Namsan is a 262-meter-high mountain located in the center of Seoul. Koreans especially like Namsan for hiking. At the top of Namsan peak is the famous N Seoul Tower, also called Namsan Tower.
It is possible to visit the top of the Namsan Tower, which offers a stunning panoramic view of Seoul.
“N SEOUL TOWER, ONE OF THE MAIN LANDMARKS IN THE CITY”
In this post, we provide a full guide for visiting the Namsan Park and Namsan Tower. Happy travel!
Known for its observatory overlooking the city, the Tower is the most visited attraction in Seoul by foreign tourists. However it was built as a telecommunications tower in 1975. Since 2015, the tower has been developed with the addition of a new part called Seoul Tower Plaza dedicated to shops, restaurants and relaxation areas.
If you are visiting Seoul, we strongly recommend a visit to Namsan. Paris has its iconic Eiffel Tower, New-York the Statue of Liberty, Singapore the Marina Bay Sands, however the iconic place of Seoul is the Namsan Tower.
How to get to the Namsan Tower in Seoul?
In order to get to the Namsan Tower you have several options:
You can first take a free shuttle bus which will drop you off in front of Seoul Tower Plaza. From Myeongdong Station (line 4, exit 1), take the half-hourly Shuttle Bus Service (operating hours 12:00 – 20:30) with “Namsan Cable Car” sign to Namsan Cable Car Station.
Note that it is not possible to drive to the top of Namsan or take a taxi. The road is only for the shuttle bus.
This is our favourite way to reach the Namsan peak. It is nice as you can enjoy a beautiful view of Seoul on the way to the top of Namsan. We recommend taking only the one way trip to the top and hike down as Namsan Park is really beautiful. The cable ride to the top takes 10~15min.
Address to the cable car: 83, Sopa-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul (Hoehyeondong 1-ga) (Korean: 남산케이블카)
Price: Adult KRW 13,000 (round trip) / KRW 10,000 (1 way). Children KRW 9,500 (round trip) / KRW 7,000 (1 way)
Hike to the top
Finally, you can get there on foot through the pretty Namsan Park. The ascent of the mountain takes between 30 and 40 minutes. There are many different trail to reach the top. We will provide more info later in this post.
Namsan Tower Address: 105, Namsangongwon-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
What to see around the Namsan Tower?
1. Namsan Park
The park has several entrances, but we recommend using the entrance in front of the gorgeous Grand Hyatt Hotel. You can easily spot it thanks to its imposing structure overlooking the city.
During this walk, you will see, among other things, beautiful flowers and trees, a cultural center, a library, cafes and sports parks.
Namsan Park is very big. On your way up to the Namsan Tower, you will be able to stop at several observatories to admire the view of Seoul. It is very pleasant and relaxing to walk around Namsan. Especially to admire the changing seasons.
2. What to see around the Namsan Tower
Once at the top of the mountain, you will enjoy the view of the city walls that once protected the city.
As you walk towards the tower you will see an observation platform with mountains of love locks. This probably one of the most well known attractions at Namsan Tower. Couples would normally “lock” their love with the padlocks in all sorts of shapes. Padlocks can be purchased at the souvenir shops.
3. N Tower and its observatory
To reach the observatory at the top of the Tower, there is an entrance fee of KRW 10,000. We recommend booking in advance with Trazy, here, as the cost will be discounted to only KRW 7,400.
The top of the tower is at 479.7m above sea level. The Tower is only 50 km from the border with North Korea. Unfortunately we couldn’t see much of North Korea, as other mountains block the view. Some say however, that it is possible to see the DMZ from the top of the tower on a very clear day.
The observatory is at 360 ° C and the names of the cities with the distance are written on the windows. You can also enjoy a drink at the observatory.
Did you know?
At night, the tower lights up depending on the quality of the air. Blue if the air is healthy or in red if, on the contrary, the quality of the air is very bad.
4. Seoul Tower Plaza
This building is made up of four levels dedicated to the development of new technologies. You will be able to admire various “OLED” screens including an absolutely striking tunnel.
You will also have the option of trying on 3D glasses or virtual reality headsets. In addition, the floors have several restaurants and cafes. Finally, at the lowest level, you can rent hanboks and do photo shoots.
In the evening, on the terrace of Seoul Tower Plaza, there can be entertainment like street singers, it’s really a nice atmosphere.
5. Hiking trail in Namsan
Namsan Park is Seoul’s largest park. Strolling along one of its hiking trails, as well as reaching the top of the mountain, you will have a breathtaking view of Seoul. On the way, benches also allow you to sit down and enjoy the place.
In the fall, the trees on the mountain change color, and in the spring, the cherry trees bloom. These are events that you should definitely not miss if you are in Seoul during this period.
There are 3 main trails in Namsan which you can enjoy:
Route 1: From Seoul Education Research & Information Institute to N Seoul Tower
For Route 1, it’s a hiking trail that takes you to peak at the Namsan Tower / N Seoul Tower. This trail lasts for about 30 to 40 minutes. This is an easy trail going through Namsan Park.
Route 2: From Myeongdong to Namsangol village
The route begins in the Myeongdong district, a great place to shop and have a bite to eat. Then proceed to entrance number 3 of Namsan Park which is not far from the Namsan Cable Car.
On the way, you will pass a Hanok, an old restaurant called Namsando Sikhugyung and then the Waryongmyo Shrine.
Then follow the direction “Namsangol Hanok Village” and go to exit 7 of Namsan Park. We wrote a full post about the beautiful Namsangol Hanok Village here.
Route 3: Namsan Dulle Gil
This route will bring you all around the Mountain. It’s a 7.5km trail. You can admire the different facets of Namsan. A great trail to discover Seoul.
You can also join a guided hiking tour to visit Namsan and Namsangol Hanok village here.
6. Eat and Drink at Namsan
There are many restaurants, cafes and places to enjoy a drink around the park.
We recommend n.Grill, a delicious french restaurant located on the 7 floor of Namsan Tower. The view at night from the restaurant is stunning.
For a more Korean experience head to Hancook restaurant on the 3rd floor, which serves great korean food.
On the first floor you can find N Burger, N Terrace cafe, A Twosome Place, Cheiljemyunso (Korean Restaurant) and some shops.
Where to stay near Namsan in Seoul?
Grand Hyatt, our favorite hotel in Seoul
This hotel located right on the edge of Namsan, is a jewel in Seoul.
The Grand Hyatt is overlooking the city which makes it one of the hotel with the best view of Seoul. The facilities, including pool, spa, many restaurants and bars are amazing. If you want to experience the ultimate luxury in Seoul, don’t hesitate, book the Grand Hyatt here.
Another amazing hotel in Seoul is the Banyan Tree Club & Spa Seoul. Overlooking the Mountain, this is a 5 stars hotel with great facilities such as indoor and outdoor pools.
Banyan Tree Club & Spa Seoul is an 11-minute drive from Seoul Tower and Dongdaemun Historic Shopping District. You can book here.
Korea does not have many distinctive monuments such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris, The Marina Bay Sands in Singapore or the Pisa Tower in Rome. However, standing at 480m above sea level, the Namsan Tower has an observation deck at the very top for a stunning 360 views of the city. This is probably the most recognizable monument in Seoul.
Visiting the Namsan Tower is therefore a must do in Korea.
We love to hear from you. Leave a comment if you found the information useful or if you have any question.
Photo by Seoul Metropolitan Government/Penta Press