Gwangalli Beach is an urban beach well-known for its fine sand and clean, swimmable water. It sits in an attractive bay while looking out across the Sea of Japan to a famous bridge. Gwangalli Beach is a hive of activity from early in the morning until long into the night. Find traditional Korean barbecue restaurants, a fish market, amusement park and concert stage.
The beach runs for about a mile (1.6 kilometers) and has powdery golden sand. During the mild summer months the water invites you to take an invigorating swim. Jet skis, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and windsurfers are available to rent.
Crossing the water and running almost parallel to the beach is Gwangan Bridge (aka Diamond Bridge). As night falls the bridge becomes illuminated with hundreds of bright lights, which proceed to change color. Accompanied by the neon lights of the surrounding tower blocks it presents a stunning nighttime setting.
Weekends are a great time to visit the beach, when local musicians put on free live shows at the stage. The stage is also a venue for the Busan Sea Festival, an event held at six city beaches in August. In October, the Busan Fireworks Festival takes over the beach. Enjoy spectacular pyrotechnic and laser-light displays.
Go for a walk along the paved beachfront promenade. Find a children’s playground and, at the northern end, a small amusement park. The opposite side of the road from the promenade is lined with barbecue restaurants, burger bars, brewpubs, coffeehouses and sushi restaurants. Don’t miss the Millak Fish Market, where you can purchase all manner of fresh fish and seafood and then take it to be cooked at the food carts.
Located in the Suyeong District, Gwangalli Beach is easy to get to via public transportation. The nearest metro stations are Geumnyeonsan and Gwangan. You can walk to Haeundae Beach in under an hour via a continuation of the waterfront esplanade. The beach is open to the public between July and September.