Best Time to Visit Seoul: When to Go & Weather Guide

If you’re planning to visit the capital of Korea on your next East Asia trip, picking the best time to visit Seoul is one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make.

Choosing when to go to Seoul isn’t a matter of choosing a date willy-nilly and expecting blue sunny skies. The weather in Seoul can be a little hit or miss. Anything from cold winter sleet to unbearably hot & humid summer can be in the cards depending on what time of year you visit.

Ready to nail down when to travel to Seoul? Plan your trip with this complete Seoul weather guide including the best months to travel to Seoul along with what to expect and what to wear by season and month…




When to go to Seoul: A weather overview

Ask most Seoulites and they’re proud to announce that Seoul is blessed with a four-season climate. For certain travellers on the quest for when to visit Seoul, that news may not be so exciting!

The seasons in Seoul, like many European countries or my homeland of Canada, are fairly distinct. When you’re visiting, expect hot & humid summers and cold winters. The lovely spring and autumn seasons fall somewhere between these extremes.

For the most part, however, Seoul’s billed as a year-round destination. While it’s probably not completely untrue, there are some times you’d do best to avoid including the Korean Lunar New Year, Chuseok, and the summer monsoon season.

Seoul Weather by Season


Spring
  • When is spring: Mid-March until June
  • What to expect: After snapping out of a cold winter, Seoul is an absolute delight to visit in spring. As a shoulder season, spring in Seoul’s got a lot going for it. Around the beginning of April, the Seoul cherry blossoms start to bloom, leaving the city’s parks bathed in a blanket of delicate pink flowers. The temperatures are also quite pleasant, with averages inching into the teens as summer approaches.
  • What to wear: Even with the milder weather, you’ll want to keep some warmer outerwear or mid-layers to deal with the possibility of cooler temperatures. A comfortable fleece jacket pairs well with a waterproof jacket or softshell jacket on days when the weather isn’t co-operating. If you’re looking to hit up some of the best hiking in Seoul like Namsan or tackle some farther-flung trails on one of the best day trips from Seoul, I’d recommend taking along a solid pair of waterproof hiking shoes, especially in March when the melting snow leaves behind plenty of puddles.

Summer

  • When is summer: From July until August
  • What to expect: Although summer is one of the busiest tourist seasons in Seoul, it’s one of the most miserable weather-wise. Summer in Seoul is oppressively hot & humid with a massive onslaught of heavy rain that rolls in with the East Asia monsoon. Add to that big crowds, long line-ups, and higher accommodations prices and you’ll see why I’m steering you away from visiting Seoul in these dreadful months.
  • What to wear: To stay comfortable, you’re gonna want to go light. Lightweight moisture-wicking travel pants or shorts are a great idea to keep you cool in the dead heat of summer and let you dry off quickly should a quick burst of rain dampen your spirits. You’ll want to keep a travel umbrella as well as a ultralight rain jacket handy in a top-rated travel daypack to deal with the inevitable last-minute downpours.

Autumn

  • When is autumn: From September until November
  • What to expect: With the hot & rainy days of summer in the rearview mirror, autumn presents itself as, quite possibly, the best time to visit Seoul. Average temperatures are still warm to mild, and it’s one of the driest times of the year in the capital. And who could forget the biggest perk of autumn? Under a blazing backdrop of fall colours, Seoul is at its most stunning!
  • What to wear: The dropping temperatures from the insane highs of summer mean that you’ll need to pack a few additional layers for the autumn months. When choosing what to wear in Korea in fall, be sure to bring along a warm base layers for the cooler days. A comfortable fleece jacket or warm long-sleeved sweater paired with a softshell outer layer will work wonders here. For the odd rainy day, don’t forget to carry a rain jacket. Fall is also one of the best seasons for hiking in Seoul; pack a pair of sturdy hiking shoes to crack the city and region’s best trails.





Winter

  • When is winter: From December until mid-March
  • What to expect: If you’re not used to cooler temperatures, the chilly days of a Seoul winter certainly won’t be your favourite part of visiting the city. Truthfully, as unpleasant as it may seem at a glance, winter’s not the worst time to visit Seoul. The relative lack of popularity in the winter months means that you’ll be able to score some great deals on your Seoul accommodations. On top of that, getting to see Seoul’s palaces and temples under a soft blanket of snow is simply magical.
  • What to wear: The cold temperatures mean that you’ll need to bundle up to stay comfortable. Bring along a warm hardshell jacket with warm comfortable base layers. For outerwear, you’ll want to bring along a knitted hat (a toque for my fellow Canadians) and pair of warm gloves to keep your hands toasty. In snowier conditions, protect your feet with a comfy pair of waterproof insulated boots.


