The Witcher 3 has been a staple in the world of video games for years now, but it’s experiencing a resurgence in popularity thanks to Netflix’s hit television series. Old fans are finding it the perfect time to re-discover their love of the game, and new fans eagerly searching out another fix in-between seasons are discovering The Witcher 3 for the first time.

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Before Netflix releases another season of The Witcher, the fans have enough time to pick up CD Projekt Red’s critically acclaimed game (whether it’s for the first time or the fifth) and get immersed in the many adventures waiting on the Continent. But The Witcher 3, as all who have played it know, is absolutely huge—to the point where the number of optional quests growing on Geralt’s to-do list can get positively dizzying. So, which optional quests are the cream of the crop in each major province of the game?


Updated October 13, 2022, by Kath Leroy: Even though seven years have passed since the release of The Witcher 3, the game remains one of the most popular and talked-about RPGs. Even now, fans continue to discover new details and content in the game. As a result, The Witcher 3 has a high replay potential. It doesn’t matter how many times people have already played it, there’s always something new to do. For example, they can take on optional quests that they had previously left out. The best optional quests in every major location are easy to overlook, especially if the player is going through the game for the first time ever.

Ghosts Of The Past (Velen)

Not many video games get side-questing right. Most games use them as a way to help players raise their XP quickly, usually by performing minor fetch quests or something similar. And sure, they’re also a great way to raise XP in The Witcher 3, but the depth of most side quests in this game makes them the furthest thing from fetch quests. One way to do that is by involving minor Witcher characters with whom Geralt has a history and making that the center of an otherwise simple series of tasks, and so it is with “Ghosts of the Past.” For those who don’t know the general history of The Witcher 2, this quest might not mean much, but those who are at least familiar with Letho of Gulet will find it plenty fulfilling.

In “Ghosts of the Past,” Geralt can reconnect with an old friend (frienemy?), knock some heads together in style, potentially recruit a future ally, and enjoy a nice little twist at the quest’s end all in one. Just make sure that Letho is alive so that the quest can happen at all; that means telling the court in Nilfgaard that Geralt spared him at the beginning of the game. It’s definitely worth the players’ while to show a little mercy in this case.

The Fall Of The House Reardon (Velen)

Of all the optional side quests, this one offers one of the most interesting backstories. In the village of Lindenvale, Geralt will come across an elderly woman Dolores who hires him to hunt down the monsters in her old manor. Even if Geralt doesn’t come across his old friend Letho during the quest, there’s a lot to discover. After dealing with the wraiths who haunt the place, Geralt can find the treasure that Dolores promised to him as a reward. The treasure contains one hundred crowns which are nothing to scoff at, especially in the earlier stages of the game, which does include Velen.

However, the more interesting part that many players might have missed is the fate of Dolores’ brother who drove her away from the manor after she got married. If Geralt investigates outside the manor a little, he can come across a hidden door that will eventually lead him to the brother’s corpse which allows him to learn the truth about the man’s gruesome death. This unexpected outcome lends an even darker atmosphere to the quest, so it’s a shame so many players don’t discover it on their first playthrough.

A Towerful Of Mice (Velen)

“A Towerful of Mice” also involves a minor character in The Witcher universe, the sorceress Keira Metz, but it isn’t played alongside her like the quest with Letho. Instead, Geralt will have to agree to do Keira a favor by investigating a strange tower on a lake in Velen. This side quest is notable amidst all the other “haunted house”-type quests in The Witcher 3 because it so excellently subverts the player’s expectations, leading them to one conclusion all the way until the end of the quest, when everything gets turned on its head. Consequentially, there are a few different ways for this quest to play out—and, in typical Witcher fashion, none of them are perfect, “clean” endings. For the most part, they range from creepy but satisfying to downright bone-chilling.

At Keira’s behest, Geralt travels to a tower, which turns out to be the site of a gruesome peasant revolt. A local lord and his family fled there, taking shelter with the mage who called the tower home, but the commoners followed them and, in anger, brutally murdered the entire family. The lord’s daughter still haunts the tower, having suffered a particularly horrifying fate even compared to the rest of her family, and now waits for her lover, a peasant man who was present on the day of the revolt. In the end, it’s up to Geralt to unravel the sickening series of events that took place.

Return To Crookback Bog (Velen)

“Return to Crookback Bog” doesn’t even feel like a side quest sometimes, because it’s the culmination of all Geralt’s efforts in Velen, despite the fact that he’s ultimately been doing everything to try and find clues about Ciri. However, Geralt’s investigations will lead him to more than just Ciri, and the Bloody Baron questline is one that definitely sticks with players long after its completion.

To get full closure on the story, players will need to bring Geralt back into the heart of Crookback Bog one more time, to face down the Crones and depending on Geralt’s choices, either recover the Baron’s wife or recover her remains. As such, this is a side quest with effects that actually ripple out through the rest of the game, affecting the world of The Witcher 3 beyond just Geralt’s search for his daughter, Ciri. Needless to say, a side quest with that much weight behind it is one that shouldn’t be missed.

A Matter Of Life And Death (Novigrad)

Here’s another side quest that just feels like it has main quest levels of importance, probably because it involves the fate of Geralt’s close friend and sometimes-love Triss Merigold. Not only is it the quest that allows players to help the sorceress secure freedom for herself and the many underground mages relying on her for protection, but it’s also the quest that allows players to begin romancing Triss if they so choose. While technically Geralt can have many a “rendezvous” with different female NPCs in the game, there are only two true romances: Triss Merigold and Geralt’s longtime love, Yennefer of Vengerberg.

