Aggtelek National Park and Baradla Cave, Hungary

Aggtelek National Park is located in northeastern Hungary and is best known for Hungary's largest and most beautiful stalactite cave system, the Baradla Caves. In it, among other breathtaking limestone formations, is the highest stalagmite in the world.

Aggtelek National Park is located in the northeast of Hungary and is one of our top 10 sights of Hungary with its breathtaking stalactite cave system. It was established in 1985 to protect the unique surface forms and caves and has been considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995.

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The surface of the national park covers an area of 20,000 hectares and consists of 75% lush deciduous forests, which are repeatedly interrupted by clearings, lawns and rocky outcrops. Rare plants thrive in Aggteleker National Park, providing a safe habitat for a variety of insects and over 200 species of birds.

On the road in Aggteleker National Park

A stalactite in one of the stalactite caves of Aggtelek National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995, Hungary - © CoolR / Shutterstock
© CoolR / Shutterstock

The impressive karst landscape can be explored on marked hiking trails. In the course of the trails you can not only get acquainted with the zoological and geological features of the Aggtelek National Park, but also learn about the customs and culture of the local people.

A popular walking trail is the 7km Baradla nature trail, which connects Aggtelek and Jósvafô and takes about 3 hours to complete.

The Tohonya-Kuriszlán trail goes around Jósvafô and takes about 6 hours.

However, the 7km between Aggtelek and Jósvafô can be covered in an even more spectacular way. Beneath the unique landscape mosaic of the national park hide about 200 breathtaking dripstone caves, which are the main attraction for visitors of Aggtelek National Park. Together with the 5.6km long Dominica Cave on Slovak territory, the largest cave system in Central Europe is located here, of which the Baradla Cave is the longest with a total length of 25km.

The caves were formed about 2 million years ago. The limestone in which they were dug by the countless streams and rivers is a whole 230 million years old. Over the millennia, the dripping limestone formed unique stalactites and stalagmites of various shapes, sizes and colors. According to archaeological findings, Baradla Cave was used as a human dwelling as early as 7,000 years ago. Deep inside the cave were also found the burial places of 9 people.

Tip: Be sure to dress warmly, even if it's 30°C in high summer, the temperature in the cave does not exceed 10°C!

Tour of the Baradla Cave

The entrance to the breathtaking world of stalactites is via the village of Aggtelek, via Vöröstó ("Red Lake) or via the mountain village of Jósvafô. From there, five- and seven-hour guided tours take place by appointment. In many an unlit passage, the visitors' lamps are the only source of light in the absolute black.

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In the course of this, visitors wander through a fantastic city of shiny wet limestone, past the world's highest stalagmite at just under 33m and magnificent works of art with resounding names such as Dragon's Head, Santa Claus, Turtle, Tiger or Mother-in-Law's Tongue, and through enormous halls up to 80m high, such as the Room of Giants, Fairyland and the Hall of Columns.

The concert hall, which is not only called that, but is actually used for performances, has fantastic acoustics, which the entertaining and classical music performances take advantage of. During normal cave tours, the remarkable sound body of the cave is presented through light and music shows.

The Vass-Imre Cave can also be visited. It was named after the most successful explorer of the cave system, who drew a comprehensive and artistic map of the cave in 1831. The Béke Cave (Peace Cave) has an even higher concentration of impressive limestone formations. It promises relief from respiratory diseases due to its multitude of magnificent mold formations and is therefore also known as a healing cave.

Related links:

Official site of Aggtelek National Park incl. tour bookings

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