Nestled in the hills of Pamukkale, Turkey, sit dozens of pristine pools of clear blue water.
The name means “cotton castle”, and it’s fantastically appropriate. The natural wonder is built of squishy white sand.
It’s Turkey’s pride and joy, being the most visited tourist attraction in the country.
The hot springs look out over onto the historic village below, including ancient Roman architecture left behind from the height of the empire.
At a balmy 36 C, the water is very warm and will help relax any soreness you might have.
The easiest way to get up to the baths is to hire a car and take the hour drive up there. You can also hop on a bus that frequently leaves from the town.
Avoid the crowds by staying right in the village below the hills and by hiring your own car. If you go in the wintertime, there are basically no tourists there.
You approach the pools by walking the historic Roman roads. Keep in mind you’re not allowed to wear shoes once you hit the hills, in order to preserve the calcite deposits that make the pools and soft sand.
Swim and relax as you sink down into the soft sand of the hot springs.
Entry is about 15 USD and the pools are open daily from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.