This post most likely contains affiliate links to things such as tours, transport, accommodation, products & amazon associate links. I may receive a small commission if you use the links which costs you no extra, but helps keep this blog going.
Updated 2019. My first two nights in Turkey were spent in the coastal town of Fethiye, where I flew into Dalaman Airport, a popular destination from the UK. Fethiye was a nice holiday destination with friendly locals and plenty to do however after a day on the beach and with 10 days in Turkey in total I was keen to start exploring.
I booked a bus from Fethiye Otogar Bus station to Pamukkale for 30 TL/ £6.60 and the journey took 5 hours with a bus swap in Denzil- the city closest to Pamukkale.
Recently I had seen lots of photos online of this Cotton Castle place (which is what Pamukkale means in Turkish) with a bright white surface and terraces filled with pure blue water and I knew because it looked like one of the best places in Turkey!
Pamukkale is one of Turkeys biggest tourist attractions and the town itself is full with accommodation and restaurants for those staying overnight to visit the cotton castles. Pamukkale can be visited on a day trip from coastal towns of Turkey but as I was heading North it made sense to stay a night and then I had the next morning to explore before the day tourists arrived which is exactly what I did.
A side note on the Geography of this area and how it was created- hot calcium-laden waters spring from the earth and cascade over the cliff, as they cool they form dramatic travertines of hard, beautifully white calcium that forms pools… I don’t really understand it either!
Related Post: Here are some extra Pamukkale Tips for when you visit!
On arrival however you could be mistaken for thinking it is a glacier of some sorts but no its really not. I headed up the hill and paid the entrance fee of 25 TL/£5.00, from here you have to take off your shoes so the area doesn’t get dirty. At first I was worried about stepping onto the white area as it had water running down it and reminded me of ice or of water on a waterfall which would be slippy but the ground is not slippy at all and your feet really grip well despite the running water which was a warm bath temperature.
I got there for 9am and there weren’t too many people in front of me which was brilliant (fast forward to about 11am and that was a whole different story) so i got to take my time walking up the rock like area and i got to view and take lots of photo’s in the terraces with that infamous blue water.
For Day Tours to Pammukale or around Pamukkale, have a look at these:
Once at the top you can walk around and admire the view of the town and countryside below, again because I had got there early I got a lot of the area to myself.
I had read there were Roman Ruins and a Theatre but what I didn’t expect were just how many ruins there were. Once upon a time there had been a whole roman village spa on top of the hill with a theatre and a church and the contrast of the white and blue terraces to the brown and green fields at the top was very surprising. While this acted as a village the villagers used to use the water in the terraces for healing themselves.
I walked up the hill towards the Theatre dodging the tour groups which had now arrived, I hadn’t been to a Roman Theatre before so it was great to finally see one and made me think that I could well be on the set of Gladiator.
The weather had turned quite overcast which was a shame so I waited it out in hope of some sun and did some people watching- it was selfie central at the terraces and by about 1pm they were really busy and I was pleased I arrived early in the morning.
Finally, with no sun appearing I headed back down the terraces (which were so busy now!) and into the town for some Turkish Lunch and of course as I was heading back out of the Restaurant the sun started shining and the sky proceeded to clear into a beautiful day (however I was still glad I decided to go so early in the morning).
Sunset is also a popular time to visit Pamukkale as the sky turns a beautiful pale orange and pink and reflects off of the water so in the end you benefit whether you go in the morning or in the afternoon and stay until sunset.
I enjoyed my day in Pamukkale but i was ready to set off to my next destination.. Cappadocia which entailed a mini bus back to Denzil and then a night bus at 21:00 arriving at 6:30am.
Useful Information for visiting Pamukkale in Turkey!
Buses run regularly to Pamukkale from nearby towns, you will probably stop in Denzil first and be swapped onto a mini bus which you’ll have to pay 3.50 TL/ £0.78 for.
In Fethiye I stayed in Rebin Beach Hotel, it was a few minutes from Calis beach and 75 TL/ £16.00 a night for a decent double room with a balcony and the hotel had a nice pool and plenty of sunbeds.
In Pamukkale I stayed in Hotel Dort Mevsim and paid 55 TL/ £12.50 for a single room with a double bed. It’s not right in the town but is only a short 5-10minute walk away so not a problem, I found most of the accommodation in the town looked quite outdated to be honest and past its heyday but if you’re just staying for a night or two which is all you need then this is fine!
Walking around Pamukkale took me 5 hours however I definitely took my time and stopped to enjoy the views a lot (and did some people watching) so I would say it can be done in 3-4 hours easily.