With its white cover on, Pamukkale (means “Cotton Castle” in Turkish) looks like whipped cream poured on a hill. Yes, to be honest, when I first went there with my grandfather when I was 6, my first impression as a child was that it really looked like melting ice cream. Some could tell that it looks like a snowy mountain hill; but now, as a grown up, (Pamukkale does not mean me anymore as a sweet candy place but) the reasons it attracts me are: the lovely scene, nature-history combination and the joy of watching the sunset over there.
Yes, watching the sunset is literally a-ma-zing!
Why would a person go to Pamukkale?
So, as we are not discussing here about how the travertine could be formed like that in a scientific manner, we could go on with why a human being would want to visit Pamukkale.
As I mentioned before, the scene is perfect; or you might want to have some health care by bathing in the thermal spring; or, culturally thinking, the place is in the list of “World Heritage Sites” since 1988 and really deserves to be in.
The Ancient City of Hierapolis is on the top of the cotton hill and the historians tell that Hierapolis is built in order to use the thermal baths by the people of the time. And as we can understand from that, the thermal waters over there is used for thousands of years for soothing, relaxing and enjoying. And also Hierapolis (with the meaning “holy city”) has a religious meaning for the Christian world.
So, if you decide to go Pamukkale for some reason, you need to be prepared to spend at least a whole day in order not to cause a “trip for nothing”. What I am trying to say here is, if I were you, I wouldn’t miss swimming in the pools during the day and enjoying the sunset.
How can we go to Pamukkale?
I would mention here, taking a tour is the safest and easiest as always. But if you wish to go there by your own drive Pamukkale is at a nice location close to many of the touristic cities. And also, you may wish to have a plane trip to Denizli Çardak Airport. Taking a taxi from the airport to Pamukkale might be a little bit expensive because of the distance about 75 km.s but there are companies that provide special shuttles and car transportation to Pamukkale directly from the airport. Renting a car is another option for the region because you will be finding chance of exploring some additional locations around Pamukkale if you can find extra time.
And you may use Airport Shuttles to Denizli Bus Station and then you can use Pamukkale Shuttles from the Bus Station. This trip seems to be the cheaper one but it sure will take a longer time.
What is waiting for you as you arrive Pamukkale?
So as we are sure that you are here to see travertines and/or Hierapolis, actually you have two choices:
1. Starting with seeing the travertines, enjoying the pools and then start climbing to the top of the hill to spend some time in and around the antique pool and visit Hierapolis,
2. Starting with visiting Hierapolis (that means passing the travertines for a later visit and directly going to the top), enjoying the ancient pools and spending the day around there, and then going down to watching the sunset on the travertines.
Whichever you do, it is OK. You will enjoy both. But, to move on, let’s consider that you are starting with the travertines.
As you park your drive or as the busses leave you in the parking lot the adventure starts. The closest to the parking lot is the Princess Snowwhite of the Agean region, the Pamukkale Travertines are just welcoming you over there. The entrance fee to the travertines is around 10 $.
A little information about the travertines could be helpful here:
– What you are gonna step on is called “calcium carbonade” which is deposited in jelly form (so do not expect a slippery ground, it really feels like walking on the mud) by the running water coming from 17 springs on the top, it is said that 1 mm.s of travertine is left by water per year,
– The water coming from the springs is told to be between 30 to 90 Celsius degrees (I guess it makes around 90 to 200 F), you can enjoy the warm water in the very shallow pools and might want to try covering your body with the calcium carbonate (they say that it’s healthy),
– Water is warm in both summer and winter, so some people also enjoy bathing in the winter time too.
Since it is a protected area, the part that you always see on the pictures is not allowed to enter. Thus that part still stays as white as a snowy hill.
On the other hand you can enter the other part of the travertines and it’s alowed to enjoy the pools. The only thing they want us to do is taking our shoes off. That helps the cotton castle live longer. There’s not much to do here other than bathing and taking photos. But it’s for sure that people usually spend a lot of time taking photos over there. Yes, after becoming healthy by enjoying the bath and taking a million photos, you can move on to the top of the hill to discover the Ancient City of Hierapolis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hierapolis) and enjoy your time in and around the antique pool.
Here the fact is swimming in the antique pool. I guess there’s no need to talk about the feeling of swimming around the remainings of an ancient city.
The entrance fee to the pool is around 15 $. The pool is naturally so crowded in the summer time but when you see it, you just understand why. There is also Cleopatra’s Pool in Hierapolis to see. Yes, you absolutely will feel the same thing that I felt that life was really awesome in the ancient history when you see the environment. There are enough places to eat and rest around the pool, so, if you have time, you can spend all your day around the pools.
And finally the “Sunset”
Please don’t forget to wait until seeing the sun down at the end of the day and after finishing the day on the “Cotton Castle”, you may now visit the small town with the same name “Pamukkale” close to the area. There you will find some shops to buy souvenirs and have a chance have a good healthy Aegean style dinner (usually food of vegetable made with olive oil, or some tasty meat) and afterwards have some fun drinking and dancing.
For sure; the village of Pamukkale has some beautiful hotels with a good view of travertines or a nice environment to offer the visitors, and some of the best hotels that we could recommend you are: (you can click the name of the hotel to check the specialties, prices and visitors comments)
Now, I am sure you will enjoy your Pamukkale visit and/or stay at the beautiful castle of cotton! Have fun!