Situated close to the industrial city of Denzil in southwestern Turkey, is a surreal natural wonder that looks like something out of a dream. Pammukale which translates to “Cotton Castle” is home to spectacular travertine pools. Barely known outside of Turkey, Pamukkale sits overshadowed by the popularity of Istanbul’s architectural splendour and Cappadocia’s famous cave dwellings. But, dig just a bit deeper and you’ll find plenty of amazing tourist destinations scattered all across the country. One such destination is Turkey’s Pammukale, which is one of the most popular tourist destinations.
What is Pamukkale?
Officially known as Hierapolis-Pammukale this town is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. While Pammukale promises to stun you with its natural charm, it’s neighbour, Hierapolis boasts magnificent ruins from the Roman era. The thermal pools in Pammukale were formed over millions of years by the deposits of calcium-rich springs that are seen today as snow-white limestones terraces. These pools are filled with stunning turquoise waters that trickle down from the nearby mountains and spread over the stalactites.
Best time to visit Pamukkale
The best time to visit Pamukkale is between April to June. These months mark the springtime in Turkey and offer perfect wheater for tourists to enjoy a dip in the thermal pools of Pamukkale. Summer months are extremely hot and there is snowfall during winters. Autumn (mid-September to October) is the shoulder season when there are fewer crowds due to the chances of rain.
How to reach Pamukkale
Pamukkale is located 20 Km away from the bustling Turkish city of Denizli. From Denizli, one can easily reach Pamukkale in about 30-40 minutes. Comfortable bus services run from all popular Turkish tourist destinations like Kusadasi(3hrs), Antalya (4hrs), Marmaris(4hrs) and Bodrum (5 hrs) to Denizli. Hiring a car and driving to Pamukkale is yet another popular thing to do in Turkey, though one must be ready for a gruelling journey.
Alternatively, you could choose to fly to Denzil’s Cardak airport which has frequent fights coming from Istanbul. You could also opt to take a relaxing train journey to Denizli from Izmir via Selcuk.
- Nearest Airport to Pamukkale – Cardak Airport, Denizli
- Nearest Railway station to Pammukale – Denizli Railway station
10 Things to do in Hierapolis-Pamukkale
If Hierapolis- Pammukale is only your Tukey holiday itinerary (We highly recommend you have it) then you are in for a great surprise! Apart from the obvious tourist attraction, there are a few hidden gems waiting to welcome you to this part of Turkey. Here are all the things you can do during your visit to Hierapolis-Pamukkale:
- Pammukale travertine pools
- Antique pools
- Pammukale Castle
- Hierapolis city ruins
- Hierapolis ancient theater
- Archaeology museum
- Denizli old city
- Tripoli ancient city
- Kaklik cave
1. Pammukale travertine pools
The sweeping white landscape of the travertine pools is often the highlight of the visit to Pammukale. The 17 terraces contain mineral-rich waters of these pools are said to have a therapeutic effect. These hot springs have temperatures ranging from 35 degrees Celsius to 100 Degree Celsius. Though this natural wonder is comparatively less heard of, Pamukkale’s travertine gets over two million visitors and is considered to be turkey’s single most visited tourist destination.
2. Antique pool
The Pamukkale antique pool is an artificially created pool that is yet another popular tourist attraction in Turkey. Offering the most ambient thermal spa experience, the Antique pool lets you ease off your travel-worn body. With constant a constant temperature of 36-degree Celsius, this hot spring was once a luxurious Bath for the Romans. According to the legend, an earthquake in the 7th century led to the collapse of nearby buildings and marble columns into the pool, ruins of which can still be seen today.
3. Pammukale Castle
The Pamukkale castle is one of the most understated tourist destinations in this region. The name Cotton-castle was used only for this 11th-century castle that sits on the way from Pamukkale to Hierapolis. Apart from witnessing the magnificent ruins of this castle you also get the most awe-inspiring views of the travertine pools from atop the castle. Try to visit the castle around sunsets as the changing light causes the thermal pools to look even more stunning.
