The Central and Southern Aegean Coast: Places to Explore


Pamukkale (Hierapolis)

Pamukkale (pronounced pam-uck-al-lay) first appears as an enormous, chalky white cliff rising 330 feet from the plains. Mineral-rich volcanic spring water cascades over basins and natural terraces, crystallizing into white curtains of solidified water seemingly suspended in air. These hot springs are believed to cure rheumatism and other ailments. In the mid-1990s, the diversion of water from the springs to fill thermal pools in nearby luxury hotels reduced the volume of water reaching the site to a trickle; that, combined with a huge increase in the number of visitors, discolored the water's once-pristine whiteness. Large sections of the site are now cordoned off, as the authorities strive to conserve and restore a still-striking natural wonder to its former magnificence. Be forewarned that the surrounding area is very commercialized.

If you have time, spend the night here, as the one-day bus tours from the coast are exhausting and limiting: you'll end up spending more time on the bus than you do at the actual site. One full day at Pamukkale will give you enough time to explore the area.

Pamukkale (Hierapolis) at a Glance