How To Get From Izmir To Pamukkale: Train, Bus + Tour

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Written By Sean & Louisa

Not sure how to get from Izmir to Pamukkale? Worry not.

There are several ways to get from Izmir to Pamukkale, but the easiest ways are usually getting a train or bus. Other methods of getting to Pamukkale from Izmir include getting a guided tour or renting a car and driving, but those are generally not as popular, for reasons we’ll discuss below.

If you have decided to visit Pamukkale from Izmir, then you are in luck. Izmir is one of the best places to base yourself in to visit both the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ephesus and Pamukkale!

Below we’ll talk about the pros and cons that come with each method, so you can determine which one fits you best!


Izmir To Pamukkale Distance

Izmir-to-Pamukkale-Distance
Pammukale is about a 3-hour drive from Izmir

Before we jump into how to get from Izmir to Pamukkale, let’s look at how far the two attractions are from each other. As you can see from the above, approximately 223 km (139 mi) separates Izmir from Pamukkale, and it takes about 3 to 3.5 hours to drive.

If you consider doing a round trip, that could easily be around 6 to 7 hours of driving in one day. So, is a day trip from Izmir to Pamukkale via driving feasible? Totally. Would we recommend it? Probably not.

Though driving to Pamukkale from Izmir might seem a little bit exhausting, it does mean that buses might be an option, and we will get to that shortly. 


Taking A Tour From Izmir To Pamukkale

Pamukklae-Travertine-Pools
Taking a tour from Izmir to Pamukkale is the most stress-free way!

If you don’t want to do any planning or driving, then we highly recommend you take a tour to Pamukkale from Izmir. A Pamukkale tour from Izmir includes everything you’ll need for a comfortable visit, such as:

  • Air-Conditioned Transportation from Izmir to Pamukkale and back
  • Entrance Fee to Pamukkale-Hierapolis
  • A professional guide to tell you the history of the Pamukkale-Hierapolis archaeological site, a present-day UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Lunch included at Pamukkale

As you can see, the tour covers everything a tourist might need – from transportation to entrance to a professional guide. It is actually great value for money!


How To Get A Train From Izmir To Pamukkale

Izmir To Denizli Railway Line
Map of The TCDD Railway Line from Izmir To Denizli

Taking the TCDD Turkish State Railway train from Izmir to Pamukkale is one of the most popular ways to get to the famous Turkey attraction, but there are certainly pros and cons.

The train departs from Basmane Gar Railway Station in the center of Izmir and ends at Denizli Railway Station, which is right across from the Denizli Bus Station where you can get the minibus to Pamukkale.

Unfortunately, there is no direct train from Izmir to Pamukkale, so you’ll also have to change at Denizli, a big city situated about 17 km (10.5 mi) from Pamukkale.

Perhaps the biggest advantage of getting a train from Izmir to Pamukkale is that the Basmane train station could be just a few minutes’ walk away from your accommodation in Izmir. Additionally, the train passes by the Izmir Airport (Adnan Menderes Airport), perfect for those that are arriving in the city via a flight.

NOTE: At the time of writing, the train from Izmir to Denizli costs 73 TL, but with Turkey’s economic crisis, that price is most likely going to increase.

However, travelers must be aware that there are ONLY 6 departures per day, which limits when you can get to Pamukkale and when you have to come back. The earliest department is at 7:10 AM from Basmane Gar Station, and that gets you in at 11:49 AM at Denizli Station. By the time you get the minibus to Pamukkale, you’ll get there around 1 PM. 

It takes about 4.5 hours to get to Denizli from Izmir via train. From Denizli, you’ll have to catch a minibus to Pamukkale, which adds another 45 minutes to 1 hour of travel time.

IMPORTANT: The last train from Denizli back to Izmir departs quite early (at 6:10 PM), make sure you get it or you’ll be stuck in Denizli (or have to take a bus)

The last train back to Izmir is at 6:10 PM, which only leaves you with about 4 hours or so at the travertine terraces of Pamukkale and the archaeological site of Hierapolis. We personally don’t think that’s enough, especially if you want to soak in the pools and properly relax. Here is the schedule for the train from Izmir’s Basmane Gar Station to Denizli Railway Station:

Departure Time (Basmane Gar)Arrival Time (Denizli Railway Station)
7:10 AM11:49 AM
10:45 AM3:29 PM
12:30 PM5:29 PM
2:30 PM7:13 PM
4:45 PM9:35 PM
6:00 PM10:37 PM

As always, it is good to check at the ticketing office the day before to guarantee that the schedule for the trains has not changed. The official TCDD Railway site allows you to purchase a ticket in advance, but we found that our credit cards didn’t go through.

Steps To Get From Izmir To Pamukkale Via Train

Approximately: 6 hours

  1. Get To Basmane Gar Railway Station

    The Basmane Gar Railway station is situated in the heart of Izmir’s city center. Just make sure you are getting to the railway station and not the Metro station, which Basmane so conveniently has.

  2. Get Your Ticket From The Ticketing Booth

    Izmir-to-Selcuk-Ephesus-Pamukkale-Ticket

    The ticketing booth is situated near the entrance of the station. Just let him know that you want to go to Denizli, and he’ll hand you a ticket. It might be best to have Google Translate ready, as English is not widely spoken in Izmir.

  3. Get On The Train And Enjoy The Ride To Denizli

    Train-From-Izmir-To-Denizli-or-Selcuk

    The train journey from Izmir to Denizli Railway Station takes about 4.5 hours. The journey is quite beautiful as you go through the Turkish countryside.

  4. Take The Minibus From Denizli Bus Station to Pamukkale

    Pamukkale Travertine Terraces

    Once you get off the train, walk over to the Denizli Bus Station or Denizli Otogari in Turkish, and head to the lower level B1. Look for Gate 76 (it’s not really a gate) and you’ll find the minibus that departs regularly for Pamukkale. The ride takes about 45 minutes and they depart when they are full.


