If there’s one Zelda game with eye-popping locations that kindly put the beauty of nature literally right in front of your face, it’s Breath of the Wild – and it’s impossible not to know that if you’ve had the privilege of picking up this one-of-a-kind game. It’s not your ordinary video game, that’s for sure. It’s far beyond that. And I would love to take a hike across the land for myself (without being attacked by Lynels, that is) just to sit atop the mountains and appreciate both the natural and architectural worlds. Here are 10 of the truly most breathtaking locations in BOTW!
10. Hyrule Castle
Hyrule Castle is a complex labyrinth of tunnels and rooms that will either lead you into a bog of Malice or even straight into an immediate door-lock Lynel gatehouse. Simply stepping through the gates and looking up at the huge stone palace will instantly make you involuntarily gasp. It’s impossible not to get antsy at least once on your journey through the final dungeon to find Princess Zelda, as it’s easy to get lost and panic on whether you’re going the right way. Sadly, its splendor is heavily blemished by Calamity Ganon, and it would be nice to see the castle pre-Ganon (similar to the past and present versions of Skyward Sword‘s Lanayru Desert dungeons). It definitely does give off the creeps for what it is now, though.
9. The Temple of Time
There’s a reason why the Temple of Time has traveled across so many games already: it’s one of Zelda‘s most impressive pieces of architecture. With its Gothic style, tall roof, and elongated windows, it gives off the intended medieval vibe that makes it the Temple of Time. It’s an unforgettable monument whose image will forever be engraved in fans’ hearts.
8. Forgotten Temple
The Forgotten Temple is an intimidating place, with Guardian Turrets dotting the areas around and inside of its ruins. On top of this, it is the worthy location of the final 120th shrine and the resting place of Link’s legendary green outfit. Covered in moss and the perfect representation of a battle-weary survivor Hyrule, the Temple sure is a beauty concealed between the walls of Tanagar Canyon.
7. Lanayru Waterfall Cliffs
If you’ve completed the “Divine Beast Vah Ruta” main quest, you know how awesome the Lanayru region’s waterfall cliffs are. The huge, shiny, blue stones that adorn the dark cliff faces can’t be found anywhere else, and those waterfalls. Boy, am I glad waterfalls exist in Hyrule, because otherwise Lanayru wouldn’t have had that same natural magic it has. The glimmer of the signature falls only add to Zora’s Domain’s architectural splendor.
6. Zora’s Domain
On the topic of Lanayru… Don’t let the gloomy impression of the originally constant rain rub you the wrong way. Zora’s Domain is one of the best villages in Hyrule for its perfectly symmetrical design, as it screams “This is where REAL royalty lives!” in such a heartwarming way. The turquoise fish head of the throne room and shining rails of the ramps are only accentuated by the water that flows on it all and the sunlight glinting on the edges of the domain. Mipha’s statue? It looks like it’s made of sapphire and glass all placed on a neat little pedestal. The domain’s little bluish-green torches even glow at nighttime. Too bad it’s so easy to get lost in all the twists and turns…
5. Rito Village
Rito Village is rustic, with its entirely wooden structures and the fact that it’s built around one tall rock pillar. It is what BOTW is: not futuristic, but the appreciation of nature and the use of natural resources. It’s impossible not to be at least 1% enchanted by this beautifully designed village. Yes, you can complain about the lack of walls, but isn’t the town’s entire vibe supposed to emphasize the wind and fresh air? If the village was caved in by restricting walls, it wouldn’t be the same. Plus, you wouldn’t get that grandeur of seeing mountains blanketed with snow on one side and the Tabantha cliffs and canyons on the other if walls were obstructing your view.
4. Mount Lanayru
Unlike all other mountains in Hyrule, Mount Lanayru is special: it has huge rectangular ice prisms protruding from the ground, seemingly pointing the way to the Spring of Wisdom atop it. It’s also the home of the gigantic ice dragon Naydra. Her original form is covered in Malice, as she struggled to break free from Calamity Ganon (this is possibly because the Spring of Wisdom was the spring Princess Zelda visited right before his emergence, and he wanted to prevent her from drawing power from it), but fortunately this is only temporary. Once she is freed, she gifts you one of her precious scales so you can open the way to the Jitan Sa’mi Shrine behind the spring’s goddess statue. Mount Lanayru is arguably the most breathtaking of all three springs.
3. Faron Region
The entire Faron region is a spectacle of its own: it’s entirely a lush jungle with paradise beaches and a deserted island in the distance. Yes, the jungle can be dangerous, but if you gear up properly like everyone should, it won’t be so hard to survive. There are even extremely restorative hearty durians hanging on trees right in front of you. Not to mention Lurelin Village below the shelves of palm trees and rose gardens filled with thorns. It looks like something straight out of your dream vacation, giving the travel-weary Link a break from the Hebra cold and torrential Lanayru rain.
2. Atop Divine Beast Vah Medoh
There’s an aerial beauty to Vah Medoh that all three of the other Divine Beasts lack. It’s not only the structure of the beast, but the view: simply stand atop it and take in Hyrule at its peak beauty. The white clouds in front of you, every peak and plain of the land all below your feet… regardless if you like Revali or not, you have to admit that Medoh can boast of its spectacular height. Even the tallest mountain won’t give you this prime view.
1. Satori Mountain
Satori Mountain is the most mystical place in BOTW. First of all, there’s a cherry blossom atop it that resembles the Great Deku Tree found in Korok Forest. This is already a huge honor to look like the guardian of the Master Sword, but there’s more: the mountain was created to honor the late Nintendo President Satoru Iwata, and the ghostly mountain spirit dubbed “Lord of the Mountain” or “Satori” can be found with a herd of Blupees surrounding him, emitting a gentle blue glow. This is probably what causes a column of aurora borealis to shine at night when they have spawned. If Satori Mountain was intended to be a manifestation of Iwata’s spirit and legacy, Nintendo definitely got the design beyond spot-on right.