15 Best Towns & Cities in Skyrim (Ranked)This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
One thing no gamer can deny is that Skyrim is quite a huge place.
There are towns everywhere, villages wherever you look, and settlements here and there, all of which come together and bring life to an otherwise cold (yet beautiful) region.
Some of these cities are fan favorites, while others are not as heavily transited.
In any case, the best areas in northern Tamriel hold a special place in our hearts. I’ve made this article to list the best out of the bunch so you can get a good idea of which places you might want to visit during your next adventure.
Helgen takes one stop in my list because of its importance to the story of Skyrim.
This is the city where Alduin first shows himself in the eyes of the Dragonborn, kickstarting a chain of events that will eventually lead up to the dead of the almighty dragon.
Originally Helgen was just a small village near the border of Skyrim and Cyrodiil, which is burnt to the ground during the beginning of the game.
This is the first village that the Dragonborn visits in Skyrim as well. Given how close it is to the border, the Empire always used the village to execute those who crossed (or attempted to cross) the frontier.
14. Darkwater Crossing
Darkwater Crossing is a small mining town where the Imperial Order (or the Stormcloaks, depending on how the story goes) have settled.
I’ve included this small town because it serves as a cool hub for players, given that it has a few sleeping bags where you can rest as well as a few storage containers that don’t reset.
You can also find ores in the region, which is to be expected from a mining settlement. But the small town is a good one to visit if you happen to enjoy secluded locations.
The beautiful Ivarstead is just a small community where most people rest before they go up to High Hrothgar, but boy does it do a good job at helping astray travelers feel more at home.
Given its importance to travelers and pilgrims who want to make their way up the Seven Thousand Steps, Ivarstead is the only town in Skyrim that was built somewhere else that isn’t between two of the region’s main cities.
This is one of the most “alive” villages in the game.
The area that surrounds it is filled with animals that you can hunt, plenty of fish in its rivers, and the residents are as friendly as you can get.
12. Raven Rock
Added with the Dragonborn DLC, Raven Rock is located in the south of Solstheim and serves as the capital of the entire island.
The beautiful city looks like a Dunmer town because of how it was settled many years before Skyrim’s events took place.
And it’s by far one of the best locations added to the game with all of its DLCs.
Falkreath is a city with a river underpass, which is the home to the Jarl of Falkreath Hold.
This city might not be the most beautiful out of all the ones you’ll see in Skyrim, but it’s by far one of the richest in terms of historical value.
The city has a massive graveyard where many inhabitants of Skyrim have been buried in the past.
Falkreath also has a lot of historical influence in the region, as it used to be part of the neighboring region of Cyrodiil until the town became a settlement in Skyrim.
Inhabitants of the town are proud to belong to it. And if you wish to live there you’ll form part of the history of this amazing city.
Riverwood is a cool little town where people who love nature would absolutely love to make a living.
It’s just a small village located between the two major cities of Whiterun and Helgen, but the scenery which surrounds it and the centric location of the town make it quite an appealing place for travelers from all around Skyrim.
9. Dragon Bridge
As you can imagine, the Dragon Bridge settlement obtained its name because of the Dragon Bridge itself. Which is a massive structure constructed between both ends of the Karth River, allowing safe passage for travelers.
You can actually see Solitude from the top of the bridge if you look in the distance!
There’s also a dragon head in the middle of the bridge which is where it got its name from.
Note the village is rather small, but its location makes it one of the best towns that you can visit in Skyrim if you haven’t already.
Solitude is one of the biggest cities in Skyrim. And it’s not only the capital city of Haafingar itself, but it’s also the capital city of the entire region of Skyrim.
Fortified by walls and surrounded by a river, Solitude is also one of the most difficult cities for enemies to invade.
It’s located at a very strategic point and allows the Imperial army to command their movements across the entire region.
Most of the people who inhabit Haafingar Hold do so inside the walls of this beautiful city, as it provides shelter and safety to all.
Winterhold used to be such an important city in Skyrim. It’s truly a shame to see what time has done to this once-gorgeous and booming location.
But it’s still a historically important landmark and the home to the College of Winterhold itself.
The College might not be at the peak of its power either, but it’s still the go-to place for mages and wizards of the region.
Fun fact: Winterhold didn’t use to be located as close to the Sea of Ghosts as it is today – it was actually devastated after the geological movement known as The Great Collapse completely eroded the city.
Morthal is a small community located in the outmost area of Skyrim, where none of the conflicts of the outside world seem to reach.
As such, most of the people who inhabited the region throughout its history have been very wary of strangers and outsiders.
Morthal has quite a unique design too, as the small town is crossed by a river and a bridge that goes above it to allow safe passage for travelers.
Join the community and jump in the boats of any of the locals. The thriving fishing culture of Morthal makes the cozy town a cool place to visit, and maybe even a place to call home if you’re inclined.
Dawnstar is one of the richest cities in the entire region of Skyrim, hands down.
The town has two mines and a central dock, like most cities in the region, and these allow the place to thrive with commercial deals between rare metals and fisheries.
The location also makes it one of the most prone in the game to being invaded by dragons.
If you’re looking to collect some dragon souls, the town of Dawnstar might be the one you want to visit alongside Winterhold itself.
Whiterun is one of the few cities in Skyrim which doesn’t have direct access to a port, as it is located in the central region of the province.
It is fully surrounded by walls, but regardless of how big the city actually is, most of its architecture is far from the modern standards of Skyrim.
In any case, Whiterun is a beautiful city and one of the first ones in the game where you can choose to buy a house.
Riften has a pretty weird layout which makes it one of the most unique cities in the land.
It was surrounded by walls early in its history, so the city continued to grow towards the water.
Many of the houses that were built in Riften were constructed upon pillars of wood above the water, and the city itself is heavily influenced by the river on its westernmost part.
It’s one of the most influential commercial cities in Skyrim for sure. And it’s a pillar of growth in the northern region of Tamriel.
Windhelm takes such a high spot on my list for two reasons:
The first is because of its undeniable beauty, and the second reason is that this place might as well be the oldest city ever constructed in the entire region of Tamriel.
Windhelm is also the capital of the Stormcloak rebellion of Skyrim, and a pillar of thought to those looking independence from the Empire.
History, charm, and an incredible place to visit or even a place to call home.
There’s a lot to love about this area.
The large river that divides this city is a symbolic representation of how divided the city itself is.
The large silver mines that are located close to Markrath have caused the rise of the Silver-Bloods family, which have also created conflict and brought blood to the streets of the city.
The beauty and intrigue that surround Markrath make it one of the best cities in The Elder Scrolls franchise. I don’t know if I’d want to live here, but I know it’s absolutely one of the best cities you can visit—and it’ll definitely be one of the most memorable trips you’ll take.