THERMAL POOLS MADE OF COTTON: A magic day in Pamukkale

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I’ve been obsessed with Pamukkale ever since I discovered some amazing photos online. These natural hot springs that flow through calcareous rock pools just seemed too incredible to be real!

We had a whole day to explore, so we started off going up the terraces in the morning. The water is warm at the top terraces, but as you move down it can be quite cold (I imagine in the summer that wouldn’t be a problem).

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After reaching the top of the terraces, we spent a couple of hours exploring the ruins of the ancient city of Hierapolis.

The place is really beautiful and you get great views of the mountains and valley below. The highlight is the impressive theatre, which looks really amazing, especially as we got there just before sunset.

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Another great thing to do is swimming in the Ancient Pool (also known as Cleopatra’s pool), where you can spend a couple of hours lounging about in the warm water among ancient columns.

At the end of the day we walked back down the travertine terraces, stopping to warm up our feet in the thermal pools along the way.

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What makes Pamukkale really memorable is that you have ancient ruins, natural pools and an ancient bath all in the same place, with a great view in the background – it just adds up to a very unique experience. When we were walking back to our hostel, I knew this had been a day to remember!

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Outside the natural reserve, Pamukkale is little more than one road with a few restaurants and shops. When we visited it was dead empty, but at our hotel they said this has been a very quiet year.

We had dinner at Kayas on our first night and went back again the next day. The food was nice and cheap – dinner for two including drinks and tip for about £20.

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HOW TO DO IT:

  • Go: We took the bus from Izmir to Denizli, which took about 3h and cost 24TL per person. On the bus we had free snacks and a TV in every seat. From Denizli a shuttle bus takes you to Pamukkale for 3.5TL. Denizli also has a local airport with flights to Istanbul (takes about 1h). The shuttle from Pamukkale to the airport costs 30TL per person. All of the transportation we sorted out on the day, asking at the hotel and at stations.
  • Stay: We stayed at Sinter Terasse, a nice place about 10 minutes from the entrance of the reserve. The hostess was really friendly and helpful. A room for two including breakfast costs about £25 per night.
  • The natural reserve: Tickets cost 25TL per person. The Ancient Pool costs an extra 35TL per person, but it’s definitely worth it. We visited in November, when it gets quite cold in the evenings, but during the day it was a perfect 20 degrees.  It was also a good time to visit as we had most of it to ourselves.

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