Panoramic views of Chuncheon (Credit: Chuncheon-si)
Chuncheon, well-known as a lakeside city, is a romantic travel spot. The city is just a short one-hour ride on the ITX-Cheongchun Train from Cheongnyangni Station in Seoul. Chuncheon holds the lovely meaning of "a stream that flows when spring comes," but it is actually more beautiful when visited in fall. At this time of the year, the colorful fall foliage creates a picturesque sight. In order to get the most out a visit 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. Although the island is small enough to be explored in half a day, it remains one of Chuncheon’s top attraction among international visitors. The many walking paths allow one to enjoy the seasonal beauty, and the island’s many other attractions keep visitors of all ages entertained.
The Metasequoia Road and Songpa Gingko Tree Lane are two of Namiseom Island’s most popular attractions and are frequently featured in dramas, movies and commercials. 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.
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 visitors can even catch sight of various animals including ostriches, rabbits and squirrels. Visitors looking for a more active trip can rent a bicycle from the bike center. The crisp autumn air is great for taking a spin around the island on a bike.
Tourists walking around Namiseom Island will find their eyes drawn to particularly interesting sights. 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.
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 Scent Trail, Maple Tree Trail, and Forest Breeze Trail, as well as 24 beautiful themed gardens.
Gyeonggang Station, the filming location for the movie, "The Letter (1997),” is an abandoned train station on the border of Gyeonggi-do and Gangwon-do. This small way 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 and back. Visitors can pedal along the old railroad tracks and enjoy being in a tranquil, rural environment.
Chuncheon's busiest street is lined with shops selling clothing, shoes, and accessories, as well as a movie theater. The bustling street resembles a miniature version of Myeong-dong 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."
Chuncheon 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 Romantic 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.
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 cafés 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.
The cultural complex KT&G Sangsangmadang opened its third art space in Chuncheon, following Hongdae and Nonsan. Amenities include a gallery with various works of art, outdoor performance hall, and café, keeping visitors entertained. Items made by designers can be purchased at the Design Square.
Chuncheon's Uiamho Lake Skywalk has gained attention as a rather new attraction. 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 built with a transparent glass floor about 12 meters above the water. 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.
For a unique experience, tour Uiamho Lake by canoe on the Mulle-gil. Many tourists come here, 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 July 2018, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details from the official websites before visiting.