The thermal pools at Pamukkale in Turkey. The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Pamukkale gives you all the information you need about what you can really expect, when to go, where to stay, and more.

The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Pamukkale’s Thermal Pools

Pamukkale’s thermal pools, often called the Cotton Castle, were on my bucket list since high school without me even realizing it. As I watched The Odyssey in high school, the scenes set in the travertines caught my attention for the area’s natural beauty. It wasn’t until years later that I realized that place really existed. When we planned our road trip through Turkey, I put Pamukkale near the top of the list for our stops.

This guide will help you know what to take with you, when to go, the actual opening hours  (they are hard to find online and many sites have the wrong information), what to see, and what to expect when you arrive. While I loved our visit and would go again, not everything is as it seems on social media (shocker, I know!).

*Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. Purchasing through these links earns us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Women at Pamukkale travertines, thermal pools in Turkey

 

PLANNING YOUR VISIT TO PAMUKKALE

Pamukkale is a popular tourist destination within Turkey, but there is not as much information out there about planning a trip to Pamukkale as I had hoped. When we went, I checked various websites and blogs but still struggled to find some information. Here is everything I wish I knew before we visited Pamukkale.

PAMUKKALE OPENING HOURS, ENTRANCES, & FEES

For some reason, there is a lot of confusion about the opening hours for the Pamukkale travertines online. Some sites said they opened at 8 a.m. and closed around sunset, and others stated they were open 24 hours a day. Hoping the ones that said 24 hours a day were correct, we woke up early to watch the sunrise over the pools and beat the crowds. It turns out, they are not open 24 hours a day and have different opening times depending on the entrance you use.

PAMUKKALE TOWN ENTRANCE

Our first stop was the entrance at the bottom of the pools, the Pamukkale Town Entrance. People who choose to stay in Pamukkale at one of the nearby hotels often use this entrance. The entrance is easily accessible by foot. You will start at the bottom of the pools and climb your way up to the top.

After speaking to the guard when we arrived around 5:30 a.m., we figured out (with the help of Google Translate) that the Pamukkale Town Entrance does not open until 8 a.m. He did tell us to try the South Entrance since it opens earlier.

The middle pools around 8:30 a.m. as the tours pour in. The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Pamukkale gives you all the information you need about what you can really expect, when to go, where to stay, and more.
The middle pools around 8:30 a.m.

PAMUKKALE SOUTH ENTRANCE

From there we got back in our rental car and drove to the top. The South Entrance is the entrance to use if you have your own car or want to enter the pools early. Taxis can drop off in/near this lot, and many large tour buses also use this lot.

By the time we reached the top, it was already 6 a.m. We spoke to the guard there, and he told us that the South Entrance opens at 6:30. We stayed in the car as the morning air was a little chillier than expected. At 6:25, we walked over to the gate and were the first ones in.

It is about a 10 minute walk from here to the top of the pools. If you want to beat the crowds, walk straight over there and then take your time on the way back. We spent a little too much time looking for the pools and checking out the ruins. Then we only had about 5 minutes before the first tour group showed up.

The thermal pools at Pamukkale have a great view over the town below. The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Pamukkale gives you all the information you need about what you can really expect, when to go, where to stay, and more.
Standing on the edge of the pools looking out over the town below

NORTH ENTRANCE

The third entrance is the North Entrance. If you take a bus from the Denizli bus terminal or from Pamukkale Town, this is the entrance you will use. The Denizli bus takes about 30 minutes and typically costs 5 TL (about $1). This entrance is considered the main entrance as it is closer to the Hierapolis ruins and the pools.

Because we did not use this entrance, I am not sure of the opening time. The guard at the bottom told us only the South Entrance opened at 6:30. However, a tour group showed up around 7 a.m., and they seemed to come from the North Entrance. It may have been the language barrier and the fact that the South Entrance was closer that caused a misunderstanding. If you plan to use this entrance, you may want to check with your hotel to see what time it opens. It opens by 8 for sure, but it appears to also open at 6:30.

