If you love seeking out surreal sites, that look not of this world, then do we have a destination for you. Pamukkale, or “cotton castle” in Turkish, is an unreal little village that has some of the most spectacular turquoise water terraces you will ever lay eyes on. For thousands of years, people have come here to bath in the hot springs. There are 17 of them in all that range in temperature from 35 C (95 F) to 100 C (212 F). What makes this site so breathtaking, however, is how the pools look against the white limestone mountains. The terraces are made of travertine, a form of limestone deposited by the thermal waters.
For those looking to take a dip, sadly you’re out of luck. As world traveler Michael Turtle states, “Whereas once you could swim in the travertines, now security guards keep a watchful eye on anyone trying to get too close. Other than a special swimming pool that has been constructed away from the cliffs, Pamukkale is generally to be seen but not touched these days.
“In many ways, that's to be applauded. The site is a truly remarkable natural phenomenon and it would be a pity if human interference damaged it permanently for future generations.”
Now here are some of our favorite photos of this naturally occurring wonder.
Above photo: Ahmet Sahin