A Trip to the Pamukkale-Hierapolis World Heritage Site Turkey
Last June whilst staying in the beautiful fishing village of Gocek we made a trip to the travertine terraces and pools at Pammukale. Although you can take organised tours (and there are regular buses and minibuses from Denizli) we chose to drive in our hire car, which took around 3 hours. Situated on the western side of the Anatolian plateau it was a pleasant, scenic journey and the roads were good.
A Unesco World Heritage Site
In 1988 Pamukkale-Hierapolis was made a Unesco World Heritage site and with over two million visitors a year is it extremely popular. In fact it is Turkey’s most visited attraction. We visited in Summer but if you go in Winter you are less likely to encounter crowds and you may even see snow here too! Apparently Pamukkale is known for being the finest example of elaborate calcium formation in the world.
Take A Bag or Rucksack
We had been advised to arrive as early as possible as it can get very busy at Pammukale, especially in the afternoons. We managed to park in the onsite car park and set off to explore. It’s a good idea to take a bag for your sandals, sun tan lotion, water bottles and hats etc as you’re not allowed to walk in the travertines themselves in shoes or sandals for fear of staining or damaging the delicate stone. We also wore our swimsuits and took a change of clothes as not only can you bathe in the travertine pools if you fancy, but you can also swim in the mineral baths at Hierapolis afterwards.
Surreal White “Cotton Castle”
The travertine’s themselves are surreal when you first set eyes upon them. Brilliant, blindingly white in the sunshine, they are a truly spectacular geological phenomenon. The word Pamukkale means “Cotton Castle” in Turkish and when you see these limestone cascades you cannot fail to be impressed by nature’s creativity.
You walk up the pathway through the travertines from the main entrance and certain pools are open to the public where you can walk, sit or bathe in the warm waters. When you walk in the pools you can feel that the base is very soft and clay-like. The minerals must do wonders for your skin though, because at the end of the day having walked through them your feet feel so soft! However, please note that the main terraces are off-limits, having suffered erosion and water pollution from tourists over the years.
Hierapolis Necropolis and Theatre
Once you have finished exploring the Travertines it’s time to discover the temples, necropolis, theatre and bath houses of the remains of Greek-Roman spa city of Hierapolis. There is so much to see and discover here – so do allow enough time.
After walking through the ancient ruins you might want to stop for something to eat. There are a couple of cafés/snack places where you can enjoy some delicious local specialities.
Hierapolis Mineral Baths
Afterwards how about a dip in the warm mineral rich waters of the Hierapolis Mineral baths? The pool is filled with ancient columns and ruins from the city and is really relaxing. What’s more the mineral waters are said to have natural healing powers. In any case, they are perfect for a spot of relaxation after walking through the travertines and hiking amongst the ancient ruins.
Pamukkale-Hierapolis World Heritage Site Turkey
Information for Visiting
Open: All year round
Opening times: Nov-March 6am-6.30pm, April-Oct 6am-midnight.
Tickets to Hierapolis/Pamukkale Travertines: 25TL
Entry to Hierapolis Thermal Baths: 32TL
Thermal Baths Opening Times: Nov-March 8am-5.30pm, April-Oct 8am-7.30pm.
You can find some further information here.
We spent the whole day there from morning through till late afternoon. Depending on what you’re most interested in you may want to spend a couple of hours to a whole day. Do try to avoid the afternoon though as that when it is most busy!
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