Located just 180km away from Budapest, there’s a lesser-known Hungarian city called Miskolc, boasting cave baths. And just 10km from Miskolc lies the breathtaking mountain village of Lillafüred. This article will guide you on how to get there, what to see, and introduce you to the thermal baths, along with tips and hacks.

Miskolc and Lillafüred: General Information

Let me summarize some key points to give you a good overview of the city:

  • By Hungarian standards, Miskolc is a sizable city, ranking fourth in the country in terms of population, with around 150,000 residents.
  • The city was founded in 1365. It was captured by the Ottomans in 1544 and completely destroyed, only to be liberated 150 years later.
  • In the early 20th century, Miskolc was a major industrial center for Hungary’s metallurgy and heavy machinery. By 1985, its population exceeded 210,000.
  • However, with the collapse of the USSR in the 90s, the entire industry collapsed, leading to a sharp decline in population. Today, Miskolc is home to only 150,000 residents, with no major industries as before.
Town Hall Square in Miskolc
The main square of the city has two names – Saint Stephen’s Square or Town Hall Square, featuring the city hall in the photo.

The history of Lillafüred village is closely tied to Miskolc’s history. They’re only 10km apart. Here are some interesting facts:

  • Lillafüred has a population of 480 people.
  • It’s home to Hungary’s highest waterfall.
  • The picturesque Lake Hámori was artificially created to supply water to the domain furnaces in Miskolc.
Lillafüred castle hotel
Hungarian mountain village Lillafüred. You can book a room in this castle, but more on that below.

Interesting to know:

Miskolc sits on the border between the Central Danube Plain and the Alpine Foothills. You’ll understand this better when you read the section ‘what to see in the city.’ Lillafüred, located 10km from Miskolc, represents true Hungarian mountains with waterfalls, caves, a mountain lake, and tunnels. It’s all about Hungarian mountains and the country’s highest point.

How to get from Budapest to Miskolc

No problems at all. Miskolc is connected to Budapest by an excellent expressway and railway. I won’t write about driving there – you hop in, open your online (or offline) maps, and drive. I’ll briefly cover public transportation.

  • The most convenient, simple, and fastest way to get from Budapest to Miskolc is by train.
  • You can find schedules, prices, and buy tickets on the official Hungarian railways website: https://www.mavcsoport.hu/en. Choose the destination: Miskolc-Tiszai (the main train station of the city).
  • Trains run every half hour. Ticket prices start from 7 euros. Finding a train that suits your schedule is as easy as pie.
Train timetable Budapest Miskolc
This train schedule is from Budapest. The photo shows trains from 9 am to 12 pm. But there are dozens trains daily from the capital. Getting there is not a problem at all. Just pay attention to travel time and price since there are different types of trains.


From Budapest to Miskolc, there are two railway lines. Look for trains that take 2 hours. If you check the schedule above, you’ll see trains that take 4 hours and are one and a half times more expensive.

How to get from Miskolc to Lillafüred

This is where the real excitement begins, delighting most people. You can reach Lillafüred from Miskolc:

  • By car. It’s straightforward. Here are the coordinates for free parking in Lillafüred: 48.10599319525114, 20.620854937700944. Park your car here and start exploring.
  • By suburban bus from Miskolc – 1053. By the way, this bus goes to Budapest, but it’s a challenge for the strong-hearted, taking more than 4 hours to the capital through the mountains. There are only two trips per day. Check the schedule on the carrier’s website.
  • And the coolest option – on an old-fashioned train on a narrow-gauge track through the mountains and tunnels. From Miskolc, you can arrive in Lillafüred in the morning by train, spend the whole day there, and return in the evening.
    • The train from Miskolc departs from here: 48.10055665124567, 20.702432176844535. You can also buy tickets here.
    • The train operates year-round, four times a day, and in summer, six or seven times. It takes 40 minutes to get to Lillafüred station. The round trip ticket costs around 12 euros.
    • Carrier’s official website (in Hungarian): http://laev.hu/. Check schedules, announcements, and current prices here.
trains to lillafured
A small collage about this amazing narrow-gauge railway. Buy tickets at the building shown in the top left corner of the photo.


