Pamukkale’s spring waters have seduced visitors for thousands of years – including certain Roman emperors. You can follow in their imperial footsteps by bathing in the waters today. Three different options are available. For the first, you don’t even have to leave town: just off the main road, the Natural Park (24hr; free) is a new complex set around a lake. Natural attractions here include piped music and swan-shaped pedalos whose LEDs glow at night, as well as a couple of fake travertine terraces – whatever, the water is real enough, and the park is actually a nice place to spend the evening. The second option is also free, once you’ve bought your ticket to Hierapolis – as you head up the travertine paths, you can wade in the pools on the way.
However, if you want to take a proper bath in the springs, visit the Pamukkale Thermal Baths up on the plateau (daily 8am–7.30pm; TL30), which encloses the sacred pool of the ancients, with mineral water bubbling from its bottom at 36°C. Changing rooms are available, as are drinks and snacks – many visitors choose to relax by the pool, coffee in hand, for an hour or more.