From Westeros to Earthsea, here are the 10 greatest fantasy world maps!

Image: Game of Thrones/HBO
Image: Game of Thrones/HBO /
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From the Misty Mountains of Middle-earth to the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, let’s take a look at some of the best fantasy world maps!

From the Misty Mountains of Middle-earth to the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, every fantasy fan loves to open a book and find the vast and beautiful map where the story takes place. And it’s not just novels where we see these kinds of extensive, detailed worlds. World maps have become a fantasy staple and come alongside everything from TV shows and movies to video games.

Certain fantasy maps have become the gold standard. So what makes a great fantasy map? Let’s look at a few key elements:

  • The small details matter: the map needs to be detailed enough to make it look realistic and grand. This can be achieved through variation in the terrain, which can mix in forests, cities, oceans, rivers, mountains and more. Scope matters, but space needs to be utilized.
  • Culture: are the names of the locations consistent? For instance, if the world is inspired by Norse Mythology, do the locations have Norse names?
  • It needs to tie into the story. Some authors create huge, extensive worlds for their books, but ultimately, the story only takes place in a few locations. Sometimes, the series ends before we’ve explored everything. The best maps give us a full view of the world, leaving no stone unturned.
  • Geographically accurate: the author needs to have a good understanding of real-world geography. What are the shapes of rivers and mountain ranges? Where would a city realistically be placed? Knowledge of this can improve the overall realism of the world. Of course, some geographical anomalies can be caused by magic, which will indeed be taken into account!

There are quite literally thousands of fantasy worlds out there, some more popular than others. But a few, be it new or old, stick with us. Let’s take a look at some of the very best!

10. Florin and Guilder from The Princess Bride by William Goldman

First up, we have the  Renaissance-era worlds of Florin and Guilder from William Goldman’s enduring fantasy classic The Princess Bride (1973). The map for this story come with much size or lore. It’s smaller, but each location is instantly recognizable to readers: The Cliffs of Insanity, The Fire Swamp, and many more.

In comparison to others maps on this list, this one is simple, but effective. It introduces the feuding countries of Florin and Guilder and outlines the many places Buttercup travels through on her adventure.

Stylistically, this classic drawing of the map is among my favorites. It’s vibrant, detailed, and just a perfect example of what a beautiful fantasy map should look like!

And of course, the beloved 1987 big-screen adaptation of The Princess Bride brought these locations into live-action brilliantly.