Istanbul and Cappadocia in Beautiful Photos

I’d heard it a million times, but until I actually visited Turkey this past spring break, I didn’t quite realize just how it incredible and beautiful it is. Finally, I took the dive and decided to see it for myself.

With flights out to Istanbul from Houston going for less than the price of a ticket to San Francisco, I decided it would be worth it to give Turkey a try this March, for my weeklong spring break. As I made my way through Istanbul, there was a beautiful energy I couldn’t describe. Scents of delicious spices and food wafted through the air as the sounds of boat horns echoed through the breezy streets. Street markets in Kadiköy sold a mountain of fruits and vegetables, some of a variety I’d never seen before. And of course, I’d spend nights sitting in local restaurants, listening to the upbeat sounds of Turkish folk music while indulging in the amazing people-watching that came along with it.

Then, I jetted off to Cappadocia, a completely different planet than Istanbul. As I stepped off the plane, miles of desert-like plains and giant rock formations surrounded me. It was almost like being on Mars, except probably much better because of the crisp air and cool breeze. A great majority of the houses are built into the land, and there are some that have rooms with cave walls and flat roof terraces. I stayed in a tiny town called Ortahasir in a cave hotel resting just underneath the city’s famous rock castle, one of the highest points in the entire region.

Yet, the most breathtaking part of my week was getting into a hot air balloon and seeing the eerie, unique landscape of Cappadocia from above. Words can’t quite describe the feeling of being in a hot air balloon, but drifting seems to accurately paint the picture. Before 6 o’clock in the morning, we were hundreds of feet in the air, marveling at the picturesque area until the sun’s rays began to shower our faces with light. The photos I took are just a mere glimpse at the raw beauty of this mysterious place. It was a marvelous spectacle, and a morning I will never forget.

23 Responses to Istanbul and Cappadocia in Beautiful Photos

  1. Silviu-Florin S. May 8, 2014 at 1:23 PM #

    The photographs look stunning and the place really feel alive. Istanbul is deifinitely on my list for next spring and hopefully I will reach Cappadocia and the other Turkish marvels some day…

  2. rebecca May 8, 2014 at 2:51 PM #

    by far some of the best photos I have seen of Turkey. stories never do the place justice until you visit

  3. Christina May 8, 2014 at 5:53 PM #

    Amazing photos! I cannot wait until I get there!

  4. Mishfish13 May 8, 2014 at 6:39 PM #

    Wow! I made the exact trip that you did at a different time! But my trip to Cappadocia wasn’t as wonderful as yours seems… it was cloudy and rainy the entire time; almost no balloons went up during the three days that I was there. You’re super lucky! 🙂

  5. Christine | GRRRLTRAVELER May 9, 2014 at 2:03 AM #

    I’m crossing my fingers I get to go there this fall! I know I’ll be pretty stoked on Cappadocia. So far, all the photos I’ve seen look awesome.

  6. Sam May 9, 2014 at 5:31 AM #

    Wow, those photos of the balloons taking off are just amazing! I went to Istanbul about 15 years ago, but I’m dying to go back! I’d also really love to visit Cappadocia.

  7. Kelly May 9, 2014 at 6:22 AM #

    These photos are gorgeous! Looks like HDR — which camera are you using, if I may ask?

    • Kay May 9, 2014 at 2:23 PM #

      I used a Sony NEX-6 with kit lens for most of these!

  8. Dave May 9, 2014 at 6:24 AM #

    It’s a home of art. Seems to me folks…!

  9. Lisa - Wee Wanders May 9, 2014 at 7:20 AM #

    Beautiful photographs. I’ve been to Turkey quite a few times but I have yet to make it to Istanbul, hopefully soon.

  10. Zen Monkees May 9, 2014 at 7:54 AM #

    All of these are really beautiful, but the shots from the hot air balloon are really my favorite. Pinning to Pinterest!

  11. Jen Seligmann May 9, 2014 at 8:04 AM #

    Amazing! Istanbul looks so vibrant and Cappadocia just simple stunning. What a place for a balloon ride.

  12. Carmen May 9, 2014 at 9:44 AM #

    Stunning photographs! We’ve been to Istanbul and loved it but I really want to get back to Turkey and explore the rest of the country. Oh and how delicious is Turkish food! Has to be some of the best in the world, surely…

  13. Dimmak May 9, 2014 at 4:11 PM #

    Breath-taking photos! Don’t forget to bargain when in Istanbul. And check out the Bazilica Cistern – it is really mysterious place.

  14. Amanda May 9, 2014 at 5:29 PM #

    I reeeealllly want to go to Cappadocia next time I visit Turkey!

  15. Jenna @ Green Global Reviews May 9, 2014 at 6:09 PM #

    Gorgeous photos! I really want to visit both Istanbul and Cappadocia–especially for a hot air balloon over Cappadocia. It sounds like such an amazing country and your photographs make me want to visit even more!

  16. Erin May 9, 2014 at 7:21 PM #

    Wow, these photos are absolutely stunning! I really want to get to Turkey at some stage, it looks like an amazing country.

  17. Brittany @ Paws for Beer May 10, 2014 at 11:29 PM #

    beautiful photos! I’d love to take a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia.

  18. Andrea MacEachern May 11, 2014 at 5:23 PM #

    Absolutely stunning! Another destination to ad to my list!

  19. Julie K. May 19, 2014 at 3:39 AM #

    The first picture is breathtaking — so light and lofty! A nice tea session icluding some Sheesha and backgammon — that´s the picture I see in my head when I hear Istanbul..even if you´re not a smoker, when in Rome..:)

  20. Elizabeth May 22, 2014 at 3:34 PM #

    I’ve been wanting to take a balloon ride so bad. Your photos from that portion of the trip are especially amazing.

  21. Katie July 18, 2014 at 12:12 PM #

    Ahh this post got me all nostalgic again! I spent a few weeks last summer studying abroad in Turkey and it is just such a beautiful country. I want to go back to Istanbul someday so badly. I miss waking up to the call to prayer and walking through the courtyard that separates the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia. And I did not get to do the balloon ride in Cappadocia so of course I want to go back for that. We did go through some of the underground cities though which was really cool (:

    My most recent blog post is actually about my experience walking through the Hagia Sophia and the impact it had on me.

  22. Taksim November 12, 2015 at 2:13 AM #

    Istanbul is a protopgrapher-friendly city but you’re a good photographer too 🙂
    Especially Cappadocia is amazing.

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