Gallery: Road tripping along South Korea's National Road 7

Gallery: Road tripping along South Korea's National Road 7

From Goseong to Busan, highlights include Naksan Temple, Unification Observatory’s Seaside Buddha, Geojin Harbor, Cheongganjeong Pavilion and plenty of great beaches

Arguably one of South Korea’s more memorable highways, National Road 7 is dotted with tons of historical landmarks and recreational sites.

Stretching 350 kilometers along the coast from Goseong to Busan, notable highlights include Naksan Temple, Unification Observatory’s Seaside Buddha, Geojin Harbor, Cheongganjeong Pavilion and plenty of great beaches. 

On the food front, point the compass to Yeongdeok’s Crab Town, just north of Pohang, to sample some of the best crab on the peninsula.

Getting there: Best bet is to head straight to Gangneung. Yeongdong Expressway (Highway 50) from Seoul to Gangneung takes roughly two hours. From Gangneung, National Road 7 runs north to south.

Alternatively, get on Highway 44 from Seoul and take it all the way to Goseong. Slightly more traffic-prone, but an option nonetheless. From Goseong, just keep to National Road 7. Signs are clearly marked.

Additional info: AVIS (+ 02 1544 1600) offer 30 percent discounts on all their car rentals. Rates start at around 75,000 won (US$68) for the day. A Hyundai Santa Fe SUV was 152,200 won per day at the time of this article. Staff speaks English.

Required documentation: Home country licenses are accepted providing they are accompanied with an international permit and passport.

National Road 7

The view from Goseong’s Lighthouse Sports Park. This is the northernmost point of the highway.

A little further north is the Unification Observatory.

Seaside Buddha

Arguably one of South Korea’s most picturesque landmarks, a huge stone Buddha statue looms over the east coast at the Unification Observatory (033-682-0088).

The observatory is open throughout the year: 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (spring, summer and fall) and 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. (winter).

Admission was 10,000 won at the time of this article (this includes all documents and stamps).

Goejin Harbor

If seafood is to your liking, then a stop in this area is a must.

Just north of Goseong the area is a great place to walk around and sample some of the freshest seafood the country offers.

Geongbongsa Temple

Not the easiest temple to get to as it’s roughly 10 ilometers off the main road (look for the signs, you'll see them) -- but it certainly makes for a great experience.

Geongbongsa Temple is about as remote as it gets.

Chodo-ri Seafood Center

This seaside restaurant strip is just a few minutes north from Geojin Harbor.

Run by extremely friendly staff and serving only the freshest catch it’s a great place to drop in before heading to the Unification Observatory.

Click "Next" to see five more amazing stops along South Korea's National Road 7.


Naksansa Temple

With the exception of Busan’s Yonggungsa Temple, not many other South Korean temples come close to offering views like this coupled with wonderfully decorative traditional Buddhist architecture.

Cheongganjeong Pavilion

This octagonal pavilion, sat high above the cliff side, provides some of the best views for watching the sunrise or sunset.

Chilpo Beach

Of the many beaches, this one ranks high.

You don’t see too many white sand beaches such as this, even on Jeju Island.

Yeongdeok Crab Town

A quick drive over the bridge at the entrance leads to an unbelievable selection. That is, if crab is on one’s eating wish list.

There are probably more crab eateries here per square meter than there are along the entire east coast combined.

A beach with no name

Although there are dozens of beaches to choose from, singling one out from the hordes of vacationers is no easy feat. Yet, such beaches do exist, one just has to poke around for them.

Take this one located just north of Pohang, for example. It’s so remote, it doesn’t even have a name.