Every Area In Hollow Knight, Ranked Best

Highlights

  • Each area in Hallownest has its own unique and visually distinct features, from flourishing plants in the Queen’s Gardens to the isolated and deserted Ancient Basin.
  • Hallownest is a dangerous yet immersive world with stunning environments, detailed storytelling, and haunting music that adds to the overall experience.
  • The exploration of Hallownest, its diverse regions, and the encounters with enemies and bosses provide an ongoing challenge and a sense of endless discovery.

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While venturing through Hallownest in search of the next challenge, it might seem like it goes on forever. No matter how deep you dive into this game, it never seems like you reach the very edge of the map, with more platforming, monstrous creatures, and land to discover all the time.

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Each area of Hallownest is visually different and distinct. There are flourishing plants that adorn the Queen’s Gardens, while the Ancient Basin is isolated and deserted. Each region of Hollow Knight’s striking world has something unique to offer. Here’s each major area of Hallownest, ranked.

Updated on October 22, 2023 by Casey Foot: Though Hallownest is dangerous, it’s still a joy to explore thanks to its stunning environments, the game’s art direction, and masterful music by Christopher Larkin. Team Cherry did a excellent job creating an immersive world with extensive attention to detail. The ghosts of Hallownest’s past haunt every area you explore, whether it’s through the environmental storytelling or the literal enemies that attack you. If the lack of Silksong news has you down, perhaps a revisit of Hallownest will perk you up.

16 Royal Waterways

The Knight in the Royal Waterways in Hollow Knight

Is it any surprise that a sewer finds its place at the bottom of this list? The Royal Waterways are pretty and even somewhat calm, but at the end of the day, we all know ‘Royal Waterways’ is a nice way of saying ‘the plumbing system for the City of Tears.’

This is only further confirmed by the area’s first major boss — the Dung Defender. You’ll need to keep your nose plugged and throw some plastic bags around your shoes before you spend any time in this sewer system. Oh, and watch out for the infected insects attacking you.

15 Ancient Basin

The Knight in the Ancient Basin in Hollow Knight

Beneath the sewers of the Royal Waterways lies the Ancient Basin. This dark, dank area is eerily empty and desolate. The few things that roam these halls include infected bugs and the remains of a lost kingdom.

Without much to draw interest, the Ancient Basin is not one of the greatest areas in the game. One thing that does stand out is the Palace Grounds, an area to the east of the Ancient Basin region. This is where the Pale King decided to build his palace, and from it, the rest of the kingdom was built outwards. It has some interesting lore but pales in comparison to other areas.

14 Howling Cliffs

The Knight in the Howling Cliffs in Hollow Knight

Far from the dark, gloomy depths of the Ancient Basin and Royal Waterways are the sprawling atmospheric heights of the Howling Cliffs. This area is one of the most open and ‘outdoors’ in all of Hallownest, being located far northwest of the entire map.

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As it’s very sparsely populated, there isn’t much to see here. The main draw of the Howling Cliffs is that they’re outside and feel like freedom compared to the confines of Hallownest’s inner regions. Also, the Stag Nest can be found here, which is a touching monument to one of the nicest friends the Knight will make in their travels.

13 Resting Grounds

The Knight in the Resting Grounds in Hollow Knight

The main point of focus in the Resting Grounds is the home of the Seer, an important character that will help on the Knight’s quest to find the Dreamers and utilize the Dream Nail.

This area actually changes in the game. Before obtaining the Dream Nail, the Resting Grounds is mostly lifeless and devoid of color. After the Dream Nail is obtained, the area shifts to a nice blue with some ghostly apparitions throughout its many corridors. All in all, the Resting Grounds is chilling yet calming, especially its tranquil Blue Lake.

12 Fungal Wastes

The Knight in the Fungal Wastes in Hollow Knight

With how wet, dark, and closed-off Hallownest is, it’s a surprise that the entire thing is not covered in mold and fungus. That is the case for this area, though, aptly titled the Fungal Wastes.

These corridors are home to a ton of large fungi, many of which are bouncy and used in platforming challenges, while others are enemies that don’t take too kindly to outsiders. The southern portion contains the Mantis Village, home to one of the coolest but most difficult bosses in the game – the Mantis Lords.

11 Deepnest

The Knight fighting a boss in Deepnest in Hollow Knight

What horrors await in the depths of Hallownest? Deepnest, an area far buried in the southwest of the kingdom, is a dark and gloomy area. It’s full of terrifying monsters, platforming labyrinths, and a ton of creepy-crawly spiders.

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This area is home to the Distant Village and the Failed Tramway, which are draped in cobwebs. By using the Dream Nail on a corpse near the tramway, you learn that it apparently couldn’t be built because the workers were continuously attacked while building it. Not exactly a place you want to stay around for long. Herrah the Beast can be found in this area too, slumbering in the region she once ruled.

10 Forgotten Crossroads

The Knight in the Forgotten Crossroads in Hollow Knight

The Forgotten Crossroads is an early-game zone with exits to many of the other areas in Hallownest. As the name implies, the function of the Forgotten Crossroads has long been forgotten – where it was once a bustling location that connected different areas of Hallownest, it’s now only used by the Knight and reanimated bugs.

