When it comes to decompressing, working on a puzzle is a great way to unwind after a busy day or to pass the time on a less eventful one. Along with being good for your brain—studies have shown working on jigsaw puzzles activates your brain’s cognitive speed and flexibility, among other things—putting together a puzzle puts you in a sort of zoned-out, meditative state where your focus is solely on stitching together the bottom half of the Eiffel Tower or sorting out the ocean pieces from the sky. And while there are literally thousands of patterns out there, from abstract designs to movie-themed puzzles, we’re partial to travel-inspired prints that act as another form of armchair travel. Below, we’ve rounded up nine of the best puzzles for adults (and a few for kids), from snowy ski scenes to a collage of iconic landmarks around the world to a hazy camper van driving through Joshua Tree.
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Cinque Terre jigsaw puzzle
You’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t want to visit Italy’s Cinque Terre at least once in their lifetime, so it’s no surprise the colorful coast is a regular among destination puzzles. This one is on the smaller side, with 252 pieces made of sturdy cardboard stock, and measures out to 11 by 14 inches when it’s complete.
Buy Now: $21, zazzle.com
St. Paul’s Cathedral 3D puzzle
If you’re looking for a brain teaser, this 643-piece 3D puzzle of St. Paul’s Cathedral will keep you occupied. And given its shape, you can leave your hard work on display without worrying about framing or matting it. The pieces fit together perfectly, so while you might struggle to match them, you’ll know when it’s a fit.
Buy Now: $50, amazon.com
Magnetic USA map kids’ puzzle
When the kids get tired of board games, hand them this magnetic puzzle map of the United States. Ideal for kids ages 7 to 12, it’ll help them brush up on their geography while they outline the USA. Each piece has the state’s name and a few drawings representing it, like the Golden Gate bridge in California and the Gateway Arch in Missouri, for an easier time deciphering which state is which.
Buy Now: $28, maisonette.com
Best places in the world puzzle
This 1,000-piece puzzle will keep your mind at work. Just when you think you have all the pieces sorted, you realize one postcard is strikingly similar, color wise, to another. To note, White Mountain Puzzle is currently experiencing an increase in orders, so there is two-week delay on new orders. Trust us, though, this one is worth the wait.
Buy Now: $17, whitemountainpuzzles.com
National Parks puzzle
Don’t be fooled by the white space—this 500-piece puzzle of America’s National Parks is plenty challenging. And when you’re done, you’ll have a constant reminder of 59 parks to fit into your travel plans, from Utah to Alaska to Texas.
Buy Now: $35, llbean.com
Gray Malin double-sided snow puzzle
The best puzzles are ones you’ll want to do more than once, and this double-sided puzzle from Gray Malin fits the bill. It’ll transport you back to the slopes of your favorite ski resort, too: On one side, piece together colorful skiers headed down a snowy mountain; on the flip side, sort out the snow-capped trees in what looks like a remote winter wonderland. It has a cool back-story, too: Both sides of the 500-piece puzzle feature Gray Malin photographs shot from a doorless helicopter. Prefer Malin’s beach shots? There are puzzles featuring those images, too.
Buy Now: $26, amazon.com
Joshua Tree camper puzzle
For a puzzle that will remind you of your all-time favorite road trip—or the one you’ve been dreaming of going on—look no further than this Lantern Press puzzle. When complete, it shows a cool, old-school VW driving through an empty desert road in Joshua Tree. At 1,000 pieces (and a whole lot of blue sky), it’ll keep you busy for days, if not weeks.
Buy Now: $50, amazon.com
Inspirational women jigsaw puzzle
Honor some of the most influential women in history with this 1,000-piece puzzle from Always Fits. From Frida Kahlo to Greta Thunberg, there are plenty of well-traveled women on the board once this one’s complete.
Buy Now: $25, alwaysfits.com
Solar system and underwater puzzle set
For two puzzles the whole family can enjoy, try this jumbo jigsaw puzzle set featuring the solar system and an underwater scene rife with fish, coral, and whales. Each one is 48 pieces, meaning it’ll hold the attention of younger kids (it’s recommended for those between three and six years old).
Buy Now: $22, target.com
Tips for new puzzle fans:
If you’re buying a puzzle you intend to save and frame, there are a few items that will make life easier once every puzzle piece is in place. Puzzle Save adheres to the back of your puzzle (you’ll have to do the old cardboard-on-either-side flip to turn it over so be sure to start out with a thick cardstock or piece of cardboard underneath), sealing each piece together so you can easily transfer it into a frame. As for frames, a shadow-box style will ensure thicker puzzles can fit inside. And if you’re short on table space, get a puzzle mat to clear incomplete puzzles away without ruining your progress.