CLOSING TIME

If you plan to stay until closing time, the posted closing time is 9 p.m. in the summer (April through September) and 7 p.m. in the winter (October through March). The closing time is the same regardless of the entrance. Depending on when you go, you may be able to watch the sunset which I think would be magical.

Since we did not stay until closing time, I am not sure how strict they are on closing time. In Ephesus, we found they were generous with closing times, but in Istanbul they often closed things a few minutes early to make sure everyone was out. I would make sure to be there in plenty of time to see what you want to see in case they start moving you towards the exits early.

ENTRANCE FEES AT PAMUKKALE

The entrance fee is 50 TL for everyone (adults and children) which is about $9. If you bring a car, that will cost you another 5 TL to park (about $1). There are additional fees if you choose to swim in Cleopatra’s Antique Pools. According to recent updates, this area is only open in the summer and is 50 TL ($9) for adults. Children under 6 are free, and children from 6 – 12 cost 13 TL ($2.25).

*Prices and opening hours may change at any time. Use this information as a guide, but understand that we do not control when hours or prices change.

The lower pools have less people because most tours stay at the top. The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Pamukkale gives you all the information you need about what you can really expect, when to go, where to stay, and more.
The lower pools are cleaner and have less people since most tours stay at the top

BEST & WORST TIMES TO VISIT THE PAMUKKALE TRAVERTINES

We visited Pamukkale in early June. The summer crowds were starting to arrive with us, but the weather was perfect for enjoying the outdoors and the water.

If you are going to visit Pamukkale and want to avoid the crowds, arrive early or stay late. By 7 a.m., some of the tour buses started to arrive. By 9 a.m., tours and tourists crowded the pools. The pools often empty out closer to sunset, so staying until closing time may also be an option depending on your schedule.

If you visit during the late morning and early afternoon, expect crowds. On the plus side, you can enjoy plenty of people watching between people slipping down the travertines and full on Instagram photo shoots taking place in a variety of outfits. The crowds tend to stay at the top since tours do not stay long, so climb down and enjoy the middle and lower pools with less people around.

The tour groups arrive to Pamukkale in full force by 9 a.m. The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Pamukkale gives you all the information you need about what you can really expect, when to go, where to stay, and more.
The tours arrive in full force by 9 a.m.

WHAT TO TAKE WITH YOU TO THE PAMUKKALE THERMAL POOLS

When you visit Pamukkale, there are bathrooms and a couple of places to buy food and drink. At the travertines, there are not really places to spread out and relax for the day. The pools are sloping and uneven, and the crowds make it hard to find space. Plan to carry anything you take with you.

We took a backpack and a towel to share. However, we did not end up getting in the water so much (more later in the Expectation vs Reality section). Make sure you wear sandals or shoes that are easy to remove as shoes are not allowed on the travertines. We were able to hook our sandals onto the backpack so that we did not have to carry them the entire time. We saw many people carrying their shoes, and some people chose to just leave their shoes at the top of the entrance to the pool area.

The lower pools at Pamukkale stay less crowded as most tours stay near the top. The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Pamukkale gives you all the information you need about what you can really expect, when to go, where to stay, and more.

EXPECTATIONS VS. REALITY

Looking at pictures of the Pammukale thermal pools on Instagram, you see the famous white limestone terraces filled with sparkling blue water that give the place the nickname “Cotton Castle” (you can find my Instagram tips here!). You see a few people here and there relaxing in the pools and enjoying the pools.

What you don’t see? How hard and slippery the surface is and how crowded it really gets there. You also don’t see the damage mankind has done to this area. This damage means many of the pools are roped off and empty to try to undo the damage.

DAMAGED AREAS IN PAMUKKALE

There is one main path from Pamukkale Town to the top of the travertines. These are the pools you can access. They are man-made pools from where resorts tried to build a road to the top. These are the pools you can “swim” in, although they really aren’t that deep.

The other areas are closed right now. The limestone in the closed pools is discolored and many of the pools are empty. Some do have water in them from the thermal springs or recent rain. The hope is that diverting the water and keeping these pools empty will allow the sun to bleach the limestone to its pristine white color again.

