Best Tarkov Maps For Beginners – Easiest Maps To Learn

Last Updated on January 7, 2024 by Samuel Franklin

Leverage the best Tarkov maps for beginners to reduce the harsh learning curve of EFT and start enjoying your raids sooner. In the dangerous game world of players and difficult AI around every corner selecting the right map to start your Tarkov journey is a critical but complicated decision to grow your stash of equipment and minimise combat initially. While Ground Zero is designed for beginners by BattleStateGames this guide will help you progress beyond this starting map by outlining the different map sizes, map complexity, chance of PvP, Scav numbers, amount of loot and other map factors to find your own favourites.

Drawing from more than 1,000 raids of Tarkov experience I generally recommend new players explore Woods, Shoreline, Interchange and Customs after Ground Zero with map specific tips to start building your game knowledge for these in this guide. While reading this page players should also reference a useful Tarkov map tool like the one on EFT Ammo which provides map layouts and utilise offline mode.

Table of Contents:
Best Tarkov Maps For Beginners
All Tarkov Maps Overview
Woods Beginner Overview, Key Locations & Tips
Shoreline Beginner Overview, Key Locations & Tips
Interchange Beginner Overview, Key Locations & Tips
Customs Beginner Overview, Key Locations & Tips

Best Tarkov Maps For Beginners

When starting Tarkov as a beginner I recommend that players focus on a small pool of maps initially as this will allow you to develop your map specific knowledge. One of these should be Ground Zero as this is the only map with beginner protection where you will match with other PMCs below level 20 that will lower the overall skill level of your raid to improve your odds of safely extracting.

I then recommend you pick two of the following maps as these are generally easier maps in terms of combat, have respectable amounts of loot and have a large number of quests:

  • Woods
  • Shoreline
  • Interchange
  • Customs

While it is not possible to avoid the other Tarkov maps forever as you’ll need to complete quests eventually I recommend new players initially avoid:

  • Factory
  • Lighthouse
  • Reserve
  • Streets of Tarkov
  • The Lab


All Tarkov Maps Overview

To help Tarkov players determine which maps are right for them after Ground Zero and beyond I have rated each map as High (H), Medium (M), or Low (L) for size, complexity, PvP chance, Scav density, loot density and value so you can find a comfortable map for your preferences. For example some players may prefer maps that encourage long range combat while others want a map that is easy to learn.

Generally your best defence as a new player is to carefully pick a map where you can start to play on your own terms and avoid significant PvP action while you acquire loot to build a healthy stash, complete quests and farm Scavs for combat practice. Players can also carefully select the time of your raid with transitions between day and night time often most quiet as you load into quieter Tarkov servers. If your focus is solely on acquiring loot and extracting to gain Roubles then I have a separate best loot runs for PMC and Scavs guide.

Map Map Size Map Complexity PvP Chance Scav Density Loot Density/Value Notes
Ground Zero M M M M M/M Locked to level 20 PMCs (separate lobby for 20+ players)
Woods H L L L L/M Large spread out map with various locations that concentrate loot and Scavs
Shoreline H L M L L/M Central resort draws focus of most players leaving other notable locations safer
Interchange M M M M M/H Large shopping mall of spread out loot and corners to hide or run
Customs M M H M M/M Industrial map with bottlenecks that increase likelihood of PvP
Factory L L H M L/L Smallest game map that guarantees PvP
Lighthouse H H M M H/H Large map with high value loot locations
Reserve M H H M H/H Army base with many buildings and an underground bunker system
Streets of Tarkov H H M H H/H Large complex map with a large number of Scavs and loot
The Lab M H H M L/H PvP focused map with Scav Raiders adding higher PvE challenge and loot


Woods Beginner Overview, Key Locations & Tips

Woods is a map with plenty of space between points of interests that can help newer players to learn the map and have clear moments of PMC and Scav engagements. It’s these pockets of Scav spawns that provide combat practice and reasonable loot opportunities as well while the size of the map with the tree coverage can also allow players to run away from combat if necessary and have a chance of losing any chasing PMC.


