There are lots of cool hidden places in The Witcher 3, but here are my top ten places to find that are off the beaten track.
Locked gate in the Nilfgaardian Garrison
At the beginning of the game in White Orchard – at the Nilfgaardian Garrison to be precise – there’s a locked gate that seems inaccessible, but you can actually get behind it and even find the key to open it. Go to the right of the locked gate, in the main interior room inside the garrison (the makeshift hospital), and climb up onto the wooden platform, then over the hole in the brick wall, then drop down onto a walkway on the other side of the wall. Walk to the left, stopping before the drop, and use Aard on the wall opposite. Then jump across, making sure not to fall, and you’ll find a dead man (who has the key to the gate on his person) and also a bale with some other minor loot inside. Take the items and the key and open the gate to get back into the garrison. Observant players may notice the small wooden diving board near the dead body, from which you can dive into the water below – a quick exit to the eastern side of the garrison.
Hidden room in Vizima Palace
After speaking to The Emperor, then Yennefer and Ambassador var Attre, Geralt will be led to the courtyard in the palace in Vizima where he’ll be given his regular clothes back. Before leaving, walk into the courtyard and use your Witcher senses to find a brick on the wall that you can press. This will open a small room in the corner of the courtyard. Inside are a load of cobwebs, and the skeleton of Sir Roderick de Wett. On him you’ll find a saddle and an old letter (identifying him). There’s a chest behind him, but unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be anything inside it. It’s a shame more wasn’t made of this secret room.
Cave underneath Crow’s Perch
You get to it via the well in the garden at the back of Crow’s Perch. The well entrance has a Witcher wolf’s head inscription on it, which indicates that it’s part of a scavenger hunt quest. The cave below might have some low-level monsters in it (sometimes it doesn’t), but it does have a number of chests in it, one of which contains the diagram for the enhanced Wolf School silver sword. It also has an exit that leads into the moat outside. Don’t miss the two underwater chests which contain some decent loot.
The caves under Temple Isle
Where you’ll find Mad Kiyan guarding the Witcher Cat School crafting diagrams. Finding the caves would normally be difficult, but during the quest Scavenger Hunt: Cat School Gear the location is shown on the map. To get to the entrance of the cave you’ll have to climb the cliff on the north western side of Temple Isle which is accessible from the city by making your way down some steps and to the cliff itself. Walk past the last house on the cliff path and then onto the rocks. Keep going until you reach a cave entrance on the right. You’ll need the Eye of Nehaleni to dispel the illusion at the entrance of the cave.
Underground crypt near Kaer Trolde
An underground crypt on Ard Skellig (the main island), near Kaer Trolde, that is related to the level 25 secondary quest “Peace Disturbed“. You can either access it via the cave entrance, with two women standing outside (who give you the optional quest), or you can go in via the secret, hidden back door, which is in a ravine behind some trees, just off the road. The crypt is guarded by multiple high-level Wraiths and a Nightwraith, and contains some decent loot. I actually completely missed this crypt on my first two playthroughs.
Fornhala cave in Skellige
The cave beneath Fornhala, on Ard Skellig. The entrance to the cave is in the house at the top of the village. The cave is mostly empty, other than a huge, impressive bear statue in the dimly-lit main inner chamber. Unless, that is, you visit during Hjalmar‘s branch of the quest King’s Gambit, in which case you’ll come here to confront the Vildkaarl. There is one point of special interest in this room, though. There’s a ledge in the northern part of the room that can be climbed, and this will take you out of bounds, into a strange world of broken skies, rocks, and ledges. If you fall you’ll have to re-load. It’s probably worth making a save before going in and exploring – just in case. It is possible to walk back into the main chamber of the cave if you climb through the walls when out of bounds.
A Tomb Well Hidden
The crypt which contains the hidden mini quest “A Tome Untombed“. It’s in the Novigrad sewers, hidden behind a crumbling wall, and is best found during the quest “A Dangerous Game“, when you’re chasing Duke. Just before you catch Duke, turn left, and you can find it on a nearby wall using your Witcher senses. Blast the wall with Aard, then go inside and talk to Professor Vairmont Jonne (who is strangely labelled “Gustav” after the quest finishes).
There’s a hidden cave, with a nice sword in it, right after you beat the Cloud Giant in The Land of a Thousand Fables. A Will o’ the wisp (a floating light) will give you a clue to its existence by flying in front of you, then turning away towards the cave entrance. Follow the wisp and climb down, to find the cave. Get the sword Gesheft – then you can leave. This is a Blood and Wine feature by the way.
Another Blood and Wine location. Swimming in this lake reveals a trove of valuable loot. There are bandits on the shore, and the exit to a nearby cave. Holy Lake is worth finding in Toussaint, though – it’s due east of Basane Farm. There are lots of valuable rings and items to be found on the lake bed. The lake isn’t marked on the map, but there is a sign saying “Holy Lake” which identifies it. Not only that, but the cave exit nearby is from a hidden room in Mont Crane Castle. Beware, though, the cave houses a Garkain and a Fleder, two dangerous, high-level vampires.
Only fully accessible during the Blood and Wine quest “What Lies Unseen“, but you can enter freely if you have the magic key from Orianna. Be warned, though: you will be immediately killed by The Unseen Elder if you enter his chamber without good reason. The cave is very strange, with gravity-defying areas, waterfalls that flow upwards, and a variety of powerful vampires in its passages. The area has an unnerving soundtrack of its own too. And it’s the only place you can acquire the full set of Hen Gaidth armour (and the associated steel sword).
And, as a bonus, here are three more hidden places of interest:
The Cave of Dreams
A very missable cave (and related quest) on the southern part of Ard Skellig, that you can explore with Madman Lugos‘s son, Blueboy, and his men, but only if you pick up the quest at a certain point in the game. See our guide which explains how to do that. Inside the cave are a number of illusions that are brought on by eating “special herbs”, including an impressive blue whale that swims through the cave as though it was filled with water. Further on the men must face their “worst nightmares”. I have made of a video of this quest, but YouTube have age-restricted it because the Sirens have bare breasts in one of the cut scenes. It just means that you have to go to YouTube and be logged-in to view it.
Illusion under Seidhe Llygad Amphitheater
A very easy to miss illusory rock that’s accessible from the beach below Seidhe Llygad Amphitheater in southern Toussaint. You need the Eye of Nehaleni to dispel the illusion and enter. Unfortunately it’s only a single room behind the illusion, but there’s a chest with some loot inside, and possibly a dormant portal next to it (although no one seems to know for certain if this is associated with another quest or not). This is another small hidden place that maybe should’ve been bigger and more interesting than it is.
Professor Moreau’s Laboratory
Found during the Blood and Wine quest “Turn and Face the Strange” and accessible only via an underwater portal just off the beach near Mère-Lachaiselongue Cemetery in Toussaint. The impressive caves leading to the laboratory contain some nasty spike traps and some guardian statues that will attack you when you enter. Plus a crossbow puzzle, a gargoyle fight, and a portal puzzle that must be solved to gain access. There are also a series of tunnels leading from the laboratory to a giant centipede nest that is needed to complete the quest.