15 K-Dramas To Vicariously Travel Through This Summer
Travel often opens up a vista of many possibilities, whether it’s a chance encounter to an enchanting romantic rendezvous or just a getaway to recharge. It is summer—are you yearning to travel? Well there is a perfect fix for you. You can travel to exotic locations, sample the sights and sounds—absolutely free—and with your favorite characters! Here are 15 K-dramas to vicariously travel through, right within the comfort of your own space.
“Crash Landing On You”
When South Korean heiress Yoon Se Ri (Son Ye Jin) literally crash lands into the arms of a handsome North Korean Army officer named Captain Ri Jung Hyuk (Hyun Bin), we are served a dangerously dishy romance. As the star-crossed lovers challenge many hurdles to protect their love beyond enemy lines, they find their safe place amongst the Swiss Alps. As strangers, the two had briefly crossed paths in Switzerland, a time when Jung Hyuk was pursuing his passion in music and Se Ri was running away from her family crisis. Jung Hyuk’s piano scene was filmed at Lake Brienz in Iseltwald, the teary reunion scene between the couple was shot at Grindelwald, and the home they build together was at the scenic Lake Lungern in Obwalden. Several other Swiss attractions include the Münsterbrücke Bridge over the river Limmat and Lindenhof Hill in Zurich.
Hyun Bin and Son Ye Jin made this love story so convincing that it made them an iconic poster couple. Many fans got closure when reel life imitated real as the striking couple announced their wedding in 2022. Now married and parents to a baby boy, this drama is all the more special for fans as some love stories are meant to be!
A 900-year-old goblin named Kim Shin (Gong Yoo) has been roaming the earth in search of his bride to help break a century old curse. He meets orphaned teenager Eun Tak (Kim Go Eun), who not only has the ability to see ghosts but is also the woman destined for him. Kim Shin, who has the magical ability to teleport across time and space, takes Eun Tak on a journey of a lifetime. Traveling the length and breath of Quebec city in Canada, one gets to explore the landscape dappled with charming autumn leaves along with Kim Shin and Eun Tak. The majestic Hotel Fairmont Le Château Frontenac and the Fontaine de Tourny are few of the sights to savor. The golden hue of the landscape gives an enchanting fairytale vibe to the narrative, and “Guardian: The Lonely and Great God” also packs in romance, magic, humor, and has a liltingly moving soundtrack.
Start watching “Guardian: The Lonely and Great God”:
“Memories of the Alhambra”
A genius game developer and CEO of an investment company, Yoo Jin Woo (Hyun Bin) travels to Spain to catch the elusive creator of an AR game about medieval battles in Alhambra. He meets Jung Hee Joo (Park Shin Hye), a former guitarist-turned-hostel owner. As glitches in the program and mysterious incidents around Jin Woo and Hee Joo unfold, one is taken on a whirlwind tour of breathtaking locations around the length and breadth of Spain. Some of the key scenes were shot at Barcelona’s Estacio de França train station as well as Gavà railway station. The other locations include the Stone Bridge in Girona as well as Granda, where filming took place at the San Miguel Alto Shrine, the eclectic neighborhood of Realejo-San Matias, and the Alhambra. Outside Spain, the drama also traveled to Hungary and Slovenia!
With a sci-fi setting where one switches between alternate worlds—in this case, between an augmented reality game and the real world—”Memories of the Alhambra” is something akin to being swept into a simulating virtual world.
Captain Yoo Shi Jin (Song Joong Ki) is the leader of the special task team Alpha. Posted to war-torn Uruk along with his platoon of soldiers, it is the unlikeliest place for him to reunite with the love of his life, who had rejected him given the dangerous nature of his job. The arrival of Dr. Kang Mo Yeon (Song Hye Kyo) at Uruk, with her team of doctors, sets off some serious sparks between the two. As the soldiers and the team of doctors fight emergencies, you get a glimpse into the town of Ururk, which was created in Zakynthos, the third largest of the Ionian Islands in Greece. The scene at the beach when Shi Jin tells Mo Yeon that if she carries a stone from here, she is bound to return again was filmed at the Navagio Beach, also known as the Shipwreck Beach. The location is significantly featured in the finale as Shi Jin and Mo Yeon share an intimate moment. Besides Zakynthos, other filming locations were the mountain town of Arachova and the island of Lemnos in Greece.
“Descendants of the Sun” remains a favorite for many K-drama fans, especially due to its amazing locations and star-studded cast.
Start watching “Descendants of the Sun”:
Jin Hyuk (Park Bo Gum), a free-spirited young man, is making the most of his vacation in Havana, capturing its many colors on his vintage camera. Cha Soo Hyun (Song Hye Kyo), the stylish and stoic CEO of Dong Hwa Hotel, is in Havana for strictly business. But when these two strangers run into each other, Cuba casts its enchanting spell and makes it an encounter they will never forget. Cuba’s vibrant culture and the old-world charm of Havana, which is a thriving blend of historical architecture, vintage automobiles, and natural beauty, are weaved into this drama’s many scenes. Havana’s Malecon beach and the Hotel Nacional de Cuba were both featured prominently in the drama.
