Take a trip to Pamukkale, Turkey
Make your way to Pamukkale and you can discover the world-famous, pure white travertine pools. It's what this town is best known for, but you'll also find a wealth of other historic sites close by, just ready and waiting to be explored. Pamukkale is an absolute must-visit for nature lovers and history buffs alike. So, let's take a closer look at what you can do and see in this fascinating part of Turkey.
Try the travertine pools
When you get here, you should make the travertine pools your first stop. The bright white terraces have to be seen to be believed, and this natural phenomenon is a truly unique sight. The effect is created by the carbonate mineral deposits that settle out of the water and give everything a strange, white crystalline coating. Pamukkale actually translates to English as ”cotton castle', and the stunning white formations really do look magical; they're almost like something out of a fairy tale. Make sure you bring along your swimming costume so you can have a dip in the pools and soak up the beautiful sunshine. Just be aware that you're not allowed to wear shoes here. This is to prevent erosion, so make sure you bring a bag with you to keep your shoes in and everything else together while you have a wander around. Also keep in mind that there's nowhere to store your belongings at the pools, so you'll need to carry your things with you. Our top tip: a small backpack is perfect for carrying everything you need. Sunglasses and sun cream are a must if you're visiting on a hot day.
Because the travertine terraces are so popular, it's easy to forget that Pamukkale is home to yet another incredible site: the ancient Greek city of Hierapolis. You'll find it adjacent to the baths. This place was once known far and wide for its hot springs, which have been used as a spa since way back in the 2nd century BC. Today, you can come and explore the well-preserved ruins of Hierapolis. This includes a huge necropolis with tombs. You can also pay a visit to the nearby archaeological museum to learn more about the history of the area.
Swim in the sacred pool and see the theatre
While you're exploring Hierapolis, make sure you bathe in the hot mineral waters; after all, that's what made this ancient city so famous. The water is a pretty toasty 36℃ (around the temperature of a hot bath), and it's really rich in minerals, too. Once you've finished relaxing in the mineral pool, it's time to make your way to the Hierapolis' incredible Roman amphitheatre. This theatre once held up to 12,000 spectators, and the decorative facades are in amazing condition thanks to an extensive restoration that took place in the 1970s. It's only around a 10-minute walk from the pools and when you get there you'll also get a glimpse of some of the breath-taking views over the hills that surround Pamukkale.
Pop into town
The town of Pamukkale itself is pretty small, but if you have time you can take a stroll around. If you've worked up an appetite after a long day's exploring, you're in luck; there's a good choice of local restaurants in town, serving up an array of delicious Turkish fare. Yildiz Restaurant is one of the best places to go; they serve delicious homemade borek cooked on the wood-heated skillet right at the front of the restaurant and all the dough is handmade. Ottoman House is another option, where you can sample gzleme (savoury pancakes), while the Mustafa Hotel serves up pizza, kebabs, falafel and crepes. If you've got a sweet tooth, there are plenty of places selling dondurma (Turkish ice cream) at the bottom of the path that runs up to the hot springs.
How to get there
The most convenient way to travel to Pamukkale is to hire a car. The journey takes around three hours from Kusadasi, four hours from Antalya and Marmaris, and five hours from Bodrum. That's quite a drive, but the wide roads are in good condition, and the route is well signposted. You can also take the scenic route along quieter roads if you like, which will take you through some amazing countryside. Don't want to hire a car? Not a problem: inter-city buses run from Kusadasi, Antalya, Marmaris and Bodrum. They'll take you to Denizli, the nearest city to Pamukkale. Turkey's bus network is excellent, and the buses are generally modern and air-conditioned. When you arrive, you can catch a bus or dolmus from Denizli bus station, which takes around 40 minutes or so.