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 firstname.lastname@example.org – 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
Where should I go?
I originally wrote this article on the assumption that people would have a particular destination already in mind. But it seems there are some ultra-obsessed enthusiasts for whom quality of escape rooms is the most important factor when deciding where to go on holiday. If that’s you, then here’s a quick run-down of the most often recommended hotspots:
- The Netherlands: arguably the densest concentration of escape game quality in Europe.
- Hamburg and/or Berlin: many good games and some that are among the best worldwide.
- Budapest: the original escape room capital of Europe, you can find better games elsewhere but Budapest still has plenty to pick from.
- Prague: another beautiful tourist city famous for escape rooms, Prague’s best games are outstanding.
- Barcelona: relatively undiscovered by enthusiasts outside the country, Barcelona is by all accounts the hub of the thriving and innovative escape room industry in Spain.
- Moscow: the Russian escape room scene is legendary for sophistication, for variety, and for offering experiences that couldn’t exist anywhere else – though many aren’t accessible unless you have a Russian speaker with you.
- Sofia: the Bulgarian capital is way off the beaten track for many players, but the quantity and quality of its games mean it deserves much more attention than it gets in the English-speaking enthusiast community.
- Athens: Greek enthusiasts talk confidently of the remarkable quality of their games, amongst which horror themes and live actors are more common than elsewhere.
Naturally, there are a great many other cities with lots of excellent games, more than enough to keep most enthusiasts happy while visiting!
Top Escape Rooms Project (‘Bragg’ winners)
One of the very first places you should be looking to find good games is the Top Escape Rooms Project. This is an attempt to combine the game rankings of 70 mostly very experienced enthusiasts, via some sophisticated mathematics, into a single list of top games worldwide. The result is far and away the most reliable ‘top games’ list I’m currently aware of.
Note that that’s reliable in the sense that you can count on all the highly-placed games being extraordinarily good; it is definitely not a complete list of the best games in the world. The site is clear about the project’s limitations, and one of the most significant is that there’s a geographical bias due to the voters involved, favouring North America and Western Europe. But although Russia, East Europe, Greece etc. are under-represented (as are various places outside Europe such as Israel, Asia, Australia etc.), if you get a chance to play any game that’s won a ‘Bragg’ (formally, a TERPECA or Top Escape Rooms Project Enthusiasts’ Choice Award) you should jump at it.
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 less active but is usually prompt to help with questions.
More generally, 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 international / 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; and Allo Escape has an excellent range of reviews for games in Paris and a dozen other locations around France, with top 10 lists for the capital and the country.
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’). We Escape has a recommended list though no reviews, but seems to provide the most complete list of French games, and allows direct booking. Other review bloggers you might like to check include OWAG, 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. Personally I’ve played only in Paris and Lille – full review list here. You can also find plenty of Paris reviews on The Logic Escapes Me.
Of the Paris companies, The Game is famous for its games L’Avion and Le Metró, known for their authentic sets. Lock Academy is consistently good; you may see their game Très Cher Lock recommended most often, but I’d suggest picking their more recent games ahead of it. I really enjoyed Odyssey at La Pièce. Phobia (previously a branch of Claustrophobia) is a good choice for smaller teams, especially if you like scary rooms. There are a number of other well-reviewed horror games that I haven’t tried, such as at One Hour and Epsilon Escape.
Note that while most games can be played in English, a good number are French only (including, last time I checked, all the games at Majestic and some of those at Lock Academy); others support English only with prior notice. If in doubt, contact the venue beforehand.
And of course there’s a lot more to the French scene than just Paris – the Top Escape Rooms Project includes nominees from Lyon and Bordeaux, and you’ll find plenty more suggestions on the French sites linked above.
🇲🇨 Monaco now has an escape room company named Iris Game, who currently have two rooms on offer.
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), 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), and Out Of Time, an Austrian blog with a few reviews for games in Germany.
While there’s a thriving escape scene through the country, Berlin is the obvious place to go, and whenever enthusiasts talk about the city, The Room gets rave recommendations and should probably be top of your list. Final Escape and House of Tales both have visually impressive games; Claustrophobia have three games here; and Exit have Huxley, perhaps the most advanced VR escape game currently available. Escape Maniac also recommend Cube’s Cabinet at Labyrintoom and Dictator Room at Escape Zone.
We have reviews of most of those here, and I found The Room’s Lost Treasure game lived up to its reputation. 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.
