Pamukkale

Pamukkale has been made eternally famous by the gleaming white calcite travertines (terraces) overrunning with warm, mineral-rich waters on the mountain above the village – the so-called ‘Cotton Castle' (pamuk means 'cotton' in Turkish). Just above the travertines lies Hierapolis, once a Roman and Byzantine spa city, which has considerable ruins and a museum.

Unesco World Heritage status has brought measures to protect the glistening bluffs, and put paid to the days of freely traipsing around, but walking down the travertines remain one of Turkey’s singular experiences.

While the photogenic travertines get busloads of day-trippers passing through for a quick soak and photo op, staying overnight allows you to visit the site at sunset and dodge some of the crowds. This also gives time for a day trip to the beautiful and little-visited ancient ruins of Afrodisias and Laodicea, and to appreciate the village of Pamukkale itself.

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