Best Palaces of Seoul to Visit + All You Need to Know (2024)

Visiting palaces in Seoul is an amazing time-hop, especially in a big metropolitan city like Seoul.

The palaces of Seoul are well-kept, inexpensive to enter, tourist-friendly, and a must visit for the perfect Seoul itinerary.

There are 5 royal palaces in Seoul, plus an additional residential palace that I included at the end.

I’ve visited them all, some multiple times!

Here’s my guide to everything you need to know about the palaces of Seoul, including how to get there, sites to see, and nearby attractions.

First time visiting South Korea? Make sure to read my essential South Korea travel tips.

Map of Palaces of Seoul

Green and white map of Map of Palaces of Seoul in South Korea

Quick and Interesting Facts

  • The palaces in Seoul are over 600 years old.
  • The oldest palace in Seoul is Gyeongbokgung Palace (1390s).
  • Most were destroyed during the Japanese colonial period and were rebuilt.
PalaceCostNearest Subway
Gyeongbokgung Palace3,000 won ($2.70 USD)Gyeongbokgung
Changdeokgung Palace3,000 won ($2.70 USD)Anguk
Changgyeonggung Palace1,000 KRW ($0.90 USD)Jongno 3(sam)-ga
Deoksugung Palace1,000 KRW ($0.90 USD)City Hall
Gyeonghuigung PalaceFreeSeodaemun
Unhyeongung PalaceFreeAnguk

Tips for Visiting Palaces in Seoul

Gyeongbokgung Palace Throne Hall with long red pillars at Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul
  • All Seoul palaces are free on the last Wednesdays of the month (Culture Day), plus on some Korean public holidays like Seollal (Lunar New Year’s Day) and Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving Day).
  • If you wear a hanbok, you can enter the palaces for free.
  • Palaces in Seoul closed on Mondays:
    • Gyeonghuigung Palace
    • Changgyeonggung Palace
    • Deoksugung Palace
    • Changdeokgung
  • Palaces in Seoul closed on Tuesdays:
    • Gyeongbokgung Palace

Places to Rent a Hanbok

Two young wome in traditional hanboks walking through a pavillion at Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul

Includes Hanbok Photoshoots:

1. Gyeongbokgung Palace

Royal guards in red traditional Korean clothing holding flags and doing the royal guard changing ceremony at Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul, best place to spend one day in Seoul

Address: 161 Sajik-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Cost: 3,000 won ($2.70 USD)

Gyeongbokgung Palace was built in 1395 and served as the main royal palace of the Joseon Dynasty.

It’s the largest of the Five Grand Palaces built during the Joseon Dynasty.

It has undergone many reconstructions, especially after the fires during the Imjin War (1592-1598) and during the Japanese occupation in the early 20th century.


  • Guard Ceremony, a traditional ritual of royal guard changing.
  • Gyeonghoeru Pavilion, a royal banquet hall.
  • Geunjeongjeon Hall, the central throne room of the palace.
  • Hyangwonjeong Pavilion, a serene pavilion by a tranquil pond.

Know Before You Visit:

  • The royal guard changing happens at 10am and 2pm. The palace grounds is massive, so make sure to come back near the entrance in time to catch the ceremony.

Nearest Subway:

Gyeongbokgung Station, Line 3, Exit 5

Nearby Attractions:

  • National Folk Museum of Korea
  • Bukchon Hanok Village
  • Gwanghwamun Square
  • Cheongwadae (Presidential Office)

Gyeongbokgung Palace Tours:

📖 Read my full Gyeongbokgung Palace Guide.

2. Changdeokgung Palace

Visitors walking along a winding path in the Changdeokgung Palace Secret Garden during autumn, with vibrant red and orange foliage on trees

Address: 99 Yulgok-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Cost: 3,000 won ($2.70 USD)

Changdeokgung Palace was constructed in 1405 and is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its natural landscape.

This palace was favored by many Joseon kings for its natural landscape and served as a retreat for the royal family.

The most popular spot is the Secret Garden, which includes a variety of pavilions, halls, ponds, and landscaped gardens. I highly recommend visiting during autumn if you can.


  • Huwon Secret Garden, a landscaped nature retreat for royals.
  • Donhwamun Gate, a grand entrance to the palace.
  • Injeongjeon Hall, a historical throne hall.
  • Seonjeongjeon Hall, a meeting place for kings and officials.

Know Before You Visit:

  • You have to purchase separate tickets to the Secret Garden, which are limited daily, so it’s best to book ahead online.

