In times past, all that was required for a good night out was a trip to the cinema and a pizza. These days, the thrill-seekers among us want something a little more substantial. Why be passive when you can be active? An escape room is a physical, real-life adventure in which a group of players is tasked with solving a series of puzzles using clues and hints they pick up along the way. They’re a relatively new phenomenon, has become popular over the last few years: the trend kicked off in Asia, then quickly spread to the Western world. These days, you can find at least one escape room game in almost every capital city in the world.

Like everything, however, the quality of these escape rooms vary. Some are ingeniously designed puzzles that will engage punters for hours; others are shoddy knock-offs barely worth doing for free. If you’re one of a growing number of ‘escape room enthusiasts’ who seek out these rewarding experiences everywhere you go, then you might be planning some kind of bucket list trip to discover the best escape rooms out there. Luckily, that’s where this list comes in! So keep your BUCKiTDREAM planner handy, and prepare to be tested in all sorts of unique ways, as we take you through the five best escape room experiences in the world!

The Escaperoom, Netherlands Kicking off with an entry from Scandinavia, which has taken to escape rooms like a duck to water, it’s the mesmerizing, haunting and downright atmospheric The Escaperoom, located in icy surrounds of the Netherlands. The goal is to escape one of the rooms (novel, we know) in under 60 minutes. Where The Escaperoom really stands out is the attention to detail; each of the rooms is brilliantly furnished with lavish production design. Whether you’re stranded in Dr. Steiner’s Lab or trying to solve your way out of the eerie Girl’s Room, your experience at The Escaperoom is bound to stay with your for long after you free yourself.

The Mr. X Puzzle House, Shanghai Based in the cradle of escape room games, the Mr. X Puzzle House is one of the most infamous examples of the genre. Mr. X consists of five rooms, all with a fiendish collection of puzzles and some dramatic interludes. Unlike some escape rooms, there is zero explanation given in any of the themed rooms; you’re completely on your own, no phones, no lighters, no food, no drink. The staff are watching you in case you want out; but apart from that, you start at ground zero with just your wits to hand. You have sixty minutes to figure your way out of your room, and you’ll need all the brain power you can muster to achieve it.

Escape Hunt, Paris Taking a few cues from the world’s greatest detective, Sherlock Holmes, Paris’ Escape Hunt offers up two Victorian-esque scenarios with lashings of old-world atmosphere. You can either chase down an elusive pickpocket on the labyrinthine Metropolitan underground system or try and track down Louise, a famous dancer who’s gone missing right before a crucial show. With both scenarios, you get sixty minutes to crack the case. The rooms are highly detailed and decked out with all sorts of knick-knacks and props to help you feel right at Holmes.

Roomscape, Stockholm Sweden’s mega-popular Roomscape is one of the larger escape rooms out there and comes complete with no less than seven separate narratives, each with its own distinct theme, puzzles, and clues. Whether you’re saving the world from a zombie apocalypse, escaping from a maximum security prison, struggling to preserve Tesla’s last invention or having a terrifying run-in with a resurrected Zodiac Killer, there’s a scenario in Roomscape that will appeal to all enthusiasts. Each game lasts for the requisite sixty minutes, and there’s absolutely nothing stopping you attempting all seven in a row.

The Escape Game, Orlando, Florida Of course, you don’t have to travel to different continents to enjoy the weird and wacky world of escape rooms; we’ve got plenty of contenders right here at home. One of the best in the country is considered to be The Escape Game in Orlando, which combines seven unique scenarios into one fun-packed facility. One of the most popular and unique on offer is Mission: Mars, which has players landing on the red planet and damaging their ship, only to discover a tornado of cosmic radiation is heading their way in, yes, you guessed it, sixty minutes.

These are some of the best escape room experiences in the world, but the genre as a whole is still growing and developing. It’s a fantastic scene to be a part of, so if this has to whet your appetite, check out BUCKiTDREAM for more tales of adventure from similarly-minded enthusiasts, and don’t forget to share your own adventures as you go; especially if you manage to break free! You deserve a congratulations or two!