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Cave Lake, Tapolca

Cave Lake, Tapolca

What could be more interesting than sailing on an underground lake under the arches of a century-old cave? An amazing adventure is waiting for you in the small Hungarian town of Tapolca. A boat trip on a lake with surprisingly clear water will take less than 15 minutes. Sometimes the underground channels are that narrow that you have to lay aside the oars and push off the walls with your hands! And bend down, not to touch the cave with your head. But this is a very fun adventure that you will definitely remember.

Cave Lake history

Cave Lake in Tapolca was discovered more than 100 years ago when wells were dug up. But the cave became available for visits only 10 years later. It became the first cave in Hungary, where the electricity was installed – for the convenience of tourists. Since then, it has become an incredibly popular tourist destination.

The cave was formed about 14 million years ago! This is a karst cave, which appeared due to the waters that dissolved rocks. Cold karst waters and thermal springs created amazing passages underground. The cave has both large niches and narrow corridors filled with water. It is interesting that small fish, such as minnows sometimes swim into the lake. Apparently, from the city pond, which is connected with the lake.

Lake Cave is part of a multi-kilometre underground complex. It stretches under the very centre of the Hungarian city Tapolca. This complex includes a neighbouring medical cave. Air that practically does not contain bacteria favourably influences the treatment of respiratory diseases. Asthmatics, people suffering from allergies are coming here to recover. You can get here either from the city hospital or from the Hunguest Hotel Pelion.

Cave in figures and facts

  • The cave was opened in 1903 when they were digging up wells.
  • It is included in the cave complex, the depth of which is 15–20 m.
  • The visible part of the cave is only 250 m (the total length of the territory is 3 km).
  • The length of the canal with water is 180 m.
  • Land part – 70 m.
  • Temperature in the cave: +20 degrees (technically, it is warm, but you can grab a jacket).
  • Humidity: 95–98%.
  • 73 steps lead to the cave (get ready to go down).
  • It takes 1.5 hours to visit the cave and the museum (riding – 15 minutes).
  • From 1937 tourists can ride boats in the cave.

Museum exhibits

The cave in Tapolca is part of a museum complex, which can be visited after a boat ride. What will you see there? 10 expositions about the mysterious world of caves.

  • Exposition with a diver's cave. Through the transparent floor, you see a cave in which a diver “hangs”. Of course, this is all an illusion, but it is realistic.

  • A 3D video about caves and crystals is shown on the monitors in the museum. They give out special glasses to do this: the image seems to be three-dimensional and the caves seem to come to life!
  • The exhibition about the history of the region, the ancient extinct volcanoes, the system of Hungarian caves.
  • In the museum of caves – cavemen. Rather, their models. This excursion is about prehistoric times.

  • Children's playground.
  • Climbing wall.
  • 3D cinema. The final part of the tour is a movie dedicated to the most interesting caves in the world.

Visit the underground lake: tips and rules

  • Tickets can (and should!) be bought online. This is optimal in the high season, as there are many visitors in the cave, and everyone who wishes may not have time to ride: queues. Sometimes tickets are sold out in advance.

  • Do not agree to go on this trip if you have claustrophobia.
  • Wear comfortable shoes – no need for heels.
  • Be careful when swimming: in some places, the cave becomes narrow, the boat "hits" the walls. You can get a couple of bruises or hit your head.
  • Children under 8 and adults who cannot swim should wear life jackets.
  • Children under 14 can travel only with adults.
  • The water level is quite low: it seems that you can get off the boat and walk.
  • The boat can fit several people: the total weight should not exceed 220 kg.
  • One of you will have to wield the paddle, not a guide.

How to get there

You can take a bus or train to Tapolca. This is a major railway junction. From the train station – 20 minutes on foot or 13 minutes by bus № 7,710 or № 7,711. Walk to it from the city centre, the city pond – 5 minutes by Arany János and Kossuth Lajos. To get there by car, use the GPS-coordinates (listed below).

Opening hours: depends on the season. Ticket offices close one hour before the museum closes or when all tickets are sold out.

  • From March 1 to June 30: from 9:30 to 17:00.
  • From July 1 to August 31: from 9:00 to 20:00.
  • From September 1 to October 31: from 9:30 to 17:00.
  • From November 1 to February 28: 9:00 to 16:30.
  • On December 24, 25 and 31 and January 1, the museum is closed. December 26: from 9:00 to 14:00.


  • Admission ticket for adults – 2000 forints.
  • Children (3–14) – 1500 forints.
  • Family ticket (two adults and at least two children) – 5500 forints, audio guide – 1000 forints.
  • It is possible to purchase a photo that is automatically made in the cave. The cost is 590 forints.

Address: Tapolca, Kisfaludy Sándor utca 3. GPS: 46.883115, 17.443221.

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