The landscape of Norse mythology is large and more elaborate than that of many other cultures. It goes much beyond the typical paradise, earth, underworld structure that most people are familiar with.
There are nine worlds, divided into 3 layers, and they are all connected by the World Tree, Yggdrasil.
The Upper Level
- Asgard – Located at the very top of Yggdrasil, Asgard is the home of two races of Gods, the Aesir and the Vanir. All of the Gods in Asgard have their own great halls. The greatest of them is Valhalla, the hall for slain heroes.
- Vanaheim – The Vanir lived in this realm while they were at war with the Aesir. Since the Gods made peace, the Vanir have lived in Asgard.
- Alfheim – The land of the light elves.
The Middle Level
- Midgard – This is the realm that we all know, the land of Earth and mankind. There is a bridge of a rainbow between Midgard and Asgard, called Bifrost.
- Jotenheim – An icy land of the frost giants.
- Nidavellir – Realm of the dwarves.
- Svartalfheim – Land of dark elves.
- Muspelheim – The fire giants live here, and it is one of these giants that will set the world ablaze at Ragnarok.
The Lower Level
- Niflheim – The roots of Yggdrasil emerge in this cold and dark underworld. The goddess Hel rules here, from her hall Eljudnir. Sometimes this realm is actually called Hel, and some sources consider Niflheim and Hel to be two distinct lands of the underworld.
Even within these nine worlds, there are further details of places, regions and halls to fill out the full map of Norse mythology.