Being A Partial, Fragmentary and Unreliable Collection of Escape Room Recommendations
That I’ve Mostly Swiped From Other People.
Europe has a thriving, complex escape scene, and the games I’ve played myself around various European cities are only a tiny fraction of the games available. So the information here is based on recommendations from other enthusiasts, reviewers and owners, in many cases taken from the Escape Room Enthusiasts group on Facebook, plus links to relevant review and directory sites.
Where an area is well covered by local blogs and directory sites, I’ve linked straight through to those; where suggestions come from other sources I’ve attempted to combine them into a brief summary.
A lot of the information below is hearsay and should be taken with a large pinch of salt! If you have any strong recommendations to add, or if you disagree with suggestions below, please comment or email me at email@example.com – I plan to update this page over time and will incorporate suggestions and feedback.
🇦🇱 Albania 🇦🇩 Andorra 🇦🇲 Armenia 🇦🇹 Austria 🇦🇿 Azerbaijan 🇧🇾 Belarus 🇧🇪 Belgium 🇧🇦 Bosnia & Herzegovina 🇧🇬 Bulgaria 🇭🇷 Croatia 🇨🇾 Cyprus 🇨🇿 Czechia 🇩🇰 Denmark 🇪🇪 Estonia 🇫🇮 Finland 🇫🇷 France 🇬🇪 Georgia 🇩🇪 Germany 🇬🇷 Greece 🇭🇺 Hungary 🇮🇸 Iceland 🇮🇪 Ireland 🇮🇹 Italy 🇱🇻 Latvia 🇱🇮 Liechtenstein 🇱🇹 Lithuania 🇱🇺 Luxembourg 🇲🇹 Malta 🇲🇰 Macedonia 🇲🇩 Moldova 🇲🇨 Monaco 🇲🇪 Montenegro 🇳🇱 Netherlands 🇳🇴 Norway 🇵🇱 Poland 🇵🇹 Portugal 🇷🇴 Romania 🇷🇺 Russia 🇸🇲 San Marino 🇷🇸 Serbia 🇸🇰 Slovakia 🇸🇮 Slovenia 🇪🇸 Spain 🇸🇪 Sweden 🇨🇭 Switzerland 🇹🇷 Turkey 🇺🇦 Ukraine 🇬🇧 United Kingdom 🇻🇦 Vatican
Escape Room Directory is an excellent first point of call, though the listings for many countries rely on operators to supply game details and so are often not complete.
On Facebook there’s the global enthusiasts group, which has more discussion of North American games than ones in Europe but is very active and full of helpful people. There’s also an active group for UK enthusiasts, and a Europe group which is still getting going.
Viewing a location on TripAdvisor under ‘Things to Do’ and filtering by Fun & Games -> Room Escape Games usually gives a more or less complete list of venues in a city or country. Reviews there are not always a very reliable guide to finding the best games, though looking for any that say the author has played a lot of games can work well.
There are a great many local review and directory sites, and all the ones I could find are listed below. These are often in the local language only, but can usually be navigated with a bit of help from browser auto-translate functionality.
There are also a number of global escape room directory sites. My experience of these is that they’re often too incomplete or out of date to be all that useful, but your mileage may vary.
Almost all games use a private booking system, with a flat fee for the game or a sliding scale based on the number of players. Games in west Europe and most places in the Euro zone most often range from £15 to £30 per person, and usually paid in advance through the website. Games further to the east are usually £8 to £20 per person, and usually paid for in cash after playing.
Most of West Europe is pretty well served by review blogs and directory sites, and 🇫🇷 France is no exception. Despite the name, Escape Game Paris has good coverage of not just Paris but several other French cities too, with easy to browse ratings.
Escape Game France has a directory of escape games sorted by region (look under ‘Ou jouer?’ in the menu), as well as a good selection of reviews (under ‘Tests’). Other review bloggers worth checking include Top Escape Games (who have an English-language option, and who appear to be keen on horror games, based on their top five list!); Escape Game Blog; and Escape Blog.
