A white castle, an ancient town and fairy chimneys - sounds like a perfect script for a fairy tale. That's exactly what Pammukale, Side & Cappadocia brings to you. Away from the hustle bustle of Istanbul, these towns show the beautiful landscapes and history of Turkey.
Pammukale: The White Castle
From Istanbul, Pammukale is an hour flight and since it does not necessarily demand an overnight stay, I took an early morning flight to Denizil airport. From there, buses run continuously that take you straight to Pammukale. The first sight of this frozen waterfall or a cotton castle just makes you awestruck. I had never seen anything like this as a natural wonder ever. As you take your first barefoot step, you are worried its going to be cold as snow & slippery as ice. But with every step you take, you know its just limestone.
At the top, you can take a dip into Cleopatra's pool by paying a small fee. You also have the sites of Hierapolis amongst which one of the largest standing amphitheater.
Side: The Ancient Town
After a 4 hour stop, I was ready to go onwards towards Side, a historic town in Antalya. It took 3 bus changes before I reached Side after a 6 hour road trip. I had booked a cozy little motel overseeing the Mediterranean run by a local family. Next day as I stepped out, it first struck me that I was actually staying in the historic town itself surrounded by Roman architecture everywhere. Ambling through the ruins, amphitheater, the Apollo temple at a leisurely pace, one can only but get lost in the history. The city also has a beautiful beach with shacks and alleys filled with street shops & bars.
Cappadocia: City of Fairy Chimneys
After 2 days in Side, I headed to Cappadocia by flight from Antalya to Kayseri. It is an hour's bus ride from airport to this fairy chimney town and feels like landing on another planet itself! You have to stay in one of the cave hotels for a truly unique experience. Make an advance booking for the famous hot air balloon sun rise trip - it will set you back by 150 Euros but its worth the experience!
Hire a bike on rent so that you are free to travel at your own pace and avoid continuous climbing of hills. A full day bike ride visiting Gerome open air mueseum, Uchisar, Urgup took me through some majestic landscapes I had ever seen. Next day, I opted for the guided Green Tour which took me through the mind blowing underground city of Derinkuyu, a beautiful trek through a gorge, and some more chimneys.
As I flew back to Istanbul, I took with me a potful of memories & images of the beautiful towns of Pammukale, Side and Cappadocia and the warmth of Turkish people.
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