Pálvölgyi Cave (Hungary - Budapest)

The most interesting place for me in the whole of Budapest, next to Shoes in the Bank of River Danube was the Pálvölgyi Cave. As I said in my earlier post, I went the farthest from Budapest City Centre and then traced my way back. On my way back from Aquincum before Lukacs Bath, I stopped at Pálvölgyi Cave.

There are several caves in Budapest. Pálvölgyi Cave was accidentally discovered in 1903 when the area was being quarried. The length of the cave runs a whooping 7.5km making it the 3rd longest cave in Budapest. Yeah, 7.5km doesn't sound too long on road, but imagine, this is an underground labyrinth atop which is today's busy life! Now, that isn't the most fascinating feature of the cave, but its that it also has a thermal water spring in it!!! While Budapest is covered to several thermal water springs on which are the various Thermal baths like Lukacs or Gellert, this is the only underground spring in a cave!!!!! (Update 01-Dec-2018: Thanks to continuous research, the length of the cave system "Pálvölgyi-Mátyáshegyi Cave System" and "Hideg-lyuk-Harcsszályú-cave" has reached 31 km, which is today the longest cave in Hungary.)  


Today, a small 500m of the cave is accessible. Though 500m sounds very short, it includes a ladder climb equivalent to 8 flights of stairs in one go with 2 rest stops!!!!! The temperature in here is a 11 deg C. At some areas there are wooden platforms to walk on and in some areas its uneven ground. There are wet places but those are not accessible. Though its not a very difficult tour, if you're a total couch potato, you may not be able to climb the ladder of 8 flights of stairs!!! Yes, there was an elderly woman in the group when I went who decided to skip the tour almost as soon as it started! 


Its indeed a fascinating tour where some incredible stone formations could be seen. I was accompanied by Mr.Greg, the guide there. Apart from the usual stalactites and stalagmites, there were also some unique popcorn formations resembling cauliflower as well as calcium crystals! There were a few fossil imprints as well including a sea urchin! Very similar to Chislehurst caves, our guide took us to a point where he switched off all electric lights to make us feel how pitch-black, can pitch-black really be!!!



Here's a major tip about Pálvölgyi tours. This is a basic tour which is covered in Budapest Card. That's the only tour which is mentioned in the ticket counter there as well as the official website. But there is another extensive, adrenaline pumping, 3hr adventure tour too that literally involves squeezing into the narrow crevices of the caves! That tour too begins at Pálvölgyi entrance and is organized by Caving under Budapest. It would have been more comfortable from a visitor's point of view to include this too or atleast mention this in the official (government) Pálvölgyi website and/or the ticket counter of the cave! I would have loved to take this tour (obviously would have depended on the situation there with regards to if Atyudarini is cranky or comfortable at that moment) and I had already read about this online. When I found that Pálvölgyi tour is included in the Budapest card and since the 'adventure' option was not even mentioned at the website/ticket counter,  I assumed that the 2 are one and the same!!!

On another hand, if you're an absolute adrenaline junkie, and already hold a diver certificate, you may want to consider Molnar Janos Cave or Kobanya Mine Diving!!! Molnar Janos is an underwater cave which can be accessed by diving into it! Kobanya Mine is an abandoned cellar which is now flooded and those rooms can be accessed by........ yup, you guessed it, diving into them!!!
So yeah, if you're a certified diver, go for Molnar Janos Cave Diving; if you're fit and fabulous and adventure loving and not below 10 yrs old you have to actually ask for the adventure tour which is 3 hrs. However these are not included in the Budapest card! If not or if you're pressed for time, the basic tour is definitely a must do in Budapest

To Stay:
Hotels and B&Bs at all price points are available in Budapest City Centre.
Here’s my review of Hotel Danubius Astoria where I stayed.

