How To Get To Pamukkale From Istanbul (& To Istanbul From Pamukkale)

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How To Get To Pamukkale From Istanbul (& To Istanbul From Pamukkale)

Turkey has many tourism hotspots, and Istanbul is one of the big ones. This city is packed with history, shopping, eateries, sports, culture, and so on. It’s doubtful that you’d have any time to spare during a trip to Istanbul, but if you want to extend your trip, there are plenty of places to visit a bit further afield.

Have you ever seen Pamukkale in pictures? This UNESCO World Heritage Site has to be seen to be believed. Known as ‘cotton castle’ locally, the landscape is pure white with bright blue pools along the travertine terraces and calcium carbonate on top of it. Known for its natural healing benefits, a dip at Pamukkale could give you more than a few great selfies!

It’s not all chilling out in a beautiful landscape, as the ancient Greek city of Hierapolis is also at Pamukkale, giving you plenty of history.

So, if you’re in Istanbul and fancy heading to Pamukkale, how do you go about it? And how do you get back?

Let’s get into how to get to Pamukkale; this travel to Pamukkale guide below covers it all. 


Turkey Travel Blog_How To Get From Istanbul To Pamukkale


Istanbul To Pamukkale By Plane (& Pamukkale To Istanbul By Plane)

Most Beautiful Mosques In Turkey - Blue mosque in Istanbul at sunset The fastest way to get to the heart of Pamukkale is to fly. The nearest airport to Pamukkale is Denizli, which has direct flights from Istanbul several times per day.

Typically, flying is the most expensive option, but flying between Pamukkale and Istanbul can be as cheap as USD 20. Turkish Airlines and Pegasus (the low-budget Turkish airline) fly directly between the cities multiple times a day.

You can take an Istanbul to Pamukkale flight from Istanbul International Airport (IST) or Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (SAW), and you will arrive at the Denizli Airport (DNZ). The flight is around 1 hour 15 minutes. 

Getting To Istanbul International Airport From City Center

As most people will stay near the city center, we have provided options to get to IST from that starting location.

  • Airport Istanbul Transfer: Book yourself a private airport transfer from your hotel. Often these include help with bags and escort to the gate.
  • Istanbul Airport Shuttle Bus: From the Sultanahmet shuttle stop, grab the HAVAIST Istanbul airport shuttle. Tickets are approximately USD 1.5, but make sure you check timetables the day before your flight to ensure a shuttle will be available.

Getting To Sabiha Gokcen International Airport From City Center

As most people will stay near the city center, we have provided options to get to SAW from that starting location.

  • Airport Istanbul Transfer: Book yourself a private airport transfer from your hotel. Often these include help with bags and escort to the gate.
  • SAW Istanbul Airport Bus or Taxi (Taksim Square): To reach Taksim Square if you are staying in the Sultanahmet, take the T1 tram and get off at Fındıklı Mimar Sinan Üniversitesi – the University stop. From Taksim Square, grab the HAVABUS shuttle, which is a 1.5-hour ride to SAW, or take a 17-minute taxi ride.

Getting To Pamukkale From Denizli Airport

Denizli Airport - closest airport to Pamukkale

Once you arrive at Denizli Airport, you must take a taxi, an airport shuttle (approximately $11.50 USD), or rent a car to get to Pamukkale. Both can easily be done at the airport. The drive to Pamukkale will take around 1 hour, covering 70km.

Tip: If you opt for the taxi, ask the taxi driver for an average price before you get in, although be aware that they’ll probably tell you they’ll put it on the meter. However, by asking beforehand, you will know how much you can expect to pay by getting an average price.

Istanbul To Pamukkale By Car (& Pamukkale To Istanbul By Car)

Best Things To Do In Istanbul - Topkapi palace at dawn Istanbu


Another quick route to Pamukkale from Istanbul is hiring a car and driving. The journey will take around 6.5 – 7 hours, depending on traffic leaving and arriving in Istanbul. While longer than a flight, driving gives you the flexibility to make stops along the way to admire the scenery while also allowing you to avoid the waiting time and transfers associated with public transport.

How far is Pamukkale from Istanbul? It is a 615km journey if you leave from the Istanbul International Airport, and the roads are easy to follow and comfortable to drive. Take the O-5 highway all the way there.

To drive from Pamukkale to Istanbul, reverse the advice for your journey back to Istanbul.

Istanbul To Pamukkale By Bus (& Pamukkale To Istanbul By Bus)

How To Get From Pamukkale To Cappadocia - Pools
Pamukkale, Turkey

You can easily take the bus to Pamukkale from Istanbul. Turkey has three leading long-distance bus providers – Pamukkale, Kamil Koc, and Metro. All three have regular services to Denizli throughout the day, with just as many services going back in the opposite direction.

The bus journey takes 10 hours and 20 minutes to Denizli bus station, although the bus is very comfortable, offering wifi, entertainment, and refreshments. Bear in mind these buses have no toilets, but they do stop regularly.

Once you arrive at the Denizli bus station, take a taxi, private transfer, or shuttle to Pamukkale. It takes just under 1 hour. If you opt for the shuttle bus, walk to platform 76 at the bus stations and grab the next shuttle out of Denizli towards Pamukkale town center. These shuttles leave every 20-30 minutes and cost about USD 0.70.

Istanbul To Pamukkale By Train (& Pamukkale To Istanbul By Train)

Hierapolis Ancient City, ruins of Hierapolis in Pamukkale_Depositphotos_321572494_S

If time isn’t an issue for you and you really want to check out the beautiful passing scenery along the way, you could go by train. The journey will take around 13 hours and 20 minutes, but trains in Turkey are very comfortable. You’re advised to book your tickets beforehand, and you can buy them online or from the train station locally.

From Istanbul, head to Yenikapi Station. You can reach this via Metro, bus, or taxi. Once you board the train, you’ll first head to Pendik, which should take around 48 minutes. This train leaves every 15 minutes.

Upon arriving at Pendik Station in the Kadikoy neighborhood on the Asian side of Istanbul, you’ll need to swap to the Ankara Express that heads to Eskisehir. This leaves hourly and takes 2 hours 45 minutes.

After that, you must jump on the Pamukkale Express that runs to Goncali. The final leg takes 7 hours 40 minutes, and once there, jump in a taxi for a 12-minute journey directly to Pamukkale.

To head back to Istanbul, reverse the information and be sure to book your tickets ahead of time, as the return journey is often hectic.

Private Tour From Istanbul To Pamukkale

Cleopatra Antique Pool – Pamukkale, Turkey

If the hassle of picking a travel option between the two cities seems like something you’d rather not deal with, booking a private day tour from Istanbul to Pamukkale is a convenient option but more expensive.

The benefit of taking a private tour is you have a guide all to yourself, telling you about the history and culture of Pamukkale and Hierapolis. Tour guides will arrange all of your travel needs along with entrance tickets.

Getting to Pamukkale is easy; we hope you enjoy the trip and that we’ve covered all your questions on how to get to Pamukkale from Istanbul.

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