Fictive motion (e.g. ‘The highway runs along the coast’) is a pervasive phenomenon in language that can imply both a static and a moving observer. In a corpus of alpine narratives, it is used in three types of spatial descriptions: conveying the actual motion of the observer, describing a vista and communicating encyclopaedic spatial knowledge. This study takes a knowledge-based approach to develop rules for automated extraction and classification of these types based on an annotated corpus of fictive motion instances. In particular, we identify the differences in the set of concepts involved into the production of the three types of descriptions, followed by their linguistic operationalization. Based on that, we build a set of rules that classify fictive motion with an overall precision of 0.87 and recall of 0.71. The article highlights the importance of examining spatially rich, naturally occurring corpora for the lines of work dealing with the automated interpretation of spatial information in texts, as well as, more broadly, investigation of spatial language involved into various types of spatial discourse.