And if you just want a single list of top games for Paris, Escape Room Tips (based in San Francisco, but with several reviews of Paris games) have put together a helpful spreadsheet of Paris game rankings, listing top games based on a combination of the ratings from Escape Game Paris and Escape Game France, plus their own scores.
🇲🇨 Monaco has no escape games so far.
For 🇩🇪 Germany, Escape Room Games is a good place to find lists of games by city, with some crowd-sourced game ratings. For enthusiast recommendations, try Escape Maniac and their top games list, as well as their map; and Room Escape 60. Other local resources include Escape Game (which has a list of games with crowd-sourced ratings for some, especially in Berlin), Escape Room Scout (see the links at the bottom of their home page for per-city listings, though I’m not sure what their ratings are based on), and Exit-Game.info (a blog site of articles and news relating to escape games, which won’t particularly help you find games but has plenty of interesting writing on the topic).
While there’s a thriving escape scene through the country, Berlin is the top place to go, and whenever enthusiasts talk about the city, The Room gets rave recommendations and should probably be top of your list. Claustrophobia have three games here, all of which I’ve heard good things about. Escape Maniac also mention Prison Break at Final Escape, Cube’s Cabinet at Labyrintoom and Dictator Room at Escape Zone.
Escape Room Tourism visited Berlin in Jan 2016 and were highly enthusiastic about Cat In The Bag‘s The Prison, specifically for a team of two (and also gave top marks to The Room and Escape Zone’s Dictator Room). Two Bears Life add recommendations for The Room, Cat In The Bag and Claustrophobia as well.
Outside the capital, Hamburg’s Skurrilum took the top two places on Escape Maniac’s best games of 2016 list, and I’ve heard it mentioned elsewhere in glowing terms. Room Escape 60 recommend RoomEscape Frankfurt. For the rest of Germany, I’ve found few specific recommendations beyond those on Escape Maniac’s list.
🇨🇭 Switzerland‘s games are most concentrated in Zurich and Geneva. TripAdvisor will tell you there are also a couple of venues in Basel and Bern and another dozen venues scattered around the country, but that’s only a partial list: I’m aware of several more in the Alpine south around Sion (Charrat, Verbier, Ardon, Sierre) that aren’t on that list, and it looks like there are other omissions.
If you’re in the French-speaking west of the country, Trip Trap in Geneva gets strong recommendations, especially Marie Laveau’s Mansion. In the south, Escape World in Vernayez seems to have an intriguing setting in a mountain fort, with their large-team Fortress game taking place in genuine underground tunnels.
Switzerland is also home to the international franchise Adventure Rooms, who have branches in many Swiss cities, so if you’re interested in playing their two games, you could try them in their home country.
There’s a complete list of games in 🇮🇪 Ireland at Exit Games. With a total of fourteen venues at time of writing, the country is lagging behind its neighbours somewhat.
Dublin has of course the biggest concentration, with close to half the games in the country located there. In the news recently but not yet open is Escape Boats, which will have the novelty of a floating venue; and Escape VR provide a virtual reality game, which is still relatively rare in Europe. Of the current games in Dublin and elsewhere in Ireland, I haven’t seen any strong recommendations for specific games.
Ireland does well however on similar-but-different attractions: Go Quest in Dublin presents teams with a series of challenge rooms, and Boda Borg has its only European branch outside Sweden in Lough Key, a couple of hours’ drive outside Dublin. Both are closer to The Crystal Maze than a typical escape room experience.
Covering the 🇬🇧 United Kingdom properly is, strictly speaking, outside the scope of this article. But since I’m reducing equally rich and complex escape game scenes in other countries to a short summary, it’s only fair that I do the same for my home country.
There’s no shortage of blog/review sites, though for some reason the UK sites tend more to a personal blog style where most of those elsewhere in Europe lead with a game directory to which ratings are secondary – perhaps because Exit Games provides an excellent map and directory (also available as a list here) that thoroughly covers that need.
