Seoul, South Korea Geography

Seoul, the capital and largest city of South Korea, is a vibrant and dynamic metropolis situated in the northwest part of the country. The geography of Seoul is marked by its location in a basin surrounded by mountains and its proximity to the Han River. In this comprehensive description, we will explore the geography of Seoul, including its mountains, river, urban development, and the broader physical environment that shapes the city’s landscape.

Location and Overview: According to, Seoul is strategically located in the northwest of South Korea, approximately 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which separates South Korea from North Korea. The city serves as the political, economic, and cultural heart of South Korea and has a rich history that dates back over 2,000 years.

Mountains: The geography of Seoul is characterized by its surrounding mountains, which are a prominent feature of the city’s landscape:

  1. Bukhansan: Bukhansan, which translates to “North Han Mountain,” is one of the most iconic mountains in Seoul. It is part of Bukhansan National Park, which offers various hiking trails and opportunities for outdoor activities. The highest peak, Baegundae, stands at 836 meters (2,743 feet) above sea level and provides stunning panoramic views of the city.
  2. Namsan: Namsan, also known as Namsan Mountain, is a central and historically significant mountain in Seoul. It is home to Namsan Seoul Tower, a famous landmark with an observation deck that offers breathtaking views of the city. Namsan is characterized by its lush greenery and walking paths, making it a popular destination for both residents and tourists.
  3. Acha Mountain: Acha Mountain is located in the southern part of Seoul. It is known for its serene landscapes and hiking trails, providing a peaceful escape from the bustling urban environment.
  4. Inwangsan: Inwangsan, or Inwang Mountain, is another significant peak located in central Seoul. The mountain is famous for its rugged terrain and rocky outcrops. It is known for its historical and cultural significance, as well as its scenic beauty.


  1. Han River (Hangang): The Han River, often referred to as the Hangang in Korean, flows through the heart of Seoul, dividing the city into northern and southern parts. It is one of South Korea’s major rivers and serves as a central geographic feature for the city. The river is surrounded by parks and recreational areas, making it a popular spot for leisure and outdoor activities, including biking, jogging, and picnicking.

Urban Development: Seoul’s geography has played a crucial role in shaping its urban development and infrastructure:

  1. Riverside Parks: The Han River and its surrounding parks have been instrumental in providing recreational spaces for the city’s residents. Hangang Park, a system of parks along the riverbanks, offers green spaces, biking paths, and leisure facilities.
  2. Mountain Parks: The mountains that encircle Seoul are not just natural wonders but also integral parts of the city’s identity. They provide opportunities for hiking, and many parks and cultural sites are located on the mountainsides.
  3. Topographical Challenges: The mountainous terrain surrounding Seoul has posed challenges for urban development, including road and transportation infrastructure. However, it has also contributed to the city’s unique and picturesque landscapes.
  4. Historical and Cultural Sites: Seoul’s geography is dotted with historical and cultural sites, including temples, palaces, and fortresses that are often located in proximity to mountains and natural features. These sites are an essential part of the city’s heritage and tourism.

Climate and Weather: Seoul experiences a humid continental climate with four distinct seasons:

  1. Summers: Summers in Seoul are warm and humid, with average daytime temperatures ranging from 25°C to 30°C (77°F to 86°F). The city can experience monsoon rains during the summer, bringing heavy downpours.
  2. Winters: Winters are cold and dry, with average daytime temperatures ranging from -6°C to 3°C (21°F to 37°F). Snowfall is common during the winter months, transforming the city into a winter wonderland.
  3. Spring and Autumn: Spring and autumn are transitional seasons with mild temperatures and pleasant weather, making them ideal for outdoor activities and sightseeing.
  4. Wind Patterns: Seoul is influenced by seasonal wind patterns, including the monsoon winds during the summer and Siberian high-pressure systems that bring cold air in the winter.

Conclusion: Seoul’s geography, with its surrounding mountains, the Han River, and the interplay of urban development with natural landscapes, is a defining feature of the city. Whether you are interested in hiking, enjoying scenic city views, exploring historical and cultural sites, or experiencing the vibrant energy of a modern metropolis, the geography of Seoul offers a diverse range of experiences in the heart of South Korea.