibrant city streets. Seoul is an Instagram dream and there’s an abundance of Instaworthy shots to be captured in the city. There are traditional villages, palaces, quirky cafes, and great shopping. Chances are you won’t have time to visit them all so I’ve put together a list of my favorite Instagrammable places in Seoul:
1. Starfield Library
Starfield Library one of Seoul’s top Instagram spots. It’s located in the Gangnam area within the COEX Mall. The mall, which houses a convention center, exhibition halls, and an underground shopping center, regained its popularity with the addition of the library in 2017. The large, public space contains roughly 50,000 titles and over 600 local and foreign magazines. The books and magazines are from a variety of genres. Most are Korean but there are some foreign titles and there is even an English-language section. The library offers free WiFi and has iPads available for those who like to do their reading electronically.
Even though it boasts an extensive book collection, the library’s main draw is its design. You have probably seen its famous escalators in your social feed. Starfield Library’s brightly lit and modern two-story design is what has made it so popular. The books are beautifully displayed on ceiling-high shelves and comfortable seating can be found scattered throughout the space. It’s one of Seoul’s most Instagrammable locations. Just be prepared to ride the escalator a few times for that perfect shot. The easiest way to get to the Starfield Library is by taking the subway to the Samseong Station.
2. Flower Cafes
Seoul has a lot of fun and unique cafes but stopping for an espresso at one of the city’s flower cafes is a must for your Instagram. A flower cafe is exactly what it sounds like- a cafe decorated with a flower theme. I visited Flower Yard Cafe, located in the Ikseon-dong area of Seoul. Ikseon-dong is a trendy neighborhood with plenty of cute shops and places to eat.
The decor at Flower Yard Cafe is really lovely and they have a small but delicious breakfast menu. I recommend the waffles. It opens about an hour earlier than the city’s other flower cafes and is a great option if you want an early bite before hitting the tourist sights. Some other flower cafes in Seoul that you may want to visit are Lovin’ Her Flower Cafe and Blute.
3. Bukchon Hanok Village
A visit to Bukchon Hanok Village is like taking a step back in time. The 600-year-old village is made up of traditional Korean houses, or hanoks. The village is located on a hillside between Gyeongbok Palace, Changdeok Palace, and Jongmyo Royal Shrine. It contains about 900 beautifully restored hanok. Some of the homes have been converted into tea houses, museums, and guest houses.
Walking tours of the village are available; however, it’s fun to explore on your own and wander aimlessly through its winding alleyways. Make your way to the top of the hill for some great views and that Instaworthy shot. Do keep in mind that the village is an actual neighborhood and people do live in the homes. Please be respectful when visiting and stay away from the doorways. To reach Bukchon Hanok Village, take the subway to Anguk Station.
4. Namsan Cable Car & Tower
The Namsan cable car is the first commercial cable car service for passengers in Korea. The tramway was built in 1962 and takes passengers on a three-minute ride up a 605 m (1,985 ft) cable. Passengers board the car at the base of Namsan Mountain and arrive at the top near N Seoul Tower.
N Seoul Tower was originally a broadcast tower, built on top of the mountain in 1969. Today, it marks the second-highest point in Korea at 236 m (775 ft). I recommend visiting during the late afternoon. Give yourself enough daylight to enjoy the incredible views and then watch the sunset from the top. It’s open until 11 pm and is a fun place to spend the evening hours.
Seoul Tower Plaza is full of eateries and has a large observation deck. There are also LED light displays scattered around the grounds that make great photo ops for your Instagram. An adult ticket with a return is 9,500 KRW. There is also the option of purchasing a one-way ticket for 7,000 KRW and then walking down the mountain.
5. Style Nanda Pink Hotel
Style Nanda is a Korean-based fashion and makeup brand. It was founded in 2004 and has since expanded to multiple locations in a handful of countries. The flagship store is located in Seoul’s Myeongdong area. In addition to its stylish clothes, Style Nanda is made for photographing.
The store is set up as a faux hotel and has six pink-themed floors including a rooftop. Each floor has plenty of Instaworthy shots. Head to the Style Nanda Cafe for the store’s famous cotton candy or take a shopping break on the rooftop’s comfy lounge pillows.
6. Insadong Shopping Street
Insa-dong is a neighborhood in central Seoul that is popular with both locals and foreigners. It has a great shopping street that is easy to walk and closed to traffic on the weekends. At one time, the area was the largest market for antiques and art in Korea. Today, you’ll find a variety of things ranging from traditional crafts to souvenirs.
Expect to find shops full of clothing, ceramics, and hanji (traditional stationery). Vendors line the road offering delicious bites of street food and tea houses can be found hidden among the alleyways. Make sure to explore the side streets as well.
7. Gyeongbokgung Palace
Gyeongbokgung Palace is located in the Jongno district of northern Seoul. It is the largest of Seoul’s Five Grand Palaces and was the heart of the city at the time of its construction in 1395. It was later destroyed during the Japanese invasion in the late 1500s. After much of it burnt down, it