However, Berlin’s not the only hotspot. Hamburg’s Skurrilum took the top two places on Escape Maniac’s best games of 2016 list with their two Ernie Hudson rooms, and The Logic Escapes Me describes the same two games as the best they’ve ever played. Note that those games are in the process of being translated to English – check with the venue before booking! I missed out on those two, but the two others I’ve played at Skurrilum were both outstanding (reviews here). The Logic Escapes Me have a detailed round-up of a dozen venues in the city, and were impressed by a number of other games too.
I have less information about the rest of Germany. I’ve played only a small number of games in Munich, but a local enthusiast recommends both rooms at Hunt4Hint, as well as Alice and Tesla’s Mystery from international operators AdventureRooms and Fox in a Box respectively. Room Escape 60 recommend RoomEscape Frankfurt; and you’ll find a scattering of reviews for other places on Escape Maniac’s list.
🇨🇭 Switzerland‘s games are most concentrated in Zurich and Geneva, with a dozen companies in each city. 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. Even so, the escaping scene seems less developed in Switzerland than in neighbouring France and Germany.
If you’re in the French-speaking west of the country, Trip Trap in Geneva gets strong recommendations, especially Marie Laveau’s Mansion. I also noticed a vote of confidence for Roseville Escape in Vevey; and 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.
Zurich games seem to get merely lukewarm recommendations, but Escape Quest might be worth a try, or Live Breakout‘s Pandemie Breakout room. Or head to nearby Baden for Time Maze in nearby Baden, which gets a recommendation from German review blog Escape Maniac.
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. Recently opened is Escape Boats, which has 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, Nottingham, Aberdeen, 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 plenty of others (full list of UK escape room bloggers here).
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, near Manchester, the Nottingham/Derby area, and in south England (Bournemouth, Crawley, 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 UK’s The Logic Escapes Me also has a thorough guide of 18 games in 8 Amsterdam venues, plus a handful in Breda, with a strong vote of confidence for the high standard of the Dutch games.
The majority of foreign visitors will be interested in games in or close to Amsterdam. As well as the Dutch sites above, see the Amsterdam guide at the UK’s The Logic Escapes Me and the article by US blogger Room Escape Artist. Both have high praise for Sherlocked; Recommendations I’ve heard elsewhere concur on Sherlocked (especially The Vault), and also Logic Locks; and My Escape Club is the highest ranked Amsterdam venue on Escape Talk’s list. Austrian blog Two Bears Life also gives their favourite games, concurring with those, in particular Sherlocked and Questomatica.
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. One more that’s right at the top of Escape Talk’s list and frequently mentioned by enthusiasts is Kamer 237 in Volkel.
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.
You can find enthusiast reviews of Brussels games at local blog Escape Reviews, UK-based site The Logic Escapes Me and French site Escape Games Paris, as well as our own reviews. Of the local games, newcomer Escape Rush is a must-play, despite being located further out than most of its competition. Nearer to the centre, Escape Prod is excellent and Enygma and Let Me Out also come recommended.
Ghent and Antwerp have a decent number of games too, as well as being very pleasant cities to visit; and in Ghent I recommend trying the highly unusual Locked. I’ve also noticed a specific recommendation for Escaping Belgium in Retie, and get the impression that there’s plenty more to discover.
🇱🇺 Luxembourg has quite a lot of catching up to do on its neighbours with only five venues so far, four 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 and scores for many of the games 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, including in no particular order:
- Die Helden Room Escapers have played a lot of games, and give rankings plus some reviews
- Room Escapers (a.k.a. El Quinto Elemento)
- Room Escapers (a different group to the previous site)
- The Foodinis (Barcelona-based reviews and rankings, in English as well as Spanish)
- 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, Cubick, Maximum Escape, Enigmik, Juego Enigma. Others I’ve seen recommended include Jurassic Land at Escape Barcelona and Open Mind Room Escape. An enthusiast/owner friend recommends both games at Bizarre Escape Rooms as well.
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. Fox in a Box have a branch here too, with Bunker being the game most often mentioned of theirs; and a few other recommendations not covered by those are Hermético, Escapeway, Action House, BrainBreak and Escape the Loggia. See also this article from Two Bears Life, which reviews their favourites of those they picked to play from informed recommendations.
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. And The Logic Escapes Me has a good set of game reviews for Málaga and surrounding area on the south coast.