Some of the closed pools are ones I have seen in Instagram photos. While I cannot say for sure if they were open or not when others visited, blog posts indicate they have been closed for some time. We saw multiple people make their way over the ropes to try to get to these empty and more secluded pools. Luckily security in the area had whistles and called them back. However, it is sad that this was needed. Please be respectful of the ropes and ongoing restoration process.

Many of Pamukkale's natural pools were damaged and are being restored. The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Pamukkale gives you all the information you need about what you can really expect, when to go, where to stay, and more.
Many of Pamukkale’s natural pools were damaged and are being restored
Many of Pamukkale's natural pools were damaged and are being restored. The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Pamukkale gives you all the information you need about what you can really expect, when to go, where to stay, and more.
These areas are roped off to protect the restoration process
This area of natural pools is roped off to protect them as they are being allowed to heal. The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Pamukkale gives you all the information you need about what you can really expect, when to go, where to stay, and more.
This area of natural pools is roped off to protect them as they are being allowed to heal

BE CAREFUL – IT’S SLIPPERY!

The limestone surface is hard but not uncomfortable. Some areas are very slick though. That slickness means you have to walk slowly and plant your feet before taking a step. My first few steps were like something out of a cartoon with feet slipping and arms circling trying to regain my balance. I managed to do so without hitting the ground and turned to warn my husband. The areas that are most slippery are near the top where most people stay.

As you make your way further down the path and away from where the crowds gather, your footing will become more secure. You will start to notice which areas are easier to walk and which areas you need to take your time. Stay alert the whole way down, but know that the top is the worst. Once you get past the first few pools, you should be good to go.

This top area of the pools is extremely slippery, so use caution! The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Pamukkale gives you all the information you need about what you can really expect, when to go, where to stay, and more.
This top area is extremely slippery, so use caution!

BE READY FOR THE CROWDS

The first tour bus arrived around 7 a.m. By 7:30 a.m., a few more tours had arrived. By 8 a.m., the town entrance opened, and people started the climb up the travertines as well. Between 8:30 – 9:00, the crowds were in full swing. It was hard to avoid them in the main areas. We ended up leaving by 10 a.m. as it was not so enjoyable or relaxing with so many people.

To avoid the crowds in Pamukkale, your best bet is to arrive at 6:30 a.m. or plan to stay until closing time (9 in summer and 7 in winter). You can also avoid the crowds by walking down to the middle and lower half of the pathway with the pools. Many of the tours do not stay long, so they stick to the first two or three pools. There are not as many people walking up from the town, and they are usually in small groups and not large tours.

You can wander on the boardwalk at the top to see the natural pools. While you cannot swim in them, you can still enjoy the views. Since the crowd mostly sticks to the thermal pools where you can get in the water, the boardwalk area stays less crowded.

This is what Pamukkale really looks like most of the day, but the crowds mostly stay at the top. The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Pamukkale gives you all the information you need about what you can really expect, when to go, where to stay, and more.
This is what Pamukkale really looks like most of the day, but the crowds mostly stay at the top

IT’S NOT AS CLEAN AS IT LOOKS

The pictures I saw before our trip made the water look clean. From a distance, it does look clean. However, as you wade into the pools, you see that there is no chlorine or any other method of cleaning these pools. There was a piece of hair floating in the water and trash stuck in the silt at the bottom of the pools. The pools lower down are cleaner if you plan to “swim”. They seem to only be about waist deep, so I use swimming loosely.

After seeing that they weren’t so clean, we opted not to swim after all. We waded in a few of the cleaner pools and then decided to head out. People were swimming in many of the upper pools when we left though.

Enjoying the peace and quiet before the crowds arrive in Pamukkale. The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Pamukkale gives you all the information you need about what you can really expect, when to go, where to stay, and more.

BEST HOTELS NEAR PAMUKKALE

Pamukkale Town has limited options for hotels. The hotels in the immediate town area do not have great reviews online. Because of this and renting a car, we opted to stay a little further out at a nicer hotel. Many of the surrounding areas have nicer hotels with thermal pools and spas.