For game reviews, The Logic Escapes Me has London covered along with large parts of south England, the northwest region, Edinburgh, and plenty more, including several of the main continental escape destinations. Escape Review and London Escapists also have plenty of reviews for London and beyond, as of course does this site. For a summary by overseas visitors, both Escape Room Tips (from San Francisco) and Two Bears Life (from Vienna) have write-ups of their visits to London.
While London has more games than any other single UK city, the northwest England area encompassing Manchester, Liverpool and surrounding cities and towns is a thriving hotspot for both games and reviewers. For recommendations and reviews in the area, see Brit of an Escape Habit, Really Fun, Escape Game Addicts, Escape Obsessed, and The Great Escapees; and slightly further to the east is Stuck In The Riddle With Clue.
Most visitors to the UK will likely focus on London, but there are some astonishingly good games elsewhere that are well worth travelling for, especially in Edinburgh, the Nottingham/Derby area, near Manchester, and in south England (Bournemouth, Southampton, Salisbury, Winchester) – see the ‘best of’ lists on this and the other UK review sites for specific recommendations.
On the not-exactly-an-escape-room front, The Crystal Maze exists in both London and Manchester, and has proven appeal even to enthusiasts from overseas who don’t have fond memories of the TV show that it recreates.
For Welsh game reviews, see Geeks In Wales; Cardiff has the highest concentration of games by some way, but based on the games there I’ve played and heard about, it doesn’t yet have stand-out games to compare with those in London and Edinburgh.
Finally, Belfast has relatively few games but Escape Rooms Belfast is the local branch of the very well-reviewed Escape Hour in Edinburgh, and I noticed a vote of confidence for horror game The Preacher at Escape Belfast (which, confusingly, is not a branch of the Escape brand found in many other UK cities).
The 🇳🇱 Netherlands are positively packed with escape rooms. If you look at Escape Talk’s list of top 20 venues, only one is in Amsterdam, with the others scattered the length and breadth of the country – which is a healthy sign for the industry there, even if it’s frustrating for escape room tourists trying to pack in as many games as possible!
For all three Benelux countries, Escape Talk provides a comprehensive directory of games, with aggregate ratings for most of them based on publicly sourced reviews. Escape Rooms Nederland also provide a directory of Dutch games, as well as a top 10 list based on personal favourites and, separately, on crowd-sourced voting. All-Escape Rooms also have a top games list, though based on crowd-sourced ratings not their own reviews. And Escape Room Reviews is another directory site, with games scored by aggregate votes.
The majority of foreign visitors will be interested in games in or close to Amsterdam. While I’ve only played a few games there, the Questomatica (formerly Claustrophobia) rooms were very good. Sherlocked (especially The Vault) and Logic Locks are also regularly recommended by enthusiasts, and My Escape Club is the highest ranked Amsterdam venue on Escape Talk’s list.
Based on Escape Talk’s recommendations, it’s also worth considering a quick trip out to Bunschoten for Escape Room, which tops their list and is often recommended in glowing terms; plus the trip there passes another of Escape Talk’s highly rated venues, One Hour Lockup. Frankly, I get the impression you could spend a couple of weeks travelling around the country playing games non-stop without being in any danger of running out of good ones to try.
There may not be quite so many escape rooms in 🇧🇪 Belgium, but you’re unlikely to run out of games to play there either. Escape Talk is a good source of game listings, but has fewer ratings for games in Belgium than in the Netherlands. However, Escape Games Belgium also provides a thorough game directory with a similar system of crowd-sourcing reviews.
For enthusiast reviews of Brussels games, local blog Escape Reviews, UK-based site The Logic Escapes Me and French site Escape Games Paris between them cover almost all the venues in the city. Highest rated by the two sites that have visited it is Escape Prod, and Enygma and Let Me Out also come recommended (despite my own somewhat lukewarm review of one of the Enygma rooms!).
Ghent and Antwerp have a decent number of games too, as well as being very pleasant cities to visit; and I noticed a specific recommendation for Escaping Belgium in Retie.