This area is important as somewhat of a central terminal but is also home to a shopkeeper, bosses, and its own challenges. After certain points in the game, the Forgotten Crossroads will become the Infected Crossroads, fill with the Infection, and become much more dangerous.

9 Crystal Peak

The Knight in Crystal Peak in Hollow Knight

This former mine in the northeastern portion of Hallownest is adorned with enormous pink crystals that glisten in the light. The mine’s infrastructure remains, and the miners are still working there, despite falling to the Infection, which creates an eerie atmosphere as the workers continue to fulfill their purpose even after death.

According to the Hunter’s Journal, the crystals sing “very softly,” but the sound of the mine workers overpowers their song. The conveyor belt platforming is also fun and different, helping Crystal Peak to stand out in Hallownest.

8 The Hive

The Knight sat on a bench in the Hive in Hollow Knight

The Hive is arguably the most forgotten area in all of Hallownest, as it’s not necessary to visit it to complete the game. This hidden area, tucked away deep below the Kingdom’s Edge, is a palace of golden honeycombs and crystalline structures.

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The area is totally inhabited by bees, and not really much else. Creepily, during the boss fight with the Hive Knight, the corpse of the Hive’s Queen looms in the background. Ignoring the onslaught of stingers flying at you, and the giant corpse, it’s easy to get transfixed by this area’s golden beauty.

7 Dirtmouth

Elderbug standing next to a bench in Dirtmouth in Hollow Knight

Known as the Fading Town, Dirtmouth is located on the outskirts of Hallownest but is an area that you find yourself returning to many times throughout the game. When the Knight first arrives, Dirtmouth is deserted, apart from the Elderbug.

The number of bugs in this ghost town slowly grows, with residents and shopkeepers returning after you meet them elsewhere. The Grimm Troupe will set up their tents here as well. To top it all off, Dirtmouth’s music theme is somber and sets the tone for the rest of Hallownest.

6 Kingdom’s Edge

The Knight in Kingdom's Edge in Hollow Knight

Kingdom’s Edge is perpetually covered in white ash from the corpse of a gigantic Wyrm. In some areas, the ash has settled and looks like piles of fallen snow. Combined with the music, this creates an almost serene but still melancholy atmosphere.

At the top of the area is the Colosseum of Fools, a large ring for bugs to battle to the death. Their corpses are frequently seen falling into the acid pits at the bottom of the area, which is quite alarming and a great example of the game’s use of environmental storytelling.

5 The Abyss

The Knight in the Abyss in Hollow Knight

Deepnest may be deep, as its name implies, but it has nothing on the sheer depth of the Abyss. This region is buried far beneath the halls of Hallownest and is home to the Void, a substance out of which the protagonist, the Knight, was created.

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The Abyss is a desolate and dark land, home to almost nothing notable outside of a large, mysterious lighthouse and a giant pool of Void. ‘Siblings,’ rejected Void creatures, will attack the Knight ominously. The area has a creepy and foreboding atmosphere, with the Pale King’s past lingering beneath the surface.

4 Fog Canyon

Jellyfish and bubbles floating in Fog Canyon in Hollow Knight

Acid pools, thorny outcroppings, and a ton of hazy mist all cover the areas within Fog Canyon. This dangerous area is filled with gas and infested with floating, infected, jellyfish-like monsters that explode when struck.

It’s a hard area to navigate without being hurt, but it hides the lair of Teacher Monomon. Keep your wits about you when visiting Fog Canyon. One wrong step will put the Knight in grave danger from the many hazards here. It may be difficult to get around Fog Canyon, but the pleasing soundtrack and aesthetic make it worth trawling through the dangers.

3 Queen’s Gardens

The Knight in the Queen's Gardens in Hollow Knight

The Queen’s Gardens are a curated assortment of the most beautiful plants found in Hallownest. The Gardens are filled floor to ceiling with flowers, shrubs, and more. It gives the impression that this used to be a botanical garden-like area, as it’s filled with greenhouses and streetlamps.

Because of the Infection, the Queen’s Gardens have become a hostile place; however, you can imagine how pleasant it would have been to walk through them prior to the fall of the kingdom. The Traitor Lord boss is also found here, where he had taken refuge after being cast out of the Mantis Tribe.

2 Greenpath

The Knight in Greenpath in Hollow Knight

Though Hallownest has many areas that are devoid of life, Greenpath is covered in a ton of flora from top to bottom that makes it much more peaceful. The vegetation covers absolutely everything, and the result is a beautiful landscape of plants and greenery.

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Even its enemies continue this aesthetic, with many of them being covered in leafy moss. Entering Greenpath is a bit of a tone shift, which is amplified by its light and magical music. Greenpath is also where you fight Hornet for the first time, which cements it as a memorable location in any playthrough.

1 City Of Tears

The Knight looking up at the memorial fountain in City of Tears in Hollow Knight

The shining gem at the center of Hallownest’s heart, and the pride and joy of the people of the kingdom, the City of Tears is an architectural marvel. This large city is not just beautiful and impressive aesthetically, but musically too, with the somber piano and spirit of the songstress Marissa singing being the focal point of the soundtrack.

It’s a breathtaking area where rain perpetually falls from the above Blue Lake. It’s incredibly atmospheric, as you can feel the emptiness that was left behind after the Infection ravaged the kingdom. The Hollow Knight’s memorial fountain is also located here, adding to the area’s solemn tone.

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