Public toilets: they can be pretty disgusting and uninviting. But driving for miles to find a toilet doesn't need to fill you with dread.
We've rounded up the world's most colourful and quirky public toilets that are destinations in their own right. These loos come with scenic views, offer hi-tech facilities (even cleaning themselves!) and are architectural marvels.
Visitors to the Hundertwasser Toilets in New Zealand, for example, travel from all around the world to see Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser's transformation of the drab facilities to a beautiful space for a toilet break. Although, the decorative loos are Kawakawa's main attraction and the tourists who stop to take photos of Hundertwasser's masterpiece far outnumber those who use the facilities!
But a renowned artist's touch isn't the only thing that will get travellers queuing on a pit stop. While an unclogged toilet and loo roll are pretty high on the list, a good view, the smell of flowers and a bit of history will have even the biggest public toilet haters grabbing their cameras.
Take the remote lav on Sweden's King's Trail, which is located in one of Europe's largest remaining wilderness areas and boasts breathtaking mountain and lake views - talk about loo with a view!
And London's Turquoise Island is a toilet and florist building - functional and fragrant. In the 90s, Westbourne Grove residents were horrified at the thought of a Portaloo on their local traffic island, so they commissioned an architect to design an elegant building.
Browse our gallery to see our pick of the fanciest flushers around the world.
Beautiful public toilets around the world
Ten beautiful public toilets around the world
The Hundertwasser Toilets, designed by Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser, is a bizarre public toilet located on the main street of the town Kawakawa on New Zealand's North Island. The decorative toilet block is more of a tourist attraction than public facilities and famed for its irregular ceramic tiles, coloured glass and live tree incorporated into the architecture.
Wellington waterfront's iconic Lobster loos were formed from two concrete 'tentacles' encased with orange steel and are the work of architect Bret Thurston. Each tentacle contains a unisex toilet and is spacious enough for six people to stand inside. The inside and outside have been protected with anti-graffiti coating and as well as Lobster loos, the toilets have been dubbed armadillos, ant eaters and crayfish.
The hi-tech washrooms in Calgary's East Village are heated, self-cleaning and play Star Wars music when the doors close and lock. Sanitised toilet seats emerge from the wall of the automated loos and a recorded voice warns that the maximum stay is 10 minutes. The toilets feature art on the exterior - an image of a woman in water on the outside of the women's toilet and a man floating in water on the outside of the men's washroom.
This distinctive building is a multi-functional space housing designer lavatories at one end and a florist at the other end. Turquoise Island was built after Westbourne Grove residents who were horrified at the thought of a Portaloo on their local traffic island commissioned architect Piers Gough to design an elegant building. London Florist Wild At Heart brings a breath of fresh air to the island with its vibrant peonies and fragrant sweet peas.
Described by architectural historian Lucinda Lambton as "jewels in the sanitarian’s crown", the men's toilet in Rothesay, Isle of Bute are one of the best examples of late Victorian lavatories left in Britain. Built in 1899, the toilet features 14 porcelain urinals along one wall and six in a circular centrepiece. The floors are designed with ceramic mosaic, featuring the crest of the Royal Burgh of Rothesay at the entrance, and the glass roof lets in plenty of light.
These toilets with picturesque mountain and lake views are located on the Kungsleden, or The King's Trail, and were built for hikers passing through the scenic trail in the heart of beautiful Lapland. The 440km trail passes through one of Europe's largest remaining wilderness areas and hikers stopping for a toilet break can enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the setting.
The public washrooms at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Wisconsin reflect the achievements of the arts industry and feature the custom designed tiles and fixtures from different artists in each of the bathrooms. The stunning designs range from the playful Tell Me Something I Don't Already Know family washroom by Carter Kustera to the rich blue and white Sheboygan Men's Room by Ann Agee.
The Trail Restroom on the banks of the Colorado River in Austin is a public toilet and sculpture which relates to the landscape surrounding it. It was designed as a sculpture in a park, consisting of 49 vertical Corten steel plates with varying heights. The toilets allow light and fresh air to enter the space, while restricting the views of those who occupy them.
This five-metre stylish gold public toilet in Wembley was designed to give the effect of a glowing lantern at night. The unusual building has a concrete base and above head height the shiny metal screen allows for light and ventilation without allowing views in. Wembley WCs were designed by architect Gort Scott to form an elegant addition to Wembley's new landscaped and pedestrianized area.
Uster's bright green Public Toilets consist of folded, vertically arranged coloured aluminium strips that can adapt to changing building sizes and shapes. Slightly different coloured strips were used by architect Gramazio & Kohler to generate a shimmering effect that changes depending on the sun and the observer's position.
Zagreb's Museum of Broken Relationships grew from an idea by Croatian Olinka Vistina and Drazen Grubisic who broke up a few years ago. The museum is a unique emotional journey around the world through hundreds of love break-ups. Each of the more than 700 items on display is explained by a love story.
