We arrived in Pamukkale by minibus from Denizli Monday afternoon. The bus drops you off at the crossroads in the center of this tiny tourist town. In the off season there were only a few other visitors staying here so we were instantly mobbed by all the tour operators who offered everything from overpriced taxi rides to ballooning and paragliding. All of them also pointed out that the Hotel Mustafa where we were staying was only a few steps away. We absolutely loved this small family run hotel. It has a very welcoming atmosphere, and in the evening we sat around the common room and chatted with fellow visitors.
After checking in we decided to take advantage of the excellent spring weather to go exploring. Just a few minutes walk from the hotel is a little park with a lake. You can rent a paddle boat and join the geese in the water or just sit and enjoy the view of the famous white limestone formations that have made this place a tourist destination since at least the time of the Romans.
We saw a stand in front of one of the restaurants offering freshly squeezed pomegranate juice for 5 Turkish Lira (US $ 1) This has quickly become one of our favorite treats here in Turkey. When we ordered we were invited to sit on the terrace, which this time of year was completely empty, and enjoy the view. Turns out that by sitting there we had to pay the much higher restaurant price for our juice.
We had our dinner and breakfast right in our hotel which was excellent and reasonably priced.
The next morning we headed to the Pamukkale/Hierapolis site. There are 3 entrances. If you choose the one closest to the hotel you walk uphill through the travertine pools first. After you enter the site (cost 50 Lira) you have to take your shoes off. This is a truly unique experience and I highly recommend that you take this route. The other entrances are where the tour buses stop. Here you visit the Roman ruins first and many people only experience the top part of the pools.
The Roman ruins here are truly impressive, especially the theater which overlooks the whole valley. As we were on our own schedule we spent a long time exploring the ruins, this time of year surrounded by spring flowers. We also visted the museum. It costs only 7 Lira and you can see some of the amazing archiological treasures found here.
There is also the antique pool where you can go for swim. We didn’t do this, but if you visit in hot weather, I think, it is a must.
We left by the south gate and decided to take a taxi back to town. Again beware if you want to do this, even if you agree on a price beforehand they will try to charge you extra.
We were really happy to have the extra time here. March is a great time to visit. Pamukkale is such a unique spot. I hope, you will enjoy it as much as we did.