When I first stumbled across photos of the Pink Lake in Turkey, I was in awe. I had never seen people visit here before and I soon found out that it is one of the most underrated tourist attractions in Turkey. To this day, I can’t quite figure out why so few people come to visit this incredible and HUGE pink lake. I put it on the top of my “Places to Visit in Turkey” list.
We went to visit the Pink Lake, Tuz Golu (meaning Salt Lake in Turkish) on a day trip from Cappadocia. We rented a car,hired a driver, and set off to visit this beautiful lake.
Driving along the road to the official entrance to the lake, we began to see the incredible pink waters blending into the horizon into a blur of purple and blue. We got to Tuz Golu early in the morning. There weren’t many people around, and even fewer (if any) tourists. At first we were quite disappointed that the “Pink Lake” was actually much more white. Although also beautiful, we drove by such vibrant pink waters on the way, that it was a bit sad to just see white.
We were told that because of the evaporation that occurs in the summertime, most of the lake was dry and the salt was a whiter color. It was still incredible to see the enormous expanse of salt as far as the eye could see. The salt formations were beautiful and we saw many locals collecting bags of the healing salt to bring home for a spa night.
Although the white salt beds were very impressive, I was still determined to see the PINK lake. Our driver promised to try to find a way to the pink portion and we got our things and started driving.
Pink, Pink, Pink!
A little bit later, as the pink waters started to come into view, he went off the highway and into a pathway made through some empty fields. We started to drive towards the pink. Reaching the edge of the salt bed, we get out of the car, and start walking towards the pink waters.
Because of the summer evaporation, it was a bit of a walk before we reached the pretty pink waters. And it was so worth it. Absolutely STUNNING. The colors were magnificent and the waters smoothed the skin to an amazingly silky feel. It felt like a wonderland.
We walked around, exploring the beautiful shallow water. The salt formations were beautiful and impressive. So happy to have made it to the pink portion of this enormous lake, we walked back to the car, rinsed off the salt with water, and continued onto our next destination.
When to Visit the Pink Lake
Although the Pink Lake can be visited all year round, be aware that in the summer months much of the water evaporates. The lake itself is already extremely shallow in most places, but in the summer months the water may evaporate entirely in some areas, leaving just a large salt bed. Particularly at the official entrance, the water was almost entirely gone when we visited in July. When we drove a bit farther away to the area with the more pink water, there was some water, but it was still extremely shallow.
How to Get to the Pink Lake
The Pink Lake is a bit in the middle of nowhere, quite the drive from any main tourist attraction. The best way to visit in my opinion is to take a day trip from Cappadocia/Goreme as we did.
We rented a car and driver for the day and visited a few places outside of Cappadocia. First visiting the Pink Lake, we then made our way to Ihlara Valley.
Directly from Goreme it is around a 1.5 hour drive. Because of this, it’s best to add a couple of other amazing things to do in the region as well, to make it worth the drive.
As it can be a bit difficult to find the way to the pink portion of the lake, it may be easier to rent a car with a driver as we did. He knew the area very well, exactly how to get there, and the cost difference was negligible.
Tips for Visiting the Pink Lake
- SALT – If you’ve never visited a Salt Lake or a very salty body of water, know that it can get messy. The salt will stick to your legs and clothes if you touch it. It’s easily rinsed off with water though. Also be sure to rinse everything well that came in contact with the salt so that it doesn’t ruin your clothes or shoes.
- Shopping – Looking for a spa night? The salt from the Pink Lake is the perfect addition! You can buy salt at the official entrance to take home for a nice salt scrub.
- Where to Stay – The best place to stay when visiting the region is one of the famous cities in Cappadocia. The most famous among them being Goreme. It is very easy to rent a car from the city to take a day trip to visit the Pink Lake. The next main closest city is Konya. Although there is not much to do in Konya itself, you can take a day trip from the city to visit the Pink Lake.
- Places to Eat – At the official entrance to the lake, there is a small cafe where you can purchase food, water, and other touristic items. If you also go in search of the pink area of the lake, there is literally nothing around, so be sure to bring snacks and water!
- Cost – Entrance is free! Both to the official section and of course the non offical.
- The Pink Lake is the second largest lake in Turkey! Over 1,500 square km (643 square mile) surface area.
- Tuz Golu as it is called in Turkish means “Salt Lake”
- 63% of the salt consumed in Turkey is produced from the mines near the lake.
- The lake is pink partially because of a type of algae that grows in the water (the same algae that flamingos eat that causes to be pink)
- This lake is also a breeding ground for thousands of flamingos!
Things to Do in the Area
Since the Pink Lake is a bit of a drive from so many other places in the area, we decided to take advantage of the rented car and enjoy some of the other amazing things to do in the region.
Just about an hour’s drive from the Pink Lake, you can visit Ihlara Valley. It is an incredibly remarkable place. In the middle of a desert region, no water around except for the undrinkable Salt Lake, you’ll find the beautiful, lush Ihlara Valley. A fresh water river runs through the 16 km gorge carved through volcanic rock. It even boasts a few small waterfalls! It’s quite the desert oasis and worth a visit!
View the full post: IHLARA VALLEY – STUNNING RIVER GORGE IN THE DESERT | CAPPADOCIA, TURKEY
The whole region of Cappadocia has many Underground Cities available to visit. The most famous being Derinkuyu Underground City. As the name suggests, it is a full city built underground. Large enough to house 20,000 people, livestock, and built on multiple levels, it is said to be truly incredible. Bearing a secret of its own, this ancient city was only discovered when a man started renovations to his home, and stumbled upon it.
Giving a lot of insight into how people lived in this region historically, it can be visited along the way if you take a day trip to the Pink Lake and Ihlara Valley.
Although we did not have a lot of time to explore this interesting valley, we did have the chance to stop here at sunset on our way back from the Pink Lake and Ihlara Valley. As I’m sure you can guess, the name comes from the many pigeons that flock to the area. You can even see in the rocks the MANY ancient dovecotes (Pigeon Houses) carved into the rocks for the carrier pigeons many years ago.
If you have time, there is also a small hike that can be done in the area, a cute gift shop, and lots of pigeons to watch.
When we visited the area (July) there were literally ENDLESS fields of sunflowers everywhere. It was so beautiful. I found out that Turkey raises lots and lots of sunflowers and uses them for snacks and cooking oil.
Lots of Love and Safe Travels,
Danielle and Brooke, Colorful Sisters