One of the most beautiful natural monuments in Turkey is Pamukkale. These are snow-white pools of turquoise water that were formed on the mountainside due to the calcium-saturated springs flowing down. In addition to the breathtaking scenery, the place is famous for its geothermal spa. The unique resort of 17 mineral springs, which is under UNESCO protection, has been known since before Christ. Pamukkale, meaning "cotton castle" in Turkish, has been a popular attraction for thousands of years. Rich in history and legends, this fascinating destination offers a chance to witness nature's beauty and explore ancient Roman ruins.
The most convenient way to visit Pamukkale is to rent a car. This way you will have time to visit not only the resort, but also the nearby attractions without rushing. The closest drive is from Antalya - only 240 km or Marmaris - about 200 km.
What to do
- Travertine Terraces: Witness the enchanting beauty of the white calcium carbonate terraces formed by the mineral-rich hot springs. Don't forget to soak in the warm, therapeutic waters.
- Hierapolis Ancient City: Explore the well-preserved ruins of Hierapolis, an ancient Greco-Roman city, including the necropolis, Roman theater, and baths.
- Cleopatra's Pool: Take a dip in this historical pool, believed to have been a gift from Mark Antony to Cleopatra. Legend has it that the waters have rejuvenating powers.
- Hierapolis Archaeology Museum: Discover the fascinating artifacts excavated from the ancient city, providing insights into the region's rich history.
Pamukkale is divided into 3 parts: the travertine terraces between the ancient town of Hierapolis (located above) and the village (below the springs).
Hierapolis existed before Christ and was destroyed by earthquakes and the Persians. Nowadays it is a city of ancient memory with the ruins of the necropolis, the temples of Apollo and St. Philip, and a large amphitheater for 15,000 people.
The ancient city and the travertines are separated by the Cleopatra Pool. It is a man-made open-air Jacuzzi where you can perfectly relax. The complex includes showers, lockers, cafes, and a sunbathing area, etc.
You have to take your shoes off to visit the travertines, and you can only enter barefoot. The cascades are slippery and ribbed, so you have to walk carefully. Unfortunately, the water in the pools is becoming less and less because of human intervention. Swimming is allowed only in designated areas. This very picturesque place attracts crowds of tourists, so to take beautiful pictures, you should arrive early or stay until evening. At this time there are the least amount of people here.
Landmarks in the vicinity of Pamukkale
Not as hyped as the white Pamukkale, but no less interesting is red Pamukkale. The springs are located 20-30 minutes drive from the city. Admission is free. The source waters are rich in iron, from which they have acquired a red hue, and much hotter (an average of 70 degrees). The place is not as touristy because of what the prices of accommodation and restaurants here are much cheaper.
Another unusual place - the underground springs in the cave Kaklyk. The name is translated as "smelly cave. Here the water is saturated with hydrogen sulfide. At the same time, the smell is quite bearable and does not prevent you from enjoying the beautiful views.
At 10 km from Pamukkale are ruins of the ancient polis Laodicea. You can see the remains of the temple of nymphs, a stadium, thermae and theaters.
Where to eat
For a taste of delicious local cuisine, visit the Garden of Babylon, which offers a variety of traditional Turkish dishes with a modern twist. For coffee and bakery items, drop by the White Heaven Cafe, known for its cozy atmosphere and delightful pastries.
Where to stay in Pamukkale
- Doga Thermal Health & Spa: A luxurious hotel with thermal pools, spa facilities, and stunning views of Pamukkale.
- Venus Suite Hotel: A charming boutique hotel offering modern amenities and a convenient location near the site.
- Pamukkale Ece Otel: A budget-friendly option with clean rooms and a friendly atmosphere.
When is the best time to visit Pamukkale
Due to the fact that the travertine can only be visited barefoot, the best time to go is considered: April-May and September-October. The springs can be too hot in summer and cold in winter.
Parking in Pamukkale
Parking is available at the entrance of the site for a fee. However, spaces can be limited, especially during peak season, so arriving early or late in the day is recommended.
Exploring Pamukkale and its surroundings is best experienced with the freedom of a rental car, allowing you to discover the area at your own pace.