CONTRIBUTED BY JESSICA LACEY
Pamukkale is an ancient site composed of travertines (limestone deposits by mineral water). Pamukkale is often referred to as “cotton castle” because it looks like big clouds of cotton. It is a natural site in Denizli Province in southwestern Turkey. Pamukkale and Hierapolis are listed as Unesco World Heritage Sites. Click here for more information about Hierapolis-Pamukkale.
To get to Pamukkale and stay in Denizli, we booked our flight through the Turkish Airlines website and our hotel through Booking.com. However, I know you can book tickets to Denizili through Pegasus Airlines, too.
We booked our transfer from the Denizili Airport to our hotel through Tours 4 Turkey Travel via email – firstname.lastname@example.org. The cost was 30TL per person (about $15) and they were waiting right outside of the airport for us, holding a sign with our name. The airport transfer took about 45 minutes.
We flew into Denizli Airport, which is the closest airport to Pamukkale. Many people have flown into Izmir Airport and then driven to Pamukkale (about a 4 hour drive); however, I personally liked flying into Denizli and think it’s a better option because you can see the site before it’s packed with tours. We got into Denizli Airport in the early evening and then took a transfer shuttle to our hotel and woke up early the next morning, crossed the street and we were there. There was barely anyone there and we got GREAT pictures. It gets packed by 9:00 a.m. because tour buses from Izmir arrive. We stayed at Hotel Sahin; it was nothing special, but affordable and convenient. The hotel also has a rooftop-outside area which has a great view of the travertines.
The Sahin Hotel, where we stayed, has small, basic rooms that include breakfast with your stay. I mainly picked the Sahin Hotel because it was affordable and literally right across the street from the travertines. We paid around 120TL (about $55.00) per night for a double room. They have a nice rooftop area where you can have a glass of wine or order food while looking at an excellent view of the travertines. They have a small lunch and dinner menu with typical Turkish food. We had dinner there the first night and I thought the chicken kebabs were very good.
Entrance fees to get into the Pamukkale site are 20TL (about $10) per person. We went to Pamukkale in May and I would recommend bringing bathing suits and sunscreen if you’re going during the warmer times of the year. The temperature was perfect (75-80 degrees) and the water temperature was great; nice and lukewarm. I’ve read that the water on the travertines always feels lukewarm because there are hot springs under the travertines. Be sure to wear flips or shoes that are easy to take off because you’re not allowed to wear shoes when walking on the travertines.
Once you get to the top of the travertines there is a man-made thermal pool called the Antique/Cleopatra Pool. It is really big and feels great! The price for the pool is 30TL per person (about $15). There are bathrooms, changing rooms and lockers to store your belongings. Don’t forget to bring towels if you are planning on swimming! There is also a little cafe with a few food options like pizza, burgers, and fries.
There are also the ruins of the ancient city of Hierapolis and multiple other ruins – Temple of Apollo, Roman Theatre, etc. – to explore behind the Antique Pool.
Plan to spend about 2-3 days at Pamukale. We got into Pamukkale in the evening, woke up the next morning and spent most of the day seeing the travertines, swimming in the Cleopatra Pool and checking out the Hierapolis site. We headed home the following morning. It was a short trip, but it worked out well for us, as we were able to see all the main sites that Denizli has to offer!
EDITOR’S NOTE: As of February 2016, this post has been re-published on our Overseas Yes network site, Germany Ja. We are in the process of transferring all the content of this site over there, and will be shutting Turkey Tamam down once that process is complete. Comments have been closed on this post here, but if you’ve got something to add we’d love to continue the conversation. Please visit this post in its new home on Germany Ja and leave your comment there.