14 Popular Romantic K-Dramas You Must Watch

Updated on January 30, 2020
Kiane profile image

Diana is a huge fan of Korean culture. Korean dramas are some of her favorite series to watch.

This article lists 14 must-watch romantic dramas produced in Korea.
This article lists 14 must-watch romantic dramas produced in Korea.

Do you like K-dramas? This list covers 14 of the most romantic Korean television dramas. Some are funny, some feature elements of crime, and some delve deep into love, family, and loyalty. What they all have in common is that they are chock-full of romance and melodrama. Each show's description is followed by a trailer or a short clip, so be sure to check those out if you want to get a feel for any of these shows before diving in. If you've seen these shows before, be sure to vote in the poll at the end of the list!

The 14 Most Romantic Korean Dramas

14. Heartstrings (15 episodes)
13. Empress Ki (51 episodes)
12. King's Daughter, Soo Baek Hyang (108 episodes)
11. The King in Love (40 episodes)
10. Fight for My Way (16 episodes)
9. Marriage, Not Dating (16 episodes)
8. While You Were Sleeping (32 episodes)
7. My ID Is Gangnam Beauty (16 episodes)
6. Go Back Couple (12 episodes)
5. What's Wrong With Secretary Kim (16 episodes)
4. Chicago Typewriter (16 episodes)
3. Because This Is My First Life (16 episodes)
2. Suspicious Partner/Love in Trouble (40 episodes)
1. I'm Not a Robot (32 episodes)

Heartstrings is an adorable love story  about two young musicians.
Heartstrings is an adorable love story about two young musicians.

14. Heartstrings

If you're looking for a romantic K-drama that is cute, adorable, and totally entertaining, then you'll definitely enjoy Heartstrings. The show hasn't received much technical or critical praise, but it's not boring to watch, and it really gets you involved. If you like to watch love-centric shows that are entertaining and relaxing, Heartstrings will definitely appeal to you.

My favorite aspect of this show is the way the two leads slowly fall in love. Lee Shin, a student majoring in modern music, is the vocalist and guitarist in a popular local band. He is uninterested in most things in life besides music. Kyu Won, on the other hand, knows nothing besides traditional music and is just trying to live up to her family's expectations. One day, her friends bring her to Lee Shin's band's concert. As you may have already guessed, she immediately becomes captivated by their good-looking vocalist.

Released: 2011
Starring: Park Shin-hye, Jung Yong-hwa

Empress Ki is a historical drama that doesn't come up short on romance.
Empress Ki is a historical drama that doesn't come up short on romance.

13. Empress Ki

If you are looking for a romantic historical drama, Empress Ki is a must-watch for sure. While Empress Ki is billed as a historical program, it's actually only loosely based on historical events—plenty of romanticization and melodrama were incorporated during the writing process.

The main story centers on Seung Nyang. Originally a slave in Goryeo, she grows up to become a strong woman who saves young girls and prevents them from being sent away to China to serve the emperor. As the show progresses, a sort of love triangle develops. I don't want to give too much away, but let's just say that both of Seung's suitors are royalty.

Released: 2013
Starring: Ha Ji-won, Joo Jin-mo, Ji Chang-wook

King's Daughter, Soo Baek Hyang tells a compelling and engaging story court politics and love.
King's Daughter, Soo Baek Hyang tells a compelling and engaging story court politics and love.

12. King's Daughter, Soo Baek Hyang

This selection is a long historical drama perfect for viewers who love complicated and well-thought-out stories. Don't be intimidated, though, The King's Daughter, Soo Baek Hyang is also quite engaging and pretty easy to watch. Despite its focus on court politics, the series is definitely all about love.

The show is set in ancient Korea during the pre-Joseon period. As you may have already guessed from the title, it revolves around the eldest daughter of King Muryeong, the leader of one of the Three Kingdoms in ancient Korea. Because of her righteous character, she doesn't become a princess. Instead, her evil half-sister takes her place. Sometime later, she starts spying for her own nation.

Released: 2013
Starring: Seo Hyun-jin, Seo Woo, Lee Jae-ryong, Jo Hyun-jae, Jun Tae-soo

The King in Love is yet another period piece about romance and royalty.
The King in Love is yet another period piece about romance and royalty.

