Pamukkale in Turkey, hot springs & more things to do

by Fay
Pamukkale-city-in-Turkey-hot-springs

Pamukkale, which literally translates to “Cotton palace”, is a city in Turkey located in Denizli province. The extraordinary Pamukkale was once a thermal spa and bath for the Romans in the town of Hierapolis. The name of Pamukkale 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. 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 20 more things to do in Pamukkale.

I will start the post by giving some general and useful information about visiting Pamukkale in Turkey. But, if you are already in Pamukkale and you are just looking for things to do, jump directly to the top things to do in the Pamukkale section. Enjoy your read! 

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

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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.   

Spring in Pamukkale | Spring (February to April) is a good time to visit Pamukkale if you are looking for a quiet destination. Temperatures during the day range between 18-25° and 7-10°C at night. There is a big chance that February and March could still be cold even during the day, so make sure to carry warm clothes. Spring is also a low season in Pamukkale, which means you will enjoy all the attractions by yourself. 

Summer in Pamukkale | Summer (May, June, July) is the high season in Pamukkale and it can get very crowded and expensive. Temperatures during Summer are not ideal. Day temperatures can rise up to 35°C, so if you are planning to visit during this time, pack lots of sun-cream. You will be able to enjoy a few local festivals during Summer in Pamukkale like the Cherry festival, Friendship festival, and Grape festival.

Fall in Pamukkale | Fall (Mid-August to October) is another low season in Pamukkale. The climate is warm ranging from 20°C to 30°C. However, temperatures will start to fall from late August.  

Winter in Pamukkale | Winter is a great time to visit Pamukkale if you want to avoid the crowd and have no problem with winter. Temperatures fall below 0°C with high probability of snow but Pamukkale’s 35°C hot springs make a dip very possible.

How to get to Pamukkale

Denizli, Turkey

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 Pamuakkle is Denizli-Cardak Airport.  And 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.

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 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-hot-springs

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 booking.com.

Top things to do in Pamukkale

Take a dip in Pamukkale hot springs (thermal spa of Hierapolis)

Travertine pools in Pamukkale
Travertine pools in Pamukkale

I think the hot springs are why everyone visits Pamukkale right? Pamukkale travertine pools are a striking natural formation. There are multiple terraces of carbonate materials formed due to flowing mineral-rich water. This spot was an important leisure place for the Romans to the point of building a city around it. The miraculous hot basins and pools form a picturesque white paradise to spend the day and swim. 

Over the years, the mineral waters at Pamukkale hot springs have also been known for their healing properties. Add as an added bonus, this site is 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. 

Wander at Hierapolis City ruins

Hierapolis ruins in Pamukkale
Hierapolis ruins in Pamukkale

Pamukkale city in Turkey is much more than hot springs. The travertine pools are surrounded by some of the most ancient sites. Hierapolis city ruins is one of them. The sacred archaeological city of Hierapolis which for many centuries has been one of the most striking sites. This ancient Hellenistic city was built in the 2nd century B.C. by king Eumenes II of Pergamon. It is thought that the city Hierapolis was named after Hera, the wife of Pelops, the son of Hercules and grandson of Zeus (The founder of Pergamon). 

Hierapolis was completely destroyed by the earthquake that occurred in 16AD and it was then rebuilt with a more Roman inspired architecture, looking exactly like any Roman city at the time.     

Visit Hierapolis Theater

Hierapolis Amphitheater is amongst the Hierapolis city’s splendid works of art. The construction of this historical theater was completed in the 3rd century AD by the Roman emperor Septimius Severus. Hierapolis theater has a large performance stage and a backstage area as well. The theater is incredibly well-preserved and it still features much of its intriguing details. 

Discover Hierapolis Museum artifacts

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. The museum has all the artifacts and finds from Hierapolis city. 

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. 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 view .  

Hot air balloon in Pamukkale

If you are an adventure lover you should try Pamukkale hot air balloon ride. The 35 minute experience showcases unbelievables views of Pamukkale hot springs and white travertines. 

Full-day Pamukkale tours

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

Tours 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 Apollo temple, the Roman baths, the agora site and most importantly, the thermal waters. 

Tours from Kusadasi or Selcuk | The Full-Day Tour from Kusadası or Selcuk will allow you to see 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. 

Tours 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. 

Conclusion

Today, Pamukkale in Turkey is a center of culture and tourism and has made its way onto the UNESCO list of the world’s natural legacies. The interest of Pamukkale has increased over the years as nowhere on earth has such unusually beautiful water that is supposed to have healing properties as well. I hope you enjoyed this piece about Pamukkale. Safe Travels!  

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