Arrive 20-30 minutes before the train departure. This is a tourist train, and during peak seasons and weekends, it gets crowded. In winter, the train cars are heated by wood-burning stoves. There are open and closed carriages. The station has free toilets, and the toilet code is on the ticket.

If you’re heading to Lillafüred, take the train. It’s an amazing experience, very atmospheric. The train ride to Lillafüred reminded me of traveling through the mountains of Serbia on the Šargan Eight (Šarganska osmica).

Where to Stay, Best Restaurants

Miskolc has a unique feature—it’s extensively spread from east to west. It’s better to stay in the center because some residential areas are over 5 km away. However, the tram runs across the entire city. You can hop on and be in the center in just 10 minutes without any transfers.

  • For accommodations in Miskolc, you can check out a popular Hungarian service that compares prices among a dozen providers – Hotellook. Or simply at Booking.
  • In Lillafüred, there’s almost only one place to stay: the castle nestled between hills overlooking the lake. The hotel is called Hunguest Hotel Palota 4*. Additionally, the hotel offers thermal baths accessible to all guests but not to non-guests.
    • You can view photos, reviews, and prices for your dates here:
lillafured hotels
Rooms at the Hunguest Hotel Palota start at 180 euros for two with breakfast and dinner. But during peak season, there are hardly any available rooms. Rooms for the summer get booked as early as January.

Interesting Fact:

Throughout Hungary, there are over 1300 equipped thermal springs, including baths, water parks, and spas. There are also hotels with private thermal baths, like the Hunguest Hotel Palota in Lillafüred. There are quite a few such hotels in the country; the key is knowing where to look. Here’s a link: Hungary hotels ranking with thermal baths.

Regarding food, finding places to eat is no trouble at all. In Miskolc, there are dozens of cozy Hungarian cuisine restaurants. They all offer delicious food at moderate prices for Hungary. I’ll recommend two places where we eat ourselves:

miskolc best restaurants
The word ‘Pince’ in the restaurant’s name means ‘cellar,’ and ‘Etterem’ translates to ‘restaurant’ in Hungarian. But the photo of halászlé (fisherman’s soup with tomatoes) is exactly from this restaurant. Enjoy your meal.

What to See in Miskolc and Lillafüred

Don’t expect a vast array of landmarks in these cities. I won’t list dozens of churches, cathedrals, monuments, or theaters in Miskolc. Below are the most interesting and noteworthy locations. I’ll provide coordinates, prices, opening hours, personal assessments, and tips.

Some general points:

  • You can easily explore the entire center of Miskolc within a day. You might even manage in half a day, leaving the other half for the cave baths.
  • Miskolc is more about history and architecture, wandering through its old streets.
  • Meanwhile, Lillafüred is all about nature—mountains, caves, waterfalls, a boat ride on the mountain lake, and, of course, a trip on the old train. You can easily explore Lillafüred in a day, considering the train ride. Leave Miskolc at 9 am, and by 5-6 pm, return on the same train.
how to get from miskolc to lillafüred
This is the route you’ll take from Miskolc to Lillafüred if you travel by train.

Perfect Travel Timing:

If time permits, it’s best to allocate two full days for Miskolc and one day for Lillafüred. Spend the first day exploring the city; the entire second day can be for the thermal baths. Then, on the third day, head to Lillafüred. You could manage this entire itinerary in just 2 days if needed.

For those traveling by car, I recommend reading an article on Hungary’s car routes, timing, locations, and recommendations.

Miskolc and Lillafüred: Landmarks

  • The main square in Miskolc—St. Stephen’s Square or Town Hall Square—is the city’s center, its heart, from where pedestrian tourist streets branch out. The square might not have a ‘wow’ effect, but you won’t pass it by. From here, you get a view of the first hills in the Alpine Foothills. You’ll also find the city hall here.
Miskolc city Hungary
The main square in Miskolc. The city hall is behind. On the left, you can see the monument to Stephen. Also, pay attention to the TV tower on the hill; I’ll provide more information about it below.
  • The main pedestrian street in Miskolc—Ishtvan Street. There are no cars here, only people and trams. The street passes through the entire historic center. Everything that might interest a tourist is here. Souvenir shops, restaurants, and small pedestrian alleys branch off from Ishtvan Street. Here, you just stroll without a specific goal and enjoy the atmosphere.
Miskolc city center
This photo was taken at sunset, and there are hardly any people on the street. This is the city center.