🇱🇺 Luxembourg has quite a lot of catching up to do on its neighbours with only four venues so far, three in the city and one a short distance to the south in Dudelange. These are listed on Escape Talk but have no review scores as yet; but Escape Games Paris has reviews of one game for each of the three venues in the city.
🇪🇸 Spain is served by several Spanish-language directory sites, but few give rankings and recommendations; where they do, it’s largely based on TripAdvisor ratings. However, there is also a plethora of blog sites providing reviews and recommendations:
- Room Escapers
- SK Pistas
- Die Helden Room Escapers (Barcelona and the Catalonia region only; rankings plus some reviews)
- Roomscaper (rankings for Barcelona and the Catalonia region)
- Dragones y Marmotas
- Unlocker Monkeys (reviews but no rankings)
- Escape Room Fanatic (reviews but no rankings)
- Alohomora Room Escapers (relatively short ranking list)
And Escape Room Lover provides a comprehensive map/directory, plus some rankings and a few reviews for games in Barcelona, Madrid and Galicia; plus there are a couple of Barcelona rooms reviewed at Escape Games Paris.
Barcelona is a huge centre for escape rooms, with dozens of venues. Of those, I notice some making frequent appearances at the top of ranking lists: Horror Box, the ever-reliable Claustrophobia, Cubick, Enigmik, Juego Enigma. Others I’ve seen recommended include Jurassic Land at Escape Barcelona and Open Mind Room Escape.
While you’re unlikely to run out of high-quality games to play in Barcelona, outside the city some games that appear well worth travelling for are Insomnia Corp in Berga and Can Bruna in Vilafranca de Penedès (90 mins and 50 mins respectively by car from Barcelona, in different directions, though the former is neatly on the route between Barcelona and Andorra…).
The next densest concentration of games is in Madrid, although the capital has far fewer games that top local enthusiasts’ lists. Of those in the city, EXIT Madrid is a common recommendation, particularly the Cold War room – The Logic Escapes Me has a review of that and some other Madrid rooms. Five Mon-Keys might be worth checking out too; and see also Escape Room Lover’s Madrid rankings. A few recommendations not covered by those are Hermético, BrainBreak and Escape the Loggia.
Elsewhere in the country, I notice Way Out in Pamplona and Mad Mansion in Bilbao placing well in the Room Escapers ranking list. Lock Me If You Can has good things to say about Clue Hunter and X-Door in Valencia; SK Pistas agrees with the former but gives middling scores to the latter.
There are plenty of other games throughout the country, including a healthy selection on the Canary Islands and the Balearics, though none that I’ve noticed particular recommendations for. There’s also one venue in Gibraltar, which strictly speaking I ought to list under the UK section above, but which like the Rock itself I’ll leave here stranded in the middle of the Spanish bit.
🇵🇹 Portugal has fewer review sites but has plenty of games in Lisbon, plus a couple in Porto and other larger cities such as Coimbra and Aveiro. EscapeAdvisor recommends Escape Hunt: Introduction To A Secret Society – I was not very impressed by the London branch of Escape Hunt while it was open but their review suggests this may be a better bet.
As I expect most people reading this will already be aware, 🇭🇺 Hungary has a legendary status in escaping circles as the place that escape rooms first really exploded in Europe. Budapest had dozens of venues when most other European cities had a handful at most.
Exit Games provides a game directory for the country, and you may be able to find discounts through that site too. For recommendations, plenty of reviewers have made the pilgrimage to the city, and you can find write-ups from Escape Review, Escape Room Tourism, Two Bears Life, Escape Roomer, Escape Games Paris, and Escape Talk (part 1 and part 2, both in Dutch).
