Pamukkale is a dedicated tourist town around Cumhuriyet Meydanı, but in quieter parts of the village life is still soundtracked by bleating goats and birdsong. Pamukkale's double attractions – the shimmering white travertines/terraces and the adjacent ruins of ancient Hierapolis – are a package deal. Both are accessed on the same ticket and comprise their own national park, located on a whitewashed hill right above Pamukkale village.
Of the site's three entrances, the south gate is most practical. It is about 2.5km from Pamukkale, on the hill near Hierapolis' main sights, meaning you see both Hierapolis and the travertines while walking downwards, exiting through the middle gate and finishing in the village. The north gate is about 3km away, allowing you to enter Hierapolis via the necropolis and Frontinus St and, likewise, walk downhill to the village. Both gates are uphill from Pamukkale, best accessed by dolmuş, taxi or (in most cases) a free lift provided by your accommodation rather than walking; Hierapolis and the travertines comprise a large site, so save your energy.
The middle gate, on the edge of Pamukkale itself, is at the base of the terraced mountain, meaning you walk uphill over the travertines to Hierapolis and take the same route back to the village – not a logical route, but it does offer two looks at the travertines. If you are just after a little R & R in the pools, this is the quickest and easiest entrance.
Note the various opening times of the entrance gates; you can exit when you like. Tickets are only good for one entry, so you must see the site in one go. Nevertheless, you can stay inside as long as you like, and for most people a single visit is enough; pensions are generally happy to make a picnic lunch so you can take your time and enjoy an all-day visit. Additional fees apply for the Hierapolis Archaeology Museum and Antique Pool.