Hungary is a country for early risers. Everything opens early and closes early. Nightlife thrives only in Budapest. In other cities, by 9-10 pm, the entire city, even the center, is asleep. There aren’t many places open after 10 pm.
  • The Reformed Church in Gothic style and the ancient cemetery. The cemetery might not be the most exciting landmark, but it’s genuinely ancient, with graves that are 500 years old. Stairs through the church and cemetery (open round the clock) lead up to an observation deck, but I’ll provide more details about this below:
miskolc attractions
Through the gates on the left in the photo, you can climb up the steps through the cemetery to the TV tower.
  • The observation platform for the entire city and the Wine Museum, Avasi Kilato—or the TV tower, visible from almost any point in the city, even in some of the photos above. It’s not difficult to ascend here, through the cemetery and church (in the photo above), about a 20-minute walk from the city center. Here’s what you need to know:
    • Tower coordinates: 48.099338868022286, 20.77550116229168
    • The tower has an observation platform, offering the best view of the city. However, in ’23, it closed for reconstruction. When it’ll reopen is uncertain; they say not before the end of ’24. If you visit Miskolc and the tower is open to tourists, please comment. For how it looks in November ’23, check the photo below.
    • The road to the tower is very picturesque, lined with old Hungarian houses.
    • At the tower’s entrance, there’s a small house—the Wine Museum. Here are the entrance coordinates; it’s essential to approach from the right side: 48.0994475349585, 20.77613677310452.
    • The Wine Museum is called Avasi Bormúzeum. It’s more of a restaurant with a magnificent view of the city. Their menu includes local wines from the Eger region and Hungarian delicacies like sausages, foie gras (libamaj), and more. If the weather permits, aim for a table only on the terrace.
miskolc best places
The photo is not mine, but you can clearly see Stephen’s Square and the hill with the tower. It seems far away, but in fact it’s 20 minutes maximum at a leisurely pace
miskolc city overview
The TV Tower in late ’23. I think work will continue here for another year. Then, it’ll be an awesome viewpoint.
wine museum miskolc
The wine museum, its upper part. Here, notice the small terrace and table—the best view of Miskolc.
  • The Otto Herman Museum. I’m not a fan of museums, but this one is interesting, particularly for kids and even many adults. It’s the country’s largest archaeological and mineralogical museum. There are no dull or uninteresting exhibits here. It’s genuinely a cool place; I recommend it to everyone, especially those with kids:
Otto Herman Museum
The Otto Herman Museum isn’t just about dull exhibits and old stones. It’s genuinely cool and interesting.
  • The Diósgyőr Fortress—a beautiful, small medieval fortress. It’d be great if not for two significant downsides: it’s located on the outskirts, 5 km from the center, and has been closed for a major reconstruction since 2021. As of the end of ’23, it’s still closed. When it reopens, you can plan a visit without hesitation. There are inner halls, historical exhibits, and you can stroll through the fortress courtyard.
    • Coordinates: 48.09782727029065, 20.689419057498597
    • Official website (where you can check if it’s opened yet or not): http://www.diosgyorivar.hu/en
    • Before the reconstruction, admission was around 5 euros. The price after reopening is unknown. I’ll update the article when it reopens.
    • Definitely recommend visiting after it reopens. I already liked it before the reconstruction, and it’ll probably be even better.
    • From the city center, take tram No. 1, just 14 or 15 stops without transfers. Tickets are easy to buy via the BudapestGo app—just switch the city from Budapest to Miskolc at the top of the screen before purchasing. Each city has its tariffs and ticket costs. How to use this app is in the article: Budapest transport, tickets, passes.
miskolc castle
The photo is from spring ’23. The situation is likely the same now. There’s no exact completion date for the works.

Additionally, in Miskolc, there are a dozen or so large beautiful churches and cathedrals. Stroll through the city; you won’t miss them. Below are coordinates of interesting locations in Lillafüred. You can walk to all of them. From Lillafüred station, you can cover up to 5-6 kilometers in a day. If you’re driving, the coordinates for free parking were mentioned earlier.

