How to find solar north

Instructions / orientation

The world of Minecraft is very big and you can get lost in it. Here are some tips to get you on the Minecraft map orientate.

Starting point [edit]

Main article: Spawn

There is a world starting point that applies to all players and an individual player starting point. Initially both are identical, i.e. H. when a new world is created, one appears first at the world starting point (Spawn point). And you reappear there when you die.

It is therefore advisable to build the first house or the base as close as possible to the world starting point. You should also clearly mark it so that you can easily find it again without having to die for it. The way from the world starting point to the base should also be easy to find. Marking with torches allows you to find it again at night.

As soon as you have made a bed and slept in it, the player's starting point is placed on the place of the bed in which you last slept, provided that two blocks are free above the player. Since you can determine your player starting point yourself by using a bed, you can move further and further away from the world starting point. Now you end up next to the bed you last used when you die.

However, if the last bed is removed, the player's starting point is reset to the world starting point, regardless of how many beds that were previously used are still there. To move the player starting point somewhere else, you just have to spend the night in a bed again.

In the event that you get lost and don't want to die to return to the player's starting point, it is advisable to make a compass. This does not point to the north, but always to the player's starting point. This is particularly useful for orientation in caves.

Torches for orientation at night
Tower with torches for orientation
Rising sun for orientation

Map [edit]

Main article: Map

You also have the option of making a card. On it you can read the cardinal direction in the usual way, as long as you are currently in the indicated area. Above is north, right is east, left is west, and below is south.


The easiest way to find your way around is to put torches in the ground to mark the path. This method is especially useful at night. It also applies to the nether, because igniting the infinitely long burning nether racks is not always helpful, because there can also be nether racks that are naturally burning or ignited by ghasts. A direction (in the Nether the way back to the Nether portal) is marked by placing the torch on the side of a block.

Towers [edit]

A somewhat more elaborate method is to build columns, large towers or conspicuous objects that can be seen from far away. They should be well lit and, if possible, tower above the landscape. The structures should also show the way back, although it is sufficient here to hang a torch on the corresponding side.

Sun, moon and stars

A simple method of determining the direction of the compass is to look at the sun, moon and stars. They always rise in the east and set in the west. Before you leave your base behind you, you should look in which direction the sun or moon is moving and determine in which direction you are moving. In addition, if possible, you should only move straight in one direction in order to find the way back more easily.

You can also orientate yourself on the clouds, which are like the sun and moon always move from east to west. It only becomes problematic when it rains because it obscures the sky.


Sunflowers always face east.

Debug screen [edit]

Coordinates and viewing direction in the debug screen

On the debug screen, which can be called up with, the exact coordinates of the current position and the direction of view can be read on the left side.

If this is to be made more difficult, this information can be deactivated via the menu / options / chat settings or via the command for the world. Then only the relative chunk coordinates are displayed, which is at least sufficient for determining the cardinal direction: an ascending X coordinate (the first) points east, an ascending Z coordinate (the last) points south.

Coordinates [edit]

The information "Block" under the "XYZ" information on the left of the debug screen is important for orientation. If you plan to go on a major trip, it makes sense to write down the location of the base or key locations. The XYZ coordinates show the exact position of the player, while the block coordinates show the position of the block on which the player is standing, which is completely sufficient for orientation. The world starting point is not exactly on the zero point, but only near it, which can be a few hundred meters away.

Viewpoint [edit]

The indication "Facing" shows the direction in which you are looking: north (north), east (east), south (south) or west (west). You can also see how the coordinates would change if you were to walk in the direction you are looking in: "Towards negative Z" then means that the Z coordinate would decrease when walking straight ahead.

All further information on the debug screen is explained there.

Orientation in caves [edit]

There are caves of various sizes. In smaller cave systems, it is fairly easy to find your way around. All you have to do is put a few torches on the wall.

In the case of larger cave systems, apart from torches, you should also set conspicuous markings. Individual sand blocks are very useful for this. They are easily available in large quantities in the next desert or on the beach, are always immediately recognizable in the stone cave labyrinth, cannot be burned by lava in deep caves and you can place a torch on the side towards the exit. The setting of signs that are labeled with arrows, on the other hand, is more cumbersome and only something for permanent path markings. Carved pumpkins or jack-o-lanterns on branches that point with their faces to or from the exit are also suitable for marking the direction. They are easy to farm and stack up to 64 pieces. They are also set up faster than signs and, in the case of the lanterns, provide additional lighting. Also, unlike torches, they are not washed away.

A simple method is to always place the torches on one side of the path (e.g. on the right), then on the way back you only need to make sure that they are now on the other side (in this case on the left ). However, there are also overlapping cave systems with a confusing multitude of branches in all directions including above and below, where this simple method fails because it is no longer clear where the “right side of the cave” should be. In such cases you should set additional markings and should turn around after a few steps to check whether you can safely find the way back.

For the systematic exploration of cave systems, it has proven useful to mark all caves that end in a dead end with a special block at the beginning, e.g. B. Quarry stone. The torches that were used to illuminate these dead ends should be left there to prevent monsters from spawning there. Alternatively, you can completely wall up dead ends, because zombie children come through the smallest gaps and spiders can climb over obstacles.