We opted to stay in Richmond Pamukkale Thermal Hotel and highly recommend them. For about $75, we had a suite with a huge balcony (they upgraded us to a suite without knowing anything about us or the blog but just because they had one available), a large buffet breakfast included, and dinner included as well.

The service we received was top notch. We arrived after dinner ended, but they still put together two plates and sent them up to our room (once again with no knowledge of this blog – this is just who they are). In addition, the hotel has multiple pools, including a thermal area and spa. The best part? It was only a 10 minute drive to the Pamukkale thermal pools but much nicer than any hotels closer to the pools.

The natural and man-made pools that make up Pamukkale. The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Pamukkale gives you all the information you need about what you can really expect, when to go, where to stay, and more.
The natural and man-made pools that make up Pamukkale

HOW LONG TO STAY IN PAMUKKALE

We only spent a few hours at the thermal pools in Pamukkale, but in general, it would take a day to see the area if you want to explore the ruins as well or swim in the Antique Pool.

If you like a relaxing vacation though, you could easily spend more time in this area. Many of the hotels have their own thermal pools and thermal spas for you to enjoy. You can avoid the crowds of the Pamukkale travertines and still relax in the thermal pools available at your hotel.

GETTING TO PAMUKKALE

We rented a car for a road trip around Turkey, so we drove to Pamukkale. We started in Istanbul, then headed to Ephesus, made a quick stop in Pamukkale, and then finished out the trip in Cappadocia (see our guide here) before returning to Istanbul. The drive from Ephesus to Pamukkale only took about 2.5 hours (123 miles). To drive between Cappadocia and Pamukkale took much longer – about 6.5 to 7 hours (385 miles). To drive straight from Istanbul to Pamukkale would take about 6 hours (356 miles).

There are many buses taking the journey between these popular destinations during the day and overnight. These buses are cheap and a popular way to see Turkey. There are also many tours organized from places like Istanbul to get out to Pamukkale. These tours arrange for a bus, accommodations, and some meals typically.

Internal flights within Turkey can also be a cheap option depending on when and where you fly. The closest airport is in Denizli, located about an hour from the travertines. There are buses you can take from Denizli, or you can rent a car or hire a taxi/driver for the day.

Reflections in the thermal pools at Pamukkale. The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Pamukkale gives you all the information you need about what you can really expect, when to go, where to stay, and more.

THINGS TO DO IN PAMUKKALE

While the famous travertine pools in Pamukkale are the highlight of the trip, there are other options for things to do while you are there. Depending on your time frame, budget, and interest, you can also check out the antique pool and ruins located at the top.

SEEING THE COTTON CASTLE – PAMUKKALE’S THERMAL POOLS

You can’t skip the famous “Cotton Castle” area that made Pamukkale famous. While some of the area has been ruined from people building a road and trying to build resorts at the top, you can enjoy the man-made pools built on the road that was cleared out to the top.

There is a boardwalk that runs along the top of the area. You can walk along it to see the original natural pools. Some of them are empty, some have water, some are the natural white color, and some are damaged and stained. Despite the damage, I enjoyed seeing the natural pools. I hope one day to return and see that more of the damage has been reversed.

Please be respectful of the ropes along here. The ropes are not just for your protection, they are to protect the damaged pools. They are trying to let the sun bleach them back out and to keep tourists from interfering with their conservation and restoration process. Just because you can get a good shot by climbing the ropes does not mean you should. There are security around watching to happily call you out in front of everyone (the whistle is loud enough that everyone turns to watch and see who is in trouble).

About halfway down the thermal pools at Pamukkale. The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Pamukkale gives you all the information you need about what you can really expect, when to go, where to stay, and more.

The boardwalk area away from the main pools does not get so crowded and allows you to see the natural areas that are being restored. The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Pamukkale gives you all the information you need about what you can really expect, when to go, where to stay, and more.
The boardwalk area away from the main pools does not get so crowded and allows you to see the natural areas that are being restored

OTHER POOL OPTIONS

If you are wanting to swim in another pool, you can check out Cleopatra’s Antique Pool. We did not as we are spoiled with pools and water bodies living in Florida and wanted to keep moving for our long drive to Cappadocia. However, this is another option but does cost extra (recent sites indicate 50 TL or $9 for adults and 13 TL or $2.25 for children 6 – 12 years old).

