Budapest's Pálvölgyi Cave

Hungary cave

The Pálvölgyi Cave in Budapest is Hungary's second-longest cave (after Mátyáshegyi Cave), rich in unique dripstone and stalagmite formations and well-known for its tiny passageways and significant level variations. Its total length exceeds 7.2 kilometers (4.5 miles), of which only 500 meters (1640 feet) are well illuminated and safe to walk through.

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Even though I am not a cave expert, and there aren't many caves in Europe I'm familiar with, I enjoy exploring these natural, slightly creepy, dark, and cold underground cavities whenever possible. So, the Pálvölgyi Cave (Pál-völgyi-barlang) was one of the most exciting places in Budapest for me.

Budapest is well-known for its beautiful historic architecture, world-class wine, and relaxing thermal baths, but its elaborate underground cave systems are perhaps less well-known. Surprisingly, the discovery of these tens of millions-year-old natural chambers happened accidentally in the last century. Designed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, they are protected, and many of them are not open to the public, except a few, including the Pálvölgyi Cave.

Pálvölgyi Cave in Photos

Hungary caves
Stairs leading to the concrete walkway of the cave

Budapest cave
A long narrow opening

Palvolgyi Cave
Flowstone formation

Palvolgyi Cave


Palvolgyi Cave
Various formations

Palvolgyi Cave
A fossil print

Cave in Hungary
Flowstone formations


Hungary cave
A concrete walkway

Hungary caves
The cave's interior, formed by the dissolution of limestone

Cave stairs
Stairs leading up to the exit

The Cave's Brief History

The cave walls are mainly composed of limestone, which is 40 million years old. Raised by tectonic forces, the mountains formed faults and cracks along which hot thermal water from the bottom and fresh sediments seeping from the surface mixed. This carbon dioxide-rich water dissolved the limestone in the fractures, forming narrow galleries in the rock complex and creating small and large halls at the intersections of these spaces.

The Pálvölgyi Cave, founded in 1904, has been open to the public since 1919. Currently, the cave is hydrologically inactive.


Every type of stalactite known to Hungary is present in the cave. The majority of them are still wet and growing. Their color is typically pale yellow, but orange, snow-white, and dark brown specimens are also visible. It is primarily stalactite runoff that composes these formations.

The cave ceiling and sidewalls are rich in striped stalactite flags and curved or branched helictites. Because of the loose, clayey substrate, well-developed hanging stalactites are uncommon.

Before You Go: What to Know

  • The temperature in the cave is around 11°C (52°F) all year.
  • Comfortable shoes and casual clothing are suitable for the whole tour.
  • Visitors under five or shorter than 115 centimeters (45 inches) are not permitted.
  • There is a souvenir shop and a buffet to relax before and after the visit.

How to Get There

Budapest's 2nd District, northwest of the city center, is home to the cave.

Address: Szépvölgyi út 162, 1025 Budapest, Hungary

By Public Transportation:

Bus (lines 65, 65A): Pál-völgyi cseppkőbarlang

Where to Stay in Budapest offers a wide range of lodging options, various discounts, and exceptional customer service. For a list of places to stay in Budapest, click here.

Private Cave Walking Tour in Budapest

Take the Private Cave Walking Tour to see crystals, stalagmites, and stalactites in the Szemlő-Hegyi and Pálvölgyi caves in Budapest with a guide (no special equipment required).

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Have you ever been to the Pálvölgyi Cave? What impressions, if any, do you have? Feel free to leave a comment below.

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