Key Woods Locations (Marked Above)

  1. Sawmill: The sawmill is central focus point for most experienced players as this is where the boss Shturman spawns and is generally a dangerous crossing for most new players that should be avoided given the abundance of sniping spots around this area.
  2. Scav House: Located near the Outskirts extract this house and the fields around it is a regular Scav spawning location for some combat and given it lacks notable loot is generally safe for combat practice provided you don’t spend a significant amount of time here due to the proximity to extraction.
  3. USEC Forward Operating Base (FOB): A major location for a variety of loot that is highly contested by the player base and generally not worth fighting over as a starer PMC although can spawn several Scavs for close ranged combat. If you spawn close to this location at the start of a raid you can quickly grab some loot but move on quickly to avoid PMC threats.
  4. Village: Another popular location that spawns Scavs and has multiple buildings of loot which like the FOB should be used sparingly by beginners due to the popularity and difficultly of fighting your way out of a building if trapped. The smaller village industrial area just over the hill is generally safer for the beginner given it has less concentrated loot and the two major buildings have two exits.
  5. Scav Bunker: Not as popular as other locations this is a great place to visit as a beginner as it is a little out of the way and spawns several Scavs although be careful in the bunker itself given you are vulnerable when exiting. There is a secondary location near the bridge with an abundance of loot and potential Scav spawns as well.

General Woods Tips

  • Learn The Hidden Stashes/Caches: Like many other maps there are a number of hidden cache potential on Woods that can help fill your backpack slots and are relatively low risk.
  • Balanced Weapon Choice: While Woods is a large map I don’t recommend players engage regularly in sniping battles with other players just yet and instead bring a medium to short range weapon as most Scav combat can be done at closer ranges as there is generally plenty of cover to get closer.
  • Extract When Full: With the long Woods distances it can be tempting to continue looting once players are full of useful loot but this adds unnecessary risk to your raid and players should cut through the map areas without points of interest once full to reach extraction.


Shoreline Beginner Overview, Key Locations & Tips

I recommend Shoreline as one of the best Tarkov maps for beginners for PMC characters especially if you are starting to play during the mid to late stages of a wipe. This is because the map has clear points of interest that make it easy to learn and the high value loot of the resort draws in experienced players that make them easy to avoid. As a result you generally have less player encounters at other locations that still provides sufficient loot and gives you some combat practice against Scavs. When combined with the hidden stashes/caches that players should learn you’ll regularly be able to extract the majority of times with a full backpack.

Key Shoreline Locations (Marked Above)

  1. Resort: The busiest location in all of Shoreline due to the high tier loot hidden behind the large number of locked doors. With the right Tarkov keys this can be a valuable place for loot for many that opt to pistol run there or enter as a highly geared PMC. It is this attraction to the resort that can make the rest of Shoreline an open field for beginners and as a result new players should avoid resort entirely. This is also a spawn location of the boss on this map known as Sanitar.
  2. Power Station: A central point of the map the Power Station regularly spawns Scavs and a sniper Scav that looks in all directions. Combined with the hardware and jackets here this is a reasonable spot to visit but you should move on quickly as its a common crossing point between the sides of the Shoreline map.
  3. Gas Station & Pier: Closer to the shore is the Gas Station and Pier which are similar to Power Station in terms of loot quality, Scav spawns and PMC traffic although the Pier can occasionally spawn Sanitar. The overlooking hills make this a great place to pick off Scavs at a distance but does mean this location is on the higher risk side once you move into either of these locations as you’ll be surrounded by the same hills.
  4. Weather Station: A fantastic over looked location of Shoreline that hides medical loot, crates, and technical spawns where you’ll also encounter 2 or 3 Scavs to practice shooting and a priority point of interest for most new players.
  5. Crane: Lacks significant loot outside of several potential hidden stashes/caches in the vicinity which means you will rarely find another PMC near here. As an added bonus this area has 2 or 3 regular Scav spawns for additional combat practice and experience making it a great stop on the way to Road to Customs extract.
  6. Village: Has a high density of duffle bags and jackets that makes it a fantastic opportunity to farm keys and general loot with limited chance of Scavs and PMCs. If you’re looking for relatively low risk money making method this is a must stop location in your Shoreline loot runs as keys can often sell for hundreds of thousands if not millions on the flea market.

