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The First-Timer’s Pamukkale Travel Guide

EDITOR’S NOTE: Please be advised that this Pamukkale travel guide hasn’t been updated in 2024. Prices and travel guidelines may no longer be accurate so it’s important that you verify any information before proceeding.

Have you ever seen infrared photographs? They take normal scenes and turn them into dreamy, unexpected colors. That’s kind of how I felt when I saw the calcium travertines of Pamukkale for the first time.

I’m from the Philippines so the only terraces I’ve ever known are green and brown. These were white as snow and filled with the cleanest, crispest, most powdery-looking blue water I had ever seen. It was like giant mirrors had been cut into the terraces to reflect the blue-ness of the sky.

I’ve been wowed over and over by beautiful landscapes but this one was different. It was stunning and surreal, a sight I never would have thought existed had I not seen it for myself.

I think novel experiences are becoming a rarity in this digital age. We’re bombarded by so much media that it’s become uncommon to see things that genuinely blow our minds. This trip to Pamukkale was one of those experiences for me.


This travel guide to Pamukkale is long. For your convenience, I’ve compiled links to hotels, tours, and other services here.




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Calcium travertines, Pamukkale



Because of the current global situation, Pamukkale travel guidelines have been changing often. Our friends at created a website that lists detailed information on travel restrictions around the globe.

Before doing any serious travel planning, be sure to check for information on travel restrictions to Turkey. If you do decide to visit Pamukkale, then you may want to seriously consider getting travel insurance with COVID coverage.


Applying for an E-visa to Turkey isn’t difficult. In fact, it’s one of the easiest visa application procedures I’ve ever had to go through. Everything is coursed online so if you’re eligible, then you can get your E-visa in minutes.

You can apply for an E-visa to Turkey on or through


Pamukkale is an area in Denizli province in Southwestern Turkey. It’s famous for its white terraces made of travertine, a sedimentary rock deposited by water from the seventeen naturally occurring hot springs in the area.

The water that emerges from these springs is supersaturated with calcium carbonate. When it reaches the surface, carbon dioxide de-gasses from the water, depositing the calcium carbonate as a soft gel which eventually crystallizes into travertine.

The water from these springs ranges in temperature from 35-100°C (95-212°F) so it’s been used as a spa since the second century BC. Unfortunately, the travertines have suffered damage from decades of tourism so the most beautiful terraces are now off-limits.

To preserve their appearance, tourists are asked to remove their footwear and follow a set pathway, along which are shallow pools where you can dip your feet whilst crossing the travertines.

Together with Hierapolis, Pamukkale has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988. The name Pamukkale literally means “cotton castle” in Turkish because of the white, cotton-like appearance of the calcium deposits.


Ironically, Pamukkale’s peak season is also its most uncomfortable. Driven by summertime tourism to neighboring coastal destinations, Pamukkale is at its busiest from Jun-Aug when temperatures are known to reach a scorching 40°C (104°F).

A more comfortable time to visit would be in the spring (Apr-May) when weather is moderate and days are long. Autumn (September-October) is also said to be favorable, with its mild weather but shorter days.

We went during shoulder season — during the first week of November — and found that the weather was still favorable and the crowds manageable. The temperature may not have been as ideal as spring, but it was just the start of winter so it wasn’t that cold yet. In fact, I was fine walking around in just a light sweater and a t-shirt.

MAR-MAY: Weather-wise, Spring is one of the best times to visit Pamukkale. The weather is mild with temperatures hovering around 20°C (68°F).

JUNE-AUG: This is peak season for local tourism in Pamukkale. It gets crowded and hot so you may want to skip these months if you can.

SEPT-OCT: Like Spring, Autumn is an ideal time to visit Pamukkale. The weather is mild and major festivals like the International Pamukkale Music and Culture Festival are held in Denizli in September. If you enjoy festivals, then this may be the best time to go.

NOV-FEB: This is winter in Pamukkale. If you don’t like cold weather, then this may not be the best time to go. It’s coldest in January when the temperature often goes below 0°C (32°F).

Climate: Annual Monthly Weather in Pamukkale

For your convenience, I’ve put together average temperature and annual rainfall graphs below. Suggested months to visit are highlighted in orange.

Average Temperature

Annual Rainfall in Pamukkale, Turkey

Annual Rainfall

Annual Rainfall in Pamukkale, Turkey


There are many ways to get to Denizli and Pamukkale depending on where you’re coming from. But for the purpose of this guide, let’s assume you’ll be coming from the popular tourist destinations of Istanbul, Selçuk, and Cappadocia, and interested only in the fastest and/or cheapest options.

