Staying in Turkey, you can not help but enjoy a place like a hamam, which is a carefully preserved tradition and attraction in every city in Turkey.
This is an unusual place that promotes complete relaxation, both in body and soul. From the first minute of your stay in the hammam, you will get rid of stress and turmoil and therefore experienced tourists always find time for this not only useful, but also very pleasant ritual, which plays a very important role in Turkish culture.
Sultan Hamam bathhouse located in Alanya is a prime example of a traditional Turkish hammam. And this is not at all what is meant in Turkish baths located in our country. When you get to the Sultan Hamam, first you go to the cloakroom called the "Jamekyan" where the temperature reaches 30C and where you take off your clothes by tying the apron. Then you head to the main hall - "Soguklyuk", from which branches branch out in the form of parylen - "sikalikov", where the temperature is already close to 100C. Here you warm up and steam out on a hot lounger made of marble (“chebek-tasha”), on which a towel is laid. Here you, falling into the hands of professional bathhouse attendants, enjoy a massage accompanied by soaping and removal of dead cells with a hairy fairly rigid gauntlet. The end of your stay in the hammam is dousing with cold water. And all the bathing meditation ends in a room for a kafe where you can relax, smoke a real hookah or have tea, talk with friends.
But the Sultan Hamam bath is not just a traditional Turkish bath. It is also a large spa, offering its visitors many different services. There is also a cafe, a vitamin bar, a kids club, a beauty salon. And a picturesque garden is arranged nearby.
The bathhouse works every day from 09.15 to 20.15 and is an all-inclusive system.
How the Turkish hammam works
The Turkish “bathhouse” consists of several rooms, each of which has its own temperature.
- IN relaxation roomwhere you get dressed in a swimsuit, you relax, lying on the trestle beds or sitting on sofas and tune in to visit the hamam. You return to the same room after all the procedures. Here you are served tea, fruits, oriental sweets. Here they can apply a mask to the face. Quiet music and incense are lit here. The temperature in this room is 30-35 degrees.
- Then you go to hararetheated to 50-60 degrees. This is the main hall of the hammam (usually round). Along its perimeter along the walls are small niches where you can sit, warming up and resting. There are also installed bowls with water, taps and ladles for pouring. In the center of the hall is a large warm marble table called the “stone of the abdomen”. It can accommodate 6-8 people. In general, all surfaces in the hammam (walls, floor, and also sun loungers) are made of marble, which quickly and evenly heats up, and then retains heat for a long time. The only cold part is the ceiling. And so that the condensate that forms on it does not drip on vacationers, but flows down the walls, it is made in the form of a dome and decorated with colored mosaics.
A stone of a stomach in a hammam.
- In some hamams in Turkey (most often in tourist spas) special massage rooms (individual booths). They offer massages and other beauty treatments.
- IN shower room You take a cool shower to close the pores of the skin after all the procedures, and also wash off the mask from the face. But it is better not to wash off the oil from the body for at least two hours - let it be absorbed, moisturizing the skin.
- Some hamams in Turkey also have saunas, pools, jacuzzi, salt and mud rooms.
Bowls with water, taps and dippers for pouring.
Personal attendants, hammams, heifers
Hammams in Turkey (or personal “attendants”), most often men. In some “bathhouses” there are hammam-women (if this is important for you, check it in advance). It is up to you to decide which one to choose, in each case there are pluses and minuses: women complain because they have weak hands, they massage sluggishly and often chat on the phone at the same time, men are accused of misbehaving and dissolving their hands.
But still there are good “bath attendants” in Turkey: tactful, attentive, modest and responsible ... Quiet and calm, if you already dozed off during the massage. Funny and noisy if you yourself are so tuned. By doing a massage, they can entertain you with a song, make you smile with a good joke, while not allowing anything extra. In a word, this is a lottery where you can get lucky, or maybe not. But a lot, by the way, depends on you: do not allow yourself ambiguous hints and outright behavior, do not give reasons and do not provoke!
Hammers and masseurs in Turkey can be left with a tip (in Turkish, “bakshish”), but only if you are really satisfied with the quality of service and want to thank the master. The tip amount is up to 20-30% of the cost of your visit. Bakshish can be handed over to the “attendant” in person or left in an envelope at the reception. In some hammams, “attendants” themselves require bakshish or actively hint at it. Be prepared to firmly express your refusal if you do not want to pay anything from above.
In the lounge in the hammam.
How is the visit to the hamam
Any hamam in Turkey can be visited on its own or using the services of a “bathhouse attendant”. It’s better to go to the old historical hammams in Istanbul, more similar to spas and designed mainly for tourists (to be in the historical surroundings and feel the atmosphere of the Turkish “bath”): the services provided here, unfortunately, are not worth the money that ask for them. But a public city hammam somewhere on the outskirts can be visited by paying for the services of a hammam to feel what a real soap massage is and discover Turkey from a new perspective.