To Get There:
Local Transport within Budapest is possible with metro, tram, buses and boats which are free with Budapest Card
Nearest bus stop located at Pálvölgyi Cave's entrancePál-völgyi cseppkőbarlang 
There is no closest metro, the last leg of the journey has to be by bus.
On Google Maps: Pálvölgyi Cave, Molnar Janos Cave, Kobanya Mine

Entry Ticket & Timings:
The basic tour of Pálvölgyi Cave is included in the Budapest Card
Basic Tour: 1400HUF; Lasts 1 hour; Tue-Sun: 10:00AM to 4:00PM; 1 tour per hour from 10:15AM. Tickets can be bought at the entrance.
Adventure Tour: 10000HUF; Lasts 3 hrs; Open everyday. Contact for availability - Caving under Budapest
Diving Tour: 22500HUF onwards; Lasts 1-2.5 hr; upto 40m depth; Open all days 8:00AM to 4:00PM;  Prebooking necessary - Underwater Budapest

P.S: I was invited by Budapest Tourism to experience the city for review purposes, however the opinions are my own and this post does not to advertise the product/service.

Bhushavali N

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

18 comments:

  1. Wow this is a very informative post. I didnt know about these wonderful cave experience in Budapest. Would love to explore the stalactites and stalagmites in the caves. Not sure of my fitness but i'd try ramp myself up for cave diving before i hit budapest

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  2. I would absolutely love to visit the Pálvölgyi Cave one day. Thanks for the details on visiting it! I am an adrenaline junkie, but I don't have my diver's license. I might need to get that so that I could experience diving there! I am sure that many people would be scared off by climbing all those stairs, but I would love it!

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  3. I didn't know about the Pálvölgyi Cave but now I would definitely love to visit some day. I absolutely love exploring caves and I'm shocked I didn't know about this place when it's so close to Budapest. I The diving experience sounds absolutely amazing too! Thank you for sharing this lovely read.

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  4. I've never heard of Pálvölgyi Cave, but it sounds really cool. The 3 hour tour sounds really great, shame you didn't know about it earlier. You did well to get such good photos in a cave, can be difficult to shoot in those dark conditions.

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  5. Pálvölgyi Cave being 7.5 kms underground is really long and the fact that it was an accidental discovery in Budapest makes it even more mystical. We have been to few caves and the experience has been mixed – while there was excitement, at the same time, being in such a closed space could lead to lot of deep breathing :) We have loved them all. But mine diving is another level of adventure all together!

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  7. Diving at Molnar Janos Cave or Kobanya Mine sounds fascinating! Unfortunately, I am not an advanced diver. But swimming up to the flooded cellar would be so cool. Maybe in future when I am an advanced diver.

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  8. Ahhh I went to Budapest and so badly wanted to visit these caves but we were only there for 2 days and there wasn't enough time. I would so LOVE to do this and will definitely schedule more time in when I return next year!

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  9. This is so neat! Wish I would've ventured more off of the beaten path while in Budapest to experience such gems!

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  10. This is interesting. Though it has been 3 years since I vowed to stop visit caves due to safety hazards. Got really traumatized to experience an earthquake while inside it.

    I'd like to thank you for sharing your photos. I enjoyed it. The rock formations are wonderful.

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  11. This seems incredible! My husband and I will be in Budapest for a month during the winter. Hopefully we can visit this cave but I'm not sure I can do that ladder climb!

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  12. Caves can be such magical places and eerie at the same time too. You found a sea urchin in there! I think its the first time I have even read a post of a destination beyond Budapest in Hungary :) Nice!

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  13. This was interesting read about Budapest. Cave explorations are fun. 7.5 kms, underground labyrinth and thermal spring sound fun. Though only a small portion of these caves are accessible, it requires fitness to explore them. This reminds me that I must write about my experience of cave touring in Johannesburg. It was quite thrilling.

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  14. Wow, I've never heard of this before, this looks like it'd be absolutely incredible!

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  15. Wow!!! You’re amazing and inspiring.. I didn't know about these wonderful cave experience in Budapest. Would love to explore the stalactites and stalagmites in the caves. Not sure of my fitness but i'd try ramp myself up for cave diving before i hit budapest.

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  16. I dont do well with caves and yet this looks amazing and i want to get to explore it... and see a lot of different things that we dont usually get to see

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  17. Nice, they are nicely lit and look kinda inviting. Well, I have a weird attraction to the caves as I have probably told. These ones look like a place I would enjoy waking around with a camera. Cannot wait to get a new camera with improved low light.

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