Pamukkale is a Turkish word meaning “cotton castle”. Pamukkale is an amazing site in the South West of Turkey. It’s Turkey’s most popular attraction.
The surreal, brilliant white travertine terraces and warm, limpid pools of Pamukkale hang, like the petrified cascade of a mighty waterfall, from the rim of a steep valley side in Turkey’s picturesque southwest. Truly spectacular in its own right, the geological phenomenon that is Pamukkale, literally “Cotton Castle” in Turkish, is also the site of the remarkably well-preserved ruins of the Greek-Roman city of Hierapolis. With such a unique combination of natural and man-made wonders it’s little wonder that Pamukkale-Hierapolis has been made a UNESCO World Heritage site. With over two million visitors annually, it is also Turkey’s single most visited attraction.
How to get to Pamukkale
Pamukkale-Hierapolis is situated on the western rim of the vast Anatolian plateau, around 120 miles east of the popular Aegean resort cum cruise ship port of Kusadasi, near Ephesus. Most visitors come on gruelling day trips from Aegean or Mediterranean resorts.
The easiest way to visit under your own steam is to hire a car – the drive takes around three hours from Kusadasi, four from Antalya and Marmaris, five from Bodrum. Alternatively comfortable inter-city coaches run to Denizli, the nearest city to Pamukkale, from all the aforementioned places and take around the same time as driving. Frequent buses and minibuses make the 40 minute run between Denizli’s bus station and Pamukkale.
Turkish Airlines (turkishairlines.com) and Pegasus (flypgs.com) both fly to Denizli’s Cardak airport from Istanbul. Rail buffs might be interested in the four times daily service between Izmir and Denizli, via Selcuk.
Pamukkale, near the city of Denizli, has been a spa since the Romans built the spa city of Hierapolis around a sacred warm-water spring. The sacred pool (Called Cleopatra’s Poll) is still there, littered with marble columns & old stone carvings from the ancient city and tourists can bathe in the thermal pool in crystal clear water for a fee. The place is truly magical.
The water in the thermal pool is 36-57 C°, pH value is 5,8 and radon value is 1480 pCi/l. Spa water has its inside bicarbonate, sulphate, carbon dioxide, partly with iron and radioactive combination. And also, the water in this spring is suitable for taking shower and drinking cures, 2430 MG/liter melt metal value.
How to avoid the crowds
The best way to enjoy an uncrowded visit is to spend the night in Pamukkale village, which has plenty of accommodation (see below), then explore the formations and ancient site the following morning. The vast majority of day-trippers don’t arrive until the afternoon after the long drive-in from the coast. Late-afternoon/dusk are especially busy. Pamukkale is also relatively uncrowded in winter (November through to March), especially on weekdays. It can, though, be cold and even snowy.
Tips for visiting Pamukkale
The best way to approach the ancient site is to walk up through the formations on the travertine path. Starting at the south gate to the site. You are not permitted to wear shoes or even sandals to do this (to prevent eroding or staining the delicate calcite deposits). Bring your footwear (and everything else you’ll need for exploring the ancient ruins) along in a bag.
Wearing swimwear allows you to splash in the warm, aquamarine pools. Allow the whole day to make the most of the travertines, pools and remains. You can bring a picnic lunch (and plenty of water/suncream etc in mid-summer).
Opening times and admission fees
Hierapolis/Pamukkale travertines joint site entry: 25TL (£6). Open Nov-March 6am-6.30pm, April-Oct 6am-midnight.
Antique pool entry: 32TL (£7.50). Open Nov-March 8am-5.30pm, April-Oct 8am-7.30pm.
Bring swimming gear to dip in the turquoise pools
Where to stay nearby
Contact us at +923214431721 to book an accommodation in pleasant Pamukkale village.