Many of the hotels in the area also have thermal pools you can swim in without the massive crowds. The pool and thermal pool at our hotel was mostly empty whenever we walked by. If we had stayed longer, I definitely would have enjoyed both of them!

Ruins of Hierapolis at sunrise. The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Pamukkale gives you all the information you need about what you can really expect, when to go, where to stay, and more.
Some of the ruins of Hierapolis at sunrise

VISIT THE HIERAPOLIS RUINS

Another popular stop in Pamukkale is the ruins of Hierapolis, founded in 190 BC. The entry fee for this is included with your Pamukkale entrance fee. We wandered through some of the ruins close to the thermal pools, but we opted not to spend much time exploring them. We spent the previous day exploring the ruins at Ephesus which were more impressive to us.

The most popular of the Hierapolis ruins is the theater. It is about a 10 – 15 minute walk from the pools. You can see the theater from the top of the pools. We opted again not to walk over as we had seen two theaters in Ephesus the day before. However, if you are not visiting Ephesus or if you especially enjoy history or ruins, it looks worth the time to visit it.

Near the ruins, there is the Hierapolis Archaeological Museum you can visit for an extra fee (5 TL or $1 according to a few sites). We opted not to do this, but it is available if you are interested.

HOT AIR BALLOON RIDES IN PAMUKKALE

I did not know about this until we entered the park that morning. As we walked to the pools, a hot air balloon drifted over us close to the pools. We only saw one that morning, and I am not sure of the cost. However, if you are looking to splurge and get an aerial view off the pools, it is an option.

Hot air balloon over the Pamukkale travertines. The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Pamukkale gives you all the information you need about what you can really expect, when to go, where to stay, and more.

*****

While the damage to the thermal pools at Pamukkale disappointed me, I am still glad we visited. We both loved seeing the pools and climbing around them on the path down to the town and back up again. We enjoyed relaxing and taking in the view even if we did not swim in the pools. I’d recommend a stop in Pamukkale on any trip to Turkey if you have a chance to go!

If you’re looking for more inspiration for a trip to Turkey, check out this post with our full road trip itinerary as well as these specific posts on visiting the ancient ruins of Ephesus and enjoying the hot air balloon sunrises and fairy chimneys in Cappadocia.

Pictures in this post were edited in Lightroom with the World Tour Collection presets (with tweaks made to fit the image) that can be purchased here

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Woman standing on the edge of the Pamukkale thermal pools in Pamukkale, Turkey

 

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75 Comments

    1. I love hot springs but I have to admit I have never heard of Pamukkale Thermal Pools. I also love hot air balloons, though I’ve never actually been in one. So to take a hot air balloon over these pools would be amazing, as long as it was incredibly early in the morning to beat the crowds. Hopefully they can reverse all the damage that has been done and if so, prevent it from happening again.

      1. I think the hot air balloon ride would be even better if the pools can heal and be restored – it would be beautiful site with them all filled. I hope they are able to make it happen!

    1. Wow this place looks stunning! Your photos are so beautiful! A pity about the damage at the thermal pools but does sure seem like it’s still worth a visit. I think the hot air balloon ride would be incredible

      1. Thank you! I still enjoyed visiting, but I think the hot air balloon ride would be even better if the damage can be fixed and the pools can be restored. The view from above would be that much better if all the pools are filled!

    1. I’ve never heard about this place. I enjoy hot springs especially the ones in Japan. I’ve always wanted to try hot air balloon too. Discovering new places really makes me happy. Thank for sharing!

      1. I didn’t realize there were hot springs in Japan. I’ll definitely have to look into that. I love hot springs too, so it’s always a good find 🙂

    1. Pamukkale is so beautiful. It has always been on my Turkey list. But as you said, there is not so much information about it online. I am so glad you put together this detailed guide for Pamukkale. I had no idea there were different opening hours for different gates. I am pinning your post for when I travel here.

