For those brave enough to venture inside, mazes are filled with mystery and intrigue. Here’s a look at seven of the world’s coolest.
Mazes and labyrinths have been a part of history for thousands of years, having first been designed as spiritual journeys to guide visitors along a single path of serenity. From enlightening experience to amusing past-time, one thing is for sure: they’ve become increasingly complex.
From a maze that stumped Napoleon to a lavender-studded labyrinth, here are seven of the world’s most magnificent labyrinths and mazes.
1. Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria
Once the summer residence of the Habsburg Emperors, Schönbrunn Palace is a Baroque masterpiece and home to a majestic 18,460 ft2 (1,715 m²) maze. A magnificent ode to symmetry originally constructed in 1720, the maze was eventually abandoned and replanted in 1999. However, the memory of the first maze lives on. Find your way to the viewing platform in the center of the maze and let the ‘energizing stones’ assist you on your way back out.
2. Hampton Court Palace Maze, Surrey, UK
Commissioned in 1700 by William III, Hampton Court Palace is home to the UK’s oldest surviving hedge maze. One of the first of its kind, the maze is referred to as a ‘multicursal’ or ‘puzzle maze’ in which many different paths lead to the center. Encompassing a third of an acre, visitors will remember its confusingly amusing design.
3. Parc del Laberint d’Horta (Labyrinth Park of Horta), Barcelona, Spain
The oldest garden in the city and arguably one of the most romantic, Parc del Laberint d’Horta is a hidden gem. First commissioned for the Desvalls family estate, the maze is partly neoclassic. The tall manicured 19th-century hedge-walls create more than 2,000 feet (610 meters) of twists and turns. Those who make it to the center will find a statue of Eros, the Greek God of Love.
4. Labirinto della Masone (Labyrinth of the Mason), Parma, Italy
This star-shaped maze can be found in an Italian town within the province known for gifting the world with Parmesan cheese. The Labyrinth was a result of a dare between Italian publisher Franco Maria Ricci and author Jorge Luis Borges after Borges declared that Ricci couldn’t construct the world’s largest bamboo maze. Ricci proved Borges wrong, opening the maze consisting of 200,000 bamboo plants in 2015.
5. Labirinto Villa Pisani, Stra, Italy
Considered the most difficult maze in the world, the labyrinth at Villa Pisani is only a short drive from Venice. Designed by Girolamo Frigimelica for Doge Alvise Pisani in 1720, the maze is a classic medieval circular path surrounding a small turret with nine layers and many dead ends. Local legend has it that Napoleon Bonaparte, who once owned the villa, once got lost in its imposing complex hedges.
6. Dole Plantation’s Pineapple Garden Maze, Hawaii, USA
Situated on Hawaii’s island of Oahu is what has been deemed the world’s finest maze. Characterized by a playful shape and impressive three-acre area, the maze comprises two-and-a-half miles (four kilometers) of zigzagging paths framed by 14,000 colorful Hawaiian plants! The Pineapple Garden Maze is a delight to the senses and a great place to take the family too, offering delicious snacks and a train tour through the history of the island’s emblematic fruit.
7. Ashcombe Maze, Mornington Peninsula, Australia
Discover Ashcombe Maze & Lavender Gardens, a scenic one-hour drive from Melbourne in southeast Australia’s picturesque Mornington Peninsula. Built more than forty years ago, the maze is made up of more than 1,000 cypress trees, while the Lavender Labyrinth will delight lovers of this purple flower with its year-round blossoms and sweet fragrance. In addition, the complex also features a circular rose maze and includes 25 acres of world-famous gardens, plus a relaxing café that serves lavender infused snacks and drinks.