Want to explore Korea by Bike? You’re in luck. Korea maintains thousands of kilometers of bike paths. They meander along river paths, sail down rocky coastlines, and pass through historic towns.
Looking for quick jaunts? An epic tour across the country? We’ll give all the resources you need. Below find breakdowns of all the cycling paths in Korea.
Under each, you’ll find the official bike paths under Korea’s Bicycle Certification System (e.g. Nakdonggang, Ocheon, Bukhangang). If you ride part or all of them, you’ll earn a few awards and a dollop of cycling swagger.
Many of the official bike paths are too tough to conquer in one day. So Korea by Bike provides a city-to-city breakdown (e.g. Gangneung ⟷ Sokcho). In them, we’ll give you info about the area and highlight all the sights.
Look down! See a blue line on your path? Good.
Blue lines not only mark protected bike paths. They designated which country, coastal, and farmer roads allow cyclists.
Keep an eye out for blue bike signs, too. They sit at every intersection. On them, a bike icon and arrow will point you in the right direction.
Hop over a mountainous pass in the middle of the country and join the bike path along Nakdong River, the longest in South Korea. You’ll meander south through Daegu (대구) and into rural farmlands.
The bike path finishes as the Nakdong River spills into the East Sea (동해) at the bottom of Busan (부산), Korea’s second largest city.
The Four Rivers Project established the Cross-Country route in 2012. It created a series of weirs and dams to regulate and revitalize four major rivers in Korea.
The project also created new and bridged local bike paths. This gave cyclists a clear path across the country.
Ara Bicycle Path
The northern start of the cross-country originates in Incheon, Seoul’s sister city to the west. The Ara Bicycle Path (21 km) is the shortest in Korea.
It flies down a narrow canal from the Yellow Sea. The flat jaunt breezes through lively parks and spills into the Han River in Seoul.
Hangang Bicycle Path
The Hangang Bicycle Path (192 km) runs through Seoul and into the middle of Korea.
The certification system breaks the Hangang Bicycle Path in two: the path in Seoul and the Namhangang path beyond.
Through Seoul, the path offers the best views of Korea’s megacity. You’ll pass by the most photographed landmarks, including the National Assembly, Namsan Mountain and Tower, and Lotte Tower.
Just outside of Seoul, you’ll roll into the Namhangang Bicycle Path, the second portion of the Hangang Path. The bike follows Nam (south; 남) Han (한) River (gang; 강) down into the middle of country.
You’ll follow a decommissioned railroad track through tunnels, past King Sejong’s tomb, and onto the toes of a mountain pass.
Saejae Bicycle Path
The Saejae Bicycle Path (100 km) presents the most difficult portion of the Cross-Country Route. The name (Saejae; 새재) literally translates to high pass. You’ll understand as you climb two mighty mountain passes.
At the top, you’ll catch terrific views of tiny towns and rural Korea. Don’t forget to stop by a waterfall or hot springs on your way off the mountain.
Nakdonggang Bicycle Path
Korea’s longest cycling road, the Nakdonggang Bicycle Path (324 km), follows South Korea’s longest river, the Nakdong River.
The Nakdonggang Bicycle Path hugs both sides of the wide river. It passes by Daegu (대구), Korea’s third largest city, national parks, an ancient Confucian academy, and futuristic weirs.
After flowing around wide bends, a few tall hills spice up the path, giving spectacular views of the river.
Other than the Saejae Bicycle Path, cyclists can enjoy protected bike paths for most of the journey.
Beware of large cities in peak season. Paths get crowded. Mobs of cyclists and meandering couples equal traffic jams and path rage.
When not on protected paths, the route follows country roads. Long ago, major highways siphoned off traffic. But beware of local bongo trucks and sightseeing SUVs.
Many of the bike paths are multipurpose. Farmers use the bike paths to move farming equipment and access their fields. Big tractor tires sometimes pull clumps of mud onto the asphalt.
Time and Distance
The Cross-Country Route has both the longest (633 km; 393 miles) route and the steepest ascent (539-meter; 1768 ft).
Strong cyclists averaging over 20 km/h (12 mph) over ten hours could complete the course in three to four days.
For a sightseeing pace, (12 km/h; 8 mph), budget six to eight days. You’ll have plenty of time to take breaks, discover delicious food, and capture those selfies.
Your total cycling distance may vary. Often the bike paths flow down both sides of the Han and Nakdong Rivers.
Remember, bus terminals dot the bike paths. You can jump on and off and complete the route in sections.
East Coast Route
Beginning in the south, you’ll pass by quiet fishing villages. A challenging series of hills brings outstanding views of the rocky coastline.
In the north, you’ll follow the Romantic Road from beach to beach, wind around resort towns, and up rocky coastlines.
Rusted barbed wire and fences lead you north to the town of Daejin (대진). The final checkpoint sits outside a museum thirty kilometers from the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).
Two bicycle paths create the East Coast Route.
Gyeongbuk Bicycle Path
The Gyeongbuk Bicycle Path (76 km) begins in the town of Yeongdeok (영덕), seated on the bottom third of the coast.
The area gains its fame from king snow crabs. Statues of the beasts greet cars full of hungry tourists during Chuseok.
