Pamukkale in Turkey

Page update - Apr 14, 2023

Why is Pamukkale interesting for tourists? How to get there on your own? Which tour is better? How much are the entrance fees and extras? What to take with you? What to pay attention to? Read the answers on this page.

The prices, timetables and other information on this page were updated in April 2023. The bad news is that the ticket price has already risen to 400 Turkish liras in 2023. Bathing in Cleopatra's Pool costs 130 Turkish liras.

The prices of tickets and transport below on this page are given in Turkish liras. See the current exchange rates in our review "Money in Turkey".


Be extremely careful walking on travertines! There are no barriers on them, and tourists occasionally fall off them. The last such incident occurred in September 2022. Chen Wai Fung, a tourist from Singapore, fell down. He was lucky and only broke his hip. There have been much scarier incidents. Be careful!

Brief description of the site

Pamukkale (Turkish for "Cotton Castle") is a small town and region near the town of Denizli (Denizli Province). Pamukkale has been famous since ancient times for its thermal springs and white travertine mountains.

In 2022, Pamukkale was the third most visited tourist attraction in Turkey with 1,990,000 visitors. Only the Hagia Sophia Cathedral in Istanbul had more visitors with 13,000,000. Second place went to Topkapi Palace with 3,300,000 guests.

Important note. The official statistics on Hagia Sophia Cathedral is dubious. The fact is that it has now been converted into a mosque and the entrance for tourists has become free of charge. They used to sell tickets and the statistics were accurate on the number of tickets sold. Now they do not sell tickets, and it is not clear how they count visitors and how objective those calculations are. The figure of 13,000,000 is highly questionable.

Pamukkale has gained its popularity first of all because of the wide range of attractions it offers. Firstly, you can walk through the calcium mountains "travertines". Secondly, to see the excavations of the ancient town of Hierapolis, there is a large (by the standards of Turkey) amphitheater. Thirdly, you can enjoy a bath in the thermal waters of Cleopatra's Pool, also known as the "Champagne Pool".

It was in Hierapolis that Philip the Apostle was martyred. There was his tomb, but in 560 his relics were taken to Rome. Pamukkale is also a place of pilgrimage for the Christian faithful.

In brief, Pamukkale is a 4-in-1 tourist place. We will talk about each part in detail in the second half of our review. It is the sum of these factors that earned Pamukkale the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.

Tour or on your own?

The excursion has one big advantage, the bus will take you directly from your hotel to Pamukkale. The disadvantages are many: numerous stops at shops, limited time, and constant rush. You arrive in Pamukkale during 'prime time', when there will be a lot of people.

The only disadvantage of traveling on your own is that it is difficult and time-consuming to get to Pamukkale. Do not be surprised that a third of this review below will be devoted to this problem. But then there are only advantages. You can choose the time of your visit yourself and you can see as much of Pamukkale as you want.

We will tell you in detail about both options.


One-day excursions

The one-day excursions are tiring, but you don't have to leave the All Inclusive package at your hotel for too long.

Tourists are picked up from their hotels at 4 am or 5 am (4-00 or 5-00 in the morning). Then they go to a gathering point where they are transferred to a big bus. The ride to Pamukkale takes 3.5 to 5 hours, depending on the resort area of your stay. The closest is from Antalya, a little further from Kemer or Belek, a little further from Side, and the farthest to go is from Alanya.

On the way, tourists are taken into shops of clothes, carpets, onyx, wine and others. Naturally, this is only negative, as you could have slept in a hotel for that time.

In Pamukkale, they do not give as much time as you would like. In Hierapolis, a quick look at the amphitheater and baths. You can walk around the travertines for about half an hour. Those wishing can take a bath in Cleopatra's Pool, but not for long. Total time in Pamukkale is 2-2.5 hours.

Afterwards, tourists are taken to lunch, where drinks are always chargeable. And then it's back to the hotel with obligatory visits to a few more shops. Tourists return in their hotels at 9 pm or 10 pm (21-00 or 22-00).

The excursion price (English-speaking guide) - from 60 up to 100 US dollars, depends first of all on a place of purchase. The hotel guide usually has the highest price. Third-party excursion agencies have the lowest price.

Two-day excursions

All the same, but for two days and with an overnight stay in one of the hotels in Pamukkale. The advantages are: the departure time is later - 6 am or 7 am (6-00 or 7-00 in the morning), the sightseeing time is longer - 3.5-4 hours, and there is less rush. The Karahayit site is also included. There are travertines too, but they are red in color.

Naturally, there will be twice as many stops at shops. You will come back to the hotel at a reasonable time - 5 pm or 6 pm (17-00 or 18-00) and have a quiet dinner.

The excursion price (English-speaking guide) is between 90 and 150 US dollars, depending on where you buy it.

Getting there on your own

The first option is to take a taxi or use a transfer service.

Transfer is better, as not every taxi driver will agree to drive that far.