In a boor with a personal "attendant"
Arriving in a Turkish bath, you undress to a swimsuit and, wrapped in a pestemal towel, go into the relaxation room. There your body gets used to the heat, and you yourself are tuned in to visit the hamam. After 15 minutes, a personal attendant comes for you and takes you to the hammam. When you lie down on a warm marble stone, it pours your body with warm water for complete relaxation. Then a special glove (kesa) rubs you to clean the keratinized skin.
Soap massage is the next bath ritual: the master creates a huge amount of foam in a special fabric bag, rocking it, and then squeezes it on you. Massage in this foam moisturizes the skin thanks to a natural olive soap. The oil massage that is done after is also very pleasant and relaxing. In the relaxation room you will be offered a glass of Turkish tea, oriental sweets and fruits, and while you relax, the master will apply a nourishing mask to your face. Quiet music, scented candles and dim lights add to the atmosphere.
Hamman bath accessories.
To the hammam yourself
If you came to the hammam on your own and don’t want to use the services of “bathhouse attendants”, take a seat in one of the niches in Hararet and water your body with warm water so that the pores open and the skin is steamed. Lie on the “abdomen stone", warming up the muscles and relaxing. With a kesa glove, push yourself to the spools and rinse. Repeat this several times, cleansing the skin. Relax a bit in the relaxation room, and then go into the shower. If you wish, you can again look into hararet - into the rest room - into the shower room. If the hammam has a pool of cool water, swim in it a bit before going outside. This will prepare your skin for temperature changes and close your pores.
Where to buy a hammam tour in Turkey
In the hammam you can go alonehaving previously booked a visit, for example, while walking around the city, or do it online on some sites of Turkish “baths” (see the rating of hammams below). Can buy an excursion from local travel agencies or hotel guides.
You can also book a guam tour through the Internet at the following links:
Read more about how and from whom to buy excursions and entertainment tours, read in the material: Where is it better to buy tours in Turkey.
When is the best time to go to the hammam
It is better to go to the hammam in Turkey in the first days after arriving at the resort. Professional peeling will make the skin smooth and prepare it for tanning: after visiting the Turkish bath, tanning is easier and more even. 2-3 days before departure, you can repeat the peeling (unless you burn it, otherwise it will hurt). Some fear that in the hammam they will wash off all the chocolate before leaving, but this is not so: the tan will remain, only dead skin will be peeled off and there will be no feeling of “tightness”. In addition, you will have another 2-3 days to renew a clean tan.
The best time to visit the hamam on your own is by personal appointment, rather than as part of a tour group - early morning, when there are no other tourists yet, and the hamam masseurs are not tired and full of energy. If you don’t get to go in the morning, go to the Turkish bath in the evening (after 6:00 p.m.) - no one will rush you, and the hamams will have no reason to rush. This recommendation applies to visiting hammams in resorts. If you choose a public city hammam in Istanbul, then it is better to go there in the afternoon, because in the evening, when the working day ends, there can be many people.
In a hamam it is not necessary to use the services of a hamman.
How to prepare for a trip to the hammam
Take with you own flip flops (in some hamams in Turkey, instead of disposable slippers, you may be offered “public” rubber slaps or wooden slippers, assuring that they are well washed). We also recommend taking in a hamam your cotton towelsince only in very good hammams pestemals are washed regularly (more often they are simply dried in the sun). A plus get personal kesa, to be sure that before you did not do peeling with this mitten. If you are lucky with the hammam, then an individual package with a washcloth will be opened right in front of you, and after all the procedures they will give a mitten. Swimsuit and set of dry underwear required.
You can’t overeat in front of the hamam, but you should not go on an empty stomach either. Soup and some vegetable dish is the best lunch an hour and a half before visiting the hamam.
Pestemal (cotton towel), soap and bowl in a hammam.
How much does a hammam trip in Turkey cost?
The prices for visiting a hammam are different and depend on what procedures you will do, where you will go (to a public hammam, to a hammam at a hotel or to a tourist spa), where you will buy an excursion (from local travel agencies or hotel guides) or book visiting on your own via the Internet, whether the Turkish bath is far from tourist places, the season is now or not.
The approximate cost of a visit is presented below.
- From 15 $ - Excursion to a hammam in Turkey from a local travel agency in the resorts of the Mediterranean Sea (peeling, soap and oil massage, mask, as well as Turkish fruit tea).
- From 25-30 $ - excursion from the hotel guide.
- From 30 $ - additional therapeutic massage according to indications (20 minutes).
- From 40 € — Hamam Sulaymaniyah, one of the most famous and popular among tourists hammams in Istanbul, (visit with soap massage).
