Mostly surrounded by the Taebaek Mountains in the east and the Sobaek Mountains in the west, Gyeongsangbuk-do is South Korea's hottest province in the summer with average temperatures hovering around 95°F (35°C). It became its own province in 1896 when Gyeongsang-do was split, making it the largest province in South Korea.

Gyeongsangbuk-do (sometimes shortened as Gyeongbuk) was once home to the ancient Gaya culture. The province is known as the birthplace of Confucian culture and home to many Confucian academies. Indeed, Gyeongsangbuk-do is known throughout the country for its steadfast loyalty to Korea's traditional culture. Small localities have festivals based on regional agricultural crops (such as mushrooms and ginseng), and the mountains in the area, especially Juwangsan, are great for enjoying the country's scenic beauty (without running into the hordes of tourists that frequent the more popular mountains, such as Seoraksan).

The province includes two national parks -- Juwangsan and Gyeongju, which includes the major Shilla historical sites around Gyeongju city. It also has several other national and provincial parks within its borders.

Most of its eastern coast remains largely indented, except for Yeonghil Bay in Pohang, which has the region's best harbor. The coastal drive has unexpected scenery that varies with sandy stretches, craggy rocks, lowlands, and isolated fishing villages. It would be one of the most scenic areas of the peninsula, except for some of the barbed wire installed between marine lookouts perched on coastal viewpoints.

Despite its eastern coastline, Gyeongbuk is oriented inland, focusing mainly on the agriculture and land of the region. The only sizable island in the province is Ulleung-do, about a 3-hour boat ride away from the mainland.