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As some players find out the hard way, they can’t have both (probably why the next quest after this one is called “Now or Never”). So “A Matter of Life and Death” allows players to get a feel for Geralt’s romantic relationship with Triss, and decide if that’s the one they’d like to pursue. It’s also just a really fun quest setup, with a masquerade ball, undercover antics, dancing, drinking, high-stakes card games, and more.

High Stakes (Novigrad)

Those players who focus on following the storyline and don’t like to play Gwent might miss out on one of the best-paid quests in the entire game. If Geralt puts together a decent Gwent pack and has enough money saved up to join the tourney (the entry fee is 1,000 crowns), he can walk away with 4,500 crowns in total.

What’s more, he’ll get to investigate a mysterious murder and can have a brief romance with the beautiful spy Sasha. Overall, the quest combines fun, romance, and action, showing yet again the high quality of the game. The good news is that romancing Sasha won’t in any way negatively affect the ongoing romance with Triss or Yennefer, which means Geralt is free to do as he chooses.

Carnal Sins (Novigrad)

Ever tapped into Geralt’s Witcher senses and thought, “he’d sure make a great CSI detective?” Well apparently CD Projekt Red agrees because this entertaining side quest lets Geralt take his skills as a Witcher in a different direction; instead of just hunting monsters, he’s outright tracking down a serial killer. It’s not hard to see why this quest is so much fun: it’s mysterious and suspenseful in all the same ways that crime procedurals on TV are when detectives are on the trail of the killer and attempting to discover their motives and modus operandi. And, at the end of the quest, Geralt’s quarry most definitely isn’t someone that players will be expecting.

“Carnal Sins” doesn’t crop up until a little later in the game, after Geralt helps Dandelion turn his sleazy brothel into The Chameleon. After that, Dandelion will tell Geralt that Priscilla (a trobairitz and the object of Dandelion’s affection) was attacked by a mysterious assailant who may be responsible for killings all across Novigrad.

Reason Of State (Novigrad)

Given all the political turmoil present in The Witcher 3 amidst Geralt’s attempts to find Ciri, it’s kind of inevitable that he’d get caught up in a coup d’etat eventually, right? Late in the game, after returning from the Isle of Mists, Geralt will be approached by Vernon Roche, Djikstra, and Thaler (although only if he’s already helped them earlier in the game) about finally ending the reign of King Radovid of Redania. Because Radovid is quite clearly insane, it’s not difficult to agree to the task.

Better still, it’s got some fun twists of its own, culminating in a midnight battle in the alleys of Novigrad and a side-helping of revenge against Radovid from a sorceress who dearly wants to see him pay for his many missteps. Basically, “Reason of State” and the quests that preceded it give The Witcher 3 a nice dash of political thriller, on top of all the other genres mixed into the game by way of its many varied side quests.

Cave Of Dreams (Skellige)

Ready to get a little psychological with a side quest? The notice board in Arnbjorn will turn Geralt onto this quest (more specifically, it’ll introduce “The Phantom of Eldberg” quest, which will then open this one up). While trying to help Madman Lugo’s son, Geralt will find himself investigating the Cave of Dreams, a strange and dizzying place that has each of the explorers facing horrifying visions. The quest reaches its climax when Geralt is forced to face his own worst nightmares within the cave.

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Given the things that Geralt has seen and done in his long life as a Witcher, one can only imagine what his worst nightmare takes its form as. The peek into Geralt’s psyche is as good a reason as any to look up the “Cave of Dreams” quest when it becomes available. Besides, “The Phantom of Eldberg” may not be on this list, but it’s a pretty fun quest on its own merit, too.

The Path Of Warriors (Skellige)

Geralt is often stronger than most people he meets. But why not take the time to prove that he’s the bravest, most capable man in Skellige? “The Path of Warriors” gives Geralt the chance to prove his valor by going high into the mountains as well as deep inside the caves. Only if he gets through the dangerous paths will he get the respect of Skellige.

That’s a tempting prospect and the quest has an adventurous feeling to it that makes for a memorable experience. “The Path of Warriors” is an ideal optional quest for anyone who wants to learn even more about Skellige’s spirit and traditions.

Possession (Skellige)

Besides the fact that Cerys an Craite, aka the “Sparrowhawk” of Skellige, makes for an amazing queen if Geralt chooses to help her, Cerys’s quest is also just a pretty cool one. “Possession” starts when Cerys, hoping to prove herself worthy of being queen, sails to Spikeroog to try and help Jarl Udalryk; some say he speaks to the gods, but she believes he is afflicted by something else. And, of course, Cerys is correct.

Over the course of the quest, Geralt can help Cerys riddle out exactly which obscure creature is plaguing the maddened Jarl before Cerys then figures out what to do about it. If Geralt chooses to trust her, the ending is not only satisfying but something that players won’t see coming. Plus, at the end of it, players get a foolproof contender for the rule of Skellige. “Possession” is just a no-brainer as far as Witcher 3 side quests go.

The Lash Wish (Skellige)

Finally, there’s “The Last Wish,” a title that refers to the tale of Geralt and Yennefer’s first meeting, when Geralt bound himself to a djinn before asking it to bind his and Yen’s fates together in order to save her life. In The Witcher 3 quest, Yennefer isn’t sure if her feelings for Geralt are real, or the product of the wish, so she resolves to undo it by tracking down another djinn and making a request of her own.

The side quest itself is an entertaining one, exploring the beautiful remote locations of Skellige and eventually battling a djinn atop a strangely-grounded ship in the mountains, and it’s also the quest that allows players to cement their romance with Yennefer if they didn’t already do so with Triss. As such, “The Last Wish” is a quest that’s more than just its fun banter and combat; should players choose to take that route, it’s also emotional and sweet in all the right places.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is available on PC, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox.

MORE: The Best Witcher 3 Quests That Don’t Include Slaying Monsters

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