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Turkey has many natural wonders to visit. The outdoor springs at Pamukkale are definitely unmissable.

Pamukkale

When you think of discount holidays to Turkey you might imagine golden beaches, blue seas, delicious food and exotic markets. Whilst the country is amply supplied with all of these elements, it also has more than its fair share of spectacular natural wonders. One of the most magical of these is the thermal springs at Pamukkale, located around 4 hours from Marmaris.

A cotton palace

Until you lay eyes on it the sheer wonder of Pamukkale is hard to picture. The literal translation is cotton palace, and that is exactly what this enchanting attraction looks like. Limestone-rich water has cascaded over the stepped landscape for thousands of years to create a series of pools adorned with mysterious shapes like a calcified waterfall. Whilst it looks like an extraordinary mix of candy floss and ice, the water is in fact warm enough to bathe in, which is why the ancient Greco-Romans created a spa here.

Luxurious bathing

If you want to bathe in the waters in relative peace, your best bet is to go early. To avoid the crowds you might want to consider staying nearby the night before and visiting them in the morning, as most day-trippers won’t get there until around lunchtime. You will have to explore the shallow pools barefoot; footwear is not permitted to help preserve the pale stone. However, centuries of erosion means that they actually feel pleasingly comfortable underfoot. Take shoes in a separate bag so that you can later explore the archaeological site of Hierapolis. In the winter months the site is far less busy and obviously cooler, but bathing there whilst snow covers the surrounding landscape only makes it more magical.

Historical interest

In addition to the spectacular pools, the site is also the location of an ancient spa, Hierapolis. Originally established by the kings of Pergamon over two thousand years ago, remains of various Christian churches built in the 4th century can still be seen today. As well as a necropolis, colonnaded streets and several ancient temples, there is even a theatre which is used today for outdoor performances. You can also bathe in the warm waters of the spa’s Antique Pool, swimming amongst the ancient submerged pillars and soaking up the magical atmosphere. It’s no surprise that this well-preserved site has been regarded as significant enough to be placed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. Romantic, awe-inspiring and jaw-droppingly beautiful, the mineral pools of Pamukkale are sure to be one of the most unforgettable sights you will ever experience.

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