We spent 3 hours at Pamukkale through an organised tour but as it is unique we decided it deserved a page of its own.
Due to tectonic, rather than volcanic activity there are many hot springs in this area. The water is calcium rich and as it trickles down the mountain side it forms calcium ridges filled with azure blue water. As a tourist attraction it doubles up with Hierapolis; a world UNESCO heritage site which is adjacent to Pamukkale and includes the Tomb of the Apostle. If ancient history is your thing you would definitely be in your element here!
We had already seen so many ruins, relics and remains in Turkey we were mainly there for the pristine white landscape and blue pools and whilst we admired the history we decided to spend our time in the pools!
The highlight for us was the antique pool; some tourist brochures describe this as Cleopatra’s Pool from which she allegedly gained eternal youth; but as our tour guide pointed out there is no evidence that Cleopatra ever visited the area. They prefer to call it the Antique Pool because whether Cleopatra was ever there or not, it is evidentially very old.
We paid 100 Turkish lira each to swim in the antique pool; it was certainly a unique setting and Nigel particularly enjoyed underwater swimming beneath a fallen column. The entry cost did mean that you could only enter the pool once; if you wanted to get out and have a drink or for example visit the toilet you had to pay again.
Swimming in the water was a lovely experience as there were natural springs which resulted in carbonated bubbles rising from below the surface; however there was also some green algae type debris in the water. Just to note if you are planning on swimming in the antique pool consider taking hard soled swimming shoes due to the fallen columns and rocks under the water. You had to be very careful to shower well afterwards; otherwise you would end up with green stained swimwear as happened to Carol. Also, after you had paid an entry fee you could obtain a locker for 10 tl. This was refundable and allowed you to leave the pool and visit the calcium falls without further charge which is what we did.
Our visit was at the suggestion of Uncle Keith, and was arranged through an agency from Antalya; in hindsight we would have arranged to do this tour from Fethiye which was 50km nearer. The tour itself was very long with picks ups and drop offs and we unfortunately were the last ones to be dropped off; a full hour and a half after the first people. It made for a very long day and any stops we had were in pre arranged tourist hotspots where for example a box of turkish delight was sold for 5 euros, when the same box was available in local supermarkets for 60p.
In summary we did enjoy our time at Pamakkale; however if the opportunity came up again we would definitely recommend hiring a car and driving yourself. It is a picture perfect place to visit and is very popular with young people and families alike. If you search hashtag #pamukkale on Instagram examples can be seen. We had a lovely time there but for us the travelling far outweighed the time there. Travelling from Antalya took 12 hours, from 8am to 8pm; however we were only at the site for 3 hours. If you are near the area please do give it a visit; the landscape is unique and the pool like nowhere else on earth.
Carol & Nigel xx