Home Destinations The Cotton Castle: Complete Guide to Pamukkale in Turkey

The Cotton Castle: Complete Guide to Pamukkale in Turkey

by Parastoo Sahebi
11 minutes read

Terry Richardson in the Telegraph magazine names Pamukkale in Turkey or the cotton castle of Turkey as the most popular tourist attraction in the country. If you plan to travel abroad in the near future and experience something different, follow us in this post. In the following, we will talk about Pamukkale in Turkey, and show why many tourists prefer this beautiful, classy spa to the clean and attractive beaches of the Mediterranean.

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Where Is Pamukkale in Turkey?

Pamukkale is the name of a small town or village in the southwest of Turkey, which is world famous for its springs, terraces, rivers, and natural as well as artificial spa pools.

For the first time, the Romans noticed this natural beauty and built a city in its vicinity. As a result, visiting this town offers a lot of ancient monuments along with breathtakingly beautiful natural attractions.

Pamukkale in Turkey is so special and unique as if we are watching Marvel comics. Hot and mineral water flows from 17 springs located on different levels of the mountain and creates a spa terrace. You can be in a spa pool, which is located at the height of the mountain and the view in front is a window to pristine nature. This water comes down and creates a river and finally, the river water is directed to a space that provides visitors with a spa lake.

Apart from these natural paths that have been created over time, the Turkish government has created many swimming pools and amenities that together make one or two dreamy and unforgettable days for tourists visiting Pamukkale in Turkey.

Pamukkale is located near the city of Denizli, Turkey, but it is only three hours from Izmir, Antaly, and Kusadasi, and about seven hours from Istanbul. As a result, if your ticket is for any of these tourist cities in Turkey, you can still spare a day or two for the most popular sights of this country in Pamukkale.


Why You Should Definitely Visit Pamukkale in Turkey?

No other place in the world offers tourists the opportunity to walk in the morning in the remains of two centuries BC, see a temple, sit on the seats of a Roman amphitheater and then relax in the spa terraces or in the beautiful swimming pools and swim naturally.

In this historical attraction, you can bathe like the Romans, leave your body in the hands of the minerals found in the water boiled from the heart of the earth, walk in the pure and pristine nature, and instead of getting lost in the hustle and bustle of the beaches and other tourist attractions, spend quality minutes with yourself and nature.

According to the official statistics of the Turkish government, two million people visit Pamukkale in Turkey every year. UNESCO has included this area in its world heritage list as well.

If you have a look at the list of must-see places before you die, you will see the name and address of this attraction in the vast majority of them. Do you need more reasons why you should definitely visit Pamukkale in Turkey?

How to Get to Pamukkale?

There are many ways to get to this historical town. If you book a tour to Denizli or if you go in your own car, the schedule will be in your own hands. But if you have been to other tourist cities in Turkey and want to visit this attraction for one or two days, the following ways are possible.

If you are in Kusadasi, Antalya, Marmara, or Bodrum, the best way is to arrange a private driver or taxi to take you to Pamukkale. This journey takes less than four hours and is faster and more economical compared to the train or plane tickets. But if this option is not practical, go to the terminal of each of the mentioned cities and take the Denizli bus. The distance from Denizli to the spa is only eighteen kilometers, and buses and minibusses (Dolmush) run at intervals of forty minutes.

But for Istanbul, due to the distance, it is recommended to use the plane. To get tickets, you can go to Turkish Airlines and Pegasus, as they both fly to Denizli from Atatürk and Sabiha Airport in Istanbul.


Best Time to Visit Pamukkale in Turkey

Pamukkale can be expected to be very crowded, especially during the high seasons. If you don’t like these conditions and want to swim in a secluded area, it is better to arrange your schedule like this: Go to the village of Pamukkale at night, settle in one of the hostels, visit the historical city of Hierapolis early in the morning, and arrive at the spa before noon.

Since most tours depart first thing in the morning from nearby towns, with this trick you’ll be done and out by the time they arrive. Of course, since the weather is cold in winter and you can enjoy the view more than the bath, there are not many people in the spa during the cold seasons either.

Working hours also change according to the season. From November to April, service is available from 6 am to 7 pm, and the rest of the year from 6 am to midnight. So, it can be concluded that the best time to visit Pamukkale in Turkey is during the hot seasons (summer and spring) and before noon. But if you are interested in nightlife and the crowd doesn’t bother you, you can move the plan to the later hours of the day.

What to Do in Pamukkale?

You can basically do three things in this historical city. You will visit Roman, Greek, and ancient buildings, refresh yourself in the spa and finally enjoy the beautiful nature, especially its memorable and unique sunsets. Now let’s go through more detailed visiting options:

Karahyit Red Springs

This spectacular attraction is located seven or eight kilometers north of Pamukkale in Turkey. With only two liras, you can get to your destination by bus or the Turkish delmush and visit one of the most pristine sights in Turkey. Since the main and first destination of most tourists are the springs of Pamukkale, this place is extremely quiet and without any entrance fee. The water coming out of the springs contains minerals, especially iron, and has an interesting red color. Meanwhile, the surrounding landscape is incredibly green and lively as well.

