Travertine terraces in Pamukkale, Turkey

Travel Guide to Pamukkale, Turkey: 5 Tips to Plan Your Perfect Trip

Keep reading this article to have all the information you need so you could visit Pamukkale as a day trip from Istanbul including how to get from Istanbul to Pamukkale, when the best time to visit Pamukkale is, how long to stay in Pamukkale, where to stay in Pamukkale, and what things you can do in Pamukkale. You could even make a stop in Pamukkale on your journey from Istanbul to Cappadocia.

Pamukkale, Turkey is often overlooked for the picturesque Cappadocia. I mean, I get it! Why would you travel all the way to Turkey and not visit the canyons and caves whose skies are overrun by hot air balloons?

Hear me out.

Pamukkale is a Turkish destination still quite low on many people’s radar, which is a treat if you’re looking for being on the off-the-beaten path. Its relatively low-key status offers you an escape from the massive crowds you’d normally find in Istanbul and Cappadocia. Pamukkale also offers you the opportunity to go on a hot air balloon ride should your heart desire it. The best part of all of this is that you only need one day to visit Pamukkale.

Two women standing in Pamukkale overlooking the travertine terraces.

How to get to Pamukkale

There are three popular options when going to Pamukkale: fly, take a bus, or rent a car.


Flying to Pamukkale is the best option if you want to maximize on time. The nearest airport to Pamukkale is Denizli Çardak Airport (DNZ). Flights to Denizli are only available with Turkish Airlines and Pegasus.

If you will be flying from Istanbul like I did, then it is only a one hour flight to go from Istanbul to Pamukkale/Denizli. A round-trip flight ticket can cost you as low as 25€.

Once you arrive in the very small Denizli airport, just walk outside to take the bus to Pamukkale. The Denizli airport is so small, you can’t miss it!

The bus ride will cost you 30 Turkish Lira. The ride from Denizli airport to Pamukkale village will take about one hour, give or take.


It is possible to visit Pamukkale by bus from Istanbul. This can be the cheapest option, especially during peak travel season. However, it will take much longer to get there in comparison to flying.

The bus from Istanbul to Pamukkale can take anywhere between 10-12 hours. The cost of a one-way bus ticket from Istanbul to Pamukkale can start at 50 Turkish Lira.

The positive side to this long journey (depending on how you look at it) is that it is an overnight bus, so you can also save on a night’s hotel accommodation.

If you want to continue your journey to another Turkish town, like Cappadocia for example, buses and flights are also available between Pamukkale and Cappadocia.


If you’ve got time to spare, or prefer to to go at your own pace, than renting a car can be a good option for you. The fastest route takes about 7 hours to drive 570 kilometers. This route has tolls so when picking up your car rental, make sure it has an electronic-chip sticker or a toll transponder (either the FTS or HGS) mounted at the top of the windshield.

Travertine terraces in Pamukkale, Turkey

Best time to visit Pamukkale

Spring (April to June) and Fall (September to October) are the best times to visit Pamukkale.

The sun is shining bright, rain is minimal and temperatures are getting warm, so you can enjoy your time outdoors. At this time of year, the number of tourists visiting Pamukkale is still low and very manageable. The sun sets a bit later, and the late closing hours of the travertine terraces allows you to enjoy the sunset from the top.

Photo of Pamukkale taken end of March

I get that the summer months are convenient for travel, but be prepared. July and August is high season in Pamukkale.

With summer comes high temperatures and more tourists. Because the travertine terraces sit atop a cliff, the sun will be strong so be prepared with sunscreen, a hat, and loose, comfortable clothing. Bring a swimsuit, too. If you’re lucky, the water will be flowing and you can manage a dip in the water.

How long to stay in Pamukkale

If you’re up to it, I recommend to stay a full day and one night in Pamukkale to take things a bit slower to enjoy this natural landscape in Turkey. You can fly into Pamukkale in the morning, enjoy a full day relaxing by the hot springs and the surrounding Hierapolis. After your day of slow travel, get a good night’s sleep in a hotel. The next morning, you can fly to Istanbul as early as 7am or move on to your next destination!

If you are short on time, you can manage a day trip to Pamukkale from Istanbul. With how Turkish Airlines and Pegasus are set up, you can literally fly from Istanbul to Pamukkale at 5am, then fly back to Istanbul at 7pm on the same day. Really! In fact, this is the preferred schedule for many travelers.

View of Pamukkale's terraces and a hot air balloon

Where to stay in Pamukkale

Pamukkale Village is the ideal location if you want to maximize your time visiting Hierapolis and the terraces. You can find accommodation for as low as 20€ for a double room.

Melrose House Hotel

When I traveled to Pamukkale, I stayed at the Melrose House Hotel. It is centrally placed in Pamukkale village. For 20€ for a one night stay in a double room, you are a 10-minute walk away from the South entrance to the Pamukkale travertine terraces. The reception is available to call you a taxi, if needed. In the nightly price, you have breakfast included. In the summer, the pool is also available for use.

