As of 2020, there were over 126 million active Minecraft players, with sales reaching 200 million by May–and, in a time of isolation, these players were connecting by exploring the best worlds the game has to offer.
Even separated by a pandemic, Minecraft has allowed players to imagine, create, and reinvent, and so much of the expression comes through expressive world-building.
A Minecraft streamer took the gaming world by storm when they recreated a 1:1 scale of Mount Everest, showing off the sheer possibilities of building worlds in Minecraft. While they did have to use a mod for this incredible feat, it just showed how much is possible.
In this article, I give you a guide to the best Minecraft worlds, and what you can do to make the most of them–no mods required–no matter if you’re a Minecraft fan of many years, or looking for a new game to explore from the comfort of your home.
What are Minecraft worlds?
Minecraft worlds, also known as levels, exist in the overall Minecraft universe. They’re divided into three levels, each of which is made up of pixelated blocks, both cubes, and planes. Together, these blocks form an interactable grid that players can manipulate.
Within each world, there are different variants of light that help distinguish one level from another. Within any Minecraft world, in turn, you can find different collectible items and effects, as well as hidden chests with treasure and spells.
You can access Minecraft worlds by going to the menu and selecting the world of your choice; you can also create your own world with the “Create New World” button.
Minecraft World Limits
There is no official limit to how many words you can have in Minecraft– it all depends on your device, storage, and performance. However, you can store many worlds that you can feasibly run.
Here, the processing type and speed are key. You’ll have to experiment some and see what works best both for your playing purposes and your device. Within each world, there are other limits you’ll have to consider, such as how high you can build, and, depending on the world type, how much space you have to explore.
There are a few different types of worlds in Minecraft. These include Default and Superflat for all versions of Minecraft; Amplified for the Java and Legacy Edition; Large Biomes, Debug Mode, and Custom for Java Exclusive; and Old for the Bedrock version.
Default maps use a variety of biome types and light and come with all versions of Minecraft. I like these for beginning players.
All versions also include Superflat worlds, which appear entirely flat but can be tweaked by terrain. The terrain features four layers: bedrock, two dirt layers, and grass. In these worlds, trees and buildings can pop up as you play.
Legacy Console Edition
For those playing the Legacy Console version of Minecraft, Amplified worlds over a rather different experience. These worlds are stark in their visuals and about as opposite from Superflat worlds as you can get.
These are mountainous worlds, with steep inclines and rough terrain that’s challenging to navigate. If nothing else, these words offer a challenge to survive and are always interesting, often reaching extreme heights that push a non modded game to its limits. Despite the terrain, villages will still pop up as they would in Superflat worlds.
Java Edition Only
Java Edition exclusive includes three world types. Under Debug Mode, the world is easy to view, because the grid is laid out at a consistent level.
But Debug mode also means that you can’t destroy or add new blocks, so it’s not ideal to play with. Large Biomes, meanwhile, are generous worlds with around 15 to 16 times larger regions than normal Default Worlds.
These are excellent in terms of interest and variety, featuring not only villages but also jungle and desert temples. Finally, Custom or player-created worlds, are also available.
For the Bedrock edition, Minecraft players have access to what is termed as Old World types. Old worlds are limited in that you can’t convert old worlds; they also have less variety than many other worlds and are a bit smaller, with a size of 256 blocks by 256 blocks.
Finding the best Minecraft worlds
The best Minecraft worlds allow you to add a new challenge to your game; are diverse in terrain and features, and push creative limits.
While your playstyle and your edition will be important factors for what Minecraft worlds are best for you, these are my top picks for Minecraft worlds you should consider adding to your game– separated by creative and survival mode.
‘Creative mode in Minecraft allows you to create and explore to your heart’s content. This is my preferred mode to play in, as you can play more as a sandbox game and at a relaxed place. These are my top worlds for enjoying, and making the most, out of Creative Mode in Minecraft.
