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Pamukkale: What to See & Do

It’s possible to visit Pamukkale from Selçuk (Ephesus) in one day. Here’s how.

As you approach Pamukkale from Denizli, you’ll see the white calcium travertines high on the hillside.

Pamukkale Plateau

The ruins of Roman Hierapolis are above thetravertines, on the plateau half way up the mountainside. There are three entrances to the plateau, all of them with their difficulties. As it is an archeological site and tourist attraction, you’ll pay an admission fee (TL20 per person) to enter at any one, plus you’ll pay a parking fee at the North or South entrances if you drive.

Pamukkale Town Entrance

From the town you can walk up the travertine slope in your bare feet, carrying your shoes, through the pools and the water, to the top of the plateau in 20 to 30 minutes. (No parking fee.)

North Entrance

Minibuses traveling the route between Denizli Otogar, Pamukkale Town and Karahayıt pass this entrance every 15 or 20 minutes throughout the day. Board at Peron (Gate) 76Denizli Otogar, or below the mosque in Pamukkale Town, and say this to the driver: Örenyeri Kuzey Giriş (ur-REHN-yeh-ree koo-ZEY gee-reesh, “Archeological Site North Entrance“).

With your own car, drive from Pamukkale Town toward Karahayıt for about two km to reach the best entrance. Pay the parking and admission fees, then walk for 20 to 30 minute (or take the Servis Arabası, shuttle van) through the vast North Necropolis (cemetery) to the top of the travertinesAntique PoolArcheological Museum, and ruins of Hierapolis.

South Entrance

Poorly planned from the outset, the South Entrance requires you to drive to a large parking lot south of the plateau, then walk in the hot sun for 15 or 20 minutes to reach the plateau. It’s not practicable if you don’t have your own vehicle.

Hierapolis

The Roman spa town of Hierapolis grew wealthy from its rich-but-sick visitors. Its vast North Necropolis (cemetery), colonnaded street, baths (now the Archeological Museum) and grand theater are well worth touring. More…

Antique Pool

The center of Roman Hierapolis, this broad pool of warm mineral water, surrounded by oleanders and littered with tumbled marble columns, is the most atmospheric place to experience the spa’s waters—for a fee. More…

Travertines

Beneath the plateau are these natural terraces and pools of gleaming white calcium precipitated from the cooling mineral water. Once rippling and splashing with water, they are now largely dry and brittle, but still a sight. More…

Roman Theater, Hierapolis, Pamukkale, Turkey
Roman Theater of Hierapolis,
Pamukkale, Turkey.

Roman Theater

The great theater of Hierapolis, up the hillside from the Ancient Pooland the Archeological Museum, was beautifully restored by Italian stonemasons in 1972, and is well worth the walk up the hill to see. More…

Archeological Museum

The former Roman baths of Hierapolis have been converted to a nice little museum of artifacts discovered among the extensive ruins of Hierapolis. More…

Karahayıt

The town on the plateau, west of Hierapolis, now has several luxury hotels, but less character than ever before. More…

Laodicea

Known in the Bible as one of the Seven Churches of RevelationLaodicea is a 5500-year-old city set between Denizli and Pamukkale. Being beautifully restored by archeologists, it’s worth a visit. More…

—by Tom Brosnahan

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