Pamukkale Hot Springs: Turkey’s Cotton Castle

by Fay

If you’re looking for something off the beaten path, consider checking out Pamukkale city in Turkey. This thermal spa location is nicknamed “Turkey’s Cotton Castle” thanks to its fluffy white terraces. The water of Pamukkale hot springs is said to have healing properties, so it’s no wonder this place is a popular tourist destination!

Pamukkale is famous for its Greco-Roman history, ruins, and hot springs, Pamukkale is now a famous tourist attraction in Turkey. In this post, we will shed some light on the top things to do in Pamukkale and where to stay.

If you’re up for a little adventure, be sure to check out Pamukkale – it’s definitely worth the trip!

Is it your first time in Turkey? Check out this list of underrated cities in Turkey.

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Things to do in Pamukkale

Pamukkale Hot Springs

I think the hot springs are why everyone visits Pamukkale. The travertine pools in Pamukkale are a striking natural formation. There are multiple terraces of carbonate materials formed due to flowing mineral-rich water.

The water in the terraced pools is heated by geothermal springs that visitors can swim in, or simply enjoy their beauty from above.

pamukkale hot springs
Travertine pools in Pamukkale (Pamukkale hot springs)

Pamukkale hot springs are also a dream come true for Instagrammers and photographers. Just imagine all the beautiful pictures you could possibly take in this site that resembles a castle made of pure white cotton. 

Over the years, the mineral waters at Pamukkale hot springs have also been known for their healing properties. No wonder this place was an important leisure place for the Romans to the point of building a city around it.

Pamukkale’s Hierapolis Ruins

Pamukkale’s Hierapolis Ruins are a must-see for any traveler to Turkey. The ancient city of Hierapolis was founded by the Greeks in the 2nd century BC and was later conquered by the Romans.

pamukkale Hierapolis
Hierapolis ruins in Pamukkale

Today, the ruins of the city are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and attract visitors from all over the world.

Visitors to the site can explore the ruins of the ancient city, including the Roman baths, theater, and temple. The site also has a museum with artifacts from the city’s long history.

Pamukkale’s Hierapolis Amphitheater

Pamukkale is also home to a well-preserved Roman amphitheater. The Hierapolis Amphitheater is amongst the Hierapolis city’s splendid works of art. The construction of this historic theater was completed in the 3rd century AD by the Roman emperor Septimius Severus.

Pamukkale Hierapolis Amphitheater
Imagine a theatrical play at the Hierapolis Amphitheater

The Roman amphitheater has a large performance stage and a backstage area that was used for performances and public gatherings.

The theater is incredibly well-preserved and it still features many of its intriguing details. 

Hierapolis Archaeology Museum

Hierapolis Museum is another captivating site in Pamukkale which used to be a large Roman bath. Now the museum exhibits works of art from ancient times connecting the past to the present.

pamukkale Hierapolis Archaeology Museum
Visit the Hierapolis Museum

The Hierapolis Archaeology Museum is located near the entrance to the site and houses artifacts from the city’s long history. It exhibits a collection of Roman and Greek statues, as well as a section on the city’s thermal springs.

The museum is open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Take a Dip in the Antique Pool

It is impossible for you to visit Pamukkale without taking a dip in the Ancient pool of Pamukkale. Visitors come from around the world to benefit from Pamukkale’s healing waters and one of the most popular and beautiful places for that is the ancient pool (Antique pool) in Pamukkale.

Swim in Pamukkale antique pool with Roman artifacts

Swimming in the Antique pool of the city is a journey through history that shouldn’t be missed. The fascinating pool of Pamukkale is open in both Winter and Summer so you can soak just like the Romans did all year round. 

Pamukkale Castle

Pamukkale castle is located on the way to Hierapolis Plateau offering magnificent views of the pure white travertines. These castle ruins are not popular amongst tourists. Therefore the stop can be a great escape from the crowd and an opportunity to experience a unique travertine and sunset bird’s eye view.  