Best for Futuristic: Ireland 2066
Looking for an Irish themed adventure? Ireland 2066 is a well designed Minecraft world for builders needing a bit more creative inspiration.
.Designed as part of a larger project, this world imagines a futuristic Irish landscape. Landmarks sit beside a sprawling urban landscape with innovative vertical farming, energy parks, and public transportation.
Created by BlockWorks, this world envisions both past and future side by side and is perfect for creative sandbox play, and truly stands out as unique. Download Here.
Best for Younger Players: Fantastic Mr. Fox
This whimsical Minecraft world will Dwight young players but is idyllic enough to please even someone my age. Rich warm fall tones bring to life the Dahl classic, with lush trees, farmland, and more.
It’s not the best world for the more advanced player, but it’s sure to bring a smile to casual creatives with a soft spot for children’s literature. Download Here.
Best for the Adventurous: Cavern
The cavern Minecraft world feels both classic and adventurous, and is a standout in terms of the overall design, making it one of my favorite worlds for Creative Mode.
A roller coaster design underground gives a fresh feel to the game if you’ve been bored with other Minecraft worlds. The underground cave allows you to dig for your own materials.
It can also switch over to survival mode, so this is another great world if you’re on the fence as to what Minecraft mode you want to play. Download Here.
Best for Science Lovers: Rube Goldberg Machine
My top world for Minecraft players who are both creative and interested in science, this clever world is complex to look at and compelling to explore.
Not only is it a unique design, but it has some unexpected gameplay, too. Expect pig riding and an updated observation block. It’s a good world for someone newer to Minecraft, and fairly easy to use. Download Here.
Best for Historical: Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a great Minecraft world if you’re in a building mode. Based upon the ancient civilization, this world is meant to lie on the famous Fertile Crescent/ River Valley and features monuments, stunning visuals, and a fresh way to play for those like me who love a wink to history.
The world includes features like irrigation; terraced and timber farming; and even levees. Download Here.
Best Overall: Project Storytelling
This may be my absolute favorite Minecraft world for Creative Mode. Visually stunning, immersive, and just the right amount of development, Project Storytelling’s name says it all: it allows you to explore and create with a beautiful template.
The world is characterized by a tree-lined town square, complete with homes, shops, and stalls. But the world is much more than a small town. Travel beyond the square to locate the four temples related to the different elements, all under the “Star of Time.”
The unique root system connects you to everything, while there is a good mix of pre-built and empty lots. The world is divided into a central island that splits into 6 small islands. You can even explore an Ice Castle, a volcano, and more. Every location has its unique features and storytelling aspect. Great for beginners and intermediates alike, this is a world you won’t want to miss. Download Here.
Maybe you’re more in the mood for a challenge. If that’s the case, you’ll want to look for Minecraft worlds suited for Survival Mode. In Survival Mode, which dominates the most popular way to play Minecraft, you can’t just build freely; you need to make sure you don’t get eliminated.
You’ll be tasked with collecting resources to build and fight oncoming mobs. Not only that, but you’ll have to make sure you don’t starve, and ultimately, conquer your adversaries. Here are my top picks for the best Minecraft worlds for Survival Mode.
For Short on Time: Mini Survival Map
I used to play the Age of Empires series, and there was a mode called Death Match. This in some ways reminds me of that mode. A tiny map means you can play through a game faster, but it also makes for an extra challenge–you’ll have to think and act faster, and have less time for exploring.
This mini-map still manages to be intricate, with an almost maze-like design. The 5×5 world feels strangely larger than it is, and challenges you to mine and build in a lush landscape. Download Here.
Best for Wilderness Lovers: Upgraded Survival
If you’re a wilderness lover at heart or like roughing it, this Minecraft world will give you a great survival experience. Equal parts adventure, exploring, and survival, this challenging map includes secret caves; customized mobs; upgrades to villages with teleporters; and even castles.
