Spending a day in a place outside your country can be a little difficult especially when it’s loaded with tourist attractions and you want to visit them all. I mean, why not? It probably took some major planning and a lot of money spending to get yourself in that place and, chances are, it will take you years to come back or never at all.
So, it’s like, make the most of the day! Or something along the line.
In Pamukkale, however, staying for a day isn’t so bad. You can visit most, if not all, of the top tourist attractions and you’ll be leaving satisfied.
That is if we assume that you only intend to sight see and do nothing else but take pictures of everything. But, if you plan to experience more of the place, staying in the town for 2 days is good enough.
When I visited on February, it was winter. It wasn’t too cold and, at around noon, it got warm. I had two layers of clothes and that’s about it. There were less tourists (almost none) so you can imagine how much I enjoyed going around as if I own the place.
I definitely did the right thing of visiting the place on winter! I was able to take pictures without worrying about photo-bombers and I didn’t have to wait for a crowd to leave in order to see what I wanted to see. Heh, #shortieproblems.
The experience I had in Pamukkale was definitely worth the 10 hours bus ride I had from Cappadocia!
Alright, I’ll stop rambling now. I don’t really want to bore you.
If you’re curious and, would like to know what I did and visited in Pamukkale, continue reading!
► Visit Karahayit Hot Springs
Soak your feet in the hot waters of Karahayit hot springs and take your time to relax while enjoying a peaceful, quiet time. You can also try to reach out where the source of water is coming from and drink it. It is a good way to take a break from the road and slow down for a bit.
Because of the minerals found in the hot water, you’ll notice that the rock where the water passes vary in color.
A word of advice: you have to make sure that the water you’re going to take from the spring is drinkable. I almost made a mistake of taking water from the pool with tadpoles in it. Lmao! I wasn’t looking properly.
If you have the time and are staying in Pamukkale longer, try the mud baths. It is said that the water from the hot spring is good for the skin and cures aching bones, muscles, and veins.
► Wander around Hierapolis
Hierapolis, “sacred city” in ancient Greek, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located above the white calcium travertines of Pamukkale. Explore the ancient Greco-Roman city and hike around to discover its ruins.
Since I only had a day to wander around Hierapolis, I was only able to see the following:
Once you enter the Hierapolis, you will see numerous blocks scattered in the area. Obviously, the scattered blocks are the remnants of the structures which once stood there. In the city ruins, you’ll find two structures next to each other: the Temple of Apollo which was dedicated to the Greek sun god Apollo and the Plutonium, a shrine for the Roman god Pluto. (Fun fact: Hades is Pluto’s counterpart in Greek mythology)
Plutonium or Pluto’s gate is where you’ll find a cave where water passes rapidly while emitting a thick layer of suffocating gas. In other words, you’ll die from inhaling it.
When you stand next to the cave, you’ll definitely hear the flow of water from behind. You don’t have to worry about dying from some gas though since the cave has been sealed off centuries ago. Hooray for seals!
You’ll also be able to find the ruins of ancient agoras, the nymphaeum, necropolis, and Apostle Philip’s church inside the Hierapolis.
The amphitheather is being restored well. You can see how the structure looked like from the ancient times which allows you to better imagine how the people gathered in it. It is believed to have a seating capacity of 15,000 with 45 rows; upper and lower part altogether.
I’m not really sure if you can enter the theater from below but you can enter it at the top after hiking the side of the hill. You can also step down the stone seats to get a nice photo op.
Antique Pool (Cleopatra’s Pool)
Now, I’m not really sure why it’s called Cleopatra’s pool. I asked one of the locals if Cleopatra actually came to this pool but she said that Cleopatra didn’t. Now that I think about it, maybe it was called Cleopatra’s pool because the water does wonders to one’s body. See what I mean? Cleopatra is a beauty and the water makes you feel good and beautiful. There’s a connection there, people! But then again, don’t take me seriously. It’s just a random thought.
Cleopatra’s pool is filled with rubble from the columns of the ancient times. The pool was actually formed by the earthquake which happened in AD 7th century. And, you know what’s great? You can swim in it!
The water in the pool is thermal so you can swim in it all year round. It is said that the pool’s water is good for some diseases and ailments. So, when you do get the time and chance, don’t miss out on swimming in it.
I mean, getting the benefits of the water is one thing but, come on! How cool is it to swim in a pool with ancient stuff in it? Bathe like how the Romans did!
► Walk on the Travertines
Pamukkale, meaning “cotton castle” in Turkish, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is located right next to the Hierapolis.
Pamukkale’s color is white. At first glance, it looks as if the place is covered with snow. If you look at it longer, you’ll notice that it’s appearance looks like cotton but, of course, it is far from being fluffy.
Similar to the spring and pool which we previously mentioned, Pamukkale travertine’s water is also thermal. Great, isn’t it? You can still walk on it even when it’s winter!
In order to walk around the travertines, you have to be barefooted. It’s actually a nice experience as you get to feel the texture of it’s surface beneath your feet. It also enables you to dip your feet in the water canal while you sit and enjoy the panoramic view below you.
► Paraglide above Pamukkale
If it’s in your bucket list, don’t miss paragliding over Pamukkale and see the white calcium travertines from above!
Do I really need to say more?
► Chill at the Natural Park
You can spend some time watching the ducks, riding the small boats, and/or looking at the calm water at the natural park while snacking on something you bought from the store.
The natural park is located at the foot of Pamukkale.
- If you’re planning to swim in Cleopatra’s pool, you have to know the following:
- If you’re on a tour, inform your tour guide about your plan so they can let you swim in the pool for an hour.
- A fee of 32TL is charged in order to swim in the pool
- Towels are not available so bring your own
- Pool is accessible all throughout the year
- Lockers are available with extra fee
- Be careful when you walk on the travertines, the areas where the water isn’t moving is slippery.
- If you’re coming from above (from Hierapolis), make your way below the cotton castle. Don’t miss out on the beautiful travertine terraces which can be found somewhere in the lower part of the area.