If you’re coming from somewhere else, then you can check Bookaway or use the widget below to find route options available to you.

From Istanbul

Flying, as you’d expect, is the fastest way to get anywhere in Turkey. There are direct flights from Istanbul – Istanbul (IST) or Sabiha Gocken (SAW) – to Denizli Çardak (DNZ) which is the nearest airport to Pamukkale.

Denizli Çardak Airport is about an hour from the city. You can either take a taxi or book a transfer from the airport to Pamukkale. We’ve never used them so we can’t voucher for them, but Pamukkale Tours offers private and shared transfers from the airport to Pamukkale. Alternatively, you can ask your hotel for transfer options.

From Selçuk

The cheapest and most reliable way to travel from Selçuk to Pamukkale is by train. The train from Selçuk to Denizli takes a little over three hours. Follow the link for the train schedule.

Soon as you arrive at the gar (train station) in Denizli, walk over to the otogar which is on the other side of the highway and take a minibus to Pamukkale. Minibuses depart for Pamukkale every 15-20 mins from gate 76 at the lower level of the station.

You can take a bus from Selçuk to Denizli as well but I don’t recommend it. Though comfortable, they sometimes wait to fill up their buses with passengers so the three-hour ride can become four or five. That’s what happened to us.

From Cappadocia

There are no direct flights from Cappadocia to Denizli so your best bet would be to go by overnight bus. Which isn’t such a bad thing since Turkey’s buses are some of the nicest we’ve ever been on.

Buses are the most popular form of travel for locals. Every seat on the bus has a touch screen where you can play games, watch movies, and listen to the radio. You even have a USB port where you can charge your mobile phone and other devices.

A direct bus ride from Cappadocia to Denizli is long, around ten hours, so it’s best that you take an overnight bus. They usually depart around 8PM and arrive the next day at 6AM.

Several bus lines service Denizli from Cappadocia, like Suha Turizm, Metro Turizm, Kamil Koç, Nevsehir Seyahat, and Öz Elbistan. You can purchase your tickets online or at the station itself. If you’ll be traveling during peak season, then I suggest reserving your tickets beforehand.


The unit of currency in Turkey is the Turkish Lira (TL).

I don’t recall seeing any currency exchange offices in Pamukkale town. There may be banks but we didn’t run into any. Nearby Denizli is a bigger city so you’re sure to find plenty there.

Instead of exchanging currency, it may be easier to withdraw TL from an ATM instead. This is what we did. Not only is it the quickest and most convenient way to get TL, but ATMs are said to give the best rates as well. There are plenty of ATMs in Pamukkale.

Just be sure to inform your local bank that you plan on using your ATM card overseas so you don’t run into any problems. In my experience, my ATM card works in some machines but not in others.

NOTE: Some ATM machines may offer the option of proceeding “with or without conversion”. NEVER choose “with conversion”. Proceeding with conversion allows the foreign bank operating the ATM to do the conversion for you, usually at terrible exchange rates.


Pamukkale is small so there really is no best place to stay. Anywhere remotely near the travertines is perfect. You can stay in Denizli as well but why would you want to? You’ll have to take a minibus to get to Pamukkale. There are plenty of options in Pamukkale so it’s best to stay there.

We stayed in five different hotels during our 2-week trip to Turkey and Bellamaritimo Hotel in Pamukkale was the most comfortable. The room was big and the owner, Halim, really went out of his way to make our stay as comfortable as possible. We can’t recommend this hotel enough.

You can book at Bellamaritimo Hotel through or Agoda. If you don’t think that Bellamaritimo Hotel is the right place for you, then you can check these links for alternate listings: | Agoda. Here’s a quick list of top-rated hotels in Pamukkale:

You can also book hotels and homestays in Pamukkale using the handy map below.


1. Traverse the Calcium Travertines & Explore Hierapolis

This place is out of this world. Gleaming in its whiteness, these calcium travertines are what travelers flock to Pamukkale for. They’re a remarkable sight and something most people have probably never seen before.

Cascading down the side of the plateau, you can cross the travertines to get to the top and the ancient ruins of Hierapolis. Check out my post on the calcium travertines and Hierapolis for more pictures and information.

You can easily visit these sites on your own, but if you’d like to go on a guided tour, then you can do so through Get Your Guide.

