It's a big world out there, and figuring out where to go first in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet isn't as easy as it might seem. The entirety of Paldea is yours to explore, and while you can wander off into the sunset or stick to the established path, taking the time to explore a few key areas and add certain Paldea Pokémon to your team helps make a strong foundation for the rest of your journey.

Here are our tips on where you should get your footing first in the Paldea region.

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet - Beginner's Tips

Where to go first in Paldea

It’s perfectly possible to skip school and set out on your own, but you shouldn’t do this. Initial classes and introductions take about a half hour, but finishing them is the only way to officially start the game’s three main paths.

After you meet the Director of the Academy and get your tasks from them, Arven, and Cassiopeia, you’re left to wander Paldea on your own with only vague objectives to follow. While you can head straight to Cortondo for your first Gym battle, you should spend a bit of time in the wild first.

Where to go first in Scarlet and Violet
Image: Nintendo Life

Take a right at the bridge on the path to Los Platos, and follow the river southeast, toward the beach. Along this path, you’ll find a number of useful Pokémon, including Azurill, Buizel, Wiglett, and — where the river meets the ocean — a near-endless supply of Magikarp. Each of these evolves into a strong Pokémon, but even more important is what you get from battling and capturing them. Buizel Fur and Magikarp Scales let you craft Water Pulse TMs, which is a powerful early-game Water-type move.

Once you reach South Province (Area Two), visit Cortondo to register it as a flying location, and then explore the surrounding fields before tackling the Gym. Cortondo’s Gym leader uses Bug Pokémon, so your best bet for countering is Flying, Fire, or Rock Pokémon.

Fire ‘mon are in short supply at this stage (unless you picked Fuecoco at the start). However, you can find plenty of Starly in Area Two and, if you’re lucky, you might even find a wild Tera Diglett between the watchtower and Cortondo. This kind of Diglett knows Rock Tomb and has Rock as its Tera Type, making it a strong contender in this gym and in later ones such as Levincia’s Electric-type Gym.

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet where to go first
Image: Nintendo Life

If you feel brave and have plenty of restoratives and Poké Balls in hand, take the land bridge over the river and travel south toward South Province (Area Four). Here, you can find an even broader range of Pokémon, including Pikachu, Scyther, Rufflet, Swablu, and even Charcadet. Their levels range from 12 to 20, but if you’re up for some slightly more challenging fights, visiting here is an excellent way to diversify your roster early on.

You may also want to take a short detour to South Province (Area 3). This is where we recommend going after the first Gym to progress the story, but some of the wild Pokémon here just make life generally easier, including Klawf, Charcadet, and Nacli.

Finally, make sure to keep an eye out for Tera Pokémon, either in the wild or in special dens marked on the map. These offer a chance to obtain Pokémon you may not find until later – Gastly in South Province (Area Two), for example – with advantageous typings.

Should you do Titans or Gyms first?

Defeating Gym Leaders is the traditional way forward in Pokémon games, but in Scarlet and Violet, you should mix in Titan battles as often and early as you can. Defeating Titans helps restore Koraidon’s power (or Miraidon’s power in Violet) and unlocks functions such as gliding and swimming. That naturally makes exploration faster and easier, so it’s not something you should leave until later.

We recommended completing Stony Titan and Open Air Titan first, and for good reason. Defeating the Stony Titan in South Province (Area Three) after your first Gym battle unlocks a dash function for your ride-on legendary Pokémon.

titans or gyms first scarlet and violet
Image: Nintendo Life

Klawf, the Stony Titan, is a level 16 Rock type, so bring Water, Grass, Ground, or Fighting moves. That Diglett from Area Two would prove useful again here as well.

The Open Air Titan, a level 20 Bombirdier, calls West Province (Area 1) its home. 20 might seem manageable after your first Gym battle, and it is with the right team. A strong Electric or Rock-type will make short work of the Titan. Just make sure to move quickly and keep an eye on your surroundings while you travel toward it! West Province features a varied mix of powerful and low-level Pokémon, including some at level 30 or higher, but you'll need to have a few Gym Badges under your belt before you can catch some of those!

