Located in the Veszprém county, in West of Hungary, Tapolca is a cute little town close to the Lake Balaton. Tapolca attracts many tourists due to its surrounding green hills, relaxed atmosphere and laid back country life. I enjoyed strolling through Tapolca's sunny streets, but it is best to rent a car so you can truly explore its surroundings.
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What to do in Tapolca
The Lake Cave
Located right in the heart of Tapolca, this unique attraction is a 3km long cave system. You can explore it at your own pace, or as part of a guided tour and listen to the most interesting facts about this Hungarian subterranean gem. You will be given 3D glasses to enjoy a few beautiful images of some of the cave's deepest sights. You will also have the chance to watch a 10-minute long movie which explains further about the origins of the cave and the surrounding landscapes.
At the end of the tour, you will go underground, jump on a small boat and explore the cave system. The admission fee is only 2000 HUF. I very much enjoyed the tour, how the information was presented and the boat exploration. When you find yourself in Tapolca, even if you're just passing through, make sure you stop and check out The Lake Cave.
The Castle of Szigliget is located about 15 minutes by car from the centre of Tapolca. Strategically located on a hill, the surrounding landscapes unfold themselves once you climb your way up the stairs and into the tower remains. The Castle of Szigliget bears over 750 years of history and represents a valuable legacy to the Hungarian people, as this is one of the few castles which never had the Ottoman ensign on its towers. There are many events held at the Castle grounds, including the Castle Festival and the renowned Historical Archery Competition.
I wanted to organise my visit during the Historical Archery Competition because I was keen to see dressed up people shooting arrows. The atmosphere was brilliant as if I stepped into the Game of Thrones movie sets.
This is a small romantic part of Tapolca. After checking out the Lake Cave, head over to the Mill Pond and have a lovely stroll, whilst enjoying a lazy, sunny afternoon.
A trip to Lake Balaton
Although I arrived in Tapolca during offseason, I could still enjoy a lazy evening right by the Lake Balaton's shores. The water looked clear and peaceful, I wish I could have changed into my swimming costume and dive right into the cold and deep lake. I could finally understand why many people love Lake Balaton, and how its beauty managed to conquer so many hearts, that it became one of Hungary's main tourist attraction.
What to eat in Tapolca
La Pergola - We visited this restaurant by chance, as we happened to be in the neighbourhood when we got hungry. I loved that I could enjoy my lunch in their back garden, which featured rustic tables and benches. La pergola menu contains a ridiculous amount of pizza with all sort of variations (think fish with pineapple, brain and all sort of bizarre combos). If you don't fancy brain pizza, you can try the breaded ball-shaped chicken with plums. If you are feeling adventurous, try chicken breast with pears and sultana rice or pork brains with vegetables and chips. Cool off with an icy gin and tonic.
Ice Cream - Outside the Lake Cave there is a desert mobile which sells handcrafted, delicious ice cream flavours. When the sun is shining and the weather is warm, you should treat yourself to a cone full of yumminess. I went for lavender, forest berries and blackberry flavoured ice cream.
Where to sleep in Tapolca
Although there are several places you could choose from in Tapolca, I decided to sleep in Zalahaláp for a more traditional experience. Besides, if you rent a house with a terrace, located right up the hill, you will enjoy magnificent views over the surrounded landscapes and all the way to the Lake Balaton. During the evening, best to eat al fresco to marvel at a breathtaking vanilla sky. Sit back, relax and enjoy the silence. Zalahaláp is a wonderful place for a truly relaxing retreat in the heart of Hungary, located just 10 min North of Tapolca. Check holiday homes on booking.com.
Your turn now! Have you ever been to Tapolca? Tell me what you like most about Tapolca in the comments section below.