There are a huge number of games, and not all of them are high quality. Games that I’ve seen multiple recommendations for include Heaven & Hell by E-Exit, Pirate Cave Escape Room, White Mission by Gozsdu Mission, Submarine by HintHunt, Legacy of Noo’zaca by Mindquest, Enigma Mission by Enigma, Napuche by LogIQrooms, and various games by Mystique. Also Rabbit Hole by Exit Point – which is no longer available, but their other game may be worth a look. Also recommended is Bunkergame, which has a game involving escaping “10 rooms in 100 minutes”.
Two particularly well-known Budapest companies are Claustrophilia and TRAP; the former is a low-tech but high quality single room, and the latter’s games are now franchised across Europe. Both are reliable quality but enthusiasts are unlikely to consider them the best in the city these days.
There are games to be found in the rest of Hungary as well, but with such a wealth of choice in the capital, few visitors are likely to go looking for them.
🇦🇹 Austria is home to the Two Bears Life blog, and you can find some reviews for games in Vienna and Linz there. For Vienna though, The Logic Escapes Me‘s writeup covers 26 games at 9 venues, which will likely be all the information you need.
Only a few venues exist in other parts of the country.
🇨🇿 Czechia / Czech Republic has a huge range of games in Prague, including several of excellent quality. Solve Prague is an English-language local directory / map /review site with a top games list that also offers discounts for some games. UK review site The Logic Escapes Me has a guide based on reviews of 25 of them. In the unlikely event that’s not enough information for you, see also Escape Room Tourism’s articles on Questerland and The Chamber.
Brno has over a dozen different escape venues, so might be worth a look too; and Liberec and Ostrava both have branches of The Chamber, which is frequently described as Prague’s top escape venue.
While it’s less well known as a centre for escape games than Budapest and Prague, 🇵🇱 Poland has a thriving scene with over a hundred games in Warsaw and several hundred more around the country. These are comprehensively indexed by the directory site LockMe.pl, which also provides city-wide and country-wide rankings.
Based on the 16 games in Warsaw I played, the games there are of a high standard, with several stand-out games that don’t make my all-time top 5 list, but which comfortably make it into the top 10%. My experience of the LockMe.pl rankings was that they are a useful starting point but not definitive, with a couple of high-ranked games proving a disappointment, and a couple of average-ranked ones turning out to be excellent. As a directory the site is invaluable, though.
Krakow also has plenty, and both rooms at Combinator EXITGame get a strong recommendation; their Pirates’ Ship game is also top-rated on LockMe.pl for the city.
In addition to the obvious destinations of Warsaw and Kraków, the LockMe.pl rankings suggest it might be worth visiting Poznań and perhaps Wrocław. Their country-wide #1 spot is however held by TickTack‘s Tortuga room in Gliwice, near Katowice.
🇸🇰 Slovakia lags behind its neighbours; there are a couple dozen venues in the country, mostly in Bratislava, but so far hasn’t been hit by the escaping craze to quite the same extent. I have no information on any of the games there other than TripAdvisor reviews.
As far as I’m aware there are no escape games in 🇱🇮 Liechtenstein yet.
Scandinavia doesn’t have quite as developed an escape room market as its surrounding countries, with not much more than a dozen venues per country at most, and little in the way of blog and directory sites.
In 🇸🇪 Sweden, Stockholm has fewer venues than most West European capitals, though I’ve heard rumours that the game quality there is higher than the quantity would suggest. There’s a good write-up of nine of the city’s games at Escape.sg, and I’ve separately heard a recommendation for Escape Stories. The main other cities where you can find games are in the south: Gothenburg, Norrköping and Malmö.
Sweden does however have Boda Borg in seven locations across the country. That follows a different format that’s closer to an amusement park, and pre-dates escape rooms by well over a decade, but it has a lot of cross-over appeal for escape enthusiasts.
🇩🇰 Denmark has a cluster of venues in Copenhagen and a handful elsewhere. You’ll find some Copenhagen reviews on Survivors’ Lounge and a couple on this site too, but I haven’t seen any of the rooms there getting particularly gushing recommendations, so picking games based on TripAdvisor reviews might be an equally good approach here. Alternatively, Malmö is an easy 45 minute hop away, so consider the venues there too.