There are plenty of other games throughout the country, including a healthy selection on the Canary Islands and the Balearics. I haven’t noticed particularly strong recommendations for any of those, but if you’re going to Majorca then Two Bears Life have a report on three of the venues there and Spain-based bloggers Die Helden have ranked a good selection of the rooms. There are lists of available games with aggregate TripAdvisor ratings for both groups of islands at Escape Room Lover (click through from the map to the appropriate region). There’s also one venue in Gibraltar (reviewed by The Logic Escapes Me), 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 and Porto, plus some in other larger cities such as Coimbra and Aveiro. I’ve played a few games in the country and in Lisbon I recommend the unusual, immersive Safarka; also, although I didn’t get a chance to try them I heard consistently good things about Scapers. EscapeAdvisor recommends Escape Hunt: Introduction To A Secret Society – I didn’t much like the Earthquake game at the venue and Escape Hunt doesn’t have a great reputation elsewhere, but their review suggests that game might be the exception.
In Porto there’s solid quality to be found at Porto Exit Games. You can find reviews of some of the other venues in the city here, at Lock Me If You Can and Escapemadness. However, a enthusiast who visited recently recommends White Rabbit and Escape4Real over the places covered in those reviews.
Finally, tiny 🇦🇩 Andorra punches above its weight with four venues. Particularly notable is the local branch of Claustrophobia, whose Avalanche of Oblivion game gets not only a glowing endorsement from Escape Room Tourism but also a coveted Bragg from the Top Escape Rooms Project.
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, The Logic Escapes Me has a very comprehensive write-up of almost all the venues in the city. Plenty of other reviewers have also 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). There are some local blogs as well, although you’ll need an auto-translator if you don’t speak Hungarian: see Esc-Apes, which has ratings for a great many of the city’s games, and also Szabadulos, a recently started local blog that aims to compare different rooms that share a common theme.
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; and also German-language blog Out Of Time, which has a good number of reviews and recommendations for Vienna and elsewhere. In addition, The Logic Escapes Me‘s writeup covers 26 games at 9 venues in Vienna. Those three seem to broadly concur on which games should be top of your list.
Fewer venues exist in other parts of the country, but Out Of Time highlight some games in Linz and Innsbruck. We’ve played a couple of rooms in Salzburg, with both games also to be found in other locations in Austria, but neither was particularly stand-out.
🇨🇿 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.
Kraków 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. I’ve also heard good things about Escape Land, Gamescape‘s Anatomy of Crime and It’s a Trap‘s Count Cromwell, which suggests the city may be something of a hotspot.
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 contested by the company Wyjście Awaryjne in Bydgoszcz and a couple of games in or near Katowice (Tortuga by TickTack and Quest Cage‘s Moriarty room).
🇸🇰 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, though a commenter below recommends Questum’s Secret of Nikola Tesla.
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. And both Escape Room Tourism and Two Bear’s Life have played a few rooms while visiting, of which their favourites were, respectively, local Fox in a Box branch RoomEscape‘s Zodiac Killer room; and Valhalla by Exit Games Stockholm.
The main other cities where you can find games are in the south: Gothenburg, Norrköping and Malmö. There are plenty scattered elsewhere though, as shown by this map of Swedish games.
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. Local site Escaped.dk (Danish only) have a comprehensive map plus reviews for a good number of games. You’ll find additional Copenhagen reviews on Survivors’ Lounge and a couple on this site too. I haven’t seen enthusiasts recommending the games in the city as really top-tier, but there is no shortage of games and plenty of solid ones.
The venue most often suggested is Mystery Makers, and I’ve also seen mentions for TimeQuest and Midgaard Event; the highest rated on Escaped.dk are Da Vinci at Midgaard Event, Seven at Brain Game CPH and The Laboratory at TimeQuest. Also, 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.
There are games elsewhere around the country, particularly in Tampere, and if you’re in Helsinki bear in mind that Estonia’s capital Tallinn is also a short-ish ferry ride away.
For full game listings across the country see local site Escape Games Finland, which also has visitor-sourced game reviews.
🇪🇪 Estonia has a rapidly expanding escape room scene in Tallinn. Having visited a couple of times I can provide a fairly comprehensive list of reviews, and there are a couple of unusual games that should be high on all enthusiasts’ lists. In particular, if you’re anywhere in the region you should make it a priority to visit the remarkable Affect Laboratories, whose Interview is a crazily ambitious and unusual game packed with genre-breaking ideas. Also a must-visit is the local branch of Claustrophobia, who have the remarkably high-tech Gravity as well as two other high quality games.
Most of the other venues offer more typical games, though iLocked is usually reliably high quality (we skipped it because we’d played their Mummy game elsewhere, and Saw was not available in English at the time).