Author’s tip:

If you’ve been to caves in other countries, these won’t amaze you. I recommend only to those who’ve never been to such places. Yes, they are genuine limestone caves with stalactites and stalagmites, but very tiny.
waterfall in hungary
Hungary’s highest waterfall—Szinva, 20 meters. Located 100 meters from the castle in Lillafüred. The waterfall also lacks a ‘wow’ effect, but unlike the caves, it’s at least free.
lillafured train station
The narrow-gauge railway station in Lillafüred, where your train from Miskolc will arrive.

Cave Baths: Miskolc’s Thermal Bath Review

The main attraction drawing tourists from all over the country to Miskolc is undoubtedly the Cave Baths. In my opinion, these baths are among the best thermal baths in Hungary. They might even surpass the famous Széchenyi Baths in Budapest. You can check my personal rating of best Hungary’s thermal baths in the article linked here.

It’s important to know and not confuse cities:

The Cave Baths are situated in the village of Miskolctapolca, on the outskirts of Miskolc. It’s a 7 km distance from the city center to the baths. Additionally, there’s a town in Hungary called Tapolca in the western part of the country. There, too, exist caves with a lake. You can’t bathe there, but you can take a boat ride on the underground lake. Tourists often mix up mentions of the Cave Baths in Miskolctapolca and the boating in Tapolca. Don’t confuse them; these are entirely different places.

The town of Tapolca is near Lake Balaton. To read about this place, the caves, and how to take a boat ride, check out the Lake Balaton overview.

  • Coordinates of the Cave Baths in Miskolctapolca: 48.06060129150883, 20.744975257717527
  • From the center of Miskolc, you can reach it by buses 20 and 20a. There’s also bus 914, but it’s inconvenient. I’ve discussed how to buy tickets for public transport earlier. The Miskolctapolca Barlangfürdő stop is 100 meters from the baths. By the way, ‘fürdő’ translates from Hungarian as baths.
  • If you’re driving, parking near the baths is all paid and quite expensive, starting at 1.5 euros per hour. There’s a free guest parking a kilometer from the baths; it’s very spacious: 48.06667542624061, 20.75347698172493. From the parking lot, it’s a 15-minute walk through the park to the baths.
thermal baths miskolctapolca
Main entrance to the Miskolctapolca Cave Baths

Hours of operation, prices

The baths are open year-round from 9 am to 6 pm, extended to 8 pm in summer.

  • Official website, prices, information: https://barlangfurdo.hu/en
  • There’s no need to buy tickets in advance; get them on-site.

The baths consist of 4 zones. Let me explain briefly to avoid confusion when purchasing tickets:

  • Zone #1: The actual Cave Baths, the reason you’re here. Open year-round.
thermal baths miskolc prices
When you leave the changing room, you’ll immediately enter here. It’s the beginning of a large cave. You can walk quite far along the water. The water here is around 30 degrees Celsius. It gets hotter further in.
  • Zone #2: Outdoor pools – Open Air. There are 6 pools here—waterfalls, Jacuzzis, kid’s pools, plenty of loungers. It’s fantastic here in summer for both adults and kids. The Open Air zone is open only from May to September. Keep an eye on announcements on the official website; in ’23, this zone closed on September 13. The closing date depends on the weather.
cave baths in hungary
The standard open-air area, similar to any aqua complex. Nothing extraordinary here.
  • Zone #3: Sauna complex. It includes 5-6 saunas—Finnish, infrared, steam sauna, salt room. There’s a Jacuzzi in the center and a small relaxation area. It operates year-round, but in the low season, it may only be open on weekends.
sauna baths miskolc
I tried to take a photo that captures the entire sauna zone. The wooden doors around are all saunas; there are 5 or 6 of them.
  • Zone #4: Boating lake. It’s a regular lake with boats. You can’t swim, but you can rent a boat. Nothing particularly special. The lake closes in mid-October. It’s not accessible to visitors in winter.

For current prices, check the official website. Here’s a link directly to the price list. Briefly, here’s the price structure and available options:

  • Full-day ticket to the baths: 18 euros.
  • 4-hour ticket: 15 euros.
  • There’s a ticket for entry within 3 hours before closing: 9 euros.
  • Boat rental on the Boating Lake: 5 euros/hour.