Similarly, 🇳🇴 Norway‘s games are primarily clustered in Oslo, and I have little information about any of them beyond what’s on TripAdvisor. The country does have what might possibly be the world’s most northerly escape room, in Arctic Escape in Tromsø.
The only part of Scandinavia in which I’ve played any escape games myself is 🇫🇮 Finland, and Exite in Helsinki was a solid, impressive venue; I’ve also seen some recommendations at third-hand for The Ghost of the Opera at Escape Room and President’s Apartment at Exit Room Helsinki.
🇪🇪 Estonia has a rapidly expanding escape room scene in Tallinn. I visited in 2016, and Claustrophobia’s Stormy Ocean room was on the easy side but still my favourite of the rooms I played on that visit, and they’ve since opened a high-tech, high-budget room called Gravity that looks worth going out of the way for.
A lot of new venues have appeared over the last year, with Affect Laboratories and Imaginaris looking particularly interesting, though iLocked, Reality Game and Raketiteadus could easily be added to that list.
Get Away Zone: Red Alert has some unexpected moments that the squeamish should avoid but others may enjoy; and they appear to now also offer VR games. For a more theatrical experience, consider Emotion Factory, which seems to be a scare attraction / escape room hybrid.
Outside the capital, there are a few venues in Tartu and elsewhere.
For 🇱🇻 Latvia, Quest Revisor is a Latvian review site (but with an English-language version) with excellent coverage of the games in that country, plus a handful in Lithuania and a couple in the UK. Almost all the games listed are in Riga, but then there are only a handful in existence outside the capital. Their selection of top ranked rooms is consistent with recommendations I’ve heard from local enthusiasts.
If you’re looking at their game list in ranking order, check the unrated games at the end of the list too – in particular, Escape Room: Arcade Games looks like an interestingly different experience.
Escape Room Map and Unlockers are also Latvian directory sites with game scores/recommendations and useful maps of venue locations. The latter is Russian-language only, but is currently more comprehensive; their map covers all three Baltics countries and is a good way to find the few games outside the capitals.
Games in 🇱🇹 Lithuania are also clustered in the capital, Vilnius, with a couple dozen different venues. I have little information about any of them beyond Trip Advisor reviews, but Escape Roomer played a couple of rooms and recommend Wrong Room (though it looks like the rooms they’re describing may no longer exist). Kaunas might be worth a look too though – I’ve noted a recommendation for Bėglys there, and Unlockers reviewed a couple of rooms at Break Free with decent scores.
🇮🇹 Italy seems to be less well served than most of the west European countries for escape room blogs and directories, but there’s a useful map of available escape venues at Find Your Escape. There’s also a Facebook enthusiasts group for Italy, but doesn’t yet seem to be active enough to be a good source of recommendations. Breaking the usual rule that escape games cluster in the capital city, Italian games are most numerous and possibly also highest quality in Milan; though there are also plenty to play in Rome.
The escape games seem to mainly serve local players not the tourist trade, so don’t expect to find many games in some of the obvious tourist hotspots: Venice has only two venues at present (In Fuga and Intrappola.to), and Pisa has a similar number. In comparison, northern cities such as Turin and Bologna have plenty to choose from.
In the absence of local rating sites, Lock Me If You Can have a selection of reviews of games in Florence, Milan and Rome from a visit to Italy, of which their favourites look to be Fox in a Box in Florence, and Secret Rooms in Milan. Other rooms in Milan highlighted by enthusiasts include the local branch of Claustrophobia and TRAP Milano (which I believe is a franchise of the well-known Hungarian company, though the rooms here are not duplicates of the ones in Budapest).
Escapology provides a directory of games in 🇬🇷 Greece with ratings and a top 20 list, which is dominated by games in Athens. The Escape also has a good directory with ratings, though the structure makes it a little harder to locate their top favourites, and you might find Room Escaper’s map of games in and around Athens useful.
