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Denizli is a city in the Southern Aegean region of Turkey, which most visitors simply transit to reach Pamukkale 20 km north. It's a typical modern Turkish city, far from picturesque, but does have enough sights of its own if your schedule allows. It's the main conurbation of Denizli province and most of it is nowadays within Pamukkale District (formerly Akköy), with a population in 2022 of 347,926. This means that places in and around the city shown on maps as "Pamukkale" may be far from the travertine pools you're looking for.


Kaklık Cave

Deniz means the sea, or a large lake, which this place never had: it's on the edge of a hillside south of the plains of Büyük Menderes River. The name probably derives from Tonguzlu, place of the wild boar, though it took its denizens until the 14th century to decide they didn't much like being called swine and to elide the pronunciation. The town however remained agricultural. It managed to avoid warfare, whereas the more important nearby city of Laodicea was wrecked by the Turks and Mongols, and its residents relocated to Denizli.

Denizli is a textile town and its other agricultural claim to fame is the Denizli rooster, honoured by a fibreglass model in Delikliçınar Square south of town centre. Excavations at Laodicea found it honoured 900 years ago. It's not a ferocious fighter and it certainly doesn't lay, but has a distinctive 20-25 second crow. Its population is declining but there are measures to protect the breed.

The climate consists of average summer highs of 35°C, and winter days around 5-10°C. Rains are concentrated in winter and spring, but the occasional shower can happen anytime.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

  • 1 Denizli Çardak Airport (DNZ  IATA), +90 258 846 1139. This has daily flights from Istanbul (both IST and SAW) by Turkish Airlines and Pegasus. Occasional seasonal flights are from Tehran, and Medina during the hadj pilgrimage. The airport is 65 km east of Denizli so you need to have onward transport set up - buses no longer run to town, and a taxi will cost you an arm and a leg. Denizli Çardak Airport (Q1431199) on Wikidata Denizli Çardak Airport on Wikipedia
  • İzmir Adnan Menderes Airport (ADB IATA) has more international flights. It's 260 km west of Denizli, a 4 hour drive.
  • Antalya (AYT IATA) may work better, as it has budget flights from across Europe. It's 225 km southeast, a 3 hour drive.

By bus[edit]

Buses from Istanbul take 10-11 hr via Gebze, Bursa, Izmir, Aydin and Nazilli. They run hourly daytime and every couple of hours through the night, for a fare in 2023 of 620 TL.

Buses run hourly from Ankara (7 hr), Izmir (3½ hr) and Antalya (4 hr). Others are from Isparta (3 hr), Konya (6 hr), Göreme (for Cappadocia; 10 hr overnight) and Adana (12 hr overnight).

Bus lines on these routes are Pamukkale, Metro Turizm and Flixbus.

  • 2 Denizli Bus Terminal (Otogar). This is central: Denizli doesn't have a bypass, so it hasn't built an edge-of-town station like other cities. It's spacious enough for the number of passengers it serves, reasonably clean, and has ticket kiosks, toilets and left luggage. Inter-city buses are on the upper level, downstairs are local services including to Pamukkale - this runs from Platform 76 every 20 min and costs 24 TL.

By train[edit]

Pamukkale Ekspresi trundles once a day from Eskişehir, taking 8 hours 20 min via Kütahya, Afyon and Çardak. It sets off after 11:00 to arrive around 19:30; the return train departs at 09:45 to reach Eskişehir by 18:15. Eskişehir has fast YHT trains from Istanbul, Ankara and Konya, but you'll struggle to make a same-day connection.

Göller Ekspresi typifies what's wrong with Turkish railways. It runs overnight, leaving Izmir Basmane station at 23:00 to reach the airport at 23:30, Selçuk at 00:40, Aydın at 01:45, Denizli at 04:10, Çardak at 05:15 and Isparta at 07:40. The westbound return leaves Isparta at 22:00, reaching Denizli at 02:00 and Izmir at 07:00. Thus it serves a large city, two airports and several major tourist destinations, at a time of night that renders it useless. It just has standard seating, no couchettes. The bus covers the distance in half the time at a convenient hour of day.

