f Pamukkale, Turkey Guide

Pamukkale (Hierapolis), Turkey

Last updated on July 5th, 2022 at 09:40 am

Pamukkale, 18 km (11 miles) north of Denizli (map), isTurkey’s foremost mineral-bath spa because of its natural beauty: hot calcium-laden waters spring from the earth and cascade over a cliff. As they cool they form dramatic travertines of hard, brilliantly white calcium that form pools.

Named the Cotton Fortress (pah-MOOK-kah-leh) in Turkish, it has been a spa since the Romans built the spa city of Hierapolis around a sacred warm-water spring. The Antique Pool is still there, littered with marble columns from the Roman Temple of Apollo. You can swim in it for a fee.

Your Visit

You can reach Pamukkale by car, bus, train or airplane. It makes a great overnight stop as you travel between İzmirSelçukEphesusKuşadası or Marmaris and Antalya or Konyaand CappadociaMore…

It’s possible to visit Pamukkale on a day-trip excursion by trainfrom Selçuk (Ephesus) or İzmir. Here’s how.

You can spend a pleasant day at Pamukkale, exploring the extensive Roman ruins of Hierapolis, climbing the ranks of seats in the great Roman theater, touring the exhibits in the Archeological Museum, splashing along the travertines (where permitted) and even soaking in the Antique Pool littered with fluted marble columns.

Coming from, or going to the Aegean coast, you may be able to combine a visit to Pamukkale and Laodicea with a visit to Aphrodisias, the ancient City of Aphrodite, goddess of love.


Four locations are of importance to visitors at Pamukkale:


Located one km west of the road between Denizli and Pamukkale, you can make a short side-trip to visit this ancient city. More…

Pamukkale Town

Antique Pool, Pamukkale, Turkey
Visitors enjoy a dip in the Antique Pool of Hierapolis, marble columns and all.

At the foot of the travertines, the little town of Pamukkalehas numerous small hotels, pensions, restaurants, and such services as shops and bus ticket offices. Many pensions have their own small warm mineral water pools.


Several kilometers to the north of the plateau, the village of Karahayıt is surrounded by big resort hotels busy with bus tour groups. More…


The Plateau

Travertine pools, Pamukkale, Turkey

The travertines form a plateau atop which is the Sacred Pool, the ruins of Hierapolis, and the Archeological Museum. These are what you want to see. There are three entrances to the plateau. You’ll pay a fee to enter at any one. More…

A Bit of History

In the 1990s the local authorities undertook a development campaign meant to improve the spa and increase tourism. Misconceived in some ways, the development, along with changes in Turkey’s entire tourism picture, resulted in fewer visitors.


Click here for more maps of Denizli, Pamukkale & Aegean Turkey.

—by Tom Brosnahan

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