Microporous oxide layers allowing fast deposition of calcium phosphate layers (CPLs) were formed on commercially pure titanium (c.p.Ti) after the application of a newly developed two-step chemical treatment. The micropores were of submicrometre size. The two-step treatment was carried out by etching c.p.Ti samples with HCl and H2SO4 first and then treating them in boiling 0.2 N NaOH solution at 140 °C for 5 h. Conformal CPLs, about 20 μm thick, were deposited on the two-step treated c.p.Ti surface by means of a two-day immersion in an in vitro supersaturated calcification solution. The CPL was characterized to be mainly composed of two sublayers, i.e. an outside loose octacalcium phosphate crystal sublayer and an inside dense carbonated apatite sublayer. A scratching test indicated that the apatite sublayer was strongly bonded to the c.p.Ti substrate. Moreover, it was observed that the untreated or single-step treated c.p.Ti surfaces are not only morphologically different from one another but significantly different from the two-step treated one, in that no precipitation was observed on them up to 14 d immersion in the same calcification solution. It is indicated that the two-step chemical treatment is a simple and easily controllable method to prepare bioactive titanium surfaces and subsequently to induce the rapid precipitation of conformal and adherent CPL from in vitro supersaturated calcification solutions.