Denizli railway station is across the road from the bus station. Few facilities here.

Get around[edit]

Denizli Bus Station

Most sights are within walking distance.

The town bus website has route maps and timetables. For the university and hospital take Bus 120, 250, 300 or 320.


  • 1 Ulu Camii. (Q19737592) on Wikidata (Grand Mosque) on Kayalık Cd was built in traditional style in 2002, demolishing the original of 1368 on this site.
  • 2 Denizli Atatürk and Ethnography Museum, Gazi Mustafa Kemal Blv 70, +90 258 262 0066. Tu-Su 08:30-17:00. Atatürk stayed overnight here on 4 Feb 1931, when it was the local party offices. In the 1950s it was a TB dispensary. It became an ethnography and city history museum in 1984 but the 19th century structure needed an extended closure for repairs, re-opening in 1999. Free. Denizli Atatürk and Ethnography Museum (Q28221064) on Wikidata Denizli Atatürk and Ethnography Museum on Wikipedia
  • 3 Bayramyeri Camiisi is a large mosque built from the 1960s, overlooking a busy square.
  • 4 Rag Doll Museum, 789th Sk 7, +90 258 263 3320. M-F 08:00-17:00. What it says on the label. At least now you know that bez bebek is Turkish for a rag doll. Free.
  • 5 Delikliçınar Square is the one with the statue of the rooster.
  • 6 Seyit Emir Sultan Mosque is an elegant mosque with twin minarets.
  • İncilipınar Parkı stretches south of the mosque.
  • 7 Çamlık Parkı is a wooded park near the university: Çamlık means pines.
  • 8 Akhan Caravanserai was built in the Seljuk era. It's been turned into a restaurant and düğün, a wedding venue. You might be able to peek in on the way to Laodicea.
  • 9 Laodicea (Laodikeia Antik Kenti). Daily 08:00-18:00. This city grew up from around 260 BC; it was on a spur of a hill along trade routes and became wealthy. About 213 BC, some 2000 Jewish families were deported here from Phrygia, and that community was proselitized by early Christian evangelists: Revelation 3:14–22 scorns them as lukewarm and insipid. The city was wrecked by an earthquake of 60 AD but rebuilt. Its main avenue is called Syria Street. The temple has a glass floor so you can look down into the basement and see offerings uncovered during excavations. There's also a west amphitheatre, a scrappy north amphitheatre, and church foundations, plus an outlying stadium and baths. Any bus or dolmuş towards Pamukkale will drop off by the approach road then you walk 1.5 km west. Adult 200 TL. Laodicea on the Lycus (Q849709) on Wikidata Laodicea on the Lycus on Wikipedia
  • 10 Colossae was a city of ancient Phrygia, with its heyday in the 5th century BC. It was dwindling by the 1st century AD, when Paul or his colleague wrote an Epistle to its church. ("Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord . . . " which they might otherwise not have thought of.) The site has not been excavated: there's obviously a substantial city down there, but for now there's nothing to see.
  • 11 Kaklık Cave (Kaklık Mağarası) (D320 to Kaklık). Daily 10:00-19:00. This small karstic cave has dripstone stalactites and stalagmites like many others but also has travertine pools, a miniature Pamukkale. A walkway leads through it, then you can use the 26°C mineral pool outside. Adult 15 TL. Kaklık Cave (Q69048047) on Wikidata Kaklık Cave on Wikipedia
  • Çardak Hanı is an attractive caravanserai in Çardak village just north of the airport. In 2023 it's closed for restoration.


Primary school in Denizli
  • Football: Denizlispor were relegated in 2023 so they now play soccer in TFF 2. Lig, the third tier. Their home ground Atatürk Stadium (capacity 18,700) is 2 km south of town centre.
  • 1 Yılmazlar Lunapark, 1250th Sk, +90 258 213 5856. Daily 15:30-00:00. Amusement park and fairground.
  • Çavuşoğlu Aquapark is north along the highway to Pamukkale. Cleanliness varies.
  • 2 Bağbaşı Plateau (Bağbaşı Yaylası v Teleferik). This mountain area is accessed by a cable car from Tekkeköy village. You can camp up here.