- From 80 € - famous old hamam roxalany in Istanbul (45 minutes).
Types of hamams in Turkey - how to choose the best
As you understand, a hammam is a special place, therefore one should approach his choice consciously. All hammams in Turkey can be divided into three types: hotel hammams, public city hammams and modern hammams with spa centers designed for tourists. Each of them has its pros and cons.
- In the hotel's hammam (meaning a good hotel that maintains a reputation) You can sign up for an individual time, which means there will be no unnecessary people nearby, the bathing master will not rush and do all the procedures with high quality. Yes, and sanitary conditions at the level. Only one minus - lack of atmospheric.
- In public city hammams in the resorts of the Mediterranean Sea you will be brought with a tour purchased from street travel agencies. Here, most likely, it will be cheaper than in a hotel hammam, but massages and scrubs can be done quickly and carelessly, especially during the season, as the flow of tourists is huge. They can apply a mask with a single brush for everyone, they can “kick out” of the sauna, because another group has arrived. And the “attendants” do not always behave respectfully - this is how lucky!
- In modern spa hammams the problem is the same: there are many vacationers, "masters" are in a hurry, performing services hastily and not too skillfully. Prices are overpriced, and many procedures are paid extra. In addition, in these centers you can find "serious diseases" that are treated only here and for a fee. A small plus is the fact that some of these hammams in Turkey are located in historic buildings with beautiful interiors, which are simply interesting to consider.
- Public City Hamams in Istanbul - These are traditional Turkish baths, located quite far from tourist places. They do not have various additional procedures, but here you can just wash yourself (do peeling and soap massage). These are hammams, which are visited by the Turks themselves, therefore it is easiest to feel the real atmosphere of the hammam and understand Turkish culture. An example of such a hamam is Cinili Hamam, located at Val>
The building of the historic Hamam Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska in Istanbul.
Rating of Turkish hammams (updated 01.2019)
The rating of hammams in Turkey is based on reviews from tourists. Turkish baths strikethrough in the list , have too many negative reviews, and we do not recommend visiting them, although tours to these hammams are often offered at resorts.
- Hamams in Antalya
1. Sefa Hamami. The best hamam in Antalya according to tourists reviews. The hamam is old, with classic interiors - it is more than 600 years old. The administrator in the hammam speaks Russian. If you print a Kaleiçi card from their website and take it with you, you will receive a 10% discount.
2. Demirhan Hamami. Hamam has female and male halves. Located in the historical part of the city, not far from the Clock Tower.
3. Lara Hamami. Hammam is divided into female and male halves. The staff speaks only Turkish, but this does not cause difficulties.
4. Balik Pazari Hamami. Despite the fact that this hammam is recommended by the authoritative guidebook Lonely planet, we do not recommend you to visit it. This hammam has a lot of negative reviews: tourists complain about the mold and dirt inside, the unworthy behavior of the hamams, as well as not too conscientious washing (bath attendants are in a hurry). The only plus of this hammam is that it is located in a building that is already 700 years old.
- Hamams in Alanya
1. Orient VIP Turkish Bath & Spa at the Avena Resort. The best hamam in Alanya according to tourists reviews.
2. Kleopatra Turkish Bath. A 24-hour hammam located right on Cleopatra's beach. Pretty budget option.
3. Spa Alanya. Hamam with good value for money.
4. Harem Hamam. Negative reviews about this tourist hammam are much more than positive. Tourists note long pause-waiting, active offers of additional paid services and too many people simultaneously in the hammam.
- Hamams in Kemer
There is not a single hammam in Kemer that could be safely recommended for a visit. Ottaman spa and Babel Palace Spa , which tourists are transported to, unfortunately, have more negative reviews than positive. Other hammams have too few reviews to make an objective opinion.
- Hamams in Side
Sultan Hamam. The best hamam in Side according to tourists reviews. Hamam provides a shuttle service from and to the hotel. Possible joint visit (men and women together). A visit to the hamam can be booked through facebook.
- Hamams in Marmaris
1. Artemis Spa at Casa De Maris Hotel. The best hammam in Marmaris. The cost of visiting is slightly higher than the average price in the hammam.
2. Hamam at the Julian Club Hotel (Spa & Wellness).
3. Sultan Hamam Turkish Bath.
4. Armutalan Hammam. Tourist hammam with a lot of negative reviews.
- Hamams in Bodrum
Among the hamams in Bodrum, the best is Bitez Hamam. His visit can be booked through facebook. There you can ask any questions that interest you and quickly get an answer.
- Hamams in Fethiye
1. Sultan Hamam and Spa Center. Best Ham Fethiye. Provides a transfer from your hotel and back.
2. Old Turkish Bath. The oldest Turkish bathhouse in Fethiye (dated to the 16th century).