      1. Thank you! We had so much trouble finding information for our trip that I wanted to put this together for anyone else hoping to go. I’m glad you found it useful!

    1. Never heard of Pamukkales thermal pools. This place looks beautiful and your pics are stunning. Loved the detailed post with all the information that is helpful.

    1. Wow! That is extremely gorgeous. I’m glad that the security was doing a good job at keeping people out of the roped off areas. Tourists can drive me crazy sometimes!

      1. Me too! It’s sad that it is needed to protect them, but I’m glad they are there to enforce the rules.

    1. Oh, I’m so sad to hear about the damage to the pools. I was there many years ago when they were still in good shape. There were few other people as it was spring (and walking up barefoot was FREEZING, lol). I appreciate your explaining in this post what is going on and urging people to respect the restoration process. One of the tragedies of overtourism. I really enjoyed Hieropolis as well, I remember red poppies everywhere.

    1. Oh, I’m so sad to hear about the damage to the pools. I was there many years ago when they were still in good shape. There were few other people as it was spring (and walking up barefoot was FREEZING, lol). I appreciate your explaining in this post what is going on and urging people to respect the restoration process. One of the tragedies of overtourism. I really enjoyed Hieropolis as well, I remember red poppies everywhere.

      1. Hierapolis would be so pretty with the poppies! I was disappointed to see how they had been damaged, but I was glad they were trying to reverse it. I guess someone decided a resort would be a good idea at the top, but then it caused a lot of the damage before it was stopped. Hoping they are able to reverse the damage eventually.

    1. Going on a hot air balloon ride is on my bucket list with Turkey being one of my favored areas. The pools look amazing. Its sad they are needing restoration. Can’t wait to visit Turkey someday.

      1. I hope you can make it happen! I would love to go back and ride on in Cappadocia.

    1. The pictures you posted of this look incredible! I’ve never had the opportunity to visit any of the thermal pools, but it looks like such a cool experience!! I was shocked to learn that they weren’t that clean. The pictures make it look so pristine! Thanks for sharing all the amazing tips 🙂

      1. Thank you! I think the color of the water tends to hide it. It isn’t that they were completely trashed, but you definitely knew people had been in them. The middle and lower pools were much cleaner since most of the tour groups stay at the top.

    1. Thanks for this really honest post about the baths. I’ve always wanted to visit a thermal bath, but I feel very intimidated by the idea – where do you leave your stuff, what’s the appropriate costume, etc., so I appreciate how thoroughly you covered your experience. Your photos are really gorgeous, but I also appreciate your candor about the damage being done and the restoration. One of my pet peeves about travel is when people don’t respect the directives around things that are closed, roped off, or not supposed to be photographed. I’m glad that you’re touting that reminder, too. <3

      1. I think I had this idea in my head that we would find a little pool, spread out our towel, relax, and have that little area to ourselves. It was nothing like that, so I don’t want others to go in with that idea. On social media, we share the best of the pictures and that can also lead to unreal expectations, so I wanted to address that here.

    1. I have always wanted to visit here! Despite the crowds your pictures look breathtaking. I’d probably rent a car and drive too, to hit up Cappadocia as well!

      1. Thank you! Getting there early definitely helped for the pictures! We did Istanbul, Ephesus, Pamukkale and Cappadocia for our road trip through Turkey and really enjoyed it. It’s one of my favorite countries that I have driven in so far – I talk about how much better they drove on Interstates there than we do in the US regularly 🙂

    1. Wow, such an interesting article. I found it so strange that there were two different times for different entrances. Thanks for the tip about the crowds and the damage to the site. I saw that a bit in Iceland but people seemed quite respectful of keeping away from the roped off areas.

      1. I thought it was odd too – especially if the guard is already there anyways. I’m guessing maybe there aren’t so many people walking up before then anyways? That’s all I could think of – that and maybe the guard can’t sell the tickets. We saw the same thing in Iceland – especially with the puffin homes built into the cliff and people walking on them to get to the edge for a picture :-/

    1. We went there back in 2006 and absolutely loved it! I thought Cleopatra’s Pool was pretty awesome, too. Thanks for the detailed guide, I’d love to go back one day.

