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The third-largest city in South Korea, home to snazzy buildings, lush gardens, Korea’s only official Chinatown, and mouth-watering restaurants, Incheon is a bustling, vibrant metropolis. In between the exciting capital Seoul and the sea, there’s plenty to see and do in Incheon, but one of the best weekend itineraries is actually - to leave! Wolmi-do, Wolmido, or Wolmi Island, a small island just off the coast of Incheon, is home to the region’s most famous sunset view, best enjoyed from its Wolmisan Mountain Observatory or its Ferris Wheel above the ocean. Wolmido’s bustling cultural walkways, top-quality seafood, Korea’s most popular seaside amusement parks, and the panoramic views of the Incheon islands make it a favorite fun and chill weekend getaway among locals and tourists.

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Wolmido, A Small Island With Big History

Wolmido (월미도) is a small island, extending for 3 kilometers, only a few minutes off of Incheon Port. Its name derives from its “moon tail” shape, and for its early history, it protected ships at Incheon Bay. Despite its small size, Wolmi Island played a big part in many of Korea’s most complicated historical moments; from a trading route in the Joseon dynasty, Wolmido would be disputed by Chinese, Japanese and Russian forces in the 19th century, occupied by Japanese colonizers in the 20th century, become the stage of many battles during the Korean War, notably bombed and “napalm soaked” by the US military during the Battle of Incheon.

North Korea, the USA, and South Korea all had military bases installed on the island where the local population was displaced by conflict for over 50 years, but today, all military bases have left Wolmido, and a wide-spanning garden was built in its place and reopened to the people.

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What To Do In Wolmido

After all these years, the Wolmido of today is best known as a great weekend getaway in Korea, a perfect destination for families and people old and young. Museums and shrines preserve its turbulent history, but exuberant parks and cultural and art centers have brought the island to a modern age of cultural effervescence.

Visit Wolmi Island Culture Street

Wolmi Culture Street is the main street in Wolmido, a large pedestrian boardwalk right by the sea. Strolling through Culture Street, visitors will find a myriad of different attractions and fun sculptures, with galleries, shops, restaurants, cafés, and even karaoke bars lining the walking street.

At its center, there is a “water-friendly space” built for cultural events, with a sunset observatory, a lighthouse path, water-friendly stairs where visitors can soak their feet and enjoy the sea, and the Wolmi Moonlight Music Fountain, a fountain of illuminated water columns that dance according to the music.

Stroll Around Wolmi Park

Wolmi Park opened in 2001 in the place where military bases had been stationed for 50 years. The public isolation allowed a lot of the natural ecosystem of the island to be preserved, allowing natural forests and native animal species to populate the park, though cuts and bomb shards etched into the trees can still be seen, reminders of the war.

Wolmi Park has a traditional Korean garden with artificial streams, ponds, and typical Korean architecture. Inside the park, the Wolmi Cultural Center offers a wider look into many aspects of Korean culture and ceremonies, and the Museum of Korean Emigration History traces the history of Korean migrants and honors their lives and accomplishments.

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Climb Up To The Wolmi Observatory At Wolmisan Mountain

Wolmisan Mountain rises to 108 m right at the heart of Wolmi Park and of the whole island of Wolmido. The mountain trail is a beautiful path through the forest and can be made in 30 minutes by foot or 15 by shuttle car.

The views from the summit are already amazing, but the Wolmi Observatory atop the mountain elevates the experience to new heights. From the Observatory’s deck, visitors will have unobstructed, incomparable views of the ocean, Incheon Port, and the Korean coast. The café at the observation deck is a coveted spot to enjoy a coffee with a view of the sunset.

Try Local Seafood

Wolmido has a mouth-watering offering of raw fish and seafood restaurants, dishes to try being seafood noodle soup, Kalguksu, and grilled clams.

For those who don’t like seafood, never worry, Wolmido has an amazing selection of cafés, typical Korean street food, and truly delicious Bingsu to replenish energy and satisfy any stomach.

Have Fun At The Famous Wolmi Theme Parks

Finally, the amusement parks! Chances are, either by looking up Wolmido or watching Korean dramas, Wolmido’s two amusement parks have come up. The thrilling rides and colorful lights of the theme parks and Wolmido Ferris Wheel cut against the seascape are the main postcards for the island.

Though many people think it's all one park, the rides are run by a few different establishments. There’s no entrance fee, so visitors need only pay for the rides they want! The infamous Viking and Disco Pang Pang are popular attractions, but riding the fabulous Ferris Wheel is sure to be the highlight of the trip: at 115 m tall, the Ferris Wheel offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the whole island as well as Incheon, the Incheon islands and the West Sea.

How To Get To Wolmido

Getting to Wolmido is fairly simple. The trip can be done by car, taxi, or bus, taking around 15 minutes from Incheon and an hour from Seoul. It’s also possible to take the subway, line 1, from Seoul to Incheon.