  • Babadağlılar Bazaar is north side of the Ethnography Museum, open M-Sa 08:00-20:00. Traditional handmade clothing and other textiles are the city specialty.
  • Forum Çamlık is a shopping centre 1 km south of İncilipınar Park.
  • Teras Park is a big shopping centre at the southwest edge of town.


Cable-car to Bağbaşı
"So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth." - Revelation 3: 16
- no point offering St John of Patmos a Dondurmalı İrmik Helvası dessert.
Local dishes include Denizli-style lamb kebab, Kaşarlı Alabalık baked fish covered with grated cheese, and Kokorec which is offal wrapped in a lamb's gut.
  • 1 Kebabçı Enver, Sarayköy Cd 28, +90 533 422 6061. M-Sa 10:30-18:00. Lamb kebab is the thing to order here, since it's the only choice on the menu. You'll seldom find better.
  • 2 Kebapçı Halil Albaş, Sarayköy Cd 3 / 357th Sk, +90 258 261 1537. M-Sa 11:00-19:30. Good meat dishes, filling and inexpensive.
  • 3 Karadam, 1583rd Sk 68, +90 258 261 4151. M-Sa 10:00-20:30. Long-established place for toast and kokorec.
  • Hacı Şerif is a chain of dessert shops, selling all the standards including lokum - Turkish Delight. Dondurmalı İrmik Helvası is made with semolina and pine nuts, and served warm around a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Their most central outlet is at 2nd Ticari Yol 466, a hundred metres east of Bayramyeri Square.


"As everybody lives in vineyards the upper classes and ordinary people do not flee from each other."
- Evliya Çelebi, 17th century Ottoman travel writer
  • Most cafes serve beer. There isn't a free-standing pub.
  • Çal Vineyard Route links a number of vineyards around the town of Çal, northeast of Denizli.


  • The bus station is surrounded by budget hotels, a great vote of confidence in the reliability of onward transport. These include Hiera City, Çimenoğlu Otel, Demasus, Mellday, Laodikya, Anya Suit, Grand Keskin, and Halley Hotel. Just north on Cumhuriyet Cd are Grand Denizli, Koşar, Napa (below), Eyüboğlu and Aygören.
  • 1 Napa Otel, Cumhuriyet Cd 10, +90 258 242 0428. Clean friendly hotel near the bus station. B&B double 1000 TL.
  • 2 Angel's Park Hotel, Ankara Blv 51, +90 258 268 2233. In a workaday commercial district by the main highway, get a room at the back if you're bothered by traffic noise. Nevertheless a clean comfy place, best suited to motorists. B&B double 1500 TL.
  • 3 İnci Class Hotel, Süleyman Demirel Cd 3, +90 258 212 0022. Business hotel on main highway just south of centre. B&B double 1500 TL.
  • University district south edge of town has a scattering of accommodation near the main highway, which includes Golden Residence, Vista Royal and Leman Kültür Hotel.
  • Pamukkale and Karahayıt to the north are on the international tourist circuit and have plenty of high-standard accommodation.


Denizli rooster

Denizli and its approach roads have 4G from all Turkish carriers. As of March 2023, 5G has not rolled out in Turkey.

Go next[edit]

  • Pamukkale is a must-see, with calcium-coated cliffs and hot spring pools, and the ancient city of Hierapolis.
  • Aphrodisias is one of the best preserved Roman cities in Turkey, yet without the crowds of better known sites.
  • The coast is about four hours drive from this city named for the sea. Closest big resorts are Marmaris and Kuşadası, for Ephesus.

Routes through Denizli
IzmirSelçuk  N  S  TermessosAntalya
BodrumMuğla  W  E  BurdurKonya

This city travel guide to Denizli is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.