Kaklık cave: the underground version of Pamukkale

Pamukkale is one of Turkey’s most visited attractions. But did you know about the underground version of Pamukkale, less than 50km away from its above-ground counterpart? The underground version is called Kaklık cave, and the reason it compares to Pamukkale is that it also features the same cotton castle travertines that have made Pamukkale world famous. Kaklık cave is a small cave, but it is quite impressive as a natural phenomenon; which makes it the ideal road stop on the way to somewhere else.

Hot Water Pouring In

Hot Water Pouring In

The story behind Kaklık cave

Kaklık cave was formed by a subterranean stream that slowly eroded the porous limestone and sulfurous rocks. It began to form over 2 million years ago, and it wasn’t until the roof of the cave collapsed, that people discovered it, after which it was opened to the public in 2002. Water pours in from above, at the cave mouth and covers the surface, creating travertine steps with the calcium carbonate deposit left behind. At the same time, the geothermal spring below the cave pushes water into it from the surface. The movement of the water is clearly visible in the clear blue waters below the sinkhole but also happens elsewhere inside the cave.

Look At How Blue That Water Is!

Look At How Blue That Water Is!

Underground Travertine Terrace

Underground Travertine Terrace

Looking Down Into The Sinkhole

Looking Down Into The Sinkhole

The sulfurous thermal water has a temperature of 24°C, which is not that hot, but still very pleasant, even on a wet winter day. Locals call Kaklık cave’s spring Kokarhamam, which translates to the stinking bath. As soon as you get out of the car, you’ll know why. The geothermal waters, as it is the case in Pamukkale, have been used to treat skin diseases ever since antiquity, but their sulfurous fumes probably won’t qualify for the next perfume hype.

Subterranean Cotton Castle

Subterranean Cotton Castle

How to visit Kaklık cave?

Kaklık cave is located at roughly 30km east of Denizli, not more than 5km away from the main road connecting Denizli to Dinar. Nowadays, Kaklık cave or Kaklık mağarası in Turkish is a natural conservation area. The cave is around 190m long and is accessible through a wooden staircase. Inside, wooden platforms create a circular path that takes you around the travertines, back to the starting point. A warning notice: make sure to wear waterproof shoes, as the water pouring down also flood the paths. Also, please note that the railing along the path is broken at places. If you’re visiting with smaller children, make sure to keep them in sight at all times.

Slippery Steps At The Entrance Of Kalkik Cave

Slippery Steps At The Entrance Of Kalkik Cave

The cave opens at 8 am and closes at 5 pm each day, except on religious or national holidays, when it is closed. There is no entrance fee. The area around Kaklık cave is set up to be a recreational spot with an outdoor swimming pool. At the time of our visit, both the walkways inside the cave and the public areas around it seemed in need of some maintenance. But don’t let this put you off to stop and have a look if you’re in the area. You won’t need more than half an hour to visit, so this makes a perfect road stop when you’re heading to Pamukkale and Hierapolis, Denizli, or Laodicea. After all, if you look past the not so inspiring marble quarries, and the slight disrepair, this place is an enchanting place of natural beauty.

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