Bellamaritimo Hotel

Located at just a 5-minute walk from the travertine terraces, Bellamaritimo Hotel is one of the most conveniently located hotels in Pamukkale village. The hotel offers a pool, restaurant and bar, which are convenient for when you’re done exploring the surrounding scenic landscape.

Things to do in Pamukkale

Pamukkale travertine terraces and thermal pool, Cleopatra’s Pool, and Hierapolis

Pamukkale sits atop hot springs which paved the way to creating a beautiful petrified waterfall, or travertine terraces as they’re also known as.

I’ve written a guide on things to do in Pamukkale so you could better discover Pamukkale’s natural formations, Cleopatra’s pool, and the historical city of Hierapolis.

Woman sitting at Pamukkale's travertine terraces enjoying the view.

Additional tips

Pamukkale water flows

What I didn’t know before going, and what you should know about Pamukkale’s travertine terraces is that the water does not always flow. The turning on and off of the water flow is managed by the conservationists. In actuality, there’s no way of knowing what days they will allow the water to flow and which days they won’t.

The photos in this post were taken on a day the water flowed.

Accessing Pamukkale’s Waterfall

You have 2 ways to access the petrified waterfall. One way is through the South Slope. Entry for the South Slope begins down at the edge of Pamukkale Village and requires you to walk up a slight slope barefoot. YES, barefoot. This is because the slope is made up of the same minerals found in the hot springs. It is white and it is beautiful, so to preserve the slope’s white color, no shoes are allowed.

Another entry point to the waterfall is from the top of the hill, next to Hierapolis. The best way to get to this point is to take a taxi. Once you reach the top, you can choose to start exploring the ancient ruins of Hierapolis before taking in the travertine terraces.

Pamukkale makes an easy and unforgettable day trip from Istanbul! I hope this article has shown you how easy it is to include Pamukkale in your Turkey itinerary.


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31 thoughts on “Travel Guide to Pamukkale, Turkey: 5 Tips to Plan Your Perfect Trip”

  1. What an amazing natural wonder! I had to look this up on the map and I’m surprised to see it’s not too far (relatively) from Istanbul. I might have to add this to my next travel itinerary! Thanks for sharing.

    1. No, it’s not far at all! I encountered people flying to Istanbul at 5am and flying to Cappadocia that same evening. Transportation is frequent so it’s quite convenient. I hope you get the chance to visit, Emily! Thank you for reading.

  2. I can’t believe how timely this post is! I was just looking into visiting in September – glad to hear it’s a good time to visit! It looks so beautiful, thanks for all the tips! 🙂

  3. I was just telling a friend yesterday about this place. Turkey is so close to where I live and I still need to explore it. Pamukkale is definately on my list. And I had no idea you could get so cheap flights from Istanbul. Good to know

  4. What a stunning place Pamukkale is, I’ve been wanting to visit for ages after seeing it all over Instagram. We actually go to Istanbul in a few days but we have a short amount of time and so wont make it here unfortunately. But saving this for future.

    1. I hope you can make it for next time! I had 4 days in Istanbul and decided to make a day trip to Pamukkale. Enjoy yourselves in Istanbul.

  5. Such a great guide! I wouldn’t have known about this – and the pictures are beautiful of the pools. I really want to do the classic air balloon at Cappadocia but this is something worth adding to the trip.

    1. Thank you so much for reading. Consider doing a hot air balloon here as well. It’s not as expensive as in Cappadocia and less balloons are in flight!

  6. Wow – I’ve always wanted to visit Pumukkale, my mum visited years ago and I she was so amazed by the place. I really love the colours in your photographs too – I guess I’ll have to bump it up my bucket list of places to visit 🙂

  7. Wow, it looks amazing! I had never heard of Pamukkale before. The blue colour of the springs is gorgeous. I don’t get way this place is often overlooked :o.

  8. Wow I LOVE this! I’ve been thinking about a trip to Turkey a lot recently and this certainly helps out planning an itinerary – such a great idea to break up a journey from Istanbul to Cappadocia! Your photos are just stunning, such a surreal but beautiful landscape. Great post!

  9. Love hearing about underrated or less touristy destinations! This place looks amazing and I would definitely try fit it in if I’m ever in Turkey 😊

  10. Wow this place looks amazing! I didn’t even know that it existed, but now I’m like about to plan a trip there haha. Thanks for sharing!

  11. I’ve been completely blindsided by all the IGers ramming pictures of hot air balloons down my throat. This destination looks wondrous and far more serene.
    I was really struck by the idea of water not always flowing though, that’s the sort of thing that can really ruin best laid plans, thanks for the forewarning!

    1. Yes I had no idea that the water could stop flowing but I am so glad it worked out! I can’t lie. I, too, wanted to go to Cappadocia but in the end, I’m soooo glad it didn’t work out. 🙂

  12. Wow! This place looks incredible. I love articles like these that highlight off-beat places to travel to. This one goes on my travel list for sure!

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