As any The Elder Scrolls fan knows, Skyrim is the game that just keeps on giving. Despite the fact that it's been available for almost seven years now, the game is so expansive and full of hidden gems that even the most dedicated player probably hasn't done everything there is to do yet. There are so many barrows, forts, shipwrecks, holdings, and random little areas to explore, and every time you think you've finally found them all, you stumble upon a new one. Hidden areas and secret quests exist in abundance, and it's incredibly exciting when you come across one for the first time!
Now that we finally know that The Elder Scrolls VI is on its way—thank you, Bethesda—there's no time like the present to return to Skyrim and try to complete every single quest that's on offer, no matter how big or small. Don't worry—considering the rate that Bethesda is moving at, we'll probably have a few years to wait before Skyrim gets pushed aside for Elder Scrolls VI. Still, what better way to get hyped for the upcoming installment in the series than to have a good old binge on its current iteration?
As we mentioned, there are a ton of hidden quests and areas in Skyrim that even the most exhaustive of playthroughs might not have covered yet. If you've already discovered all of the more obvious areas in the game and aren't sure where to go next, don't worry—we've got you covered! Here are just some of the hidden quests and locations in Skyrim that you might not have discovered yet.
25 The Blackreach Dragon
Even if you've journeyed around the Dwemer ruins of Blackreach, you've probably missed the fact that there's an ancient dragon lurking within its walls! If you use your Unrelenting Force shout on the hanging gong in the Silent City, the dragon Vulthuryol will appear.
He'll be ready for a fight!
Unusually for a dragon, he'll remain on the ground for the majority of your battle. Whether that makes him easier or more difficult to defeat is for you to decide!
24 Forgotten Names
Forgotten Names is something of a forgotten quest amongst the majority of Skyrim players! It's triggered after the player comes across a somewhat grisly scene in The Midden Dark, underneath the College of Winterhold. In a room littered with skeletons and covered in blood, a statue in the shape of a gauntlet sits in the center of the destruction. An incident report found nearby describes a failed ritual involving four rings. Can you locate these rings? What happens if you return the rings to the gauntlet? You'll have to find out!
23 Rise In The East
If you're looking for a fun little side quest involving some morally questionable pirates and the East Empire Company, Rise In The East is the one for you! If you go to the East Empire Company office in the Windhelm Docks and speak to Orthus Endario, he'll tell you about a group of pirates named the Blood Horkers who are making the work of the Company somewhat difficult. He suspects that the pirates could be working with Clan Shatter-Shield—and it's up to you to confirm or disprove this hunch!
22 The Treasure Hunt
If you fancy totally abandoning "official" quests for a while and just going on an adventure around Skyrim, why not spend a bit of time doing some treasure hunting? There are around a dozen treasure maps to be found dotted around Skyrim, and the reward that you get for successfully following one is pretty great. If you've obtained or even just read a treasure map, you can head to the spot marked by an X and find a chest filled with not insignificant loot waiting for you!
21 The Book Of Love
The Book Of Love is one of the most wholesome quests in the entirety of Skyrim, mainly because it doesn't involve any violence or conflict whatsoever. We all need a break from all of that heavy gameplay from time to time, and this quest is the perfect way to do it. If you head to the Temple of Mara in Riften and speak to the priestess Dinya Balu, she'll set you off on a quest that involves bringing love and joy to the citizens of Skyrim!
20 Clearing Kagrenzel
Since the dwarven ruins of Kagrenzel are accessible via an unmarked path in the east of Skyrim, it's easy to miss them. However, they're definitely worth seeking out!
This dungeon is by no means an easy one to clear.
Even before you reach it, you have frost trolls and a leveled conjurer to deal with. Once you get inside, there's a whole host of Falmer to battle too. Still, the treasure you can find in Kagrenzel makes the struggle worth it. Two words: flawless diamond!
19 To End An Empire
Okay, so this isn't technically a "hidden" quest, but it's one you won't have encountered unless you've ever played as a Dark Brotherhood assassin. Those Skyrim players with a slightly stronger moral compass won't have realized that if you take up Astrid's offer of joining the Brotherhood, one of your contracts will see you assassinating the emperor of Tamriel himself. Of course, this particular quest isn't exactly smooth-sailing, as you'd expect when your task is to slay the most important man in Tamriel! However, it's definitely worth giving a try.
