Castle Volkihar is the base of operations for the Volkihar Vampire Clan and the home of Lord Harkon. It is located on an island off the northern coast of Skyrim, west of Solitude and can only be reached by bridge or boat.
The keep is centred around the main dining hall, with the chalice chamber, a sword and bow training area with smithy to one side, and the library with alchemy lab and crypt with coffins to the other. At the far end a passage leads to the human cattle cells in the cellar, and up the stairs to the private chambers of Lord Harkon.
Up here a door leads to the Cathedral.
Later in the vampire quest line, another private chamber, presumably for Valerica, is made presentable, and the passage to the castle's courtyard garden is opened up.
It is here that the Dragonborn first learns about vampiric powers after receiving the "gift" from Lord Harkon. This is also the location of the final confrontation with the vampire lord.
Can only be accessed from outside the castle, via hidden dock, during Chasing Echoes. Death Hounds (×7), a few Skeever (×2), a Giant Frostbite Spider and a Skeleton await here. A Feral Vampire carries a Journal Fragment on his body. The path leads to the Volkihar Courtyard.
The courtyard becomes directly accessible from the keep's main hall after Lord Harkon is dead, by asking Garan Marethi to remove the rumble blocking the door to it. From here the towers (both have caved in) and the ruins can be explored.
Volkihar East Tower
Pretty much empty, except for a few gems.
Volkihar North Tower
The ruins become accessible after properly placing the crests in the moondial. The dusty hallways are infested with skeletons (×21) and gargoyles (×7). These eventually lead to Valerica's Study and the balcony.
The large study features an alchemy lab (×2), an arcane enchanter, a mysterious portal, some rather unusual ingredients: Finely Ground Bone Meal, Purified Void Salts, and Soul Gem Shards; and Valerica's Journal.
Quick way to reach Valerica's Study once discovered.
Items of Note
- Coffins ×13, alchemy lab, arcane enchanter, tanning rack, anvil, forge, workbench and grindstone.
- Potion ×4, poisons ×9, Potion of Blood ×2, book cases ×15, and books ×81.
- Scroll of Hysteria, Scroll of Fury, Damage Health Poison Recipe, Frenzy Poison Recipe.
- Necklace of Minor Magicka, Gold Necklace, Silver Emerald Necklace, Ring of Remedy, Bone Hawk Amulet ×2, Bone Hawk Ring ×3, Garnet, Diamond ×2, Sapphire, Black Soul Gem, Greater Soul Gem and Chest ~1110 value (L72).
- Vampire Armor ×5, Elven Battleaxe, Daedric Battleaxe, Elven Dagger of Binding, Orcish Warhammer and Elven Warhammer.
- Silver Ore, Iron Ore ×2, Iron Ingot ×4, Gold Ore and Steel Ingot ×6.
- Alchemy lab, coffin ×3, potions ×4, poisons ×3 and copies of A Hypothetical Treachery, and The Aetherium Wars.
- Chests ~430 (east of first pool bridge), ~2130 (behind web), ~2500 (at second bridge switch jump gap nearby); knapsack ~710 (same jump) value (L72).
- Gold Ingot ×2, Flawless Garnet, Silver Jeweled Necklace and chests ~3300, ~820, ~1550 (jump to balcony) value (L72).
- Potions ×7, poison, cooking pot, coffin ×2, copies of Scroll of Fire Storm, Scroll of Conjure Familiar and books ×27.
- Sapphire, Emerald and chests ~1550, ~1360, ~430, ~1990, ~510 value (L72).
- Reverent Hunting Bow, Glass Battleaxe of Dread and Vampire Royal Armor.