Nearest Subway:

Anguk Station, Line 3, Exit 3

Nearby Attractions:

Changdeokgung Palace Tours

3. Changgyeonggung Palace

A large courtyard with a traditional Korean palace building surrounded by green trees at Changgyeonggung Palace in Seoul

Address: 185 Changgyeonggung-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Cost: 1,000 KRW ($0.90 USD)

Changgyeonggung Palace was originally built in the 15th century as a secondary palace for the Joseon royal family.

This is one of my favorite palaces in Seoul with lots of nature sites to explore.

The palace has a greenhouse, which is Korea’s first western-style greenhouse. There’s also a sundial that was used to tell time during the Joseon dynasty.


  • Daeonsil, a grand glass screen greenhouse with rare plants and flowers
  • Ancient Korean sundial to tell time during the Joseon dynasty
  • Myeongjeongjeon Hall, the main hall for meetings and banquets
  • Tongmyeongjeon Hall, the king’s living quarter
  • Chundangji Pond, a large pond with a walking trail

Know Before You Visit:

  • Changgyeonggung Palace is one of the few palaces in Seoul where you can join a night tour. Book tickets here.

Nearest Subway:

Jongno 3(sam)-ga Station, Line 5, Exit 7

Nearby Attractions:

Changgyeonggung Palace Tours

4. Deoksugung Palace

A large white western-style building with pillars with a green front yard and teal pool - Seogjojeon Building at Deoksugung Palace in Seoul

Address: 99 Sejong-daero, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Cost: 1,000 KRW ($0.90 USD)

Deoksugung Palace was built in the late 16th century and is located in the heart of downtown Seoul.

It is the smallest of the royal palaces of Seoul, and stands out for its fusion of traditional Korean architecture and Western influences.

Know Before You Visit:

  • Visiting the museum inside Seokjojeon Hall is free, but you must join a guided tour.
  • Entrance fee to the National Museum of Contemporary Art varies by exhibit.


  • Changing of Guards ceremony occurs at 11am, 2pm, and 3:30pm.
  • Seokjojeon Hall, a western-style royal residence and museum.
  • Deoksugung’s bright blue water fountain.
  • National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art inside the palace.

Nearest Subway:

City Hall Station, Line 2, Exit 4

Nearby Attractions:

Deoksugung Palace Tours:

5. Gyeonghuigung Palace

Two individuals seated in quiet contemplation in the shadow of Gyeonghuigung Palace's vibrantly painted eaves, with intricate patterns and green wooden doors, under a clear blue sky in Seoul, South Korea

Address: 45 Saemunan-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Cost: free

Gyeonghuigung Palace, the Western Palace, was built in the 1600s and served as a secondary palace and governmental center.

It is the least crowded of all palaces in Seoul and translates to the “Palace of Serene Harmony.”


  • Sungjeongjeon Hall, the palace’s main royal hall for ceremonies and meetings
  • Tongmyeongjeon Hall, the king’s residence hall
  • Heunghwamun Gate, the front gate to the palace
  • Geumcheongyo Bridge, a stone bridge to enter the palace grounds

Know Before You Visit:

Nearest Subway:

Seodaemun Station, Line 5, Exit 4

Nearby Attractions:

  • Seoul Museum of History
  • Gwanghwamun Square
  • Donuimun Museum Village
  • Deoksugung Palace
  • Seodaemun Prison History Hall

Gyeonghuigung Palace Tours

6. Unhyeongung Palace

A dark wooden traditional Korean hall at Unhyeongung Royal Residence Palace in Seoul

Address: 464 Samil-daero, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Cost: free

Unhyeongung Palace was originally built in the late 14th century and served as the residence for Heungseon Daewongun, a prince regent of Korea, and father of Emperor Gojong.

It’s technically not one of the five main royal palaces of Seoul, but I happened to run across it on my first trip to Seoul.

You can stroll the traditional residential rooms and courtyards.

Know Before You Visit:

  • English descriptions are provided for the informational boards throughout the palace.


  • Norakdang Hall, the residence for women.
  • Noandang Hall, the residence for men.
  • Sujiksa, rooms for servants and guards.

Nearest Subway:

Anguk Station, Line 3, Exit 4

Nearby Attractions:

Best Palaces in Seoul?

Gyeonghoeru Pavilion, a large mahogany building with pillars on an artificial lake at Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul

If you’re limited on time, here are my recommend palaces in Seoul to visit.

Must-Visit Seoul Palace, even if it’s just one day in Seoul:

  • Gyeongbokgung Palace

Other favorite palaces of Seoul, in order:

  • Changgyeonggung Palace
  • Deoksugung Palace
  • Changdeokgung Palace (especially for Secret Garden)
  • Gyeonghuigung Palace
  • Unhyeongung Palace

Though if you have time and are able to, visit all of the palaces of Seoul!

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