After early morning pickup from your central Istanbul hotel, transfer to Ataturk airport for your 1-hour flight to Denizli. On arrival, hop inside an air-conditioned minivan for a roughly 50-minute ride to Pamukkale.
Enjoy time for a coffee (own expense) before your guided tour, and then start with a visit to the red springs at Karahayit. The waters of these warm natural springs are tinted red by their high iron content, and believed to have healing powers.
Continue to Hierapolis, where the remains of a Roman spa town lie above Pamukkale’s white terraces. Enter through the North gate with your guide, and explore as you hear stories about the town and its citizens. Stroll by the bathhouse, basilica and necropolis, one of the largest of the ancient world, and view the ruins of the Frontinius Gate, Frontinius Street, Latrina, Northern Byzantine Gate, Fountain of the Tritons, and Temple of Apollon.
Next, get free time to view and perhaps take an optional swim (additional cost) at the Cleopatra Antique Pool, where Romans once bathed. If you opt to swim, wade into the thermal waters and float over the toppled Roman columns that lie submerged in the pool. Then, resume your tour with a stop at Hierapolis’ theater. Admire the ancient auditorium as your guide explains how it once seated around 20,000 people.
Afterward, take in the white travertines (white calcium pools) of Pamukkale, set below the ruins. Capture photos of the surreal-looking, white terraces, formed over the millennia by limestone deposited by the hot springs.
Lastly, enjoy lunch at a Turkish restaurant and free time to explore Pamukkale village before returning to the airport and flying back to Istanbul. Your trip then ends with a hotel drop-off.