Exploring Gwangalli: A Wave of Fun Beyond the Beach

Gwangalli beach
Photo by Mcu1st0
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A Quick Guide on Things To Do Around Gwangalli Beach

As summer ends and fall begins, people flock to Busan’s beautiful sandy beaches to enjoy the final days of warmth and sunshine. If you are heading to Gwangalli Beach this summer, it might be difficult to choose from the huge selection of restaurants, cafes, and bars lining the beachfront. Here is a quick guide of some great spots to inspire your visit to Gwangalli. 

From Gwangan Metro Station, take Exit 3 or 5 and walk straight down the main street toward the beach. Gwangalli Beach boasts great signage in both English and Korean, so you can’t miss it! Once you reach the beach, turn right and head to Cafe Haute (카페오뜨). 

This cafe offers an excellent view of both the beach and Gwangandaegyo Bridge. The cafe is open from 10AM to 2AM, meaning you can either catch a gorgeous view of the beach in the morning, or watch the sunset and settle into an evening of people watching. Bonus points for the delicious coffee and desserts! 

Next up, buy some unique handmade gifts from Orangebada (오랜지바다). This lovely little shop is also situated on the beachfront and you can buy a variety of souvenirs including postcards,  jewelry, and candles. Orangebada is a design “community” which hosts a number of creative projects and contests. This is a great place to pick up a Busan-themed souvenir while also supporting the local community.

orange bada busan
Photo by Orangebada

Take a quick snack break and stop by Krim (크림), a handmade ice cream shop. The shop is tucked away on a side street between Gwangan Station and Geumnyeonsan Station, but is absolutely worth visiting. It is only open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday – so make sure you don’t visit Monday-Thursday! The ice creams are made using all natural ingredients and are free from food colouring. There are a range of unique flavours to try including grapefruit, apple crumble, and rice.

krim ice cream
Photo by Jennifer Euesden

Spend a couple of hours hanging out at Gwangalli Beach where the list of activities you can enjoy is endless. You can watch a street performance, relax on a sunbed, go swimming, or experience a variety of water sports.

Gwangalli beach
Photo by Mcu1st0

If you are there in the evening, stop by a convenience store and buy some fireworks. The beachfront is lined with convenience stores, cafes, bars, and restaurants so you will never be far from anything you need. 

Walk over toward Millak for some delicious vegan food from Vegenarang. This restaurant serves veganised Korean dishes and Buddhist temple-style cuisine. Vegenarang is situated on the 9th floor so it offers an incredible view of the beach and is perfect for catching a beautiful sunset! 

Vegenarag vegan restaurant
Photo by Jennifer Euesden

Millak Waterfront Park is a popular hangout spot for young Koreans. On a typical weekend evening, this area will be teeming with people, so make sure to get there early if you want a good spot! Grab a picnic mat, some drinks and take-out food, and enjoy the lively, youthful atmosphere of this area.

The park is also near a number of raw fish restaurants and markets, so don’t forget to check them out before heading back toward the beach!

As you walk back toward the bustle of Gwangalli, stop by Wild Wave Brewing Co. This is a local brewing company which specializes in sour and “wild” beers. The brewery was first established in Haeundae and now has a number of branches across the country. Check it out for a pint of locally-produced craft beer. 

Every night, there is an incredible show of LED lights on the Gwangandaegyo (“daegyo” means “big bridge”). Grab a snack or a drink from one of the many convenience stores on the beachfront and enjoy the show. In summer, there are usually sunbeds laid out along the beach so you can enjoy watching the glowing display. 

Exploring Gwangalli Light Show
Photo by Manseok Kim

The last stop on this list is Yang Jo Jang Makgeolli Brewery (양조장). You can try out a wide selection of makgeolli in this cozy place. The seating is limited, so make sure to get there early or be prepared for a short waiting time. 

This place is situated a short walk from the beach and is surrounded by a great selection of unique restaurants and bars. Although the beach is lined with busy places, the best spots are usually hidden away on the back streets in Gwangalli – so take the time to wander around and find some hidden gems!

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