I’d also highlight Imaginaris: Shambala, which was badly flawed on our visit but had enough promise it might be worth a look anyhow; and Get Away Zone: Red Alert, which has some unexpected moments that the squeamish should avoid but others may enjoy, and who now also offer VR games. For a more theatrical experience, consider also Emotion Factory, which seems to be a scare attraction / escape room hybrid – though likely closer to the former than the latter.
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. 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 was an interestingly different experience that I enjoyed a lot.
We played fifteen of the Riga games in 2017, and of the venues we tried I’d recommend MyEscape and GetOut; our full review list is here. Our experience was that Riga has some very elaborate, ambitious and sophisticated games, which were all too often let down by technical glitches or (at some venues) poor game-mastering.
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; and another Facebook page for EscapeRoomItalia gives general information and news in Italian. 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, Two Bears Life have a write-up of five companies in Rome, of which their favourite was Game Over (which is the same company we’ve reviewed in the UK); Escape Talk also have reviews for them and for Magic Escape Room. 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 what used to be the local branch of Claustrophobia, now renamed to Questopia, 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.
Room Escaper also recommend Lockhill, and additionally pick out Sherlocked Homes (Hangover and the intriguingly named Cursed Willy) and Sir Lock’s House. Also The Lock (Mystery Chamber) and The Box, if you don’t mind travelling a little out of the city centre.
Athens also has Paradox Project, notable for being a mega three hour game, the longest escape room I’m aware of (it can also be played in two halves if you prefer).
If you want to try a performance game, be aware that many are not English-friendly. Room Escaper provide a list of some that definitely are suitable for English-speaking visitors: both games at Mister-E, Room 54, and Mystery Lab’s Requiem.
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.
🇲🇹 Malta has precisely two escape venues, one on each side of Valletta: Scavenger Escape in Sliema and Can You Escape? in Fgura. Scavenger Escape is the same company that I’ve played in Salzburg and has been reviewed by The Logic Escapes Me in Budapest. Can You Escape? is a local company, and there’s a write-up by Two Bears Life. Room Escapers also have a Spanish-language review for one game at Scavenger and one game at Can You Escape?.
The main locations to go for escape rooms here are Belgrade, Zagreb and Ljubljana, each of which has 10-20 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. What’s lacking is a good reliable review site for the region – there’s definitely a gap there that could be filled by a local enthusiast or two.
For Belgrade (🇷🇸 Serbia) games I’ve noticed more than one person recommending include Murder at the Masonic Lodge by PIN Escape Rooms, Escapemania‘s Robin Hood room, and a couple of the games at Adrenalin Escape Rooms; those three also hold the top slots on Trip Advisor. All those recommendations are from a little while back, but suggest that the games there compare favourably with Budapest in quality (though not quantity).
In 🇭🇷 Croatia, while the capital Zagreb is the main escaping centre, from personal experience I can recommend Dubrovnik Escape Room in Dubrovnik. In Zagreb, the local branch of Slovenian company Enigmarium comes recommended, as do the two games at Exit Games. International chain Fox in a Box has branches in several locations (Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik, Rijeka), and of their games Bank Robbery seems to be the most often recommended. (We’ve reviewed their Prison and Bunker games in Munich.) There’s also a FaceBook enthusiasts group for the country, which is in Croatian but which might be helpful anyhow.
🇸🇮 Slovenia’s Enigmarium seems to have a rather dominant position in the country, with branches in Maribor and Laško as well as in the capital Ljubljana; they also run the game available at Ljubljana Castle and at one point offered a winter-only game in an igloo. Their name tends to come up in enthusiast recommendations, along with MindMaze and The Key.
With few reviewers having passed through the country I’m uncertain how well those games compare to those elsewhere in Europe. However, the scene seems vibrant enough to support some unusual variations on escape rooms. The Labyrinth game that used to run here has now closed down, but Forest Escape caught my eye for being a rare outdoor venue, with one of their games being played after dark in the forest (!). And Sensperience is operated by Enigmarium and provides a game that’s played while seated and blindfolded, with the gamemaster and actors guiding the team through the experience.
Escape rooms haven’t really reached the rest of the Balkans yet. I reviewed one game in Sarajevo (🇧🇦 Bosnia & Herzegovina); there is also a branch of Fox in a Box plus a company called Key Room Escape. Skopje in 🇲🇰 Macedonia now has five games across four companies listed on TripAdvisor; 🇲🇪 Montenegro has a couple along the coast in Herceg Novi and Budva; 🇦🇱 Albania has one in Tirana; and that’s about it. A number of companies have launched but then closed in these regions, so it appears the industry is struggling to get started for some reason.