The Ancient City of Hierapolis

Hierapolis means holy city in Greek. The history of this city goes back to the ancient Greek period. But its final glory is due to the Roman period; When people from all over the empire came to this city to cure their ailments at the spa. Hierapolis was also used as a religious base for the spread of Christianity in modern-day Turkey.

Leaving aside the history, it is rare to see Greek, Roman, and Islamic monuments at the same time in one historical site. As a result, if you are eager to see Roman baths, historical amphitheaters, ancient temples, and many other attractions, you just need to take a taxi or bus to Pamukkale four or five kilometers away and pay fifty liras for the entrance fee (children under six years old and others up to 12 years old pay only thirteen liras).

It is worth noting that Cleopatra’s bath or pool is also located in this complex, and for only 50 lira you can swim in the private pool of one of the greatest queens in the history of the world!

Hot Springs

Now it’s time to get to the main point, that is, the hot springs. This attraction, which is known as Qasr or cotton castle in Turkish, has a white background due to the sediments (travertine) accumulated over the years and hosts clear and clean blue water. Especially when you go there in the summer season, it’s like an ice mountain, but not only does it not make you cold, but it also transfers pleasant and lovely warmth to your body.

As described at the beginning, you will face the river and pond at the bottom, and there are spa terraces in front of you at the heights. The entrance fee for each person is 50 liras and the parking fee is 5 liras for each car. To visit Pamukkale in Turkey, remember the following recommendations:

  • Early in the morning, the air is cooler and the complex is quieter;
  • If you have sensitive skin, it is not a bad idea to bring an umbrella and sunscreen;
  • Drinks and food prices are a bit high, so if you plan to travel economically, bring a bottle of mineral water or your favorite drink with you;
  • At the beginning of the entrance, you have to take off your shoes, so it is necessary to bring a plastic bag or a backpack;
  • The surface of the ground is slippery, so tread carefully to avoid an accident.

In this area, there are 17 natural hot water springs whose average temperature is 35 degrees Celsius. Volcanic activities underground have created these hot water springs, and this hot water, which falls from a height of 100 meters, is deposited on the mountain slope where it slows down, and these deposits and white limestones create a beautiful view. Many tourists who step into this dreamy place believe that it is an ideal refuge for peace of mind and soul.

In the 20th century, a hotel was allowed to be built next to the historical city of Hierapolis, and this caused the destruction of a part of the historical town, even motorbikes and bicycles were allowed to travel on the road along the range. Right from the time Pamukkale in Turkey was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, hotels were destroyed and no vehicles were allowed to travel in the area, and strict rules were put in place to preserve this wonder of nature. Now even asking to enter with shoes on is forbidden.

Agents are present throughout the route to prevent any violation in this regard. In addition to being protected by the Turkish government, this place is also registered in the list of European natural monuments, and the European Union annually considers a budget for the protection of this area. The hot water pools of this area also have therapeutic properties. People have believed that bathing in these pools has healing properties for thousands of years.


Pamukkale National Park

This park is located downstream of the spa. Its view is the white mountain of Pamukkale in Turkey and in its heart, there is a huge lake of mineral spring water. Entrance to the park is free, and it is used by locals and many others for picnics. During the tourist seasons, balloon rides and paragliding are booming there as well. It is a great option for walking, enjoying the fresh air, and watching the beautiful view.


Usually, everyone goes to Hierapolis to see historical monuments. As a result, again, for those looking for a cozy, private, and more secluded attraction, Laodicea is a wonderful option. This ancient attraction is located six kilometers from the city of Denizli, Turkey, and there are buses and taxis to this destination.

The multitude of pillars left from Roman architecture, beautiful cobblestones, blue sky, occasional winds, and a cozy cafe are the reasons why we recommend that you definitely include a visit to Laodicea in your travel plans to Pamukkale in Turkey. The entrance fee for the collection is a small amount of 15 liras.

Final Word

Pamukkale is one of the most beautiful tourist places in Turkey and one of the most amazing tourist sights in the world. Pamukkale is located in the Aegean Sea and on the Menderes River, which has a mild climate in most seasons of the year. It is located in Denizli province in the southwest of Turkey, 2 hours away from the city of Antalya and near the Mediterranean Sea. This province includes the hot springs and the terrace of carbonate minerals that are flowing by the water. This spring is known as the White Cotton Castle due to its beautiful and stunning views and the white color of the formed sediments.

In this post, we talked about one of the most popular sights of Turkey with a global reputation. Keep in mind that the attractions and sights of Pamukkale in Turkey are not limited to the ones introduced in this post, and this magical place has something for everyone.


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