The capital of Gangwon-do, the city lies in the northwestern part of the county in a basin formed by the Soyang and Han rivers. Called the “Lake City,” Chuncheon serves as the gateway to the northeastern corner of South Korea.
The area was first occupied by tribal people about 1,000 years ago. It had several names before it got its present name, Chuncheon, in 1418. An important city even during the Shilla Dynasty, it served as one of the fortress cities, to protect Seoul in the 17th century. It has been the capital of the province since 1896.
The city hosts a range of yearly events. These include the annual Chuncheon Puppet Festival, the Chuncheon Mime Festival and the Action Sports Championships which is hosted at the purpose built Sports Town, within Chuncheon.
The city is a mecca for people who enjoy the outdoors. The annual Chuncheon Marathon, which attracts an international field of runners, is held every October. There are also hundreds of kilometers of hiking trails and bike trails in and around the city, and a ski resort 30 minutes bus journey away.
Chuncheon is continually voted as one of the best places to live in South Korea, due to the mix of excellent public transport links (Seoul can be reached in approximately one hour by bus or train), cheaper cost of living and wonderful array of sporting, dining and shopping experiences.
Although in the past couple of decades Chuncheon has grown into a large city (280,000 as of 2015), it has maintained the friendliness of a small town. The older downtown section has remained compact although it has become more modernised.
The university district of the city is popular with students with the associated bar and nightlife culture.