11. The King in Love

Get ready . . . here comes another historical period drama about a love triangle. While watching The King in Love, I felt as if I had actually traveled back in time to the Goryeo period. The show tells the story of a king who has only one loyal friend. There are few people in the world he can truly trust, and this friend is one of them. The thing is, they both fall in love with the same woman. She genuinely loves both of them, and that just makes matters worse.

Released: 2017
Starring: Im Si-wan, Im Yoon-ah, Hong Jong-hyun

Fight for My Way is about four friends struggling to grow up, find love, and follow their dreams.
Fight for My Way is about four friends struggling to grow up, find love, and follow their dreams.

10. Fight for My Way

Fight for My Way focuses on four characters—childhood friends now in their late twenties—who are struggling either to achieve a dream or to find a purpose in life. Throughout the show, they try, fail, learn, stumble, fall, and get back up. No matter what our precious four are faced with, they make their own way and do their best to live happy lives. Despite being unlucky in both love and work, they eventually realize that love lies right on the surface. Give this awesome best-friends-to-lovers drama a shot—you won't regret it.

Released: 2017
Starring: Park Seo-joon, Kim Ji-won, Ahn Jae-hong, Song Ha-yoon

Marriage, Not Dating is a refreshingly funny delve into one man's futile desire to remain single.
Marriage, Not Dating is a refreshingly funny delve into one man's futile desire to remain single.

9. Marriage, Not Dating

The plot of this show may seem cliché at first glance, but it's actually a fairly refreshing take on the romantic comedy genre. It's the type of show that gets you hooked from the very first episode.

Marriage, Not Dating centers on a wealthy, busy, single plastic surgeon who doesn't want to get married. His family, on the other hand, is constantly badgering him to find a wife. His life is perfectly planned, and as far as he is concerned, being single is the ideal situation for him. In an effort to put an end to his family's incessant remarks about marriage, he decides to fool them by bringing home a girl who he thinks his parents will never approve of.

Released: 2014
Starring: Yeon Woo-jin, Han Groo, Jeong Jinwoon, Han Sunhwa

While You Were Sleeping adds an element of fantasy to the romantic drama genre.
While You Were Sleeping adds an element of fantasy to the romantic drama genre.

8. While You Were Sleeping

While You Were Sleeping is a bit of a departure from the other shows on this list. This drama has an interesting fantasy aspect in that it incorporates dreams into the characters' romance, everyday life, and conflicts. The drama is centered around Suzy, a woman who has visions of other people's catastrophic futures in her dreams. Lee Jong Suk, a prosecutor, decides to meet with her due to a vision she has in a dream.

Released: 2017
Starring: Lee Jong-suk, Bae Suzy, Jung Hae-in, Lee Sang-yeob

My ID Is Gangnam Beauty explores the relationship between inner beauty and external appearance in a university setting.
My ID Is Gangnam Beauty explores the relationship between inner beauty and external appearance in a university setting.

7. My ID Is Gangnam Beauty

My ID is Gangnam Beauty is a thought-provoking, romantic K-drama that focuses on campus romance. An insecure, cautious girl who was once bullied for her looks genuinely wants to start a new chapter in her life, so she decides to transform her face with plastic surgery. After the surgery, however, people continue to tease her, dubbing her "Gangnam Beauty." When she begins studying at university, she meets a guy who loves people for what they are like on the inside. Will he stand up for her and help her discover her true beauty?

Released: 2018
Starring: Im Soo-hyang, Cha Eun-woo, Jo Woo-ri, Kwak Dong-yeon

Go Back Couple combines romance with time-travel to explore what it is that makes relationships work.
Go Back Couple combines romance with time-travel to explore what it is that makes relationships work.

6. Go Back Couple

This is an amazingly heart-touching K-drama that you would be remiss to skip. Have you ever found yourself wondering what would you do if you could go back in time? If your answer is "yes," then Go Back Couple should be at the top of your must-watch list. A time-travel drama may not sound all that groundbreaking or original, but the stellar execution of this series makes it well-worth your watch. It's realistic (well, as realistic as a time-travel show can be), it plays with your emotions, and, most importantly, it's incredibly romantic!

Go Back Couple revolves around a married couple in their late 30s. They both regret marrying at such a young age, and they have begun to resent one another. The show takes us on an epic journey as the couple travels back in time to when they were 20-year-old students and had first met each other. Will revisiting their relationship's conception help them mend their failing marriage?