Let's consider you to take a metered taxi at the official fare. The cost of a trip to Pamukkale: from Antalya - USD 190, from Belek - USD 230, from Kemer - USD 225, from Side - USD 250, from Alanya - USD 300.

Book a transfer and haggle with taxi drivers based on these figures.

The second option is by bus

It is a long and tiring public intercity bus ride. The journey one way takes 4 to 6 hours, depending on the resort area you stay.

We recommend going to Pamukkale for two days. The good thing is there are many small hotels where you can spend a night for 25-40 dollars. You can stay overnight both in Pamukkale and in Denizli.

From Antalya.

There is no direct public transport to Pamukkale, so you have to ride to the nearest town Denizli and ride to Pamukkale by taxi or by dolmush (shuttle bus) from Denizli.

There are many buses to Denizli from Antalya, about 40 a day, as Denizli is on the route from Antalya to Istanbul. The main bus companies on the route are Pamukkale Turizm, Kamil Koç, Metro Tourism, Isparta Petrol, and Güney Akdeniz Seyahat.

There is no point in catching a particular bus run. You can go to Antalya Otogarı and walk to the counters of these companies. Find your next run and buy a ticket. The people at the counters will tell you where to get in the bus.

The ticket price is 150-180 Turkish liras (depending on which bus company you choose). The travel time is 3.5-4 hours.

An important point! Some buses go to Denizli from Antalya Bus Station and these buses are waiting to board passengers. But some buses come from other towns and only stop in Antalya. You need to wait for such a bus on the platform.

A second important point! Denizli is not the terminus for the vast majority of buses. The buses go on to Aydın, İzmir, İstanbul. Do not miss your stop in Denizli.

It is not necessary to buy your bus ticket in advance but you can do so at the bus companies' official websites if you wish:

Pamukkale Turizm -

Kamil Koç -

Metro Tourism -

Isparta Petrol -

Güney Akdeniz Seyahat -

From Kemer.

From Kemer, it's difficult to get there, but it's possible. There are only three buses to Denizli: 2 by Kamil Koç at 11-30 and 22-30, 1 by Isparta Petrol at 22-45. The ticket price is about 210 liras. The travel time is 4,5-5 hours.

It is more convenient to catch any transport to Antalya on D400 and take a bus at Antalya Otogarı Bus Station.

From Belek, Side, Alanya.

Approximately 20 buses follow the route. Alanya-Manavgat-Serik-Antalya-Denizli. You need to get on one of these buses.

If you are holidaying in hotels in the Alanya region. Take a taxi or dolmush (shuttle bus) to Alanya Otogarı Bus Station. From there you can take a bus to Denizli, which costs around 230 liras.

If you are staying in a hotel in Side. Take a taxi or dolmush (shuttle bus) to Manavgat Otogarı Bus Station. From there you can take a bus to Denizli, which costs around 220 liras.

If you are staying at a hotel in the Belek region. From there take a taxi to Serik Otogarı Bus Station. From there take a bus to Denizli, around 220 liras.

It is not easy to say how much a taxi ride from your hotel to the bus station will cost you, it depends on the distance. You can get from some hotels for about USD 5; from others for about USD 40. See the distance and calculate the ride cost according to the official rates, which you can find in our in-depth review "Taxis in Turkey".

As with Antalya, you can buy tickets locally, there are usually seats available in the buses. You can buy tickets through the websites of the bus companies, the addresses have been written above.

You arrived in Denizli. What next?

You will find yourself at Denizli Bus Station (Denizli Otogarı).

You can get to Pamukkale by taxi for USD 10-15. There are many taxi drivers at the bus station and they will find you.

You can take a dolmush (shuttle bus) to Pamukkale. The price is 8 liras. The dolmus leaves every 15 to 20 minutes.

Three entrances

There are three entrances to Pamukkale's attractions: north, south, and central (from the village).

If you are visiting on your own, you should use the central entrance and walk along the travertine to reach the Hierapolis excavations and Cleopatra's Pool.

If you're on a guided tour, the bus will take you to the south entrance.

Ticket price

Admission to Pamukkale attractions is 400 Turkish liras. See the current exchange rates in our review "Money in Turkey".

This ticket now (April 2023) includes the museum visit.

Bathing in Cleopatra's Pool is NOT included in this ticket.

Bathing in Cleopatra's Pool is 130 Turkish liras. Dressing room and shower room usage is included. Lockers are available an extra 10 liras. Towels are to be brought by yourself. If you don't have a towel, you can buy one at a shop nearby at a triple price.

The main ticket can be bought online at . On the website, go to the list of museums and look for Pamukkale and the Archaeological Museum.

Opening hours

The travertines and Hierapolis excavations are open from 6-30 am to 9 pm (21-00) in summer season or until 7 pm (19-00) in winter season. But in fact, no one drives tourists out after 9 pm. And no wonder, as the excavations and travertines are big, and the security personnel would be hard to run around looking for tourists. Therefore, many tourists meet the sunset on the travertines.