From Havana to Sokcho in South Korea, “Encounter” is beautifully shot, and the vivid color palette of reds, yellow, and blues give the show a rich hue. It’s a heartwarming yet forbidden romance, and the chemistry between Song Hye Kyo and Park Bo Gum makes this one a must-watch.
Start watching ” Encounter”:
“Chocolate” is about the bittersweet love story between neurosurgeon Lee Kang (Yoon Kye Sang) and chef Moon Cha Young (Ha Ji Won). It’s a moving show, which comes with a world of wisdom. As these two individuals, bound by their tragic pasts, encounter each other at a hospice, they learn poignant lessons to savor life and cherish the ones you love. One of the prime filming locations for this drama was the city of Nafplio in Greece, where Cha Young’s restaurant is located. It’s a vibrant seaside town with imposing castles, quaint churches, fascinating museums, and cobbled streets, and its serene beauty is captivating.
As Lee Kang and Cha Young navigate around their tumultuous emotions, the dazzling scenery is like balm for their pained souls, and as a warm and healing drama, “Chocolate” blends in food, life lessons, and picturesque locales.
All about the love story between a mermaid and a con man, “The Legend of the Blue Sea” is one of the most picturesque dramas. Shim Cheong (Jun Ji Hyun), a mermaid from the Joseon dynasty, had fallen for a nobleman in the past and has never been able to forget him despite wiping his memories clean. In the present day, she finds herself in Spain. Leaving her aquatic world, she finds herself attached to Heo Joon Jae (Lee Min Ho), a con man vacationing in Spain and who also happens to be the doppelgänger of the man she loved. As she tries to make sense of the unfamiliar world around her, Joon Jae, who has his own agenda, lets her tag along with him.
Along with the two characters, you’ll be taken on a scenic excursion, exploring the Catalonian landscape. La Palau De La Musica Catalana was shown as the spacious mall and is the spot where Heo Joon Jae finds Shim Cheong waiting for him in the rain, making it a prominent moment in the drama. Other scenes were shot at the Parròquia de Sant Bartomeu church in Sitges as well as Tossa de Mar in Girona, giving viewers ample view of the sea, the plazas, and famous architectural sites. Plus, Jun Ji Hyun’s innate comic timing and Lee Min Ho’s charm make this show a must-watch.
Start watching “The Legend of the Blue Sea”:
“Lovers in Paris”
When in Paris, open yourself to possibilities as the city and its seductive charm might sweep you off your feet. Struggling foreign student Kang Tae Young (Kim Jung Eun) takes up a part-time job as a housekeeper to make ends meet. Her employer in question is Han Ki Ju (Park Shin Yang), a rich, divorced CEO. When Ki Ju asks her to pose as his fiancée to impress a business partner, Tae Young obliges. After a couple of dates, Tae Young is so smitten by Ki Ju, and he cannot resist her charms either.
And as the love story unfolds, you’ll get to experience the charming streets lined with Parisian cafes, the wishing fountain, and luxury diners as well as the alluring façade of the city. And as a golden oldie, the comic timing and chemistry between Kim Jung Eun and Park Shin Yong make “Lovers in Paris” a treat to watch .
Start watching “Lovers in Paris”:
Park Hoon (Lee Jong Suk), a brilliant thoracic surgeon, grew up in North Korea and flees to South Korea soon after his father’s death. But he has lost contact with his lady love Jae Hee (Jin Se Yeon) in North Korea and is on a sole mission to find her, however dangerous the stakes.
Though filmed predominantly in South Korea, several prominent action scenes were filmed all the way in Budapest, Hungary. The city’s imposing and attractive architecture is the backdrop as Park Hoon indulges in some daredevil stunts. From the Chain Bridge overlooking the River Danube to the Hungarian National Gallery, which houses an impressive collection of Hungarian artworks since the 10th century, these are just some of the sights viewers are treated to. With love, high octane action, and adventure, it doesn’t get better than this!
Start watching “Doctor Stranger”:
The captivating city of love Paris has a mesmerizing charm to it. While working toward her PhD, Yoon So So (Lee Yeon Hee) takes on the job as a tour guide in France. Lonely in a new city, So So’s life is anything but fun until she meets San Ma Roo (Jung Yong Hwa), who is part of her latest batch of tourists. Fresh from a breakup, Ma Roo is a nuisance from the moment he lands in Paris. But this troublemaker is what So So needs in her life. As they set off on an excursion across Mont Saint-Michel, Honfleur, Deaville, Saint-Malo, and Auvers-sur-Oise, the tourists befriend each other and share their many life stories.
“The Package” is a breezy watch, and the individual stories are intricately woven as the characters tour around the scenic Parisian landscape.
