Popular cities in North Korea

Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, is not only the largest city in the country but also holds great historical and political significance. With a population of over 2.8 million people, it serves as the political, cultural, and economic hub of the nation. Originally founded in 1945, Pyongyang underwent significant reconstruction efforts following the Korean War, resulting in a modern city. Today, it stands as a symbol of North Korea’s leadership and showcases the regime’s grandeur through its impressive architecture, such as the iconic Kumsusan Palace of the Sun. Despite its controlled façade, the city has recently opened up to foreign tourism and aims to attract more visitors by promoting its cultural sites and festivals.

Another noteworthy city is Kaesong, located near the border with South Korea. Historically, Kaesong was once the capital of the Goryeo Dynasty, which ruled over the Korean Peninsula from the 10th to the 14th century. The city boasts a rich cultural heritage, including numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites like the Goryeo Museum and the Namdaemun Gate. Additionally, it is famous for its delicious traditional Korean cuisine, especially the Kaesong-style dishes, which are renowned for their delicate flavors and presentation. Despite its historical significance, Kaesong’s current tourism industry is primarily driven by day-trippers from South Korea who visit the city as part of organized tours to experience a taste of North Korean culture.

Wonsan, located on North Korea’s eastern coast, is a popular seaside city and beach resort. Known for its picturesque beaches, beautiful scenery, and pleasant climate, it has become a popular vacation destination for both locals and foreign visitors. The city offers various recreational activities, such as beach volleyball, jet skiing, and sailing, attracting tourists looking for a relaxing beach getaway. Wonsan is also known for hosting an annual air show that features spectacular aerial displays, attracting aviation enthusiasts from around the world. With recent developments in tourism infrastructure, the North Korean government aims to transform Wonsan into an international tourist destination, catering to travelers seeking a unique coastal experience.

Finally, the city of Hamhung, North Korea’s second-largest city, is a major industrial center and an important educational hub. With a population of over 800,000 people, it serves as a vital economic center for the country, housing various manufacturing plants, including a significant chemical industry. Hamhung is home to prestigious universities and educational institutions, attracting students from across the country. The city also boasts numerous cultural attractions, such as the Hamhung Grand Theatre, where performances and cultural events take place regularly. Although often overshadowed by Pyongyang, Hamhung plays a crucial role in North Korea’s economy and offers a distinct perspective on the country’s urban lifestyle.

These popular cities in North Korea offer unique insights into the country’s culture, history, and development. From the political significance of Pyongyang to the historical heritage of Kaesong, the coastal beauty of Wonsan, and the industrial importance of Hamhung, each city presents different facets of North Korea’s complex identity. As the country endeavors to attract more international tourists, these cities hold immense potential for fostering greater engagement and understanding with the outside world.

Popular cities in North Korea

Discover the Top Cities of North Korea: Unveiling Hidden Gems

Looking to uncover the wonders of North Korea? Delve into our comprehensive guide on the popular cities that define this captivating nation. From the vibrant cityscapes to the rich historical heritage, we take you on an extraordinary journey through the most sought-after destinations. Find out more about the intriguing highlights, unmissable attractions, and unique experiences each city offers, as we unveil the secrets waiting to be explored. Stay tuned as we delve deeper into each city, providing in-depth insights that will truly immerse you in the wonders of North Korea.


Pyongyang is the capital and largest city of North Korea. It is known for its grand architecture, political monuments, and vibrant culture. As the political and administrative center of the country, Pyongyang has a population of over 2 million people. The city offers a fascinating glimpse into the isolated nation, with attractions such as the Kim Il-sung Square, Juche Tower, and Mangyongdae Funfair.


Hamhung is the second-largest city in North Korea, located on the eastern coast of the country. It is an important industrial and economic hub, particularly known for its chemical, metal, and textile industries. Hamhung also offers beautiful coastal scenery and is home to the Hamhung Grand Theatre, one of the largest theaters in North Korea.


Chongjin is the third-largest city in North Korea and is located in the northeastern part of the country. It is an important port city and industrial center, known for its steel, machinery, and chemical production. Chongjin also boasts scenic spots such as Mt. Chilbo and the Rason Special Economic Zone.


Nampo is a city on the western coast of North Korea and is the country’s principal port. It serves as a gateway for international trade and plays a crucial role in North Korea’s economy. Nampo is known for its agricultural production, fishing industry, and the West Sea Barrage, a remarkable feat of engineering.


Wonsan is a coastal city in eastern North Korea. It is a popular tourist destination due to its beautiful beaches, clear waters, and scenic mountains. Wonsan offers various recreational activities, including swimming, hiking, and boating. The city also hosts the annual Wonsan International Friendship Air Festival, which showcases aviation performances from around the world.

Statistical Overview

According to recent data, the most popular city in North Korea among visitors is Pyongyang, with its rich cultural heritage and political significance. However, other cities like Hamhung, Chongjin, Nampo, and Wonsan also attract tourists with their unique offerings, ranging from industrial prowess to stunning natural landscapes.

FAQs about Popular cities in North Korea

  • Which are the most popular cities to visit in North Korea?

The most popular cities to visit in North Korea are Pyongyang, Kaesong, Wonsan, and Hamhung.

  • What attractions can be found in Pyongyang?

In Pyongyang, you can visit the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, Juche Tower, Arch of Triumph, and the Ryugyong Hotel.

  • Are there any historical sites in Kaesong?

Yes, Kaesong is known for its historical sites such as the Kaesong Koryo Museum and the Nam Gate.

  • Can tourists visit Wonsan’s beaches?

Yes, tourists can visit the beautiful beaches of Wonsan and enjoy swimming and sunbathing.

  • What is Hamhung famous for?

Hamhung is famous for its industrial complex, historical architecture, and the Hamhung Grand Theatre.

  • What is the best way to travel between these cities?

The best way to travel between these cities is by hiring a local guide or using the transportation services provided by travel agencies.

  • Are there any accommodation options in these cities?

Yes, there are several hotels available in these cities where tourists can stay during their visit.

  • What kind of food can be found in these cities?

These cities offer a variety of Korean cuisine, including traditional dishes like kimchi, bibimbap, and bulgogi.

  • What are the safety precautions for travelers in North Korea?

Travelers should always follow the instructions of their guides, respect local customs, and avoid any political discussions or taking photographs without permission.

  • Can tourists explore these cities freely?

No, tourists are usually required to be accompanied by guides and must follow pre-approved itineraries while exploring these cities.


In conclusion, this article provided an overview of the popular cities in North Korea, showcasing their unique attractions and cultural significance. Pyongyang, the capital city, was highlighted for its grand architecture, historical landmarks, and vibrant nightlife. The article also mentioned the coastal city of Wonsan, known for its beautiful beaches and recreational activities. Additionally, the city of Kaesong was explored for its rich history and traditional Korean atmosphere.

Another notable city discussed was Nampo, which offers stunning natural landscapes such as the West Sea Barrage and Mount Taesong. The article emphasized that these cities not only boast architectural wonders, but also provide deep insights into North Korean culture and history. It also acknowledged that while international tourism to North Korea is limited, these cities offer unique experiences for those who are curious to explore this isolated nation.

Furthermore, the article shed light on the city of Hamhung, known for its industrial significance and numerous educational institutions. It also touched upon the charm of Chongjin, which is famed for its seafood and served as a significant trading port in the past.

Overall, this article demonstrated that North Korea has a range of diverse cities with their own distinctive offerings, attracting visitors with their intriguing attractions and cultural heritage. While these cities are not widely accessible, they present a fascinating glimpse into a lesser-known region of the world.

Read more about backpacking in North Korea