Korean East Coast Bicycle Route icon.

East Coast Route

Cycle Korea’s east coast and explore beaches and rocky coastline.

The East Coast Route travels along the shores of Korea’s East Sea (동해; map). Two bike paths navigate from North Gyeongsang Province, a third of the way up the nation’s coastline, to the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) on the North Korean border.

The Stats

Start
Yeongdeok County
(영덕군)
← 343 km →
20 hours
End
Goseong County
(고성군)
East Coast Route Bicycle Map
An elevation graph of the East Coast Route.
Checkpoints Logo
Stamps (17)
Bus Icon
Bus Terminals
Link button to Kakao Maps directions.
Directions
Link button to Kakao Maps Highlights.
Highlights

Traverse a short but hilly cycling route, full of ports, villages, and giant crab statues.

Traverse a short but hilly cycling route, full of ports, villages, and giant crab statues.

An epic cycling path to the DMZ past beaches, resorts, and sea-spritzed rocks.

An epic cycling path to the DMZ past beaches, resorts, and sea-spritzed rocks.

Overview

Planners mapped out the East Coast Route in two separate bike paths with a cycleable 37-kilometer gap between them:

(Cyclists can ride the lower third of Korea’s east coast. Though not an official certification bike path, it holds just as many highlights as the official route. Read more here.)

Gyeongbuk Bicycle Path

In the south, begin the East Coast Route on the Gyeongbuk Bicycle Path in Yeongdeok County (영덕군; map), seated on the bottom third of Korea’s coastline.

Though short (76 km), the route traverses a series of spiky hills between sleepy fishing ports (directions).

Start in Yeongdeok Sunrise Park (영덕해맞이공원; map). Cycle northward by oversized sculptures featuring king snow crabs, for which the area holds an early-spring festival. Pass a skywalk (map), sprawling “whale” beach (map), seven-hundred-year-old pavilion (map), and more.

End at Uljin County’s Sweet Fish Bridge (울진은어다리; map), a walking and cycling bridge that shoots through the mouth of an enormous metallic fish.

Read More

Find all the resources you need to bike the Gyeongbuk Bike Path below.

Mind the Gap

The Gangwon and Gyeongbuk Bike Paths don’t technically touch. A 37-kilometer gap lies between them, from Uljin County (울진군; map) to Samcheok City (삼척시; map).

If you have just completed the Gyeongbuk Bike Path, you have two options to get to the Gangwon Bike Path.

Want to cross the gap by bus? From the Uljin Sweet Fish Bridge stamp booth (울진은어다리 인증센터; map), the end of the Gyeongbuk Bike Path, cycle to the Uljin Bus Terminal (1.5 km; directions).

Catch a bus to Imwon Bus Terminal. It sits less than two kilometers from the Imwon Certification Center (임원 인증센터; map), the Gangwon Bike Path’s southern start point (directions). Read more here.

Want to cycle the gap? No problem. It doesn’t look much different from the rest of the East Coast Route. Coastal roads. A handful of hills. Beach vistas and snoozing port towns.

Cycle 37.2 kilometers from the Uljin Sweet Fish Bridge to Imwon Certification Center (directions). Read more here.

Gangwon Bicycle Path

The Gangwon Bicycle Path forms the northern section of the East Coast Bike Path. It tracks the East Sea from the bottom of Gangwon Province (강원도; map) to the DMZ. Measuring 242 kilometers, it is Korea’s second longest Certification Bike Path.

In the south, start at the Imwon Certification Center in Samcheok City (삼척시; map). Flow northwards into Donghae City (동해시; map) along a “romantic” coastal road beset by spiky hills. Pass a rail bike, cable car, and candlestick rock.

Farther up the coast, cross Gangneung and Sokcho Cities. In these resort hotspots, urbanites flutter between air-conditioned hotel rooms and hot beaches in summer.

Traffic thins and military outposts multiply in Goseong County (고성군; map). Look out into the East Sea. Discover rocky islands and disappearing horizons.

Finish the Gangwon Bike Path and East Coast Route at the Unification Observatory Certification Center (통일전망대 인증센터; map). It sits at the bottom of a road leading to the Unification Observation Tower, which offers a view over the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) into North Korea.

(Want to check out the tower? A military blockade doesn’t allow cars and cyclists down its access road. Take a taxi or hop on a tour bus to visit the observatory.)

Read More

Find all the resources you need to bike the Gangwon Bicycle Path below.

Bike Path Types

The East Coast Route contains a mix of sidewalks, protected bike lanes, and coastal roads.

  • 30% bike paths
  • 50% coastal roads
  • 10% farm roads
  • 10% sidewalks with bike paths

Almost the entire southern Gyeongbuk Bike Path in Yeongdeok and Uljin Counties travels on coastal roads. You won’t find many sidewalks, carve-outs, or protected bike paths.

However, an expressway pulls fast traffic off these seaside roads. And many of the cars that travel them are on leisurely sightseeing missions.

Near the resort cities of Sokcho (속초시; map) and Gangneung (강릉시; map), sidewalks and dedicated bike paths allow cyclists to travel separate from vehicle traffic. However, the cycling route uses normal roads when passing coastlines squeezed by hills and mountains.

Time & Distance

At 343 kilometers (213 miles), the East Coast Route is half as long as the Cross-Country Route. However, a series of steep hills sprinkled throughout offer more challenges and rewards.

Active cyclists can conquer its beaches and hills in three or four days. However, during peak season (July and August), car and foot traffic around popular tourist spots will slow your progress.

Want to take a dip? Lay out for a suntan? Allow five or six days to complete the East Coast Route. You’ll be able to check out all the highlights and rest your legs.

How to Get There

Need to get to Korea’s east coast with your bike? Other than a personal car, intercity buses are the only reliable translation option.

Gyeongbuk Bike Path

The Gyeongbuk Bike Path passes through less populated sections of the East Coast Route. This makes transportation to it less convenient.

Gangwon Bike Path

The Gangwon Bicycle Path offers better intercity bus access than the Gyeongbuk Bike Path.

Near its northern finish line, the Daejin Bus Terminal runs buses daily to and from Dong (East) Seoul Bus Terminal.