Gurye is a picturesque town set between rolling countryside and rugged mountains. Maple trees, cherry blossoms and azaleas bloom throughout the year and add to the picturesque setting. The town is a gateway to Jirisan National Park, where you can hike through lush temperate forests, visit an ancient Buddhist temple and climb one of the tallest mountains in South Korea.
Things to do in Gurye
Across Gurye, you’ll see shops selling products made from Sansuyu. The dogwood flower has been used in traditional Korean medicine for centuries and has unique healing properties. Herbal tea, liquor and skincare products made from the flowers make excellent gifts.
Hikers descend on Gurye throughout the spring and summer when the region is blanketed in colourful flowers. The annual Sansuyu Flower Festival celebrates the arrival of the bright yellow blossoms. Live music, family-friendly workshops and fireworks create a lively atmosphere.
The Royal Azalea Festival sees the mountainsides surrounding Gurye carpeted with hot pink flowers. In autumn, the maple trees surrounding Gurye explode in a sea of red, yellow and gold. The hiking at this time is fantastic. There’s even a festival to celebrate the fiery autumn colours.
At 1915 metres above sea level, Mount Jiri is one of the tallest mountains in South Korea. It towers over Jirisan National Park and is dotted with ancient Buddhist temples like Hwaeomsa, where you can view stone carvings from 600 CE. Several trails wind up the mountain, including the popular route to Samshinbong Peak. After a long hike, soak your muscles in the hot springs at the foot of the mountain.
Getting around Gurye
Gurye is easy to get around on foot. Taxis are a fast and affordable way to cover longer distances, or you can rent a car. Local buses run between Seoul and Gurye in 3.5 hours. The closest major city is Gwangju, a 1.5-hour drive away and Incheon International Airport is a 3.5-hour drive away.