Seoul Weather by Month

January
Overview: As uncomfortable as the cooler temperatures may be for some, January’s a decent time to travel to Seoul. Tourist crowds are among their lowest in the city (outside of the holidays, of course). The days of January are generally sunny and pleasant, and among the driest of the entire year.
Average Temperature: -4ºC / 25ºF
Low Temperature (Average): -9ºC / 16ºF
High Temperature (Average): 1ºC / 34ºF
Rainfall: 21 mm

February
Overview: In Seoul, the temperatures already start to get warmer by an ever-so slight margin as we enter into February. Like the other winter months, February is one of the driest months of the year. Despite the cooler temperatures, it’s a great time to enjoy the outdoors in Seoul. Avoid travelling around Korean Lunar New Year (Seollal), generally falling somewhere between late January and mid-February, as it’s one of the busy times of year to travel in Korea.
Average Temperature: -2ºC / 28ºF
Low Temperature (Average): -7ºC / 19ºF
High Temperature (Average): 4ºC / 39ºF
Rainfall: 25 mm

March
Overview: Although the beginning of March is still feels firmly winter-like, you’ll notice a distinct warming of temperatures as the month rolls along. The new season truly starts to come to life elsewhere in the country during March, but you’ll have to wait just a tiny bit longer to get the full spring weather experience in Seoul.
Average Temperature: 4ºC / 39ºF
Low Temperature (Average): -2ºC / 28ºF
High Temperature (Average): 9ºC / 48ºF
Rainfall: 48 mm

April
Overview: Along with November, April is one of the best months to travel to Seoul as the cherry blossoms make their first appearance around the beginning of the month. Yeouido and Nami Island, one of the best day trips from Seoul, are two of the best places to see cherry blossoms in Seoul. The weather’s improving, too. With average daytime temperatures in the teens, you can find ditch that winterwear for less bulky spring clothing.
Average Temperature: 11ºC / 52ºF
Low Temperature (Average): 5ºC / 41ºF
High Temperature (Average): 17ºC / 63ºF
Rainfall: 95 mm

May
Overview: Even with the cherry blossoms long gone, the intoxicating scent and sight of spring flowers makes a good case for travelling to Seoul in May. The temperatures ramp up quite a bit, placing May firmly into the warm weather category. If you’re looking for dry conditions and sun, there’s a good chance you’ll get it in May. Don’t take it lightly. The Seoul weather’s about to take a nasty turn!
Average Temperature: 17ºC / 63ºF
Low Temperature (Average): 11ºC / 52ºF
High Temperature (Average): 22ºC / 72ºF
Rainfall: 83 mm

June
Overview: For the first part of June, visiting Seoul is still quite beautiful. Temperatures continue to warm as the first official days of summer near. The problem comes towards the end of the month when the East Asian monsoon rolls over the peninsula, bringing with it a torrent of nasty wet weather. Be prepared!
Average Temperature: 21ºC / 70ºF
Low Temperature (Average): 16ºC / 61ºF
High Temperature (Average): 26ºC / 79ºF
Rainfall: 151 mm




July
Overview: I don’t want to sugarcoat it. July is a fairly miserable time to travel to Seoul. Rainfall is almost 2.5x higher in July than June, and the heat and humidity that starts to engulf the capital can be tiresome on the traveller’s soul. You’ll no doubt feel an urge to spend more time indoors than out, cooling down in the air-conditioned comfort of Seoul’s cafés, malls, and museums.
Average Temperature: 24ºC / 75ºF
Low Temperature (Average): 20ºC / 68ºF
High Temperature (Average): 27ºC / 81ºF
Rainfall: 383 mm

August
Overview: Like July, the summer month of August isn’t one of the most comfortable times to plan a trip to Seoul. The dead heat and sticky conditions don’t bode well for a comfortable journey. As you’d expect, the extreme humidity drags along its fair share of rainstorms. August is the second wettest month of the year in Seoul.
Average Temperature: 24ºC / 75ºF
Low Temperature (Average): 20ºC / 68ºF
High Temperature (Average): 28ºC / 82ºF
Rainfall: 283 mm

September
Overview: Shedding its summer monsoons, Seoul becomes far more pleasant into September. Temperatures start to tumble for the better, reaching more reasonably comfortable levels. Rainfall finally starts to die down, leaving the great outdoors in and around Seoul waiting for you to explore. Keep in mind that Chuseok (Korean harvest moon festival) usually falls in September. Along with the Korean Lunar New Year, this is one the country’s biggest holidays, and one of the worst times to travel.
Average Temperature: 19ºC / 66ºF
Low Temperature (Average): 14ºC / 57ºF
High Temperature (Average): 24ºC / 75ºF
Rainfall: 159 mm

October
Overview: The warm days of September roll into the mild & dry days of October, one of the best months of the year to visit Seoul. Temperatures are comfortable, but you’ll start feeling a crispness in the air, especially towards the end of October. This is a good thing as the cooling temperatures usher in the beautiful fall colours that paint Seoul in bright shades of yellow, red, and orange. Undoubtedly, this unfolds the city’s loveliest scenes.
Average Temperature: 13ºC / 55ºF
Low Temperature (Average): 7ºC / 45ºF
High Temperature (Average): 18ºC / 64ºF
Rainfall: 52 mm

November
Overview: By November, you’ll feel a distinct chill as winter nears. It’s still a pleasant time to visit Seoul, though. The bright fall colours usually hit their peak in Seoul in late October to early November, creating a lovely atmosphere around the city. Other than the three colder winter months, November is the driest month of the year in Seoul.
Average Temperature: 5ºC / 41ºF
Low Temperature (Average): -1ºC / 30ºF
High Temperature (Average): 10ºC / 50ºF
Rainfall: 46 mm

December
Overview: The first official month of winter ushers in colder temperatures in Seoul. Despite the chill in the air, the days of December and dry and sunny. Bundle up to experience the month to its fullest!
Average Temperature: -2ºC / 28ºF
Low Temperature (Average): -7ºC / 19ºF
High Temperature (Average): 3ºC / 37ºF
Rainfall: 25 mm