The Best Photo Ops in Turkey

The grand Ayasofya in Istanbul.
The grand Ayasofya in Istanbul. Photo © Calflier001, licensed Creative Commons Attribution & ShareAlike.

Pack an extra camera battery and charge up every evening because Turkey is packed with gorgeous photo opportunities. Pack a tripod as well: enchanting night shots all around the country are a sight to behold.


  • Have the lens focused on the gilded mosaics, marble columns, and hanging chandeliers of the grand old Ayasofya. Lately it has nearly been upstaged by another attraction—the cross-eyed chubby-faced resident Ayasofya cat, so photogenic he’s got his own blog and Twitter account.
  • The Egyptian Spice Bazaar, full of sugar-powdered green, red, and yellow Turkish delight and the warm hues of saffron and red peppers, is a feast of visual temptations.
  • Take a Bosphorus cruise at sunset to capture the quintessential shot of a mosque silhouetted against a glowing orange sky. At dusk, find a spot near the Galata Bridge in Eminönü to capture neon-lit boats bobbing against the docks.

The Coast and Cappadocia

  • The camera will get a workout on the haunting rock-cut Lycian tombs of Dalyan, Fethiye, and Myra.
  • Capture the village life of the quaint whitewashed Şirince and the timber tree houses of Olympos set against lush green forests.
  • Arrive in the morning to capture that shot of the Library of Celsus at Ephesus in perfect harmony with natural lighting, or contend with shadows in the late afternoon as the sun sets behind this majestic structure.
  • Hike through the ghostly stone remains of Kayaköy or up through the cobble paths of Assos to photograph Turkey’s remote pine-clad coastlines with nearby islands adorning azure seas.
  • Ottoman homes with tons of character are best in Antalya’s Kaleiçi and Ankara’s Citadel districts, while the former homes of Greeks make for a nostalgic excursion in Ayvalık and Bozcaada.
  • No photo album of Turkey should lack the moonscape lands of Cappadocia, painted with multicolored hot-air balloons hovering above the Rose Valley.

Excerpted from the Second Edition of Moon Istanbul & the Turkish Coast.