18 Ironbind Barrow
Ironbind Barrow is another slightly hidden dungeon that the casual Skyrim player might not have come across in their travels. Located to the south-west of Winterhold, it can be tricky to get to in the first place: there are a ton of wolves, frost trolls, and other beasts lurking in the area. However, if you do make it to the barrow, make sure to explore it fully. There's a powerful draugr warlord, Gathrik, waiting for you at the end—and some nice loot to collect if you can defeat him.
17 Forbidden Legend
Forbidden Legend is an extensive and super-fun quest that is only unlocked if the player happens to read one of the books of the same name that are scattered around Skyrim. Once the quest is unlocked, you'll find yourself searching far and wide for the pieces of a legendary item, the Gauldur Amulet.
You'll definitely want to reforge it and take it for yourself!
Considering the Amulet will give you a +30 boost on your Health, Magicka, and Stamina, it's pieces are worth searching for!
16 The Abandoned Rowboat
In the river located to the south-west of Sky Haven Temple, there sits an abandoned rowboat in the water. This unmarked location isn't the source of a long and arduous quest—in fact, all that the boat has to offer is an apothecary's satchel, a strongbox, a chest hidden under the water, and some gemstones. However, it's actually pretty crucial for any Skyrim players who want to complete the quest "The Only Cure." If you're in need of a flawless ruby, you'd best go searching for this boat.
15 Coming Of Age
Remember how we said that exploring Ironbind Barrow was definitely worth a shot? Well, if you do choose to head to this location, you'll unlock a minor quest along the way. Before entering the barrow, you'll come across two friends—Salma and Beem-Ja—having a heated discussion about whether to explore the barrow or not. Eventually, the three of you all choose to explore the area together—but was this the right choice? Can Salma and Beem-Ja really be trusted? That's up to you to find out!
14 Defeating The Reaper
Who doesn't love a good secret boss to defeat in their Skyrim playthrough? If you own the Dawnguard DLC, you can find one of these hidden adversaries in the Soul Cairn. The Reaper is a spectral figure who is feared by the residents of the Cairn. If you want to summon him (and hopefully defeat him in combat), place three fragments of Reaper Gem on the altar inside the Reaper's Lair. Be prepared, though—the Reaper can be a tricky boss to defeat!
13 The King Arthur Quests
If you're at all familiar with the legend of King Arthur, you're going to love a couple of Arthurian easter eggs that are dotted around Skyrim. For example, just south of Broken Tower Redoubt, there's a Steel Sword sitting in a stone outside Rebel's Cairn.
The Sword in the Stone, anyone?
Then you have the pond near to Bleakwind Basin which has a skeletal arm clutching a sword protruding from its waters. It's the Lady in the Lake! Is this leveled sword supposed to be Excalibur? Interesting...
12 The Dragon Bridge Crime Scene
Nearby to Dragon Bridge, an unmarked location named the Ambushed Caravan exists. This place basically looks like a scene out of CSI: Skyrim—something pretty nefarious has clearly happened there.
A married couple has violently perished, as has their horse.
Their cart has been ambushed, with the perpetrators leaving little behind except the woman's journal—which tragically details her fear that this would happen. Question is, who committed this crime? Examine the scene and see if you can work it out!
11 The Shipwrecks
There are a number of hidden shipwrecks for you to explore around the coast of Skyrim. Some of these have been totally abandoned and can be investigated without the player facing much of a threat. Others, however, have been taken over by bandits or marauders—and they're not exactly the friendliest characters in the game. It's definitely worth checking these shipwrecks out, whether or not they're currently occupied. They all contain some interesting loot, and some are even home to important quest items.
10 The Ebony Warrior
Encountering the Ebony Warrior is a feat that only the most dedicated Skyrim players can achieve. There are two important pre-requisites involved: you have to own the Dragonborn DLC, and your character has to be level 80 or higher. After this has been achieved, the Ebony Warrior will appear in one of Skyrim's cities and will challenge your character to a fight. Ultimately, he wants to lose: he's ready for his soul to be sent to Sovngarde. However, this warrior is by no means easy to defeat.