Of the Athens games, I notice Great Escape and The Mindtrap placing well in the rankings on Escapology. The latter is a large franchise with close to fifty games across Greece, so best to check which ones rank well on the sites above.Exit Now also places well, and offer a ‘performance’ game (which likely means live actor) and VR games in addition to their more normal rooms.
Escapology also suggest Mister E and Athens Clue as good downtown venues to visit; and other recommendations include Lockwood Manor at Lockhill (story-driven, atmospheric), 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea at Escaped for impressive tech, and Mystery Lab for linear, possibly easier games; plus Experimentum X at Trapped, though that’s a little way out from the centre.
You’ll find games in Crete, Rhodes, Thessaloniki and other popular tourist areas too, though I have fewer clues on which ones are worth trying beyond looking at the ratings on Escapology’s by-region lists.
🇨🇾 Cyprus has a dozen venues, half in Limassol and the rest in Nicosia, Paphos, and the Ayia Napa / Protaras resort area. Games mentioned as recommendations in Limassol include Escape Limassol and Perfect Crime by Puzzle 3041; and in Nicosia, Escape The Room. Greek directory site The Escape provides game listings, with ratings for a few.
The main locations to go for escape rooms here are Belgrade, Zagreb and Ljubljana, each of which has 15-20 venues and some apparently high quality rooms. There is a sprinkling of other venues around Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia, but games are heavily concentrated in the capital cities.
For Belgrade (🇷🇸 Serbia) I’ve noted recommendations for Murder at the Masonic Lodge by PIN Escape Rooms and Escapemania‘s Robin Hood room, though it sounds like there are plenty of other good ones there.
In 🇭🇷 Croatia, while the capital Zagreb is the main escaping centre, from personal experience I can recommend Save King’s Landing! in Dubrovnik. In Zagreb, Enigmarium comes recommended; and Fox in a Box has branches in several locations including Zagreb and Split, and of their games Bunker may be a good choice. There’s also a FaceBook enthusiasts group for the country, which is in Croatian but which might be helpful anyhow.
Ljubljana (🇸🇮 Slovenia) has what sounds like an interestingly different experience at Labyrinth Ljubljana – see the write-up from Escape Rooms Master. Forest Escape caught my eye too for being a rare outdoor venue, with one of their games being played after dark in the forest (!). And I’ve heard very good things about Enigmarium’s games in Ljubljana and Maribor, including this strong recommendation from Escape Rooms Master for the Virus Outbreak room in Maribor.
Escape rooms haven’t really reached the rest of the Balkans yet. Sarajevo (🇧🇦 Bosnia & Herzegovina) has a branch of Fox in a Box plus local start-up Escape Room Sarajevo; Skopje in 🇲🇰 Macedonia has one called The Cult; 🇲🇪 Montenegro has a couple in the south in Bar and Ulcinj; 🇦🇱 Albania used to have a company but it appears to have shut down; and that’s about it.
Heading east, 🇷🇺 Russia is in a completely different league to the rest of Europe. A mind-boggling number of games exist, above all in Moscow and St. Petersburg but also throughout the rest of the country. The industry is more established than in the rest of Europe, meaning many high quality games and plenty that push the genre boundaries by introducing live actors, physical challenges in addition or instead of mental ones, and even a game that is played blindfold.
Beware, not all games can be played in English! Watch out especially for anything described as a ‘performance’ rather than a ‘quest’, or anything that mentions live actors, and if in doubt check with the venue before booking.
The Russian enthusiast websites are also not the easiest to navigate even with auto-translate, and a lot of information is in groups and pages on the Russian social media site VKontakte. However, Mir Kvestov provides a directory with both enthusiast and crowd-sourced ratings for Moscow, and plenty of information for games in other cities too. If you want to try other review sites then the list at TipicalOrg is a good starting point for finding them, such as:
- MegaGamer has a game directory with lots of crowd-sourced reviews (and forums, an area to find people to play with, etc.)
