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Boating in Mystical Underground Passages – The Tapolca Lake Cave

Tapolca CaveTapolcaBalaton

Are you looking for something to do with your loved one, your friends or your children maybe? Something that is sure to be an experience you’ll remember for the rest of your life, and would be a perfect stop during your travels in Hungary? Head to Tapolca Lake Cave!

Allow yourself to be swept away by the experience of boating through the turquoise waters of the exciting cave passages, then learn about the wonderful world of karst regions in the Tapolca Lake Cave Visitor Centre. The rock formations concealing the cave were formed from the sediments of the former Sarmatian Sea at the end of the Miocene, approximately 13.7 million years ago. The cave passages were formed at the meeting point of two different water temperatures, due to an effect called mixing corrosion: in this case, the area had both cold karst water and – due to post-volcanic activity – hot water flowing in. This led to the formation of an entire cave system under Tapolca, a town located on the western edge of the Balaton Uplands. The discovery of the caves was actually a complete accident: when excavating a well on a baker’s property in the early 20th century, they found after the blasting that one side of the pit had an opening big enough to fit a crouched person. This naturally led to the excavation of the entire cave system and, 10 years later, the passages were opened to tourists. These were the first caves in Hungary to have electric lighting and the first to be adapted for tourism.

Tapolca Cave

Boating in an underground cave system

Did you know that the Tapolca Lake Cave is unique because there is no other place in the world that offers such an extensive cave system under a settlement that can be navigated by boat? While visiting Hungary, take the opportunity to see for yourself why the lake cave is a such a popular destination. But you won’t just be passive observers here: you’ll have to row the boat yourself and in the narrower passages you’ll even have to use your hands to push yourselves forward. It’s quite literally a close encounter... but don’t panic, none of this will require any great effort. It’s just a bit of wonder and excitement.


The section of the lake cave that’s navigable by boat is 180 metres in length and the waters of the lake are a pleasant temperature all year round: around 18-20 degrees Celsius, with an average depth of 40 centimetres, although it is several metres deep in places. To row your boat in natural, eerily lit cave passages carved out by water in an underwater cave lake: this is an experience you will certainly never forget as long as you live.

The modern Tapolca Lake Cave Visitor centre – to crown your experience

In 2015, the lake cave was expanded with a modern Visitor Centre which provides various interesting programmes in 10 rooms for adults and children alike. The rooms provide visitors with insights into the mysterious world of caves and karst regions: you can admire prehistoric paintings, embark on a virtual exploration through 3D movies and holographic photographs, while the centre offers various interactive experiences such as caves for children to crawl through, or a fun ‘stone feeling’ activity for adults. The rooms and programmes available are as follows:


  • Stalactite Room
  • Diving Room
  • Bat Room
  • Geopark Room
  • Ancient Archaeology Room
  • Ancient Karst Room
  • 3D Movie Room
  • Boating
  • Playground
  • Climbing Wall


One thing you should be aware of is that Tapolca has become a rather popular tourist destination lately – so if you don’t want to queue around for ages, it’s best to arrive in the morning before opening hours or in the afternoon. That's why you should book an appointment or buy a ticket online on the Tapolca Lake Cave Visitor Center's website. One thing is certain, however: there’s a reason the lake cave is so popular, so it’s well worth visiting Tapolca for.

WONDERS OF HUNGARY: TAPOLCA LAKE CAVE AND THE MILL PONDWelcome to the next episode of Wonders of Hungary, in which we present you the lovely Lake Cave and the Mill Pond of Tapolca. Boating under the town - row through the passageways of the Tapolca Lake Cave, dissolved from limestone by the blending of cold and hot karst waters over a hundred thousand years!
Wonders of Hungary: Tapolca Lake Cave and the Mill Pond
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Move around like a hungarian