PAMUKKALE THERMAL POOLS are a natural formation of mineral springs set on massive travertine terraces built up over millennia by limestone deposits left behind by running water. It’s also the site of the well-preserved ruins of the Greco-Roman city of Hierapolis, which was originally built around a warm-water spring. You can still swim in the pool today.

How to get there

The nearest city to Pamukkale is Denizli—18km away—which has frequent minibuses running from the bus station and the pools. If you’re in the surrounding cities you can either take a bus to Denizli or rent a car and drive yourself. Kusadasi is three hours, Antalya and Marmaris are four, and Bodrum is five.

There are three entrances to the terraces. The Pamukkale town entrance is the most scenic— you walk up the travertines in your bare feet, it takes 20-30 minutes and there is no parking fee.

What to consider

  • The best way to experience the uncrowded pools is to spend the night in Pamukkale village—the majority of the tours and day-trippers don’t arrive until later in the day.
  • It can get really crowded, so go early.
  • They don’t allow shoes on the terraces, so bring a bag to stash your shoes and towel.
  • The Travertine Pools are open April 15-Oct 2 from 8am-9pm and Oct 3-April 14 from 8:30am-5pm. The entrance fee is TL35 ~$10
  • The Antique Pool is open from Nov-March 8am-5:30pm, and April-Oct 8am-7:30pm. Entrance fee is TL33 around $10. Bring your own towel.
  • Pamukkale has been a ‘spa town’ since the Romans claimed the city of Hierapolis.