Getting From Izmir Airport To Pamukkale

If you are getting from Izmir Airport to Pamukkale, your best bet is to take the TCDD Railway train. Conveniently, there is a stop at the Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport, so visitors can just hop on and make their way to Denizli. It is the same train you would take if you were coming from Basmane Gar in Izmir, so the schedule is the same (there are only 6 departures).

Here is when the train arrives at Izmir Airport:

Departure Time (Izmir Airport)
7:32 AM
11:08 AM
12:56 PM
2:56 PM
5:09 PM
6:23 PM

Once you get to Denizli Railway Station, just follow the steps above to get to Pamukkale!


How To Get A Bus From Izmir To Pamukkale

Long Distance Buses Turkey
Long Distance Buses in Turkey

Last but not least, the other option to get from Izmir to Pamukkale is via one of the long-distance buses in Turkey. 

There is no direct bus from Izmir to Pamukkale. Most buses will take you as far as Denizli Bus Station, where you’ll have to change to a minibus to get to Pamukkale. It is the same method as taking the train.

The minibusses depart regularly but usually only when they are full. The journey takes an additional 45 minutes, which could make your travel time over 4 hours.

But perhaps the biggest con of taking the bus from Izmir to Pamukkale is that the Izmir Bus Station is situated far from the city center. Getting from the tourist areas to the station can take an additional 45 minutes by public transport.

The biggest advantage of the bus is that you can get one early in the morning (around 5 to 6 AM) and get to Pamukkale at around 9:30 to 10:30 AM. This will give you much more time to explore this beautiful place in Turkey. The bus is also an hour faster, but getting to the bus station in Izmir might offset that difference.

Pamukkale Travertine Terraces

Steps To Get From Izmir To Pamukkale Via Bus:

  • Approximately: 5 hours

1. Get To Izmir Bus Station

The Izmir Bus Station is situated on the outskirts of town, but travelers can get to it via public transportation. There many buses that will take you there, we took the 302 personally because it was near where we stayed.

2. Buy Your Bus Ticket To Denizli At The Counter (If You Haven’t Gotten It Online)

We highly recommend purchasing your ticket online ahead of time so you can secure a spot on the bus. Otherwise, it is possible to buy it at the counter, but it might be sold out by the time you get there. We recommend getting a bus no later than 7 AM. Remember, you want to buy a ticket for Denizli (because there isn’t a direct bus to Pamukkale).

3. Get On The Bus And Enjoy The Ride To Denizli

The bus journey from Izmir to Denizli Bus Station takes about 3.5 hours. The scenery is quite beautiful on the way, but if you got up early, you might want to catch some sleep.

4. Take The Minibus From Denizli Bus Station to Pamukkale

Once you get off the bus at Denizli Bus Station, head to the B1 lower level. Find Gate 76 and you’ll see the minibus that departs for Pamukkale. The journey takes about 45 minutes. If you cannot find it, there are plenty of people at the station that can point you to where you need to go.

Read More: How to Get From Izmir to Ephesus?


Is it Better To Take The Bus Or Train From Izmir To Pamukkale?

If you are taking a day trip from Izmir to Pamukkale, it is almost certainly better to take a bus. That is because the buses start running much earlier than the train, allowing visitors to get to Pamukkale with plenty of time to explore.

When it comes to how long it takes to get from Izmir to Pamukkale, both methods are similar. Buses take about 3.5 hours to get from Izmir Bus Station to Denizli, but visitors must also get to the bus station, which is not situated in the city center. The train station is situated in the city center, but the train takes about 1 hour longer than the bus. 

So in the end, the two methods even out when it comes to duration.


How To Get Back From Pamukkale to Izmir?

Pamukkale-Town-View

Getting back from Pamukkale to Izmir is easy. You can flag down one of the minibusses on the main street (ask one of the locals if you are not sure) to get back to Denizli. From there you can either take the train or the bus back to Izmir. Both ways work perfectly fine, but we prefer getting the train so we could take a quick nap and it drops us off in the city center!

Just remember that there are only 6 train departures from Denizli to Izmir, and the last one is at 6:10 PM!

Here is the full schedule of the trains departing from Denizli to Izmir:

Departure Time (Basmane Gar)Arrival Time (Denizli Railway Station)
5:45 AM10:35 AM
8:30 AM1:09 PM
10:45 AM3:45 PM
12:45 PM5:26 PM
4:30 PM9:09 PM
6:10 PM10:59 PM

There are plenty of buses that go until very late at night. So if you miss the last train, you can take a bus instead. You can check the schedule of the buses here.


FAQ

How Many Hours Do You Need in Pamukkale?

You’ll need about 5 to 6 hours to see the entire archaeological site of Pamukkale-Hierapolis. This will give you enough time to explore the old amphitheater, the Necropolis, soak in the travertine pools, and even go swimming in the Cleopatra Pools. 

Can I See Pamukkale In One Day?

Yes, you can definitely see Pamukkale in one day. The area around Pamukkale doesn’t have many attractions and one day is more than sufficient to enjoy what Pamukkale and Hierapolis have to offer. 

What Are The Opening Hours For Pamukkale?

The opening hours for Pamukkale change depending on the season. The site opens at 6:30 AM all year round, but it closes at 6 PM between November 1st and February 28th, 8 PM between March 1st and May 1st and October 1st and October 31st, and 9 PM between June 1st and September 30th. 


Getting from Izmir to Pamukkale might be difficult if you are a first-time visitor. But hopefully, with our guide, you can go explore the archaeological site and soak in the pools at Pamukkale without worrying too much about the logistics! If you have any questions, make sure you leave a comment below!

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