Pamukkale Hot Air Balloon Ride

Pamukkale hot air balloon
Experience Pamukkale in a different way…

A hot air balloon ride is the best way to see the travertine terraces of Pamukkale. The 35-minute experience showcases unbelievable views of Pamukkale hot springs and white travertines. The ride takes off from the ancient city of Hierapolis and gives riders a bird’s eye view of the terraces, as well as the surrounding countryside.

Pamukkale full-day tours

Pamukkale is a rich city with its history and culture. 3 days is the perfect amount of time to explore all of Pamukkale’s sites. However, there are multiple recommended full-day tours that you can consider when visiting Pamukkale.

pamukkale day tours
Pamukkale day tours are a great way to explore the site

Pamukkale full day tour from Antalya

The Pamukkale Full-Day trip from Antalya is a great way to discover the miraculous city in one day. Pamukkale is just 2.5 hours drive from Antalya so a day trip is easily doable.

You will discover most of the famous sites of the city such as the Apollo temple, the Roman baths, the agora site, and most importantly, the thermal waters. 

Pamukkale full day tour from Kusadasi & Selcuk

The Full-Day Tour from Kusadası or Selcuk will allow you to see the travertines and ruins of Hierapolis on a day tour from Kusadasi or Selcuk. The tour consists of a small group provided with an English-speaking guide. 

Pamukkale full day tour from Izmir

If you are looking for a private tour from Izmir to Pamukkale, this Day Tour to Pamukkale from Izmir includes everything you need for an exclusive Pamukkale trip. 

Where is Pamukkale

pamukkale turkey

Pamukkale is located in southwestern Turkey, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the city of Denizli. The best time to visit Pamukkale is between April and October when the weather is warm and dry.

Why is Pamukkale called cotton castle

The name of Pamukkale which literally translates to “Cotton Palace” came from the unreal landscape that looks like a cotton castle created by natural mineral waters driven from hot springs off a cliff of almost 200 meters.

Best time to visit Pamukkale

Pamukkale is one of the year-round tourist destinations in Turkey. However, there are recommended seasons when you can enjoy mild and pleasant weather without breaking your bank accounts with expensive hotels.   

pamukkale at night
Pamukkale at night

The best time to visit Pamukkale is in the spring or autumn, when the weather is mild and the crowds are smaller. However, the thermal springs are open year-round, making Pamukkale a great destination for a winter getaway.

Summer is Pamukkale’s peak season, and it can be quite hot, so be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen.

How to get to Pamukkale

The closest city to Pamukkale is Denizli so if you are trying to get to Pamukkale you will probably go through Denizli first. Also, the nearest airport to Pamukkale is Denizli-Cardak Airport. 

It takes around one hour to reach Pamukkale from the airport. Sometimes the airlines offer transport options to Pamukkale at an extra cost. Otherwise, you will have to arrange a transfer or a taxi for yourself.

pamukkale Denizli, Turkey
Denizli, Turkey

You can also go to Pamukkale by bus. There are buses from almost all cities in Turkey. However, the journey is quite long if you are coming from far away cities.

For example, a bus ride from Istanbul to Pamukkale takes around 10 hours. In most cases, the bus company goes to Denizli and then arranges a free minibus ride to Pamukkale village.    

Pro Travel Tip: If you are traveling to Pamukkale by bus consider overnight buses. You can get a full night of sleep and wake up at your destination.   

Where to stay in Pamukkale

pamukkale hotels
Most hotels in Pamukkale are a walkable distance from travertine pools

Pamukkale is a very small town so most hotels are a walkable distance from famous attractions in the city. However, staying in a hotel very close to the travertines would be perfect.

Bellamaritimo hotel is just 400 meters away from Traverter street in Pamukkale. Bellamaritimo isn’t the only option around there, there are multiple great hotels you can find through


The interest in Pamukkale city in Turkey has increased over the years as nowhere on earth has such unusually beautiful water that is supposed to have healing properties as well. 

pamukkale sunset
Beautiful sunset view of Pamukkale hot springs

I hope you enjoyed this piece about Pamukkale. Safe Travels!  

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