While vacationing in Southern Turkey, we decided to visit Pamukkale thermal pools and Hierapolis for a swim and a bit of history!
How to get to Pamukkale?
From almost all cities and tourist sites in Turkey, it is possible to get to Pamukkale. Either by going on an organized excursion or by taking public transport.
Day trips to Pamukkale
Tours are generally a one day trip to Pamukkale. They include transportation, entry to various sites in Pamukkale and often lunch. Convenient but more expensive than traveling on your own and the downside is that your time there is limited.
Pamukkale – Antalya
You should know that taking public transportation in Turkey is very easy. To get to Pamukkale from Antalya, you have several bus lines that leave several times a day. In high season, it is best to book your ticket in advance if you want to leave at a specific time. In low season, just go to the bus terminal and buy your ticket from the driver. Some buses will take you to Pamukkale village directly and some will take you to Denizli, the nearest town to Pamukkale.
Pammukale – Denizli
From Denizli you can take a shuttle for about twenty minutes to get to Pamukkale. It runs every 20-30 minutes and costs 5TL. The whole trip to Pamukkale sounds complicated, but it is not all. We did it!
Pamukkale Airport – Istanbul
Finally, if you are in Istanbul, the best way to visit Pamukkale is to take a plane. You will have the choice between Turkish Airlines and Pegasus. We always take Pegasus because it’s really cheap!
Visit Pamukkale’s thermal pools
This was my second visit to Pamukkale. I went there on an excursion when I was a child with my mom. I hardly remember it but my mom always referred to it as a magical place so I really wanted to go back. For the record and description, Pamukkale means cotton castle in Turkish and refers to the white landscape created by the limestone terraces. A unique place that is part of the Unesco World Heritage. Unfortunately Pamukkale has become very touristy in recent years. Part of the site is closed to protect it, but the visit is no less magical. You only need to get up early to avoid other tourists. This is why I prefer not to visit the tourist sites on an organized excursion because everyone arrives at the same time and you end up there when it is most crowded.
Swim in Pamukkale’s hot springs
When I was in Pamukkale with my mom, I remember we swam in the hot springs. However, I had seen quite a few photos where there was no water in the limestone terraces so I was wondering if swimming was prohibited in Pamukkale. I took my swimsuit anyway just in case. I did well because there are a few man-made terraces with water where you can take a dip. Nice for the experience!
Entrance fee to visit Pamukkale: 80TL (only for the visit of the limestone terraces)
Visit Hierapolis in Pamukkale
In Pamukkale it is also possible to visit the archaeological site of the thermap town of Hierapolis which was built in the second century BC. This thermal town was also built next to the limestone terraces because the kings of Pergamon saw the benefits of bathing in it for the body. This city was destroyed by an earthquake and then rebuilt in Roman architecture. You don’t need an extra ticket to see the archaeological site, but if you want to see the amphitheater, you will need to take the 100TL ticket which will allow you to see the limestone terraces and the amphitheater.
Visit of the Hierapolis amphitheater
The Hierapolis Amphitheater dates from the Roman period. It was built after the earthquake. It is a typical amphitheater from Roman times and one of the best preserved in Turkey. Architecture lovers will love it.
Cleopatra’s pool in Pamukkale
One of the highlights of Pamukkale and the archaeological site of Hierapolis is the Cleopatra pool. It is a natural thermal pool with water at 36 degrees. It is famous for its ruins at the bottom of the swimming pool and for its stories. Indeed, Cleopatra would have bathed there, hence the name. And the Virgin Mary is said to have treated her eye infection there before going to Ephesus, another unique place in Turkey.
Entrance to Cleopatra’s pool is 50TL
To Know before a visit to Pamukkale
Hotels in Pamukkale
I recommend you plan to stay one day in Pamukkale. You can decide to sleep in the village to be the first there the next morning or sleep in Denizli and take the shuttle from there. In any case, I recommend that you sleep in the area to make the most of your visit. There are quite a few inexpensive, low-luxury hotels that are good enough for just one night.
Restaurants in Pamukkale
We have eaten well everywhere in Turkey except Pamukkale. Indeed, there is not a good value for money. Above all, avoid restaurants that promise you a view of the Pamukkale site. There is nothing to see!
How long to visit Pamukkale?
I advise you to plan a day to enjoy it if you want to visit Pamukkale and Hierapolis. Half a day if you only want to see the terraces!
I absolutely loved this second visit to Pamukkale. I had really forgotten everything on my first visit. After Pamukkale, we returned to enjoy the beautiful beaches of Turkey before ending our trip to Cappadocia.
My other article about Turkey