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Pamukkale

Curative Waters

Best Time to Visit
April-June
September-October

Population
346,625

Airports
Cardak Airport

Best Places to Stay
Karahayit

Picture a land filled with sprawling white mineral spring pools of beautiful blue water. These glistening bodies of water sit upon huge travertine terraces that were created over thousands and thousands of years by limestone deposits left by running water.

Welcome to Pamukkale. The town in Western Turkey is famous for its spectacular collection of vivid pools that sit among a pristine all-white landscape, dubbed the ‘cotton castle.’

If that isn’t enough, Pamukkale is also the sight of the preserved ruins of the Greco-Roman city of Hierapolis.

Are you intrigued? If you’re thinking of visiting this area of sublime beauty and architecture in Turkey, we’re here to help you make the most out of your trip. Say hello to our handy Pamukkale guide – here are our top recommendations on what to do in this fairytale-like region.

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Inquire for a FREE quotation now and we will get back to you with a sample itinerary within 24 hours of workdays.

Picture a land filled with sprawling white mineral spring pools of beautiful blue water. These glistening bodies of water sit upon huge travertine terraces that were created over thousands and thousands of years by limestone deposits left by running water.

Welcome to Pamukkale. The town in Western Turkey is famous for its spectacular collection of vivid pools that sit among a pristine all-white landscape, dubbed the ‘cotton castle.’

If that isn’t enough, Pamukkale is also the sight of the preserved ruins of the Greco-Roman city of Hierapolis.

Are you intrigued? If you’re thinking of visiting this area of sublime beauty and architecture in Turkey, we’re here to help you make the most out of your trip. Say hello to our handy Pamukkale guide – here are our top recommendations on what to do in this fairytale-like region.

Concierge Pin

Inquire for a FREE quotation now and we will get back to you with a sample itinerary within 24 hours of workdays.

Pamukkale Tours

At a Glance

Before Arrival

When to Go

What to Eat

Tips & Etiquette

Visit the Pamukkale Thermal Pools

Of course, the highlight of visiting Pamukkale is catching sight or even dipping into the town’s dream-like thermal pools. Over thousands of years, the calcite-filled waters have morphed into the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Pamukkale which is part of the ancient city of Hierapolis.

As mentioned, Pamukkale translates to the touristic name ‘cotton castle’ and it’s fair to say the name suits the landscapes. The thermal pools are made up of natural mineral basins created with bright and beautiful calcium bicarbonate deposits, and the resulting landscape is a sight to behold.

The gleaming white deposits stand out magnificently in contrast to the aquamarine pools. Created in layers, they almost appear human-made and specially designed.

According to the locals, the blue waters possess healing powers. The minerals found in the pools that were created from underground hot water sources are believed to help with plenty of ailments and issues. In particular, the waters are said to ease digestive and circulation problems.

Whether you believe the tales or not, be sure to bring your swimsuit and immerse your entire body into the water. At the very least, the minerals will do a world of good for your skin, and you’ll feel like you’ve experienced a lavish day at a luxury spa.

Explore the Ancient City of Hierapolis

Pamukkale isn’t all about its dazzling pools. The town sits adjacent to the ancient city of Hierapolis, which is well worth a visit itself.

Historically a large city, Hierapolis now features lots of well-preserved ruins. When navigating the city, you’ll discover it’s a stark contrast compared to Pamukkale’s pools – most of the sites are empty.

The recently restored amphitheater stands grandly and resembles a magnificent set from a blockbuster movie. Alongside it is an extensive necropolis. And, there’s also an archaeological museum nearby waiting to be discovered by the culture vultures. Many artifacts were found during the excavations held in Hierapolis and other nearby sites, and many of these items and statues can be observed at the museum.

Take in the aging temples, fountains, agora, and the gymnasium as you amble the city under the hot Turkish sun. You may feel like you’ve traveled 2,000 years back in time.

