Skyrim features many different terrain types, including tundra plains, forests, highlands and mountainous regions. It is the most rugged region on the continent; not only containing five of the highest peaks in Tamriel, but also very snowy and cold in some regions. Only in the western reaches are there some measure of flat land, where most of the population resides. The rest of Skyrim is vertical; mountains, cliffs, and deep valleys. A variety of crops are raised in Skyrim, from wheat to the hardy snowberry. Of note is that the particular climate of Skyrim makes it the only region in Tamriel, outside of the most northern reaches of High Rock and Morrowind, suitable for the brewing of the infamous alcoholic beverage Nordic Mead, also known simply as "Rotgut". This is because that, in addition to the local availability of certain ingredients, several times during the distillation process, the substance must be subjected to extreme cold temperatures, so that it may freeze and refreeze. The drink is noted for the distinct "cold" taste, similar to extraordinarily strong mint, which persists as a feeling of ice in the stomach, as well as for the very deleterious nature of its content. Nordic Ale is illegal throughout the Empire, but this does not stop many proprietors from stocking smuggled bottles for those brave enough to try a mug.
Unlike the old days, Skyrim's hold have now become cities, each under the control of a gang. The largest city known as Steelport sits where Dawnstar, Winterhold and Windhelm used to be located.