A total of 500 sculptures sit four metres underwater in the Cancun Underwater Museum. Deep under the seas of the Mexican Caribbean the statues look like relics of an ancient civilisation located in the National Marine Park, on the west coast of Isla Mujeres, Punta Cancun and Punta Nizuc. As the world's largest underwater sculpture museum, it was designed to celebrate the Mayan history of the region and act as an artificial reef.
If you need some inspiration for your pet pooch’s first collar, head to Kent for a visit to the Dog Collar Museum at Leeds Castle, which has had hounds for hunting, gundogs and huge mastiffs to guard the gates. Taking you through dog collar designs of the past five centuries; it’s most probably the only place where you can compare historic hunting dog-style collars right up to Paris Hilton's doggy styles of today.
An homage to the culinary emblem of Germany's capital city – the currywurst, or curried sausage – the German Currywurst Museum features an interactive exhibition that takes visitors on a tour of discovery. In the Spice Chamber, sniffing stations reveal the secrets of the perfect currywurst recipe and visitors can even run their own snack bar. Then, when work is over, a sausage sofa sits invitingly in a stream of sauce. And, of course, the Snack Lounge serves currywurst in all its forms.
Cappadocia is best-known for its magnificent cave homes and quirky fairy chimneys, but one man has turned one of the historic caves into the bizarre and creepy Avanos Hair Museum. The weird museum contains hair samples of more than 16,000 women worldwide and was created by potter Chez Galip, who we're assuming has a strange obsession with hair. Each lock is taped to the walls of the cave with the name and address of its owner on display.
If you’re cuckoo about clocks then this unique museum in Cheshire will have you entertained for hours. Set up by Mancunian clock maker brothers, Roman and Maz Piekarski, Cuckooland is a collection of timepieces for over 40 years. In their collection of treasures you’ll find clocks, not only of the cuckoo kind but also quail and trumpeter clocks, which are set up to play at intervals throughout your visit.
What constitutes good art is a matter of opinion, but founder and curator of the Museum of Bad Art was pushed over the edge when he discovered 'Lucy in the Field with Flowers', an "inconceivably awful work of impossible angles", which inspired him to put together a collection of the most offensive attempts at art. There are 400 grimace-worthy pieces – 40 of which are on show at a time.
Caught short? Head to the Sulabh International Museum of Toilets, where Dr Bindeshwar Pathak's worldwide research into the evolution of the human waste receptacle has resulted in a collection that some might call a load of old toilet. But pictures, exhibits – even poetry – relate the history of the toilet and related customs. Check out the chamber pots – veritable Victorian objets d'art – the French toilet disguised as a bookcase and the replica of King Louis XIII's throne, with its concealed commode.
Where other than the ancient land of Cornwall would you find a museum dedicated entirely to witchcraft? In the sleepy village of Boscastle, you’ll find the mysterious Witchcraft Museum filled with magical potions, incantations, spell ingredients, voodoo dolls, Ouija boards and the odd taxidermy cat!
Think parasite and most of us are flooded with images of intestinal worms or malarial mosquitoes, but the Meguro Parasitological Museum celebrates the 'wondrous and resourceful way of life' of these fascinating creatures. With 300 preserved specimens, the museum offers an overview of the world of parasites and their life cycles in an attempt to transform the visitor's preconceptions and to shed their feelings of fear.
You'd be forgiven for thinking that the world's first Cornish pasty museum might be based in Cornwall... but, in fact, it's located 5,000 miles away in Mexico. The museum in Real del Monte opened in 2012, in the town twinned with Redruth, and its links with Cornwall date back to the 1820s, when Cornish miners settled there, helping to boost the silver mining industry.
There are many reasons for being thankful for not being born in medieval times, but if one needed any more, then a visit to the Museum of Medieval Torture Instruments in Prague should do the trick. More than 60 exhibits – including the nail-embedded Torture Chair – graphically illustrate the widely practised torture of heretics, witches, state enemies... perhaps even those who sneezed in the wrong manner. Not for the weak-stomached.
Lawnmowers? To us these garden machines just get in the way and take up too much space in the shed but apparently there's huge interest in the grass cutters and even the British Lawnmower Museum. At the museum in Merseyside, you can look at vintage lawnmowers, browse celebrity donations and check out some of the fastest lawnmowers in the world.
Some of us might be old enough to remember the joy of school dinners when it was the day for SPAM fritters – slices of tinned luncheon meat, battered, fried and squeaky on the teeth. But those who haven't had the pleasure should head to the SPAM Museum at the home of the Hormel Foods Corporation, which offers 16,500 square feet of interactive and educational exhibits, relating the product's history – from the role of SPAM Classic in World War Two to delicious modern-day recipes.
Iceland's Phallus Museum is bulging at the seams with the world's largest collection of penises. Those who visit this wonderfully weird museum in Reykjavik (and how can you not?) are treated to penile parts from 16 different kinds of whale, one specimen taken from a rogue polar bear and penises belonging to seven different types of seal. There's even a human penis donated by a 95-year-old after his death.