4. Hierapolis city ruins
Tourists often make the mistake of visiting just the Hots springs during their visit to Hierapolis-Pamukkale. Anyone with the slightest of interest in world history and culture should make sure to drop by the Hierapolis city. King Eumenes II built the city around 190 BC to serve as a military colony. After an earthquake destroyed most of the original city in 60 Ad, Hierapolis city was rebuilt with grandeur to become the most famous Spa. Today, ruins of the by-gone era can be seen scattered across the city; from the Temple of Apollo to the necropolis.
5. Hierapolis ancient theater
The Hierapolis theatre is yet another spectacular tourist spot in Hierapolis-Pammukale. Those who haven’t gotten a chance to visit Rome and see their famous amphitheatres can see it right here in Pamukkale, Turkey. The Hierapolis theatre is among the few well-preserved structures that have survived over the years.
6. Archaeology museum
History buffs must make sure to drop by the Hierapolis Museum that is housed in what was earlier a Roman Bathhouse. The museum is dedicated to the culture and history of this ancient city and contains marvellous archaeological artefacts collected from around the area. From intricately carved stone reliefs to beautiful statues, you’ll even find artefacts collected from the popular archaeological site of Aphrodisias.
Located 27 Kilometers away from Pammukale is one of Turkey’s most famous historic sites, Aphrodisias. The archaeological finds from this ancient city suggest that the city was settled in 4th millennium BC by the early Assyrian trading colony. These astonishing suggestions have made Aphrodisias a popular tourist attraction close to Pamukkale.
8. Denizli old city
One of the best places to start your trip around Denizli is from its old city centre. Inside the castle walls are tiny shops, cafes and craftsmen that help blend history and culture of this city. The Kaleci is regarded as a mini-Istanbul and a great place to go shopping for clothes and spices.
Also See: Top Indian restaurants in Istanbul
9. Tripoli Ancient City
Tripolis is another ancient city located in Denizli that gives you a chance to travel back in time to the era when Romans ruled Turkey. Today, the city attracts tourists seeking to experience a blend of Turkish and Roman culture. Some of the must-visit sites here include Tripolis’ Castle and ramparts, Necropolis and Colossae.
10. Kaklik Cave
Kaklik Cave is located 45 Kms away from Pamukkale and is yet another lesser known tourist destination. Just like the travertines in Pammukale Turkey, the caves in Kaklik are home to smaller thermal pools. These underground thermal pools welcome you with a pungent smell of sulphur and offer similar health benefits as the mineral-rich waters of Pamukkale.
Essential information on Pamukkale, Turkey
After reading about its charm and looking at the pictures of Pammukale, Turkey, anyone would feel the intense desire to plan their trip to this part of the world. If this place has made a spot in your travel bucket list, you must read through the following information and tips.
- Expect crowds – Just because you haven’t heard much about Pammukale, doesn’t mean it’s not a popular tourist attraction. As mentioned earlier, Pamukkale is the most popular tourist attraction in Turkey. So, don’t be surprised by the sight of humans crowding around the pools.
- Start at the lower gate – There are three gates that lead to the travertine pools. The best way to experience the splendour of this natural wonder is by starting from the lower gate and working your way to the top.
- Watch your step – Make sure you thread carefully as you walk around the pools. Not only are these thermal travertines slippery, but there are also sharp limestone pieces that might hurt you if you slip.
- Travel light – The last thing you need while walking around these spectacular thermal pools is heavy baggage spoiling the fun. Pack light so that you really enjoy the panoramic landscapes and don’t slip because of lugging heavy baggage.
- Wear your Swimsuit under your clothing – This is one of the pro tips that will come very handy on your visit to Pamukkale Turkey. By wearing your Swimsuit beneath your clothing you’ll not only be ready to take a dip into the magical thermal pools, but you’ll also reduce the weight of your luggage.
- Keep your sunglasses – The landscape of this travertine is dominantly white and bright. To keep your vision less strained, it’s recommended that you put on your sunglasses!
Hierapolis-Pamukkale, Turkey, is among the best places to visit during your vacation. Apart from witnessing the natural spectacle, one can also enjoy the historical sights around the travertine pools. The thermal pools of Pammukale will surely leave you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.