General Shoreline Tips

  • Learn The Hidden Stashes/Caches: With nearly 40 hidden stashes/caches located around Shoreline there is always an opportunity to loot some of these near your spawn point or on the way to the extract. These can be a powerful source of consistent loot without significant risk and can quickly fill up a backpack with goodies for a beginner.
  • Bring A Rifle: With a number of hills overlooking key Scav locations (noted above) the longer range rifles are a must for clean Scav kills on Shoreline.
  • Listen to Shots: While most PMCs will head towards the resort the sound of other players shooting can give you invaluable information for the locations to avoid given it is easier to identify the source of shots with the limited points of interest they will come from.


Interchange Beginner Overview, Key Locations & Tips

Offering a larger map and reasonable loot density Interchange can be a profitable map for both PMC and Scav runs once mastered. The size and multiple levels of the shopping mall does mean it is has larger complexity than something like Woods and Shoreline but the extracts are simplified. Interchange is an important source of hideout items, loot runs to fund your raids and mid progression quests. Outside of the shopping mall there is some small loot available in the powerplant or through hidden stashes as an alternative for players to entering the mall straight away.

Key Interchange Locations (Marked Above)

  1. IDEA: One of the main store locations on the side of Interchange and near the Power Station IDEA generally has the lowest traffic of all the main store areas allowing you to sweep through and pickup the random loot and hardware items that are littered throughout.
  2. OLI: The popular large store of OLI is famous for a range of vital quest and hideout items along with a healthy amount of computer spawns. It’s rare that you’ll be able to visit OLI uncontested and shouldn’t be lingered in for long or out right avoided in most cases for beginners. With locations for popular smaller stores just outside of OLI such as Texho, Rasmussen, TechLight and Ultra Medical it’s also a regular transition zone for other PMCs and spawns several Scavs regularly.
  3. GOSHAN: GOSHAN is a major location for food loose loot and other containers that can be worth looting along with a convenient back entrance to get you into the parking garage underneath and out through the Hole in Fence extract although this requires no backpack.
  4. Power Station/Plant: A fantastic location to grab computer, hardware, jacket loot and Scav spawns the Power Station is a common stop for a lot of PMCs and worth looting if you spawn close to it and carefully listen out for incoming PMCs. Leveraging the roof and elevated platform inside can be a good way to control this corner of the map with the reasonable long sight lines as well. If looting this area turning the power via a switch inside can often be an advantage as in most cases it will encourage PMCs to venture inside Interchange to access special power on only areas which are more lucrative than chasing the PMC that just turned the power on.
  5. Central Escalators: The original location of Interchange’s Scav boss known as Killa who has since moved towards the underground levels this location is exposed from many angles and also has several high value stores this area that means new players should avoid this area and the second floor.

General Interchange Tips

  • Beware of Scavs & Killa: With the complexity of Interchange Scav spawns and movement can be quite sporadic unlike other maps where they are more consistent which makes Scavs a deadlier threat. In addition Killa is a deadly foe on Interchange and given his relentless charging and high armour is often a death sentence to new players that catch his sight.
  • Carefully Extract: One of Interchange’s greatest strengths in simple extractions is also its greatest weakness as it funnels players together. This means the chances of finding someone moving to the same extract as you or in the worst case camping the extract is significantly higher which makes paying attention when extracting critical.
  • Hidden Stashes/Caches: Interchange has a high concentration of hidden stashes/caches outside which make them a viable alternative to entering the larger mall complex during a raid. Learning a few of these near both sides of the map can quickly turn a profit due to the low risk and rare loot that these can contain.
  • Flashlights: Interchange has variations in lighting that change from outside to dark shop corner quickly that makes a flashlight a cheap and effective addition to your weapon when learning this map initially.


Customs Beginner Overview, Key Locations & Tips

An industrial themed map with difficult choke points for new players despite an expansion from its original design. While one of the more dangerous maps for combat given the large number of early quests that are based here beginners will not want to entirely ignore Customs given how vital quests are to your PMC character level and unlocking the flea market. The map layout is one of the easier to learn due to its basic design and size compared to other game maps though and in terms of loot Customs is squarely in the middle offering neither the best or worst loot of the Escape From Tarkov map pool.