- Quest Scanner has a directory of games by city, many with crowd-sourced reviews, and a handy map. (Note that the map only shows one city at a time – change selected city instead of just zooming out!)
- Questura provides a list of games by city, sorted by ratings.
- Quest Me gives ratings for Moscow games.
- Similarly for KvestGid, Real Quests, QRating, Quest Finder, and many many more.
Some of these also cover some of Belarus and Ukraine, though relatively sparsely and with few ratings. Almost all the ratings appear to be crowd-sourced, and therefore it’s not clear how reliable these are. Individual room recommendations often start with the Claustrophobia franchise (e.g. in St. Petersburg, rooms such as The Fear, Houdini Escape and The Haunting). City Quest and iLocked are also successful franchise operations that are unlikely to let you down, with the latter being primarily based in St. Petersburg; one group of visiting enthusiasts were particularly keen on iLocked’s Dinosaurs and Star Warriors games.
For 🇧🇾 Belarus, Extra Reality provides a top 100 games list, as well as a directory of games (note that this includes not just normal escape games but also VR games, city hunt games, ‘RPG quests’ (which I presume are LARP events), Mafia clubs, etc.; the ‘labyrinth’ category looks interesting. Two thirds of the escape venues are concentrated in Minsk, with the remainder scattered around the country.
🇺🇦 Ukraine has a strong escape scene in Kiev and Odessa, plus more in Lviv, Kharkiv, etc. One company, Vzaperti (a.k.a. Lockdown or Lock Up, depending on the translation software you use), has over 30 rooms in Kiev alone. Q-room provides ratings for some of the rooms in Kiev and Odessa; their Kiev top picks are dominated by Vzaperti and Claustrophobia, plus a couple of others such as KADroom and Maze Quest. Odessa recommendations are more varied, though Mousetrap, Выход (Exit), and Enigma all look like good starting points.
I can only find one escape room venue in 🇲🇩 Moldova that’s definitely still running (Room Break) – there appear to have been another three, all also in the capital Chișinău, but all look to now be defunct.
🇷🇴 Romania‘s escape rooms are heavily concentrated in Bucharest. Escape Central provides an English-language list of their favourite Bucharest games, and Escapero provides a country-wide map and game directory, though no ratings.
Bucharest games suggested on the Enthusiasts group include InsideOut, Escapology‘s Nuclear Spring and Roomania‘s Da Vinci room – all feature fairly highly on the Escape Central list. While I haven’t played any games in the country myself, the Breakout franchise has a branch in London with six rooms that also exist under slightly different names in Romania.
Most of 🇧🇬 Bulgaria‘s escape rooms are similarly clustered in the capital, Sofia. Despite a good number of venues, I haven’t been able to dig up much in the way of guidance on which rooms to play; and the only local blog I could find has closed down.
The Black Sea resort of Varna has only three venues that I can find; of those, Escape Room comes with a recommendation from a local enthusiast.
Finally, 🇹🇷 Turkey has a good reputation for its games, which are primarily clustered in Istanbul, Izmir and Ankara but can also be found in a couple dozen other locations across the country. From my cursory investigations, I get the impression that horror themed games are particularly popular and common.
Evden Kaçış Oyunları provide a good directory of games by city, and Yeni Görev provides a venue map as well as a directory. Kaçış Merkezi also provides game lists; the language on the site seems focused on horror games, but they include non-horror games too.
None of those give ratings or recommendations, but Gerçek Kaçış Oyunları has a country-wide top games list which could provide some guidance, though note that the ratings are crowd-sourced so should probably be treated with caution.
Additionally, Escape Room Tourism’s top games list from Feb 2016 includes several Istanbul games, including four out of the top five (!); their Istanbul report compares the games there very favourably to those elsewhere in Europe.
Escape games are popping up in the capital cities, with five venues in each of Tbilisi (🇬🇪 Georgia), Baku (🇦🇿 Azerbaijan), and Yerevan (🇦🇲 Armenia). TripAdvisor is your best source of information here.
As far as I can tell, no games exist outside the capitals.