The cozy town of Tapolca just north of Balaton offers the adventure of an underground boat trip in the cavern. A great alternative for rainy days.
The cavern was discovered by accident while a bricklayer was digging a well in 1903. Further researches found an extensive cave system beneath the town and a part of it has been open to the public.
The rock encasing the cavern was formed 12 million years ago (Late Miocene Epoch). Its mass is made up by layers of milestone as a result of deposited and cemented sediment of the ancient Pannon Sea. The lake is fed in two ways that accounts for the formation of the tunnels. The “young” milestone layer is based on dolomite formed 210-230 million years ago (Late Triassic Epoch) that feeds Tapolca Basin with cold karst water. The same dolomite stretches hundreds of meters deeper where water is heated to around 40 degrees by post volcanic activity. Seeping upwards through cracks it mixes with cold karst water making a temperature of 18-20 degrees. It was this warm mixture flowing from Kórház-barlang (Hospital Cave, mostly dry by today) towards springs of Malom-tó (Mill Pond) that formed the cavern system. Damming the stream resulted in the underground lake suitable for boating.
The most typical species of the lake fauna is the common minnow (Phoxinus phoxinus).
The cave is accessible through a visitor center with an exhibition on the mysterious world of caverns in ten rooms. Attractions include a cave crawl for kids and petting rocks test adults’ senses. Paleogeographic paintings give in insight into the ancient fauna and flora while other visual aids help to discover the world underground. You may witness how karst water creates art by forming tower karst in South China or the world of stalactites and crystals.
The tour in the visitor center takes around 1.5 hrs crowned by a boat trip on the lake.
By bus: get off at “Köztársaság tér” or the central coach station in Ady Endre Street
From the train station head northeast along the Blue (K) trail (Dózsa György Street). The trail bends right at Hősök tere. Continue along Deák Ferenc Street, cross Fő tér and walk along Kossuth Lajos Street. Follow the Green (Z) markers and change to the Red (P) trail to the left (Kisfaludy Sándor Street) and the visitor center is the second building on the right. (Total distance: 1.4 km)
From the central coach station head east along Ady Endre Street and turn right onto Kisfaludy Sándor Street. (Total distance: 700 m)
From bust stop “Köztársaság tér” walk south 100 meters along Kisfaludy Sándor Street.
Paid parking along Kisfaludy Sándor Street.
At the corner of Ady Endre Street larger spaces suitable for buses are available as well.