9 A Night To Remember
Skyrim meets The Hangover in this hilarious side-quest. A Night To Remember begins when a man named Sam Guevenne challenges you to a drinking contest in any of Skyrim's major taverns.
Things quickly go awry.
After blacking out, your character will wake up in Markarth's Temple of Dibella. You'll learn that you apparently trashed the temple in a stupor, and may have gotten up to some other questionable acts the night before too. Time to investigate and find out exactly what you did or didn't do!
8 Exploring Arcwind Point
Arcwind Point is a pretty interesting Ancient Nord Temple to explore. Located near the Rift Imperial Camp, it can be pretty difficult to find, and what you do discover there depends on what version of the game you have. If you have the Dawnguard DLC installed, you'll find that a dragon will spawn above the site! Plus, there'll be a Word Wall for the shout "Drain Vitality" near the top of the Point. Even without the DLC, though, there'll be a Draugr Deathlord waiting there who can be tricky to defeat.
7 Frostflow Abyss
Frostflow Abyss is a quest that's perfect for all of the sleuthing Skyrim players out there. It's triggered when you visit Frostflow Lighthouse, only to discover that its inhabitants—a seemingly ordinary family—have been brutally slain by an unknown assailant. Of course, this leads to CSI: Skyrim becoming a thing once again. You're tasked with solving the mystery of Frostflow but be warned: some tough foes lie ahead. This isn't a quest for the faint-hearted or the under-leveled players out there!
6 Angi's Camp
In the Jerall Mountains near the holding of Falkreath, a somewhat surprising discovery can be made. A woman named Angi is hiding in a small camp in the mountains, having taken revenge on two soldiers for the slaying of her family. If you find Angi, she'll offer to train you in archery for free—and it's an opportunity that you shouldn't pass up. If you manage to successfully complete each of Angi's trials, she'll reward you with her own pretty powerful bow!
5 Kyne's Sacred Trials
If you come across the shack of a man named Froki in the southern mountains of the Rift, make sure to go and introduce yourself to this reclusive hunter. He'll tell you all about Kyne, the Norse goddess of the Storm, and challenge you to complete Kyne's Sacred Trials. This basically entails you tracking down and defeating a range of ghostly creatures that live around Skyrim! It's a pretty straightforward quest—until you have to defeat the Guardian Troll... If you can manage it, though, you'll get a pretty neat reward!
4 The Mysterious Abandoned Prison
The Abandoned Prison is a pretty grim place to discover while you're traveling around Skyrim. If you enter this ruined building, found to the north-west of Fort Amol, you'll discover that a flood struck the prison. While the guards managed to escape, the prisoners weren't so lucky.
Their vengeful ghosts still haunt the ruins.
There's not much to do here, but there are a couple of notable books that can be found lying about the place. Plus, who doesn't love a bit of ghostbusting?
3 Liar's Retreat
Liar's Retreat is both a location in The Reach and the name of an interesting quest that takes place in this underground hideout. When you discover the Retreat for the first time, you'll find that its bandit occupants are being overrun by Falmer. While the quest is ostensibly about finding out how and why the Falmer launched this attack, it's the prize you get at the end of it that really makes it worth your time. You'll end up finding the Longhammer, which just happens to be one of the best unique weapons in the game!
2 The Pale Lady
The Pale Lady is one of those quests that's very easy to miss unless you're actively scouring every inch of Skyrim for dungeons. If you happen to stumble across Frostmere Crypt, you'll find that a group of bandits appear to have turned on one of their own members, Eisa Blackthorn. What follows is a complex tale involving a haunting, a powerful blade, and a mysterious "Pale Lady". Venture into the Frostmere Depths to learn more—if you dare.
1 The Ghost Of Old Hroldan
Open first glance, the Old Hroldan Inn looks like a quiet and unassuming place. However, if you choose to spend the night there—specifically in the room in which Tiber Septim himself once slept—you'll trigger a surprising and somewhat eerie side-quest.
A ghost will appear!
They'll be under the impression that you're their long-deceased pal, Hjalti. The ghost will send you off on a quest to retrieve Hjalti's former sword, and will finally find peace if you manage to find the weapon.