How to fast travel in Valheim with portals

Valheim portal
(Image credit: Iron Gate Studios)

Want to know how to craft Valheim portals, and understand how they work? Valheim is a big open world, and with no traditional fast travel system players are restricted to running or sailing to get around the expansive map. It can take quite a while to do some exploring and then get back safely to your home base.

But there is one way to cross great distances in just a few seconds, by using a portals. Portals are structures you build, not find, and there are a few important limits to what you can bring through them.

How to craft portals

Portals are craftable items in the "Misc" tab of your hammer's crafting menu. Crafting a portal requires having a workbench (opens in new tab) in range, and these resources in your inventory: 

  • 10 graydwarf eyes
  • 20 fine wood
  • 2 surtling cores

How portal tags work

Once you've built and placed a portal, interact with it using E to set a tag. A pane will open that can be typed into.

You'll need to construct another portal that shares the same tag in order to use the portal for fast travel. For instance, if you build a portal at your base, and one in the Swamp, and tag them both "Swamp" you'll be able to travel back and forth between those two portals by stepping through them.

Both portal tags must match for the portals to activate, and tags are case-sensitive. Any player can set or change a portal tag, even if they didn't construct the portal.

As long as two portals share the same tag, they will be connected. So, if you have a portal in the Plains tagged "Plains" and a portal in the Swamp tagged "Swamp" and a third portal at your base, you can edit your base portal's tag to "Plains" or "Swamp" depending on which location you want to travel to. Or, you can build a fourth portal at your base, so you have two pairs of dedicated portals for both Swamp and Plains active at all times.

Valheim portal

(Image credit: Iron Gate Studios)

Some items can't go through portals

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Before you start thinking your travel challenges are solved, you should know certain items can't go through portals. If you placed a portal near a metal deposit and thought you could load up and fast travel back to base—you can't. Ore and metal bars can't be taken through portals.

Here's the list of what you can't bring through a portal:

  • Tin ore, and tin
  • Copper ore, and copper
  • Bronze
  • Iron ore, and iron
  • Silver ore, and silver
  • Black metal scrap

It seems a bit arbitrary, considering you can fashion bronze into armor and weapons and take those through a portal just fine, but bronze bars can't go through if they're in your pockets. But I suspect the Valheim devs want you to have to travel on foot, by boat, and use carts to haul your metal spoils around. Otherwise, getting around in Valheim might be just too easy once you've got a few portals built.

But even without being able to transport metals, portals are incredibly useful. In a procedurally generated world with different biomes, including vast and dangerous oceans, making a trip to a new part of the world can be a harrowing journey by foot or by ship. Once you reach some far flung spot, being able to craft a portal and travel there quickly and easily is a boon to any Viking.

Christopher Livingston
Staff Writer

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.