There’s still plenty of loot to discover, and you can easily cheat if you find it too challenging. I love that this world doesn’t impose too much on you–and allows you to enjoy the best or survive but also try to unearth the secrets of the world. Download Here.
Best for Immersion: Realism Survival Island
Minecraft worlds may be known for their signature grids, challenges, and survival aspects, but this world adds some realism and is a stunning, immersive experience that combines survival mode with touches of extra realism. The island features diverse terrain, including an extensive cave system, trees, and mountain ranges.
There’s a lot of room to further tweak this and customize this to your own liking, making it great as a world for Survivor Mode with a touch of personal creativity. Download Here.
Best for Beginners: Kingdom Survival
This Survival mode Minecraft map is best for someone who loves kids, kingdoms, or even someone who just wants a step back in time.
Though simple on this face, this map features a unique design that is easy to play for beginners. I love that it isn’t too built up, so you can mod it and customize it to your liking. Download Here.
Best for Semi-Historical: Titanic 2
For anyone looking for a touch of historical connection, this world is a redesign of the first popular Titanic based Minecraft world. Perfect in theme with Survivor play style, this new version has enhanced details and graphics for a more visually appealing experience.
Features I love include an extensive interior of the famous cruise ship and even sound effects. You will need a resource pack to fully play through this map, but it includes special challenges, such as freezing water and a design, unlike most Minecraft worlds. Download Here.
Best for Infinite: Skyblock Infinite
The Skyblock Infinite world is multidimensional in every sense and is great for a Minecraft player who feels limited by flat or small worlds.
This challenging world features an impressive 27 islands; 20 are in the overworld and 7 are in the nether. Each island features unique terrain, mobs, and homes, meaning it’ll take a long time to get bored. There are many ways you can err, making this a great challenge, plus a quest-like feature where you have to search for specific items. Download Here.
Best Overall: Komodo Island
It’s hard to pick the very best Minecraft map for Survival Mode, but Komodo Island features an intricate design, a backdrop of a potential storyline, and excellent features. Decaying structures and undead creatures are said to have left behind following a collapse of society.
You’ll be greeted by container ports; a volcano; oil refineries; observation towers; a cement plant; and a dilapidated center with gas and fire stations; churches; schools; banks; lighthouses; zoos, hospitals, and more.
The mix of city life, with a casino and city life, mingles with suburban districts, both furnished and unfurnished, with plenty of loot to uncover. Download Here.
Question: Are Minecraft worlds infinite?
Answer: Minecraft worlds are not technically infinite, though some may appear to be. While small and flat worlds exist, those that border into infinite worlds give the illusion of going on forever.
Minecraft runs on 32 bit and can accommodate worlds of over 4 billion squared areas. In other words, the largest Minecraft worlds are technically finite, but you’d never be able to experience all the areas they offer.
Question: How do I download and install Minecraft worlds?
Answer: The exact steps to downloading and installing Minecraft worlds will vary depending on the edition you’re playing, but are fairly simple. You can download worlds on a variety of custom content sites; just make sure that the site is secure.
Read the world description carefully, including any requirements or resources you may need. Once you download the map, you’ll need to unzip the folder and navigate t0 ‘DIM1’ and ‘DIM-1’.
Then, drag the folders to your desktop. Next, you’ll need to install Minecraft Maps for Minecraft 1.16. After, there should be a “Saves” folder. This where you’ll need to drag and drop your custom maps.
Question: Are Minecraft worlds free?
Answer: Most Minecraft worlds are free. You can download directly from custom content creators. Just make sure that the site is secure and trustworthy, and you have all the requirements in order for them to work. The great thing about Minecraft is the strong creators and modding community that allow for gameplay without a big price tag.
The best worlds in Minecraft are not one-size-fits-all. Whether you love creative, sandbox play, or the thrill of trying to survive, there are countless worlds to download and customize to your own liking. Always be willing to try something new, maybe even especially if it’s out of your comfort zone–you may just enjoy Minecraft more than ever.