Key Customs Locations (Marked Above)

  1. Big Red: A hot spot for combat during the early to mid stages of Tarkov progress and in the first 5 minutes of a raid in particular due to the focus on quests and spawn points in this area. As a beginner you’ll want to avoid this area entirely (unless trying to complete the quests located there) as the multiple entry points and low concentration of loot means there is little purpose to fighting here. If you do find yourself spawning here as a PMC your best bet is to move across to RUAF roadblock quickly.
  2. RUAF Roadblock: Serving as a sometimes open extract this high point of the map can be deadly to those crossing the river below. Be careful of high Scav numbers here with as many as 5 sometimes roaming this area.
  3. Construction: A common transition area that is also home to two deadly sniper Scavs and several Scav spawns in general. With lots of entry and exit points it can be deadly so new players should hug the back wall while moving through this location with relative pace.
  4. Dorms: The focus point of the entire Customs map due to the abundance of loot, one of the Scav boss spawns (Reshala) and the multitude of quests stacked on top of each other. As a new player this location is best avoided entirely and if you have to venture here for a quest you should run down the raid timer and aim to complete your quest when there are only 10-15 minutes left in the raid which will improve your odds of entering and leaving this location.
  5. New Gas Station: Another deadly spot for beginners and should be avoided where possible by going North through the wooded areas. Loot here is fairly low and it does serve as a secondary Scav boss spawn that can attract players to compound the threat to new players.
  6. Factory: An often overlooked location that hides a reasonable amount of loot and possibly 3 hidden stashes/caches in a small area for some quick and easy loot. Playing slow through this area is still recommended though as it has one of the always open PMC extracts (ZB-1011) and has several Scav spawns that can catch you without cover.
  7. Old Gas Station: A tucked away area that can be good to visit early to mid raid as you’ll often find 2 to 3 Scavs spawned here along with important food, weapon and medical items that are important to a new PMC. Just be sure not to spend a significant amount of time here as it only has a single entry/exit point and is sometimes a PMC extract that entices players towards it.

General Customs Tips

  • Beware of Sniper Scavs: It’s not uncommon to have 3 deadly sniper Scavs spawn in on Customs and in Escape From Tarkov they can quickly end your raid with their accurate shots. To make matters worse they have fantastic sight lines over locations such as Construction, New Gas Station and the nearby Shipyard next to Old Gas Station. These spawns should always be checked by beginner and veteran players before moving into their line of sight and makes a mid range capable weapon important on any Customs raid to shoot them before they see you.
  • Careful For Map Hot Spots: At some point on Customs you’ll unfortunately have to head into some hot spots noted above for questing. When this time comes your best bet is either night time raids to lower the number of Tarkov players in raid or waiting until the later raid stages (10 or 15 minutes left) before moving in and securing your objective.
  • Start Slow: Customs has some of the most challenging PMC spawn locations of all Escape From Tarkov maps with several right on top of each other that veteran Tarkov players have memorised. Your best bet in most situations is to bunker down in a defensible position for the first 5-10 minutes as you let the chaos happen around you while also putting you in a strong spot to defend any spawn rushers. The only exception to this would be the previously mentioned Big Red spawns as you are generally better off moving out of the area while you can as it is difficult to find a secure location.


Written by
Samuel Franklin
Samuel Franklin is the founder and lead editor of the Games Finder team and enjoys video games across all genres and platforms.

Sam (Seelyon) is a seasoned Escape From Tarkov player with over 1,000 raids across multiple Tarkov patches while accumulating thousands of player kills and maintaining a 50% survival rate who favours a calculated playstyle. During these wipes he has earned the coveted Kappa secure container, proving his determination in the unforgiving world of Tarkov. His passion for the punishing game goes beyond personal accomplishment and he is driven by a desire to guide new players on their own Escape From Tarkov journey one raid at a time.

Through countless firefights, strategic flanks and exhilarating boss encounters, he has accumulated a deep understanding of the game’s mechanics and nuances that allows him to offer valuable insights and strategies to those seeking to navigate the complexities of Tarkov.

1 Comment

  1. I just started playing EFT this wipe, so I haven’t played many of the maps other than Woods. I like Woods as both a solo PMC and a Scav due to the concealment & cover potential. There’s also a lot of places with high loot concentration (USEC Camp to Scav Bridge area, Abandoned Town, Scav Town/Old Sawmill, Sawmill & Military Camp). PMCs should avoid Sawmill due to Shturman and his goons, but that just makes it a great place for Scav runs. The only other challenge is the small number of PMC extracts, although I have yet to run into anyone camping Outskirts.

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