Calcium travertines

Photo by Suksamran1985 via Shutterstock

Suggested Length of Visit: At least half a day
Admission: 200TL

2. Swim with Roman Columns in Cleopatra’s Pool

As described, Pamukkale was once a prominent spa city famous for its mineral-rich water. Tourists today can still enjoy its calcium-laden mineral water here at the Antique Pool, which is also known as Cleopatra’s Pool because it was said to have been a gift from Marc Anthony to Cleopatra.

What makes this beautiful tree-lined pool unique are the marble columns that litter its bottom. They date back to the 2nd century BC and are remnants from the nearby Temple of Apollo. Check out my post on the Antique Pool for more pictures and information.

Hierapolis and Pamukkale, Turkey

Suggested Length of Visit: 1-2 hrs
Cost to swim: 100TL (plus 5TL to rent a locker)

3. Visit Hierapolis Archaeology Museum

If you have an interest in archaeological artifacts, then you may want to visit this small but interesting museum. Housed in a former Roman bath, it’s home to historical artifacts from Hierapolis and Laodicea, as well as other archaeological sites. You’ll find some beautiful sarcophagi here.

Check out my post on the Hierapolis Archaeology Museum for more pictures and information.

Hierapolis and Pamukkale, Turkey

Suggested Length of Visit: 30 mins – 1 hr
Admission: 8TL

4. Fly High Over the Travertines

We only stayed in Pamukkale for one night and it was pretty expensive so I decided against it. But if you have enough time and enjoy doing adrenaline-filled activities, then you may want to try paragliding or riding a hot air balloon over Pamukkale.

There are many travel agencies in town that can arrange these for you, or you can book a paragliding experience or a hot air balloon ride (Option 1 | Option 2 | Option 3) in advance thorugh Get Your Guide.

Paragliding in Pamukkale

Photo by Maxim14 via Shutterstock


1. Visit the Goddess of Love at Aphrodisias

Named after Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, Aphrodisias is home to some of the most beautiful and well-preserved ruins in Turkey. It was renowned for its school of sculpture during Roman times so the reliefs and sculptures here are second to none.

About two-and-a-half hours from Pamukkale, it’s off the beaten path so the easiest way to get here would be to arrange for private transportation from Pamukkale. Check out my post on Aphrodisias in Geyre for more pictures and information.

Aphrodisias, Geyre, Turkey

Suggested Length of Visit: 3-4 hrs
Admission: 15TL

2. Explore the Ruins of Laodicea

Located just off the main road between Pamukkale and Denizli, you can make a stop at this ancient city that’s been the subject of much excavation and restoration work in the past decade.

It’s an important archaeological site being home to one of the Seven Churches of Revelation. Much of it still looks like rubble but the team leading the excavation hopes to make Laodicea the next Ephesus. Check out my post on Laodicea for more pictures and information.

Laodicea, Pamukkale, Turkey

Suggested Length of Visit: 30 mins – 1 hr
Admission: 15TL

3. Enjoy the Subterranean Calcium Travertines of Kaklik Cave

You may have heard about the calcium travertines of Pamukkale, but did you know that you can see subterranean versions as well?

Around 45 km from Pamukkale and 30 km from Denizli, you can visit this small cave that boasts the same travertine formations as its more famous neighbor, but in a cave and underground. It’s out of the way but worth it. Check out my post on Kaklik Cave for more pictures and information.

Kaklik Cave, Pamukkale, Turkey

Suggested Length of Visit: 30 mins
Admission: 5TL


We fell in love with Turkish food. It quickly became one of our favorite cuisines because of its diversity and emphasis on lamb dishes. We visited a few cities and it seemed that every region we went to had something different and tasty to offer.

Check out my article on the most delicious things to eat and drink in Turkey for more information.

Turkish lahmacun


White House Restaurant & Cafe

We only stayed one night in Pamukkale and spent a full day touring Aphrodisias so we couldn’t visit many restaurants. The one restaurant we did visit happens to be one of the best and most popular in Pamukkale according to TripAdvisor.

White House is a family-run restaurant that serves generous portions of delicious home-cooked food. This plate of lamb chops — served with a heaping amount of salad, rice, and fries — was some of the best lamb that we had during our entire Turkey trip.

White House Restaurant & Cafe, Pamukkale, Turkey

Pamukkale is small so you shouldn’t have trouble finding White House Restaurant & Cafe.

White House Restaurant & Cafe, Pamukkale, Turkey


I’ve created the map below to help you better understand where everything is. Click on the link for a live version of the map. All of the places recommended in this guide are pinned on this map.

Pamukkale attractions map


Pamukkale is a small town so it’s easy to get around on foot. If you download Sygic Travel and have GPS switched on, then you should have no problem finding anything.