Defeating Bombirdier lets your mount swim, so you can cross rivers and explore the inlets and bays of Paldea at last.

Best Pokémon to get early on

Scarlet and Violet spoil you for choice as soon as you leave the Poco Path Lighthouse, but if you want to make your journey a little smoother, some Pokémon are a bit more helpful than others.

Pawmi

Pawmi is a bit weak and probably not a solid choice if you only want Pokémon with high stat values. However, during your time in South Province, Pawmi is invaluable, especially when it comes to catching other Pokémon. Aside from having better stats than Pichu, Pawmi learns Nuzzle at level 12, which paralyzes your opponent, making them easier to catch and slower in battle.

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet best early Pokemon
Image: Nintendo Life

Water and Flying types are also common opponents in South Province’s trainer battles, so Pawmi can lend a helping paw there as well.

Look for Pawmi near Los Platos.

Flying-types

Adding Fletchling or Starly to your party is also a wise idea. The first two recommended Gym types are Bug and Grass-type, both of which are weak to Flying. You can find both of these throughout South Province Area Two.

Maschiff

Maschiff won’t perform too well at the Cortondo Gym thanks to being a Dark type. However, the menacing pup is a physical powerhouse and can make short work of most opponents. Maschiff wanders the hills and fields of South Province Areas Two and Three.

Eevee

Eevee itself may not be the strongest Pokémon, but its evolved forms – Jolteon, Sylveon, and the like – are some of the best in their respective types.

Wild Eevee are rare, but with a bit of patience, you can find them occasionally spawning in the fields just outside Cortondo. You may need to cross into Cortondo and come back out several times to reset the Pokémon spawns, but after a while, you should be able to get at least one or two Eevee for your collection.

You need evolution stones as well, but the process of getting evolution stones in Scarlet and Violet is a bit different.

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet wild Tera Pokemon
Image: Nintendo Life

Nacli

Nacli is Scarlet and Violet’s top defender in the early game, a pure Rock type with high attack and even higher defense. You’ll need to venture into South Province (Area 3) to find it, but if you’re struggling against the first Gym or any NPC trainers, Nacli makes an excellent addition to your team.

Charcadet

Charcadet is a new Scarlet and Violet’s Pokémon with version-exclusive evolutions, but whichever version you have, it and its evolved form are generally top-notch. The evolutions boast high attack, moderate defense, and unique movesets in their evolved forms that make them more than worth investing in early on. Charcadet wander the wilds of South Province (Area Three) and (Area Four).

Best TMs to find early on

You can find TMs in the wild if you look in the right places, but, with the right ingredients, you can also craft a fair few to begin with, including moves that normally take longer to learn, such as Psybeam.

Best TMs in Scarlet and Violet
Image: Nintendo Life
  • Water Pulse (Craft with Buizel Fur and Magikarp Scales)
  • Psybeam (Craft with Psyduck Down)
  • Ice Fang (Find near the pond in South Province (Area Four))
  • Fire Fang (Craft with 3 Houndour Fang. You can find Houndour in the Inlet Cave where you first met Arven and your partner Pokémon, Koraidon/Miraidon)
  • Aerial Ace (Found in Cortondo. Can also craft with 3 Fletchling Feathers and 3 Starly Feathers)
  • False Swipe (Craft with Chewtle Claw and Kricketot Shell)
  • Draining Kiss (Found in Cortondo. Can also craft with Igglybuff Fluff and Flabébé Pollen. Flabébé are in the flowery areas of South Province Areas One, Two, and Four)

This should get you started on your Paldean adventure, then. et us know if you found this walkthrough helpful, and find out where you can find more Pokémon, battles, items, and more, by checking out the rest of our Pokémon Scarlet and Violet walkthrough guides.