Released: 2017
Starring: Son Ho-jun, Jang Na-ra

What's Wrong With Secretary Kim is a raucous romantic comedy that explores what can happen when a professional relationship becomes a personal one.
What's Wrong With Secretary Kim is a raucous romantic comedy that explores what can happen when a professional relationship becomes a personal one.

5. What's Wrong With Secretary Kim

What's Wrong With Secretary Kim tells the story of Kim, a woman who wants a reset in her life and so decides to resign from her job. The patient and hardworking secretary has been working diligently for Lee Young Joon (vice-chairman of an important company) for nine years. Young Joon, a narcissistic and self-absorbed man, barely thinks of the people around him—he is the president of his family's company and thinks only about his own life. He is surprised by Kim's unexpected resignation and wants to find out why his most diligent worker has decided to quit.

Throughout this quest, they learn a lot about each other. This show is a comedy above all else, so if you pick laughs over complex stories and don't mind over-the-top comedy at times, What's Wrong With Secretary Kim will definitely have you reeling in your seat.

Released: 2018
Starring: Park Seo-joon, Park Min-young

Chicago Typewriter is a tale of romance that spans multiple lifetimes and makes poignant statements about how the past can affect the future.
Chicago Typewriter is a tale of romance that spans multiple lifetimes and makes poignant statements about how the past can affect the future.

4. Chicago Typewriter

Chicago Typewriter is a little different from most of the other series on this list. Part drama, part romance, part reincarnation epic, this is a deep and meaningful story whose melodrama spans lifetimes. Best of all, there is no shortage of heart-melting kiss scenes!

The story revolves around three main characters: a reincarnated bestselling author who is depressed and can't find inspiration to complete his next novel, a ghostwriter who is determined to help the author overcome his writer's block, and a caring and devoted fan of the author's work. Over the course of the series, the trio learns the truth about their past lives. In doing so, they shed light on why their present lives are the way that they are. In their attempts to recall their pasts, the three form an unshakable bond.

Released: 2017
Starring: Yoo Ah-in, Im Soo-jung, Go Kyung-pyo

Because This Is My First Life is a circumstantial romantic drama that follows three unlikely couples down the bumpy road of love.
Because This Is My First Life is a circumstantial romantic drama that follows three unlikely couples down the bumpy road of love.

3. Because This Is My First Life

Are you familiar with marriage contract storylines? Because This Is My First Life may sound a bit typical at first—a man and a woman marry each other due to beneficial circumstances but eventually end up falling for each other for real. The realistic premise is actually what makes this story so intriguing. It makes for complex drama and intense scenes that differ from those found in most innocent love series.

The main story is quite sweet. It centers around a single man in his early 30s who owns his home but also owes a huge mortgage and a homeless single woman (who is also in her 30s). The man is considering taking a tenant in one of his rooms to help him cope with his financial difficulties. As you may have already guessed, the two become housemates. Interestingly, Because This Is My First Life doesn't just focus on a single couple. In total, the show includes three couples, each with their own interesting storyline.

Released: 2017
Starring: Lee Min-ki, Jung So-min

Suspicious Partner (AKA Love in Trouble) is a suspense-filled, romantic thrill ride steeped in crime, love, and mystery.
Suspicious Partner (AKA Love in Trouble) is a suspense-filled, romantic thrill ride steeped in crime, love, and mystery.

2. Suspicious Partner/Love in Trouble

Suspicious Partner successfully blends crime and romance, which, in my experience, is pretty rare. The show has its fair share of love, but it also incorporates interesting plot twists and crime-based suspense in a way that will keep you glued to the screen.

The series tells the story of an intelligent prosecutor who is forced to become a defense attorney and a strong-but-naive woman (also an attorney) who is accused of murder. They work as a team to get to the bottom of the mysterious case, and, as I'm sure you've guessed, unexpected romance ensues.

Released: 2017
Starring: Ji Chang-wook, Nam Ji-hyun, Choi Tae-joon, Kwon Nara

I'm Not a Robot has a fairly wild premise, but the execution is spectacular. This is my favorite romantic comedy hands-down.
I'm Not a Robot has a fairly wild premise, but the execution is spectacular. This is my favorite romantic comedy hands-down.

1. I'm Not a Robot

I'm Not a Robot is one of the best (if not the best) rom-coms I have ever watched. It is fluffy, easy to watch, and features some stellar acting. The concept itself is somewhat unbelievable (maybe even crazy at times), but the plot is so well-thought-out that you can't help but fall in love with the show. Incredible writing and acting bring this unexpected hit from great to almost perfect.