From Pamukkale town, Hierapolis and the travertines are accessible by foot and Laodicea can easily be reached by minibus. The only time you may need to arrange for private transportation is if you decide to visit Kaklik Cave or Aphrodisias, though people determined to take public transportation can do so.


“Should I stay overnight?” was a question I encountered often in travel forums when doing research for Pamukkale.

With Pamukkale being near Selçuk-Izmir and other coastal cities, many travelers choose to make it a day-only destination or a transit point between cities. A popular sentiment seems to be that Pamukkale just doesn’t have enough attractions to merit longer-term commitments.

While that may be true, we did enjoy staying the night in Pamukkale, but the decision to stay depends on your travel plans. If you’re only interested in the travertines and Hierapolis, and maybe Laodicea, then a day trip is possible. Just take the earliest train into Denizli and leave at the end of the day.

But if you plan on visiting Aphrodisias as well, then staying the night is a must. Aphrodisias is a whole day excursion and won’t be possible on a day-only visit.

Assuming you’re interested only in Pamukkale, then here’s a one-day Pamukkale itinerary to help you plan your trip.

• Calcium travertines
• Hierapolis archaeological site
• Cleopatra’s Pool
• Hierapolis Archaeology Museum
• Laodicea


1. Plan your Trip with Sygic Travel

This is my go-to trip planning app. I’ve been using it to create all our itineraries since 2014. What it does is make it easy for me to pin points of interest on a map then move them around by day to come up with the most efficient itinerary possible.

If you find trip planning daunting or tedious, then Sygic Travel should make it easier for you. Check out my post on the free Sygic Travel app for more information.

DOWNLOAD: iOS / Android

2. Rent a Pocket Wifi Device

It’s so important to have steady wifi access these days, especially when you’re away on a trip.

You’ll need it to check emails, do research, and post on social media. It helps you convert currencies and overcome language barriers. If you get lost, then it becomes your compass. I personally feel very uncomfortable traveling anywhere now without securing wifi access first. Click on the link to rent a pocket wifi device through Get Your Guide (Istanbul pick-up).

3. Enter from the North & Exit Through Pamukkale Town Entrance

There are three entrances to Hierapolis and the travertines — North, South, and the Pamukkale town entrances.

Most people without rental cars will probably enter the plateau through the Pamukkale town entrance. This is fine but it means that you’ll need to cross the travertines twice — going there and back — which isn’t as easy as it looks. Instead, I suggest taking the minibus all the way up to the north entrance and walking in from there.

You can walk through the vast necropolis and explore the Hierapolis ruins in about 1-2 hours. You can then spend around half an hour at the museum, go for a swim in the Antique Pool if you like, before making your way down the travertines and exiting the plateau through the Pamukkale town entrance.

4. Arrange for Private Transportation to Aphrodisias through your Hotel

When preplanning our trip, booking a tour to Aphrodisias was challenging. I couldn’t find many operators online that offered affordable group rates. Most offered private tours only and were thus considerably more expensive.

In the end, I wound up arranging for private transportation through Bellamaritimo Hotel. Though it’s difficult to find any online, there are many tour operators in Pamukkale town that can arrange a similar trip for you.

You can either book it yourself when you arrive in Pamukkale or ask your hotel for help. During peak seasons, it may be advisable to make advanced arrangements.

5. Check for Pamukkale Travel Vouchers

I buy travel vouchers from several different websites but for Pamukkale, the site that had the most deals was Get Your Guide.

There aren’t as many as in other cities but if you’re looking for deals on tours and activities in Pamukkale, then Get Your Guide is probably your best bet.

6. Get Travel Insurance

Getting travel insurance is something we deliberate on before every trip. Basically, if we’re just going to a city like Singapore to eat and shop for a few days, then we probably won’t get it.

But if we plan on doing anything physical like horseback riding in Cappadocia or paragliding in Pammukale, then we’ll definitely pick up a policy.

When we do feel we need it, we buy insurance from SafetyWing or Heymondo. They’re popular travel insurance providers used by many digital nomads. Click on the links to get a free quote from SafetyWing or Heymondo. Get 5% off on Heymondo if you purchase a policy using our link.

7. Know When and How Much to Tip

Giving modest tips is commonplace in Turkey. At a cheap restaurant, around 5-10% is enough but 10-15% is expected at classier establishments. For porters and bellhops, try to give EUR 1 per bag.

If you go on a tour and are happy with it, then a group tip of around EUR 10-15 will be appreciated. If you ride a taxi, then rounding up to a convenient amount is enough – ie TL 15.40 to TL 16.

