Nothing passes the time quite as well as a challenging, yet still fun, puzzle. The best puzzles for adults are a satisfying group (or solo!) activity as you watch your hard work come together and reveal the final picture. The key is to find challenging adult puzzles with at least 500 pieces. That way, you know it'll take you several hours to a week or more to finish it up, which only makes it more rewarding when you can pop that last piece into place.
It also helps to find a scene you actually enjoy looking at — and nothing is off the table. Look, just because you're an adult, that doesn't mean you can't thoroughly enjoy piecing together a Harry Potter puzzle, or admiring the rich artistry in a Disney-themed puzzle. Or maybe you just want to zen out during a stressful time with a soothing space scene or watercolor painting. The whole point is to relax and unwind, so go with a puzzle that you truly love. And, for an even greater challenge, there are 3-D puzzles where you physically build up and out a scene.
There are tons of options online to choose from, and it's not always easy to find the perfect puzzle. Here's a round-up of some of the most challenging, gorgeous puzzles out there to help pass the time.
Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle's editorial and sales departments.
1. This Milky Way Puzzle That's Super Soothing
- Number of pieces: 1,000
If you're looking for a puzzle to calm your nerves, this soothing Milky Way puzzle is a must. It features a stunning shot of the galaxy taken straight from the Hubble telescope and enhanced with soothing jewel tones. But just because it's gorgeous to look at, don't be fooled — this 1,000-piece puzzle offers plenty of challenge, too. In fact, tons of Amazon reviewers comment on how this puzzle is the perfect mix of intricate and relaxing.
According to one reviewer: "This is a beautiful puzzle! The image is vibrant and clear just like on the box. The pieces are sturdy and fit together nicely with a lot of variation in piece shape. It is definitely a challenge. So, don't get this unless you're looking to spend a lot of time on it. I really enjoyed putting this together."
2. This Pizza Puzzle That You Can Build With A Friend
- Number of pieces: 550
Not only is this pizza puzzle unique, but you can actually collaborate with a friend or two to put it together. This 550-piece puzzle is actually made up of eight smaller "slices," or mini puzzles that you can do solo or with a group. Each puzzle piece has a special symbol on the back so you know which pieces belong to certain slices. Make a game out of it by racing your BFF to finish a slice, or put the whole thing together on your own — either option is a delight.
According to one reviewer: "This is not your average 'find the corners and sort by colors' kind of puzzle! It's round (obviously) with wavy edges, and the repeated toppings make it tricky to work out except by shape. I assembled it solo over the course of a day, but I used the 'cooperative' codes on the back of the pieces to help me along. Unlike most standard puzzles, I feel like this one could have a lot of repeat value with different groups of friends or in a timed challenge."
3. This Harry Potter Puzzle That Will Keep You Busy For Days
- Number of pieces: 415
If you're in the mood for an extra challenge, this 3-D Harry Potter puzzle has you covered. While it isn't quite 500 pieces (it falls just short at 415 pieces), the truly unique shape of this puzzle adds a whole new dimension to the challenge. Instead of building a flat scene across your table, you actually build up to create a model of The Burrow that makes a gorgeous display when you're finished. Plus, the pieces are extra thick and fit snugly, so you don't even have to use glue to keep them together. Reviewers advise that it may take a while to get the hang of this puzzle, but it's totally worth it.
According to one reviewer: "The best therapy! The trick with 3-D puzzles is being patient - it's so easy to assemble pieces when you see two or three that obviously go together. It isn't a bad thing, but they won't look like what you're looking for when the times comes to add them to the construction - especially if they're turned the wrong way!"
4. This Disney Villains Puzzle That's Surprisingly Challenging
- Number of pieces: 1,000
This Disney villains puzzle is really fun, and it offers a bit of a challenge, too. While you can choose from various villains, reviewers particularly love the challenge and details portraying Sleeping Beauty's infamous villain, Maleficent. This vibrant 1,000-piece puzzle features a portrait wall of the sea witch and other iconic moments from the Disney classic in rich greens, golds, and blacks.
According to one reviewer: "My husband loves the Ravensburger puzzles for their uniquely shaped pieces and high quality images and materials. This is a challenging one, but so worth the effort. The colors are very vivid and the images crisp. Pieces lock together easily."
5. This Winter Wolf Puzzle That's Relaxing To Look At
- Number of pieces: 550
For a relaxing experience, snag one of these winter wolf puzzles ASAP. This 550-piece puzzle features a wintery view of a pack of wolves by a nearby river. The soothing blue tones of the piece make it a calming experience too put it together. And, the monochromatic color scheme adds a bit of difficulty to the task.
According to one reviewer: "Love it!"
6. This Wooden Puzzle That's Like Playing 3-D Tetris
- Number of pieces: 54
This 3-D block puzzle has all the fun of Tetris right at your fingertips. It comes in a wooden block composed of Tetris-shaped pieces. Your goal is to pull it apart and try to reassemble it into a perfect square again — and it's not as easy as it seems. Because the pieces are all the same shape, they can fit in multiple arrangements and places. The key is to take your time and enjoy the process while you build and rebuild.
According to one reviewer: "I bought this as a present for my partner and he really enjoys it. It is a challenging puzzle which we haven't solved yet. Once complete it is beautiful enough to use as a little display piece on a shelf."
You May Also Want: This Roll-Out Mat That Keeps Your Puzzles Safe
Grab this roll-out puzzle mat to save on table space while protecting all your pieces. This mat is 41 inches long and 30 inches wide, so it's big enough to hold just about any puzzle, and it's made from felt so the pieces won't slip. To use, roll out this mat on top of the table you plan to use for puzzle-building. When you're finished for the day, inflate the included tube and roll up your puzzle and all its pieces, then secure at the ends to keep everything in place until you're ready to build again. Reviewers love that they don't have to use up precious table space for long periods of time while they're working on a puzzle.
According to one reviewer: "I loved it so much that I put my 1000 puzzle on it. Easy to roll up and place it in the bag. The filler was easy to blow up and use to roll up the puzzle. I had my doubts at first thinking it would all fall apart, but when I unrolled it, not one piece was out of place. Was super great."