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.
If you’re considering playing games in Moscow, this document will give you much better information than I can provide here. It’s a write-up of a visit by a certain team of four enthusiasts who not only played a crazy number of games there, but also set the Guinness world record for most escape rooms played in 24 hours (more info on that here!).
For local resources, 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 Moscow, in addition to the document linked above, you may also get ideas from this list of suggestions for mostly non-traditional escape experiences, by a Russian game designer. (The second half of the list is in the comments below, in English as well as Russian.)
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, with over fifty venues in the city. Escape Central provides an English-language list of their favourite Bucharest games, Escape Advisor has a good list of games with reviews and ratings, and Escapero provides a country-wide map and game directory, though no ratings.
With guidance from those sites we visited and reviewed seventeen games – reviews here. We were mostly playing the top recommended games in the city, but even so the quality was very impressive. In no particular order the games I would recommend mostly strongly are:
- The Last Adventure of Indiana Jones at Escape Arena (a great adventure that’s also intellectually challenging)
- Lord of the Rings at 60 Minutes (beautiful, many skill-based puzzles)
- Prohibition at The Codex (make sure you go on a Tuesday or Thursday to get the performance version)
- Both games at Inside Rooms (Harry Potter for a magical romp, Cabin in the Woods for occult investigations)
- Coven at The Void (a clever horror game which builds atmosphere without need of jump scares)
- Chernobyl Reactor 4 at Locked Up (very cinematic, and some of their other games look promising too)
- The Judge at 911 Escape (a mostly traditional style of game with some lovely innovations).
The length of that list reflects the breath and depth of quality available in the city; I recommend also checking the local review sites for any new games opened since our visit. Several of them are longer than the standard 60 minutes. (You may also see enthusiast recommendations for Escapology and Roomania, but those two venues are now closed.)
You’ll also find a selection of games in other cities such as Cluj-Napoca, Constanta, Brasov, Timisoara, etc. The second-hand reports I’ve heard from enthusiasts and Bucharest owners suggest that those are mostly not up to the high standard of the Bucharest scene; though Obscuria in Brasov might be an exception to that.
Most of 🇧🇬 Bulgaria‘s escape rooms are similarly clustered in the capital, Sofia. The main place to look for game recommendations is http://www.vsichkistai.bg/ – it’s in Bulgarian, but the first top menu button gives links to game lists for Sofia, Varna, Plovdiv and Burgas. The ratings there are crowd-sourced, but you can find longer-form game reviews at Fury Escape (also in Bulgarian).
I played four games on a brief visit to the city in spring 2018 – reviews here. Teorema Rooms’ Atlantis is a gorgeous game with an emphasis on physical and skill puzzles, and I’d place it amongst the very best in Europe. I also particularly enjoyed BlueLab from Endorphin Games. Sofia is positioning itself as a European centre for escaping, and there were clearly plenty more high quality games; others I’ve seen enthusiasts recommending include Escapeway’s The Crystal Skull, Dextrophobia (beware that their three rooms are in different locations!), 3Key Rooms, Myst Entertainment and Offline, and others.
So confident is the city in the quality of its escape rooms that there’s an ‘escape room championship‘ aimed at teams from other countries who want to tour the city and compete for the best escape times. If you just want to play games it’s far cheaper to make your own arrangements, but if nothing else its game list seems to be a good check-list of the city’s best games.
While Sofia is very much the place to go, the Black Sea resort of Varna has the next highest concentration of games, and of those, Escape Room comes with a recommendation from a local enthusiast as well as high marks on http://www.vsichkistai.bg/.
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. Despite the high numbers of games, the industry may be in decline – one of the original leading Turkish bloggers describes the escape room scene as having died, with large numbers of companies shutting down. Even so, Trip Advisor lists over fifty venues in Istanbul alone, so you won’t have difficulty finding games to play. Horror themed games are particularly common, though the quantity of games means there are plenty of alternatives if that’s not to your taste.
For finding those games, 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. Austrian blog Two Bears Life visited Ankara in 2016, but the game they were impressed by has since closed down.
You’ll find a few escape companies in the capital cities, with five venues in each of Tbilisi (🇬🇪 Georgia), Baku (🇦🇿 Azerbaijan), and Yerevan (🇦🇲 Armenia), including a branch of Claustrophobia in Baku. I haven’t heard reports back on the games there from any enthusiasts or bloggers, so TripAdvisor is your best source of information here.
As far as I can tell, no games exist outside the capitals.