The short bicycle path travels country roads up and down steep inclines. Atop, you’ll spot glass bottom piers, quiet fishing ports, and fish-shaped bridge.
Gangwon Bicycle Path
The Gangwon Bicycle Path (242 km) is the second longest in Korea. A series of steep hills makes it the most difficult and rewarding.
The Gyeongbuk path doesn’t officially connect with the Gangwon path. But follow the blue line north and you’ll join the north path.
After some detours over inland hills, the path spills into the twin cities of Samcheok (삼척) and Donghae (동해). A tale of two cities, Samcheok’s rail bike and cable car bring tourists. Donghae’s industrial ports and military base bring jobs.
Beyond Samcheok, the Romantic Road carves north. Rocky coastlines bring lovers and families.
Traffic thins and military outposts multiply in the north. Farms take over near Goseong County (고성). Offshore islands and rocky outcrops dot the seascape.
The town of Daejin (대진) holds the easternmost point of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). The bicycle path ends at a museum and military roadblock. To visit the Goseong Unification Observation Tower and spot the border, book a tour.
The East Coast Route contains a mix of sidewalk, protected bike lanes, and coastal roads.
Near Yeongdeok (영덕) and Uljin (울진) in the south, the route rides coastal roads. No sidewalks or protected bike paths. When wide enough, blue lines carve out a lane for cyclists.
However, an expressway pulls most of the cars off these slow, winding coastal roads. Just keep a lookout for a few local fisherfolk and the touring SUVs.
Time & Distance
At 343 kilometers (213 miles), the East Coast Route is half the Cross-Country Route. However, a series of steep hills sprinkled throughout make it more challenging and rewarding.
Active cyclists might storm beaches and hills in three or four days. Though, traffic around popular tourist spots may slow progress.
Four bike paths in the western parts of Korea create the Western Routes. They follow three major rivers (Geum, Yeongsan, Seomjingang) and five streams.
The Ocheon Bicycle Path hops across five streams from the mountainous center of Korea before it slams into the Geum River.
Hugging the Geum River, the Geumgang Bicycle Path passes by historic sites and important cities. The path ends at the edge of the Yellow Sea.
Ocheon Bicycle Path
After passing agriculture towns, the Ocheon path collides with the Geum Bicycle Path.
Geumgang Bicycle Path
The Geumgang Bicycle Path (146 km) originates with the Geum River at Daecheong Lake (대청호), just west of Daejeon (대전). The path passes under the special city of Sejong (세종) and by historic forts. The shores of the Yellow Sea (황해) mark the end.
Seomjingang Bicycle Path
Yeongsangang Bicycle Path
Historically, the Koreans revere the region for its abundance. Farmlands and delicious food abound along the bike path. You’ll also spot a famous tree-lined road, bamboo forest, and Korea’s only inland lighthouse.
A twenty kilometer stretch of road separates the northern starting points of the Seomjingang and Yeongsangang Bicycle Paths.
A mix of protected bicycle paths and country roads creates the Western Route. In rural areas, farmers, cyclists, and walkers share the path.
Paths along the major rivers hold dedicated bicycle paths.
Like other routes, major highways pull cars from country roads, leaving room for cyclists. Watch out for trucks and tractors.
Time & Distance
The Ocheon Bike Path is the shortest (101.8 km). East-to-west, gravity aids you from a mountainous pass. One and a half days will complete the bike path. Budget two days for a westward climb.
Like the Ocheon path, east-to-west, the Geumgang path (146 km) travels downwards from a higher elevation. Patient riding will complete the course in under two days.
The Seomjingang (142 km; 89 mi) and Yeongsangang (134 km; 84 mi) paths follow rivers down flat terrain. For a sightseeing pace, leave two days for each. Bring your A-game and you’ll conquer each in a day and a half.
Jeju & More Routes
These bike paths encompass a diverse range of landscapes and regions. The Jeju Fantasy bike path circles Korea’s largest island.
Jeju Fantasy Bicycle Path
Bukhangang Bicycle Path
The path passes through popular excursion zones. Seoulites escape the metropolitan jungle to ride the tourist railroads and eat local cuisine.
A famous commuter train lets you hop on and off the path. (Bus terminals sit far from the path.)
More Bicycle Paths
Korea’s Certification System passes unique and beautiful parts of South Korea. But there’s more. Much more. More Bike Paths explores these stunning paths.
East Coast Part II completes the east coast journey. You’ll pick up where the East Coast Route leaves off, in the city of Yeongdeok (영덕). It continues down the coast to Korea’s second largest city, Busan (부산).
The third longest ride in the certification system, Jeju Fantasy Bicycle Path presents a challenge. It follows a mix of country and protected bike lanes up and down hills.
Most of the Bukhangang Bike Path follows a protected bike.
Time & Distance
Jeju Fantasy Bike Path climbs a couple hundred-meter peaks. At 233 kilometers, a casual pace might last three to four days. A focused ride will circle the island in two.
Other than a modest hill, the Bukhangang Bike Path sails along level ground. A leisurely rider can finish the 70 kilometers (44 mi) in a day.