Discover quiet beaches, UNESCO-listed historic sites including the mysterious dolmens, and vistas across the border to North Korea in this culturally significant district.
With its tranquil rural setting, scenic islands and fascinating history, Ganghwa is a favorite daytrip destination for locals and tourists. Come here to escape the hustle and bustle of Seoul as you explore the many intriguing sites clustered on this collection of islands.
Ganghwa is a county of Incheon and is one of the most northerly areas of South Korea. Visit the Ganghwa Peace Observatory to look across the River Han and see North Korea, the famously isolated country. Inside the observatory, view exhibits and hear stories that will put the separation between the two countries into context.
Take the time to visit the Bugeun-ri Dolmens, which are located on the bus route to the observatory. These UNESCO-listed standing stones are among many similar ones around Ganghwa. Look up at their impressive forms, thought to be tomb stones, and consider how strange it is that very similar structures were built thousands of miles away in Europe, most notably at Stonehenge.
History is not confined to the Dolmens in Ganghwa. Visit a huge array of fortifications, all dating from different periods and built to defend against different attackers. These include Gwangseongbo Fortress, Deokjinjin Fortress and Chojinjin Fortress.
Another popular spot in Ganghwa is Bomunsa Temple. Reach it by taking the ferry to Seokmodo Island. Plan ahead to arrive in time to see the monks on their daily parade. Allow time to admire the beautiful building, with rows and rows of tiny Buddha statues.
In good weather, stop at Dongmak Beach. Stroll along the sand and take a break for lunch or dinner at one of the many seafood restaurants in the area.
Reach Ganghwa from Seoul in about 90 minutes by public transportation. Try to fit as many of its great attractions into one day as you can. Alternatively, stay overnight in one of the hotels built to deal with the area’s growing reputation as an excellent tourist destination.