Start watching “The Package”:
Who doesn’t love a good reincarnation story? Hae Ra (Shin Se Kyung) is a travel agent who makes her first trip abroad to Slovenia. She meets the dashing businessman Moon Soo Ho (Kim Rae Won), who lives in a sprawling castle. Unbeknownst to Hae Ra, Soo Ho has been looking for her all his life, and their connection spans over 200 years. But can these two overcome their preordained destiny?
The drama was filmed in several areas around the Slovenian slopes, including Bled Castle, Logar Valley, Kranj, Ljubljana, and Predjama Castle around the slopes of Slovenia. “Black Knight” also gives an enticing package of mystery, romance, and magic along with a bird’s-eye view of Slovenia.
Start watching “Black Knight”:
“Lovers in Prague”
Prague, also known as the “City of a Hundred Spires,” has an irresistible appeal. From its Gothic churches, colorful baroque buildings, medieval castles, and the charming old town square to the stunning stone arch Charles Bridge crossing the Vltava river, the city retains an old-world charm amidst modernity. Against this captivating background, we see a love story unfold between a diplomat and a detective. Yoon Jae Hee (Jeon Do Yeon), the President’s daughter, works as a Korean diplomat in Prague. Suffering from a major heartbreak, she meets a detective (Kim Joo Hyuk) who is in Prague in search for his ex-girlfriend. As these two are drawn toward each other, their backgrounds and situation may just be the villain in their romance.
“Lovers in Prague” is an older drama, and it is the perfect watch for all those who are suckers for dramatic love stories.
Start watching “Lovers in Prague”:
The three Oh sisters, played by Kim Go Eun, Nam Ji Hyun, and Park Ji Hu, are caught in a murky nexus of dangerous politics, money laundering, and murder. If this situation is not complicated enough, they are also set up against the richest and most conniving family in South Korea: the Parks. A large part of the drama is shot in Singapore, which emerges as a key character in the suspense unfolding on screen. A shoppers’ paradise, the island country is known for its stunning skylines, soothing beachside, and lush gardens, making it a stunning appearance in the show. The scenes between Wi Ha Jun’s Choi Do Il and Kim Go Eun’s In Joo are shot at the majestic Fullerton Hotel, and the other locations are the dazzling and sprawling Gardens by the Bay as well as Sentosa Island.
“Little Women” is a riveting drama that is a modern-day adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s novel of the same name. The drama portrays the bonds of sisterhood and the extent to which you will protect your family in a world obsessed with greed and ambition.
Lee Soo Ho (Seo Do Young) is a talented pianist and lives in Austria, the perfect place for any musician. Seo Eun Young (Han Hyo Joo) wins an award at an exhibition and is given a prize trip to Vienna. But when these two encounter each other, Soo Ho discovers that they share a childhood past, making him hesitant to fall in love. Adding to the emotional drama is a love triangle between Soo Ho’s friend, Philip (Daniel Henney), who is a comforting and kind presence for Eun Young.
“Spring Waltz” draws its name from the soulful composition by famed composer Frèdèric Chopin and is about how pure love can withstand the test of time. The initial part of the drama is shot in the picture-postcard looking village of Hallstatt in Austria’s Salzkammergut mountain region, not far from Salzburg. You’ll be able to see the breathtaking visuals of the stunning town nestled against the snow-capped mountains, the pine trees, alpine homes, and the scenic waterfront. It’s an enthralling sight. When the story moves to Korea, we are treated to spring in full bloom in Jeju Island, with its sparkling waters and lush landscape. Soak in the love, travel virtually to the prettiest locations, and keep the tissues handy as you shed a few tears watching “Spring Waltz.”
Han Ji Min, Kim Woo Bin, Lee Byung Hun, Shin Min Ah, Cha Seung Won, Lee Jung Eun, and Kim Hye Ja come together in “Our Blues,” a bittersweet anthology that follows the people of Jeju Island as they navigate through life, love, and everything in between. Filmed mostly in and around Jeju Island, the show beautifully captures its crystal blue waters, sandy shores, and colorful ambience. The Goseong 5-Day Market is a key location, where most of the characters are shown selling seafood, ice, fresh produce, or sundaeguk (Korean blood sausage soup). There’s also Hallasan, the beautiful shield volcano, which was the filming spot for an emotional scene between Lee Byung Hun’s Dong Seok and his mother.
“Our Blues” is a healing drama, and as the characters narrate their stories, it is easy for viewers to identify and resonate with their situations. And when you have a stellar ensemble in one show, it is a definite and unmissable watch.
Hey Soompiers, which one of these destinations is on your bucket list? Let us know in the comments below!
Puja Talwar is a Soompi writer with a strong Yoo Tae Oh and Lee Junho bias. A long time K-drama fan, she loves devising alternate scenarios to the narratives. She has interviewed Lee Min Ho, Gong Yoo, Cha Eun Woo, and Ji Chang Wook to name a few. You can follow her on @puja_talwar7 on Instagram.
Currently watching: “The Good Bad Mother,” “Dr. Romantic 3,” and Once We Get Married.”