Snow that isn’t cold ? Pamukkale Turkey

Did I just say ” Snow that isn’t cold?

Yes, I did! Well, is it?

Read on!

We are in Turkey, and what looks to be icy cold snowy hills.

We have read about this place, and have our backpacks ready to hike up the hills.

We park the car, and it isn’t really clear where to go with a distinct lack of signs, but we find a path and head up, and pay our entrance fee, as this is now a World Heritage Site.

There is a guard with a whistle, and it is clear we must remove our shoes. There are only certain areas we’re permitted to walk and climb on.

So where are we? And is this snow?

Really it is white stuff; that looks like snow.


And what is this white stuff?  It is made from the deposits called travertines and they are made by hot spring waters that flow down the terraces, and this leaves calcium carbonate minerals from the flowing water.


©Exploramum and Explorason – is this snow?

The snow that isn’t cold?

So you see, it is not snow.  I lied!

It looks like snow, and in actual fact, in parts, the water is icy as it gets further away from the springs, but as you ascend the water is warm, and increases in heat the further up you climb.


©Exploramum and Explorason – Snow that isn’t cold?

It is actually a really exciting place to visit and it is called Pamukkale, meaning “cotton castle” in Turkish, is a natural site in Denizli Province in southwestern Turkey.


©Exploramum and Explorason – feeling warm against the white hills

In this area, there are 17 different hot water springs, in which the temperature ranges from 35 °C (95 °F) to 100 °C (212 °F).


©Exploramum and Explorason – why isn’t this water icy cold?

And in parts, it is quite hard, and in other parts, it feels quite soft, and I watch people collect the soft layers in jars and bottles.

It is a type of calcium carbonate.

Very, very fine and soft, a bit like super fine powdery sand.


©Exploramum and Explorason – calcium carbonate

As we progress up, it gets more and more difficult not to slip. In fact, Explorason lands in a pool and his but is completely wet.  We watch several people fall in.  So we walk carefully on the rock ledges.

We watch several people fall in.  So we walk carefully on the rock ledges.


©Exploramum and Explorason – steady walking

We get to near the top, and we wanted to swim in the top pool but at the time the guards said we had to swim in the hot springs (which was equal to $25).


©Exploramum and Explorason – heading to the top of the pool area

We feel pretty happy with ourselves, and I think the climb took us a good two hours – there were so many photos and fun things to do.

But this is an exhilarating place.  We just feel excited and very alive. It is so unique.

We just feel excited and very alive. It is so unique.


©Exploramum and Explorason – we make it to the top pool

This is the view from near the top.  We really do feel like we are in the snowfields. Except it isn’t cold.


©Exploramum and Explorason – a view from the top

When we reach the top it is back to earth and land, and our shoes can get back on.

At the top is also minivans loaded with tourists that come up a different road. The ancient Greco-Roman and Byzantine city of Hierapolis were built on top of the white “castle” and are off to the right.

It can be seen from the hills on the opposite side of the valley in the town of Denizli, 20 km away so it is quite impressive.  But we choose to walk straight ahead, and head to the thermal hot springs. They say these have therapeutic values.


©Exploramum and Explorason – entering the hot thermal pool

They are REALLY hot!  And there are pieces of the ancient city on the base of the pool, so you have to watch or you skin your knee(we both did) or stub a toe (again, we both did) and it is a gravel rock base.


©Exploramum and Explorason – Explorason hangs onto me to avoid bashing his legs and feet on submerged pillars

We have a valid ticket time of two hours to spend in here, which is plenty. There is only one entry point into the pool.  I get as far as the pillar area and have to float as I keep bashing myself on the pillar pieces.


©Exploramum and Explorason – floating in the beautiful warm waters

We hop out and go to have a shower – but there are none – now we are freezing!  We dry off as quick as we can and discover that Explorason wore his swim shorts up and only has his underpants to way down in.  So we wrap a towel around him and head down.

As we walk down, I do realize how soft my skin feels. Maybe that is why there is no shower?

As we leave the top area, the pool where we were told we couldn’t swim in, was filled with bikini-clad women.  Darn.  We so wanted to have a photo and a swim in there.  We were way too cold by now to go and get changed into wet swimsuits, so we give it a miss. It really is a big regret for me.  We already had our swimwear on, so we could have swum when we walked up, and it is warm in there, so we could have saved $25.

Sadly I don’t know if there will be a “next time” for that photograph.


©Exploramum and Explorason – the last pool – this one people can swim in (but we were wrongly informed)

We head down to the lake below, and by the time we reach the car we are warm again.

It might not really be snow, but we feel like we have just had a day on the snowfields.

Questions and Comments

  • What fascinates you about Turkey?
  • Ever heard of snow that is not cold?
  • Did you get to visit Pamukkale in Turkey?
  • How was your experience?
  • Do share your comments with us below.


2 thoughts on “Snow that isn’t cold ? Pamukkale Turkey

  1. So cool you tried this out! I’m in Turkey right now and I was thinking of heading there at the end of December, but I wasn’t sure if it would be too cold. Looks like I’ll be ok:)

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