If you are on a guided tour, you will be fine as our guide will follow the strategy. If you are enjoying a self-guided tour, then it is worth to advise that you should take the north gate, as there are three different entrances, and then exit at the Pamukkale town. So, you can easily spend 1 to 2 hours at the Necropolis, the ruins of Hierapolis, arrive at the Cleopatra’s Pool, and finally end the tour at the travertine pools.

What Should I Bring?

There are lockers available at a reasonable fee to store your belongings at the Pamukkale thermal pools, so you will not have to carry whatever you bring around with you. If you want to enjoy the pools truly and swim in them, leave your tripod at the hotel (as it is not allowed) and bring along only the essentials in a waterproof bag.

Carry sunglasses, sunscreen, and plenty of water. Pamukkale gets very hot in the summer months, especially, and you don’t want to burn or become dehydrated when visiting the pools. Plus, visitors must be prepared to walk barefoot around the pools to avoid damaging them, so remember to bring suitable footwear you can slip on and off, like flip-flops.

If you would like to take a dip in Cleopatra’s Pool with an extra charge (which we highly recommend), be sure to bring your swimsuit, towel and a change of clothes too just in case.

As you can imagine, Pamukkale is a popular attraction. In fact, it’s one of the most visited destinations in Turkey. That means you must prepare for crowds, especially during the hot summer months of June, July, and August.

You’ll find that generally, the crowds gather in the pools, so if you’re set on capturing the perfect photo for Instagram, take a walk around the sides where you’ll discover plenty of quieter spots to take in the views and the surrounding scenes.

If you are enjoying a private tour of us for more than several days, you will be amazed by the Turkish food that our guides will be recommending. However, unfortunately, this is not the case for Pamukkale. Due to the high demand by day tour buses visiting this beautiful site, the food served there as you might guess is also touristy. There are several places still trying to avoid these crowds and our guide will share the best possible option depending on your departure or the next destination.

Remember, the pools are slippery, and there are areas of sharp limestone jutting out, so always be careful when moving around the pools. Take your time walking around the cliffsides, and always tread carefully.

To avoid the swarms, aim to arrive at Pamukkale as soon as the pools open. Most of the tours and day-trippers don’t arrive until the afternoon, so arriving early is one of the best ways to enjoy the pools without the hordes of visitors. Consider staying overnight in Pamukkale, so you don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn.

Better yet, visit during the winter. If you’re lucky, you may even experience the pools dusted with a pretty layer of snow. Don’t worry about the cold outside as also Cleopatra’s Pool is warm enough for all year round.

While Cappadocia is well-known for its fabulous hot-air balloon flights, if you have missed somehow due to bad weather or another reason, you can try doing it here over Pamukkale. The balloon flights are done early in the morning here as well, and the adventure lasts around 45 minutes to 1-hour, offering beautiful lights with the sunrise.

Another activity you can try is paragliding. Now, this is another activity enjoyed initially to the most taking off from the Babadag Mountain in Oludeniz, Fethiye. Yet, it also worths trying over the cotton travertines, too.

Discover the Best of Pamukkale Tours

Pamukkale is a truly magical place to visit in Turkey. For most people, locking eyes on the snow-white limestone filled with dazzling blue water is an experience to remember. If you’re visiting Turkey, we highly recommend taking a trip to this bedazzling area in the country.

To make life easier for you, check out our range of tours that include Pamukkale. We’re here to take the pressures off from complicated travel planning, leaving you to enjoy your trip to Turkey to the fullest. We can’t wait to welcome you to Turkey!

Where to Go Next

If you are visiting Pamukkale after Ephesus, we would highly recommend to include the jaw-dropping site of Aphrodisias on the way. If you are heading to a coastal destination after this, then you might want to add Laodicea. The ancient site is among the most magnificent cities with commercial and religious significance.

Konya, home to Rumi, is on the way by if you are driving up to Central Anatolia. It is nice to spend the night there, visit Konya the next morning and keep driving another 3 hours to get to Cappadocia.

Ephesus

An Ancient Port City

Bodrum

St Tropez of Turkey

Cappadocia

Unique Landforms

Troy

The Legend

More Travel Inspirations?