None of the tickets include access to Zone #3 (saunas). You always need to buy this additionally. A 3-hour sauna ticket costs around 7 euros. There’s no full-day ticket for saunas, but 3 hours are ample for everyone. The sauna zone itself is not very large. You can even buy a ticket only for the saunas without visiting the main thermal complex areas.

Any full-day ticket includes access to Zones #1 and #2, provided it’s summer and the outdoor area is open.

Water temperature, thermal baths, specifics

I want to specifically discuss the thermal baths in the caves, the main zone of the entire complex.

It’s easy to access; you leave the changing room, and here you are. These are genuine caves with real thermal water. Here are some facts:

  • The length of the submerged caves where you can swim is over 300 meters.
  • There are several labyrinths, two large halls, one of which is called the “Starry Sky.”
  • There’s an un-flooded part in the caves where you can walk, also about 300 meters long. All these areas interconnect, with many water descents and exits.
how to get cave baths hungary
These are the caves and transitions between thermal baths.
  • The water temperature in the underground cave section ranges from 30 to 36 degrees Celsius. It’s very warm and comfortable. You can even visit with children.
thermal pools in miscolc
Such an atmospheric place! We’re heading to the hottest pool deep inside the cave.
  • Apart from the caves, there are two classic medicinal thermal pools. The water there is even hotter – +38 degrees Celsius. These are also accessible with any ticket.
parking in miskolctapolca
Those two pools with water at +38 degrees. All the elderly people sit there; the younger crowd usually wanders or swims in the caves.

There’s a lounging area inside. Additionally, there’s a cafe and a bar with average prices. A peculiar thing: you can’t purchase drinks or food with the bracelet; you’ll need to go to your locker for cash or card.


The ticket price only covers entry; bring your own slippers, towel, robe, shampoo—everything you need. In winter, my wife even brings hairdryer because the ones here are quite weak and often malfunction. Note that you can’t rent anything here.
cave baths miskolc reviews
From left to right: a maze in the caves where we just wander, in the center, one of the huge cave halls, on the right, the Starry Hall with ‘stars’ glowing on the ceiling. They’re not visible on the phone, but the phone itself did great, enduring the entire visit from start to finish. The water everywhere is around 33-35 degrees Celsius.

You can bring your own drinks and food here, enjoy them at a table in the bar or on a lounger. It’s allowed.

Best timing for visiting the baths:

During summer, when the entire complex is open, people come for the whole day. When the outdoor area is closed, 4 hours are enough to relax and explore all the caves. Yet, many come for the whole day, buying an additional 3-hour sauna ticket.
  • Around 50 km from Miskolc lies an equally fantastic city and a wine region: Eger. There’s a medieval fortress, also thermal baths, a quater with cellars and wineries where you can taste local wine. A comprehensive overview of Eger is available through this link.

In conclusion: the cave baths in Miskolc, though popular among tourists, have about 50 times fewer people than the Széchenyi baths in the capital city. Most aren’t even aware that such a natural wonder exists just a 2-hour drive from Budapest. Personally, I prefer the baths in Miskolc far more than those in Budapest. And the mountain village of Lillafüred won’t leave anyone indifferent.

IMPORTANT: Below are useful links that will help organize your trip to Hungary and Budapest:

  • Flight: Aviasales – compares prices for flights among 30+ airlines flying to Budapest.
  • Tours and excursions:
    • Viator and GetYourGuide – the best services for finding tours in Budapest and Hungary with the largest database of activities in Hungary. They offer river cruises on the Danube, tickets to baths, and 1000+ tours (available in different languages).
  • Accommodation, apartments, hotels, hostels:
    • Hotellook compares the prices among dozens of other booking services and offer the best price
    • Booking – the most popular booking platform
    • Agoda – even more accommodation options in Hungary
  • Car rental: DiscoverCars – the leading and largest car rental service in Hungary.
  • Travel Insurance: EKTA.
  • eSIMAiralo virtual SIM card in Hungary.
  • Taxi and airport transfers: Intui.Travel