      1. We skipped out on Cleopatra’s pool after the crowds at the regular pool and wanting to go back for the buffet breakfast. I’m glad to know it was worth it – it looks cool with the ruins in the water with you.

    1. We loved it here as well! Finding hot springs is one of our favorite activities when traveling, and these are definitely pretty cool!

      1. I love springs, but we mostly have cold springs in Florida. I have more hot springs on my list and need to find more to keep adding too!

    1. A very interesting and informative post. It’s a continuous difficult question isn’t it? Should we carry on visiting beautiful places, but know that we as humans are causing damage. I’m glad to see that they are roping off areas to allow them to heal and hope they manage to get them back to how they were. Telling us about the thermal springs in the hotel is good because that’s probably not that well known and maybe people will take advantage of that rather than trying to ‘swim’ in the pools.

      1. I agree – it is difficult. I feel these beautiful places are meant for us to enjoy. Most of the damage is from resorts building a road to the top to try to build up there and capitalize on it. Thankfully that was put to a stop and they are being restored. I hope they are able to fully restore the thermal pools to their former glory one day.

    1. These are so beautiful! I hope I get to go one day, though I’m in not too much of a hurry since letting them rest and be restored for a bit sounds like a great idea. It’s so sad how easy it is for us humans to damage all these gorgeous nature’s spots 🙁

      – Laura || afinnontheloose.com

      1. I agree – it’s sad the damage was caused and all in the name of making money from putting resorts at the top. I’m glad it wasn’t completely ruined and hope it can be fully restored one day.

    1. The view of town looks amazing. I really like your expectation vs reality because it’s very rare to find it. This place is in my bucket list and I will keep this things in mind

      1. Thank you! I don’t want anyone to get there and be disappointed by it because of what they saw on social media. I’d rather be brutally honest about it so people can decide from there. Overall. I still loved it and would go again.

    1. Oh my, that is one place in Turkey that I have totally missed. I have been traveling around turkey for quite a bit through several years, but I have never been to Pamukkales.
      Putting it on the bucketlist 🙂

      1. Hope you can make it sometime! Turkey pleasantly surprised me. I’d love to go back and see more – it has such a variety of landscapes and things to see and do.

    1. What a lovely realistic coverage of the Pamukkale pools. Loved the pictures and especially stoked about the expectation vs reality bit.

      1. Thank you! I want everyone to have a realistic idea of what to expect since photos on Instagram and even some of my photos only show part of the story.

    1. I was over there last year and photos sometimes can’t do justice to it. But you have managed to capture such nice photos from there. Great job Christine!

    1. Very interesting article, Christine! It’s so sad to read that part of the pools are damaged and that there is people that don’t follow the rule and try to get to the restoring pools… This happened in Iceland too (and many other touristic places). It saddens me to see that we are capable of destroying the beautiful places we have on earth. We should be respectful so the places could be preserved and the people after us could find it in good conditions. I hope the pools here can be restored and that people will learn to take care of it.

      On another note, it has to be amazing to see the sunset or sunrise there! I’m imagining the sun reflecting in the pools as it goes down and the colors of the sky… It has to be incredible!

      Hope I can make it one day there,

      Maialen | wanderingwhaleblog.com

      1. It is sad to see beautiful places like this ruined in the name of making money or just pure carelessness. I was talking to a friend who went this summer, and he said people were just walking all over the ones that are roped off. I hope they can restore them, and I’d love to go back for sunset sometime!

    1. Great post (as always!) It is sad that humans (and I guess instagram culture) has damaged the pools so much, but it still does look like a beautiful place to explore. I mean, as long as you were not planning to swim! It does sound a bit gross(!)

      Thanks for the good information about all the opening times, and how to arrive early. It sounds slightly stressful when you were trying to find an entrance that was open, but your photos without the crowds are really lovely.

      1. Thank you! It was definitely worth the extra time it took to still be the first ones in before the crowds came pouring in later. I just wish it was a little cleaner, but I’m guessing that it would be hard to clean them and that any kind of products would hurt the pools even worse.