8. Bring the Right Power Adapter

Electrical outlets in Turkey are round so plugs are typically Type C or Type F. Be sure to bring the right power adapters for your devices. Electrical voltage is 230V.

Have Fun!

I’m by no means an expert on Pamukkale or Turkey but I do hope that you find this guide helpful. I’m only sharing some of the things I learned from our trip. If you have any questions, then please feel free to ask us in the comment section below.

Thanks for stopping by and prepare to be awed by the calcium travertines of Pamukkale!


These are some of the things we brought with us to Pamukkale. See what’s in our backpack for a complete list of our travel gear. (NOTE: The following links are Amazon and other affiliate links.)

Canon PowerShot G7X Mark III
Canon G7X Mark III
LEVEL8 Glitter Carry-on
Glitter Carry-on
SCOTTeVEST Men's Hidden Cargo Pants
Hidden Pocket Pants


Some of the links in this Pamukkale travel guide are affiliate links. What that means is we’ll earn a small commission if you make a booking at no extra cost to you. We only recommend products and services that we use ourselves and firmly believe in. We really appreciate your support as this helps us make more of these free travel guides. Thank you!

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Thursday 18th of May 2023

As a fellow travel blogger, I just want to drop a comment to compliment for the impressive quality of this post and the blog in general! Just realizing how much work goes into writing this and making it so neat and clean! Keep up the good work! :D

We will be visiting Pamukkale tomorrow, thanks for all the info!

JB & Renée

Sunday 21st of May 2023

Thank you so much Dani! That means a lot coming from a fellow travel blogger.

Hope you had a wonderful time in Pamukkale! We'll be traveling to Turkey ourselves in a couple of months.


Sunday 24th of November 2019

Going down the rabbit hole after first learning about the Cleopatra Pool led me to your blog - i had no idea how much there is to do in Pamukkale!

To maximize my vacation time I was thinking of going to Turkey at the end of December/early November between X-mas & NYE - I know you said it's cold in Pamukkale in the winter, but do you think it'll still be possible to swim in the Cleopatra Pools at that time? It seems everything else is doable in the winter (barring the rain doesn't get too bad)

JB & Renée

Wednesday 27th of November 2019

Hi Omar, THIS REVIEWER said that the water is warm throughout the year so it should be perfect in winter. Enjoy Turkey! :)


Wednesday 25th of September 2019


Was really great reading your blog. It has definitely helped getting ready for my trip there in two weeks time.

I just have a quick question, what time exactly can one visit the travetines or the nearby structures. I see on some websites that it opens at 8am, others say its open from 6am, and some even say there are night tours available till midnight.

Do you have any idea when it really is?

We are spending the night before in Pammukale, but will like to make the best use of the morning hours visiting the sites {travetine, hierapolis etc} since we will have to be leaving by 11 am.

Your advice will really be appreciated. Thanks

JB & Renée

Thursday 26th of September 2019

Hi Austin, it used to be 8AM but it may have changed since then. If you've booked accommodations, then it's best to ask your hotel. They can confirm what the latest operating hours are. Also, it looks as if they've raised admission to 60TL per person.

Hara Krisna

Monday 26th of August 2019


We will be arriving at Denizli Airport from Istanbul around 7:55 AM. Are there any tour companies that will offer you a Pamukkale Day Tour at the airport and do you have idea if how much? Also, we are travelling to Cappadocia via Night bus on the same day, do you have details for the bus station and how much is the fare from Pamukkale to Cappadocia? Appreciate your help. Thank you.

JB & Renée

Tuesday 27th of August 2019

Hi Hara, we didn't go through Denizli Airport so I'm afraid I don't know. I did find THIS TOUR that starts from Pamukkale on Get Your Guide. They have OTHER TOURS as well. Just be sure that the one you pick starts in Pamukkale and not from some other city.

You can check our Cappadocia travel guide for information on how to get there from Pamukkale. You can click on the bus company links and do dummy bookings to check for fares.

Hope that helps and enjoy your trip. :)


Saturday 20th of July 2019

Such a helpful post! I am drafting Cappadocia - Pamukkale I just have few question; did you fly out from Denzil to Istanbul or took bus?

And, Did you visit Calcium Travertines on first day or second? Thanks

JB & Renée

Sunday 21st of July 2019

Happy you found it useful MJ! We went to Cappadocia from Denizli by bus. We were only in Denizli for a night so we went on the first day, shortly after arriving from Selcuk. We did a day trip to Aphrodisias on our second day. Hope that helps! :)