Cities, Counties, & Provinces

Brief but essential histories, geographies, and highlights of all the regions on Korea’s bike paths.

Below you’ll find a list of all the administrative districts on Korea’s certification bike paths. They profile each’s unique history, geography, and culture.

We categorized the page into metropolitan cities and provinces, and the cities and counties they contain.

Korea’s Administrative Districts

Korea runs a simple administrative district system. The two largest local governance territories include provinces and metropolitan cities.

  • Metropolitan Cities (광역시; gwang-yeok-si) are cities with populations over one million (1,000,000). They are “self-governing provinces,” and operate their own infrastructure and local government. Provinces hold not authority over them. Metro cities further divide themselves into districts (; gu), then neighborhoods (; dong). There are eight (8) Metro Cities in Korea.
  • Provinces (도; do), like states in the United States of America, are large territories that encompass counties and cities. If one of their cities receives a promotion and ascends to Metropolitan status, the city breaks away from the province. There are eight (8) provinces in Korea.

Under provinces, you’ll find two smaller districts: cities and counties.

In some nations, counties hold jurisdiction over cities. But not in South Korea. Cities and counties are separate administrative districts.

A city and county title also has nothing to do size. The borders of a city can encompass a greater area than a county.

So, what’s the difference? People.

  • Counties (군; gun) hold under 150,000 people.
  • Cities (시; si) hold over 150,000 people.

While both have “downtown” areas, you’ll often find smaller settlements within their borders.

  • Towns (읍; eub) are urban settlements with 20,000 or more people.
  • Townships (면; myeon) are rural settlements with less than 25,000, but over 2,000 people.
  • Villages (리; lee) are rural settlements with less than 2,000 people.
  • Neighborhoods (동; dong) are subdivisions in cities with any number of people.

Metropolitan Cities