    1. It looks absolutely stunning but I have heard it is very busy. I love that you’re being so honest about it and giving tips on how to enjoy it still. As always your pictures are so beautiful and post really informative!

      1. Thank you! It isn’t as busy in the off season, but going in the middle of summer didn’t help. There wasn’t much information out there about them that was useful, so I’m hoping this will help others visit Pamukkale in the future with all the info they need.

    1. These would be so cool to see. I’ll definitely take your advice about the time to visit. Also don’t understand why some people become idiots just for a photo.

      1. Completely agree – the picture isn’t worth damaging the place for others who visit in the future. I hope you get to see them one day!

    1. Too bad they’re weren’t open at sunrise when you went! That’s frustrating to have conflicting information like that out there. I like that you included an expectations versus reality section. It can be disappointing if things are not like what we saw online!

      1. It was disappointing to have to wait but worth the wait to be the first ones in and have it to ourselves for a few minutes. I want to help others not have the same experience by putting the information out there for when they visit.

    1. Wow, those thermal pools look amazing and so beautiful! I definitely want to visit these when I get the chance to go to Turkey! ????

    1. This place looks magical! The difference in the crowded pic versus the pic of you was huuuge, it’s always so surprising to see shots like that.. Great tip to avoid the crowds though 🙂

      1. I only saw the pictures like the ones of me alone before we went. I also saw lots of people in the blocked off areas where you aren’t supposed to go for pictures. It made it a little disappointing to realize that it was so different (and that so many broke the rules) when we went. I’m glad we went early though and had it to ourselves for a little bit.

    1. Wow the damaged areas look so sad!! Thank you for such a thorough post on this area! I really want to visit next year and I know I’m gonna have to print out this guide so I can hopefully have a smooth experience haha.

      1. Thank you! Hope you have a great time and a smooth experience (but avoid the smooth and slippery parts!)

    1. This is the most helpful post on the Pamukkale thermal pools I’ve read. This destination is on my to-do list but I’m wondering whether to go there considering the damage that has been already done by hoardes of tourists.

      1. Really, the damage isn’t from the tourists so much as from the hotels putting in a road through them in an attempt to build at the top. The construction and putting in the road through them caused most of the damage. Now they are trying to restore them to the beauty from before the construction happened. As long as you stay in the areas you are allowed to walk, you are not doing any further damage (they let you walk through the part they have fixed where the road was, not on the natural ones next to them).

    1. These thermal pools are on my bucket list too – they look amazing! It’s good to know that the gates have different opening times too, this is really useful. Thanks for such a great guide.

      1. Thank you! I hope you get to visit the thermal pools at Pamukkale one day soon!

    1. Yeah, i think your solution of just paddling was the best way to go. 🙂

    1. This place is absolutely beautiful and I’d never even heard of it before – thanks for the introduction! In some of your pictures it’s almost hard to distinguish between the water and the sky. I wonder what people thought of the pools thousands of years ago – it must have seemed pretty mystical. Quite a disappointment about damage to some areas now…this is why we can’t have nice things 🙁 But I’m glad they’ve taken measures to try to restore it.

      Really appreciate you laying out the hours and expectations, if/when I go to Turkey this would definitely be on my list and it’s so annoying when you can’t find any information. Plus all I usually see in guides about Turkey is the hot air balloons in Cappadocia, which still looks beautiful but your picture of the balloon coming up over the white limestone is gorgeous and a refreshing new perspective.

      1. Thank you so much! I hope you can visit Pamukkale one day. It’s still a special place even with the damage. It has always been a popular spot for the locals. The ruins at the top show that people have used them for years. I imagine they were pretty amazing before the damage because they are still pretty incredible now.

    1. Love how this covers literally everything. Will definitely be using this when I am planning my visit ????

    1. Such a bummer – looks like such a beautiful place! I suppose it’s another one of those places that looks really cool on Instagram but can be a bit disappointing IRL. Loved reading your article about it, though – I’d still like to visit, but just like you said, either go early or late! Love your photos, too.

      1. Thank you! Definitely a place where the angles and time of day/year can make or break your photos and your visit.

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