How about a spa day in Pamukkale during your yacht charter in Turkey?
When you get near Pamukkale in Turkey, you will understand that you truly are going to a magical place for a spa day.
A spa day in a cotton castle might sound like something you would do in a fairy tale, but when you get near the surreal natural wonder in Pamukkale in Turkey, you will start to understand that you truly are going to a magical place for your hot spring experience! Pamukkale is a dazzling site of rippling semi-circular, pure-white travertines that sit among green farming fields. This pure white hillside is one of Turkey’s most photographed spots and the moment you will spot it on your way from the yacht you will understand why!
Your captain will dock the yacht in the coastal town of Akyaka, situated at the far end of the Gulf of Gökova, and after an early breakfast onboard, your private driver will take you and your loved ones to Pamukkale. Your chief stewardess will make sure you will have everything you need for your exciting trip inland and will suggest to wear comfortable shoes that you can easily take off once you are at the hot springs and bring your swimsuit. Did you know that Cotton Castle isn’t just a fun name for Pamukkale’s travertine cliffs? It is the literal translation from Turkish into English.
How was Pamukkale formed?
Pamukkale sits over a fault line that generates frequent earthquakes and cracks in the earth created by the earthquakes allow thermal waters to reach the surface to create the hot springs.
Thousands of years ago, the Romans built the nearby city of Hierapolis so their citizens could enjoy the health benefits of the warm mineral water. Flash forward, and the city of Pamukkale in Turkey is still one of the healthiest and most mysterious places in the world. Deep in the earth beneath the city lies a vast source of water that is heated by volcanic lava. As a result, the water dissolves pure white calcium, and then becomes saturated with the calcium before appearing on the surface of the earth where it bursts and runs down a steep hillside. The dazzling white calcite cliff of Pamukkale is created by calcium deposits growing on the steep slopes, gradually fanning out to form natural terraces. The unreal landscape of natural mineral basins will truly take your breath away, with its stark contrast between the snow white deposits and the natural bright blue pools. Thousands of years of calcium deposits being layered on-top of each other created the amazing travertine pools that you see today. The best way to experience the seventeen hot springs that make up the travertine terraces is to walk up or down the terrace ridge section that leads from the hills base in Pamukkale village to the central entrance to the Hierapolis ancient site on the summit. This is the only section that you can walk on, and you are only allowed onto the travertines barefoot, that’s why your chief stewardess recommended wearing shoes you can easily take off!
At the upper levels, the half-circle shaped terraces hold pools of water that you wade through (most are from ankle to mid-calf deep) to reach the summit. Once you are on the top of the hill, follow the wooden walkway that winds most of the length along the top edge of the travertines. From here you have an unmatched view and more importantly, you can take stunning panoramic photos of the travertine hill and the countryside beyond.
The water has healing powers, at least, that’s what the locals say. The minerals in the pools, formed by the underground hot water sources, are said to help with all sorts of ailments, especially digestive and circulation problems. Be sure to don your swimsuit and dip your entire body in to take full advantage of this! At the very least, your skin will feel like you just came back from a luxury spa.
The ruins of Hierapolis
Although most visitors come to Pamukkale for the travertines alone, the vast and rambling ruins of the Roman spa town of Hierapolis sit on the travertine hill’s summit, making this one of Turkey’s best places to visit if you would like to mix in some history. You will find Hierapolis’ grand, well-preserved theater, various temples and monuments, and a large necropolis area. First founded by King Eumenes II of Pergamon, Hierapolis was originally a fortified military colony. The original city was destroyed by an earthquake and it was after the rebuilding that its glory days began. The city enjoyed its greatest prosperity during the second and third century when, with its natural hot springs, it became an important spa center.
The remains of a grand colonnaded street run parallel to the travertines below for just over one kilometer, extending between the necropolis to the north and a Byzantine church at the southern end. From the church, if you take the eastern path, you come to the Temple of Apollo and its famed Plutonium. The Plutonium is a cave beneath the temple that was a source of poisonous gas where the priests would consult the oracle. Both the temple and Plutonium have undergone an extensive restoration recently and deserve your visit.
On a slope looking over the vast amount of the Hierapolis ruins is the city’s mighty theater, with its facade over 100 meters long and two tiers of seating, each with 26 rows. Built during the reigns of the Roman Emperors Hadrian and Septimius Severus, the theater is incredibly well-preserved. It has retained much of its original detail, with the imperial boxes, where VIP guests would have watched the entertainment, and some decorative panels along the stage still surviving. There are fine views from the top seating tiers and the surroundings make for a great photo opportunity. Ask your driver to take a picture of you and your friends and family while seated in the VIP boxes! This might also be a good spot to have the refreshments your crew packed for you to be zipped up by one of the available golf carts at the theater. You can enjoy a late picnic lunch with a spectacular view before you make your way back to the yacht after your spa day in a cotton castle!
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