The story follows a man who is allergic to humans. Yes, you read that right. He has a severe skin allergy that he developed as a result of trauma he sustained as a child. Even though he is an unbelievably rich, he has no clue how to get rid of his allergy, so he has been forced to live by himself for 15 years. One day, he gets a chance to test out a newly invented robot companion. At the very last moment, however, due to some unexpected circumstances, a real girl is sent instead of a machine. That's when the fun begins! Watch this show—you won't regret it.

Released: 2017
Starring: Yoo Seung-ho, Chae Soo-bin, Um Ki-joon

Which Show Is Your Favorite?

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    • profile image

      Maha 

      3 weeks ago

      Why is goblin not on the list ?!

    • profile image

      Dibyansu 

      4 weeks ago

      I loved watching "My ID is Gangnam Beauty". It goes on interesting as the story goes on. The plot thoroughly explain how our society judge the person on their look, and what are the problem faced by those person.

    • profile image

      Dangwal Rakhi 

      2 months ago

      Why Oh my Venus is not in the list..

    • profile image

      Totally worth your time 

      2 months ago

      I'm a major fan of kdrama. And I have never ever watched a series as good as "Reply 1988". I just love looove this series.. Even though the episode were 1 and half hours long i didn't feel bored even for a sec, it's incredible .. I have no words to describe how good this drama is .. It brings back childhood memories .. And the actors where all so good that i am totally drawn into the drama .. This is the best drama of my lifetime .. I will not get to see any better drama than this .. And every time i eagerly waited for the scene fo duk seon and taek .. I love them being together.. It would be really great if they hadn't change the actors when they are adults .. I really really love this drama ..

    • profile image

      Jacqueline G Rozell 

      2 months ago

      I like What's Wrong With Secretary Kim so much I have asked my local DVD rental store to try and order it for me, along with both seasons of Playful Kiss. I hate it when some of these I like so well disappear and I can't find them any more.

    • profile image

      Kayce 

      2 months ago

      You forgot alot of my favourites, "Something in the rain" should be on this list cause the story remain on the gorgeous male loving the girl til the end, I love "Whats Wrong With Secretary Kim" so much, the lead actor cracked me up on the episode he took Secretary Kim out on the date he took her photos, the way he posed to take her photos was GOLD!!! I also love "I am not a Robot" and love the way it turned out. "Romance Is A Bonus Book" should also be on this list cause Lee Jong-Suk looks and love for her was so pleasing to watch from start to end.

    • profile image

      Jacqueline G Rozell 

      5 months ago

      Still voting for What's Wrong With Secretary Kim. Fast paced and the lead is so handsome. His facial expressions when he is perplexed by his secretary crack me up!

    • profile image

      Jacqueline G Rozell 

      5 months ago

      First, I agree that Something in the Rain needs to be on the list. Second, I watched What's Wrong with Secretary Kim so many times I could quote the dialogue, just because the male lead is so gorgeous. I couldn't get enough of his eyes, his body... loved everything about him and frankly, I didn't have to suffer through half the episodes of them misunderstanding and pining and crying for each other and each dating the wrong person until the very last episode. Sometimes the formula for these dramas are so predictable and so frustrating they tire me out. This one was pleasurable.

    • profile image

      Star505 

      6 months ago

      Something in the Rain needs to be on this list!

    • profile image

      amzee 

      6 months ago

      I watched over 60 kdramas and the best ones are w-two worlds, decendants of the sun, HEALER, arthdal chronicles, kill me heal me, legend of the blue sea, my love from the stars, goblin, KOREAN ODYSSEY, FAITH, The princess’ man, HWARANG these are amazingggggggg if u haven't watched any of them then ur missing out

    • profile image

      Jn 

      7 months ago

      Its not a list if it doesnt include weightlifting fairy and strong woman do bong soon

    • profile image

      Susan 

      8 months ago

      You guys forgot Oh My Venus that show was so romantic and the couple had so much chemistry. It was crazy how they felt so comfortable touching each other in ways that you have to watch to see.

    • profile image

      Harnadexz Sexzan 

      9 months ago

      My favourite drama is

      What's wrong with secretary Kim.

      It's superb

    • profile image

      Ilsha 

      9 months ago

      My favourite drama is MY id is gangnam beauty

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