The ticket booths are open from 6-30 am to 6-30 pm (18-30) in the summer season and from 6-30 am to 8-30 (20-30) in the winter season.

Cleopatra's Pool is open. From April to October: 8 am to 9 pm (21-00). From November to March: 8 am to 7 pm (19-00).

The Archaeological Museum of Hierapolis is open from 8-00 to 7 pm (19-00) in summer or until 5 am (17-00) in winter.

What to take with you on your trip

Bring your swimming costume. And even if you don't intend to bathe in Cleopatra's Pool, you'll want to lounge in the travertine pools. The water in them is pleasant and bathing is free.

Be sure to take a supply of water. There are hardly any shops along the way.

Even if you go on an excursion, take a small stock of money - 10 dollars, as drinks at dinner are paid.

Do not forget sun protection during the summer months, as there is nowhere to cover from the sun on the travertines and excavations. Be sure to wear a hat and cover your shoulders. For more information on what else is good to bring on your trip, see our in-depth review "What to bring to Turkey".

What to see - travertines

Travertines are a rare natural phenomenon of calcium carbonate (chalk) deposits on the site of geothermal springs. The thermal waters contain calcium salts and the precipitation of calcium carbonate gradually forms mountains where the waters emerge. The Pamukkale travertines have been forming for 400 thousand years.

Pamukkale has snow-white travertines. Travertines are common in the world, but snow-white travertines are rare. Pools of thermal water form naturally in the travertines. It is possible to lie in these pools and the water is considered curative.

The travertines are fed by 17 thermal springs with water temperatures ranging from 35 to 100°C (95 to 210°F). The water comes from a depth of 320 meters (1,000 feet).

Walking on the travertines is permitted barefoot only. Be careful, the travertines are slippery.

Some parts of the travertines are closed to the public. We recommend walking only along the special routes for tourists. There is only one pathway that leads from the main entrance (from the village) to the Roman baths and the museum. The rest of the travertines are closed for tourists. Although, who and when did such bans stop them, still walks.

What to see - the ruins of Hierapolis

The ancient town of Hierapolis was founded in the 2nd century BC. The town has been a SPA resort from its founding on thermal springs. Rich people came there to spend their old age, so the town had a large and rich necropolis and many temples. The name translates as "Holy Town" precisely because of the plenty of temples.

The amphitheater which could hold 15,000 spectators during its heyday (1st-3rd centuries) attracts tourists. There used to be 45 rows of seats but now archaeologists have been able to recreate only 30 rows. The amphitheater was almost completely destroyed by an earthquake in the 7th century. In the 20th century, it was reassembled like a large 3D puzzle.

The buildings of the Apollo and Pluto temples, the temple of the nymphs (nymphs), two gates, many crypts in the necropolis and the baths have also partially survived.

What to see - Hierapolis Archaeological Museum

Located in a building in the Baths area, which is near the passage between the travertines and the excavations. The museum is small, with only three rooms. The first contains coins, pottery, jewelry and other small finds from the excavations of Hierapolis. The second contains statues, while the third contains sarcophagi.

What to see - Cleopatra's Pool

The pool is located on the site of the Temple of Apollo. Legend has it that Cleopatra once bathed in this pool, hence the name. The legend is beautiful but not at all true. The pool was formed in the 7th century by an earthquake and Cleopatra lived in the 1st century BC.

The water in the pool is from a geothermal spring and the temperature is 35.2°C (95°F). The water is rich in calcium, magnesium, sodium, sulfur oxide and many other substances. It is considered curative for many ailments. Because the water contains carbonic acid (H2CO3), bubbles form when it rises. The pool is also called the "antique champagne pool".

Cleopatra's Pool is free to look at. You can bathe for a fee. We've given the prices above on this page.

What to see - The Mortuary of Philip the Apostle

Located to the north-east of the main part of the excavation, behind the amphitheater. The mortuary was built after the apostle's death (around year 90 AC) to bury his body. The building had an octagonal shape with a diameter of about 20 meters (65 feet).

Philip's body was preserved there until 560, when it was moved to Rome. The sarcophagus has not survived, but the site where the sarcophagus was placed is clearly visible.

Important and useful to know

- Tour groups arrive in Pamukkale between 11 am and 3 pm (15-00). If you are traveling on your own, try to get there before or after this time;

- All services in Pamukkale can be paid in US dollars, UK pounds, or Euros. But the exchange rate will not be in favor of the tourist. So you should stock up on Turkish liras to avoid overpaying. Read our review "How and where to exchange money in Turkey";

- The dangers for tourists in Pamukkale are exactly the same as in the rest of Turkey. Read our detailed review "What not to do in Turkey".

Enjoy your visit to Pamukkale, and read our interesting pages about Turkey (see the pages list below). © 2020-2024