Located inside the Pamukkale hot springs (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) in Pamukkale, Türkiye, Cleopatra’s Pool a geothermal hot spring with one feature that makes it standout from every other hot spring on earth: It’s located within the ruins of an ancient temple that once might have belonged to Cleopatra.
Turkey’s travertine terraces located near Cleopatra’s Pool are already famous – the white limestone rock formations form multiple small pools where throngs of tourists like to gather. The Cleopatra Pool (officially referred to as the Antique Pool) isn’t located among these terraces. Instead, if you want to visit, head to the nearby town of Denizli or Pamukkale – buses run directly to the Antique Pool complex.
According to legend, the man made pool was a gift from Marc Anthony to Cleopatra. There’s no direct evidence she actually ever visited the pools. A temple to Apollo once housed the pool, but an earthquake toppled the Doric columns, which now decorate the bottom of the pool. History buffs can bring snorkel gear if they want to get a better look at the underwater ruins.
The geothermal pools are sometimes nicknamed “champagne waters,” thanks to the effervescent bubbles released from the ground. The water hovers around 95 degrees fahrenheit – comfortably warm without being too hot to swim in the summer.
Far from an isolated hot spring situated in the middle of a natural landscape, the Antique Pool is outfitted with modern facilities, including changing rooms, lockers, and showers. There’s even a restaurant within the pool complex. However, you will need to bring your own towel as there are none available at the pool.
If you want to sit and lounge in the outdoor seating area near the pool, there’s no fee to enter. However if you plan to swim, be prepared to be charged around 10 US dollars.
The best time to visit the pool is probably in the early morning (the complex opens at 9 am and stays open until 7 pm) before groups and big families start to arrive from nearby towns, if you want to enjoy the ruins in peace. The pool quickly becomes crowded with tourists.