THE BEST BEACHES ON JEJU ISLAND
So what are the best beaches on Jeju Island? As you might expect it has a lot of them. Known as the Hawaii of Korea, Jeju has a temperate to subtropical climate and a coastline of more than 200 kilometres. That coastline is marked by a wide variety of beaches, often skirted by the island’s ubiquitous black volcanic rock – the legacy of old eruptions from its unmistakable centrepiece, Hallasan.
On our third visit to Jeju we made a complete circuit of the island, walking the 422 kilometre Olle Trail. Now while a few sections of the Olle take you inland, the vast majority follow the coast. So after our month long trip around the island, we reckon we’ve seen 95% of its beaches, making us well placed to pass judgement on which are the best.
But before we get stuck into what the best beaches on Jeju are, let’s make one thing clear. What does it mean to be among the best? Are we talking about pristine white sand and still blue water, or something a little more wild but just as beautiful? Our list considers the whole package. It has beaches great for sunning yourself, others perfect for activities, and some that are simply stunning stretches of coastline. So here you have it, our rundown of the best beaches on Jeju Island, with a map at the bottom.
JEJU’S BEST BEACHES
Our best beaches on Jeju will follow in no particular order, but we thought we’d start with our absolute favourite first.
The well known and much touted Hyeopjae Beach is a mere 500 metres along the coast, but for us, Geumneung wins hands down. The two are connected by a long strip of sand backed by grassy dunes, with an extensive campsite nestled in between. But while Hyeopjae is more built up, surrounded by cafes and busy with people looking for that Instagram shot, Geumneung feels open and spacious even when busy.
The wide, gently curving beach wears two faces. When the tide is in, the water can reach to the sea wall, the beach all but disappearing. But when the tide recedes, the real beauty of Geumneung Beach is revealed – a huge expanse of white sand crisscrossed by fingers of black volcanic rock. Sandbanks appear for a hundred metres or more, brilliant turquoise water snaking out to sea. Reflections of distant figures wandering the beach seem like a mirage.