Pamukkale is mostly known for the hot springs and the terraces of minerals, but it’s also the site of the Greco-Roman and Byzantine city of Hierapolis. Make Denizil – the closest large town – your base and explore what this lovely area has to offer.
Location and weather
Pamukkale, literally meaning “cotton castle” is located in Denizli Province in southwestern Turkey. Located in the River Menderes valley, Pamukkale has a temperate climate.
It is a natural site consisting of hot springs and travertines (terraces of minerals). It has been a World Heritage Site since 1988.
How to get to
There are two airports close to Pamukkale:
- Denizli Cardak Airport (DNZ) is located about 65 km from the site and only receives flights from Istanbul and Ankara.
- Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport (ADB), although located further – about 252 km from the site – is a good alternative because it receives a lot more flights including international ones. The airport is hub for IZair, SunExpress and Onur Air. There are buses available to get to Pamukkale directly from the airport.
The nearest train station is in Denizli, but it can only be reached from Izmir. The Istanbul service has been closed by reopened as of June 2011. You can also choose the bus to get to Pamukkale, as Denizli / Pamukkale is served by buses from all over Turkey.
Once in Denizli, you can take the minibus (dolmus) to Pamukkale, which is located about 20 km away.
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Where to stay
There are small family run pensions , located just south of the travertines in the village. But, for more options, you can stay in Denizli. Plus, if you stay here, there are plenty of options for day trips.
Things to do
In ancient times, the Greco-Roman and Byzantine city of Hierapolis was built on top of the terraces. The remains can still be seen from the city of Denizli.
Tourism has always been important in Pamukkale. Visitors have bathed in these pools for centuries. In the mid-XXth century, hotels were built on top of the ancient ruins, causing major damages to the site. But after the site was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, the hotels were demolished , the roads removed and artificial pools were added. It is no forbidden to wear shoes in the water.
Since 1984, the former Roman Bath of the ancient city of Hierapolis has been used as the site of the Hierapolis Archaeology Museum. Aside from artifacts from Hierapolis, visitors can also see artifacts from various other cities in the Lycos valley.
Make sure to visit the Travertines (the ticket is combined with the one for visiting the ancient city and costs 20 Turkish Liras). You can also bathe in the mineral pools.
On the way from Denizli to Pamukkale there is Laodikya, a site mentioned as one of the 7 Churches in the Book of Revelation. It hasn’t been reconstructed (like Ephesus ), but you can enjoy a Roman site without the hustle and bustle of the crowds.
Don’t miss the ancient city of Aphrodisias either. It is one of the best preserved Roman sites in the southeaster Aegean and can be reached by tour bus or rental car from Denizli.