blue mosque | istanbul, turkey

Our vacation to Istanbul, Turkey was one of the most unique trips we have taken… for multiple reasons. As soon as B and I stepped off the plane (in Asia) we saw beautiful mosques and their minarets sprinkling the skyline. We retrieved our bags inside, went to the ATM, and found transportation. That’s when the fun began.

Since we were staying on the European side we had scheduled a van to pick us up at the airport and drive us over the Bosphorus bridge, which is a long suspension bridge connecting the two continents. Immediately after we left the airport, we noticed the extreme traffic and mess of cars everywhere. Unfortunately our driver didn’t help the situation by driving 15-20 mph under the speed limit, and other vehicles had to swerve around us the entire time. When we finally entered the European part of the city, the traffic multiplied by ten and pedestrians were now in the mix. Our driver missed his turn three times so he had to circle the downtown area and ended up driving onto a sidewalk, almost taking out a family ordering desserts at a food stand. We thought the worst was over, but then he hit a cement wall (twice), found his way to a dead-end street, and almost backed off of a very high ledge before someone yelled at him. After our near-death experience, the driver got flustered and hit another car, destroying it’s side mirror. As B and I sat in the back, turning pale and feeling ill, we realized that we had been steps away from the hotel the entire time! Even so, our driver would not allow us to leave the vehicle and insisted on getting closer. Eventually we made it to our very nice hotel, took hot showers, and felt a little better after that nightmare fiasco.

Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul, Turkey

When we finally felt comfortable enough to leave our room, we ventured out to find food and immediately noticed the call to prayer. The call to pray happens several times a day and each mosque has their own muezzin who delivers the prayer over loud speakers placed on the minarets. Although a few sounded tone deaf, we found the mish-mash of singing from the surrounding mosques to be relaxing.

The next morning, we had a day-long tour scheduled with a local company we found through Viator. The first stop was the Blue Mosque. Our tour guide instructed us to put our shoes in plastic bags and we made out way into the beautiful, colorful, massive mosque.

Istanbul, Turkey Blue Mosque
Istanbul, Turkey Blue Mosque
Istanbul, Turkey Blue Mosque
Istanbul, Turkey Blue Mosque
Istanbul, Turkey Blue Mosque
Istanbul, Turkey Blue Mosque
Istanbul, Turkey Blue Mosque
Istanbul, Turkey Blue Mosque
Istanbul, Turkey Blue Mosque
Istanbul, Turkey Blue Mosque
Istanbul, Turkey Blue Mosque
Istanbul, Turkey Blue Mosque
Istanbul, Turkey Blue Mosque
Istanbul, Turkey Blue Mosque
Istanbul, Turkey Blue Mosque

Have you ever been to the Blue Mosque?


Filed Under: Travel, Turkey37 Comments
  • Stephanie

    What kind of camera do you use?
    Also, I’m just going to live vicariously through you. :)

  • Quyen Nguyen

    I love Istanbul and going to city that is the complete opposite of what I am used to. The daily prayer calls were wonderful and reminded me that I was in such a historic location. The Grand Bazaar has some great shopping. They have to do something about the stray cat situation though! A cat actually got into our hotel room! :)

  • A Country Girls World

    The blue mosque looks so beautiful! Istanbul is way high on my list of places to see, it looks like such a great culture :)

  • Elizabeth Locke

    I was just researching Instanbul this morning…. your post was perfect timing! Would love more info on your trip! Beautiful photos… thanks for sharing :)

  • Jenna

    I have been to the Blue Mosque! Isn’t it magnificent? :) Your post also reminds me of just how many cats there were in Istanbul… they were everywhere! And the Turkish tea… yum. I really need to make a plan to go back again soon. Turkey is such a fascinating country, part asian, part middle eastern, part european. I just love it {bad driving aside!}


  • Kayli Schattner

    Your photographs are so beautiful! I’ve always wanted to visit Istanbul. It’s so full of culture and rich history!

  • Megan C. Stroup

    Oh my goodness I’m glad you survived your taxi ride! I really wanted to go to Istanbul when I was traveling in Europe this spring, but unfortunately it just didn’t work with our budget/schedule. We’re hoping we can make it a honeymoon trip instead! Do you have any recommendations for a romantic Istanbul experience?

  • Kylie Rahl

    Aww I love all the cats! Amazing pictures like always!

  • kristin

    Absolutely gorgeous!!!!

  • Jay

    Eek – your trip in from the airport does sound like a bit of a nightmare but hopefully it was only up from there.

    We’re off to Istanbul next month and I can’t wait. It’s been awhile since we’ve travelled somewhere truly ‘different’ (if that makes any sense.) I’m really looking forward to it!

  • Casey Martin

    So beautiful! Istanbul is high up on my list of places to make it to in the next few years!

  • Mimi Finerty

    The traffic chaos sounds exactly like here in Cyprus.
    Which is why I dont drive. :)
    Beautiful photographs.

  • Anna

    What an awesome trip (minus the cab escapades)! I love the unique places you visited while abroad.

  • LB

    Looks amazing!!! Will add to my travel list :)

  • Miss Angie

    Beautiful photos, I’d love to see that!

  • Jovana {TasteofAugust}

    Wow…looks so beautiful! Love your pics!

  • Ech and Will

    Amazing! I’d love to visit someday.

  • Joelle Duff

    My goodness, this is beautiful! I would absolutely love to visit Turkey someday. Such a diverse, interesting country and culture!

  • Jane {In the Pink and Green}

    Gorgeous photos! My husband and I went to Istanbul in November, and someone had warned us about the traffic prior to our trip so we took public transportation to our hotel which ended up working out great. (We actually stayed very close to the Blue Mosque) Also, I loved your picture of all the cats, that was one of my favorite things about the city! Xoxo

  • Jodi

    I would love to travel here but I would be so nervous to do so right now. It looks so beautiful and the culture is so interesting. What is w/ the cats. Lol!

  • Laura Amy

    Your photos are beautiful.

    I remember hearing the call to prayer for the first time on holiday in Tunisia. My friend was SO disappointed when she found out it was being played on a CD over a loudspeaker from the top of the minaret!

  • Kate Hall

    Beautiful pictures!
    I can’t believe that taxi journey, it sounds awful! Did he charge you a lot of money for the ride?! I feel like he should have just given up and realised he was having a bad day, haha.

    Kate @

  • Lisa @ Two Martinis

    Gorgeous pictures! My husband and I went to Istanbul in December and (of course) visited the Blue Mosque. I was blown away with how pretty it is! Thanks (as always) for sharing your pictures!

  • Sarah

    I loved Istanbul! I was able to do a little tour of Turkey in college, and Istanbul is one of those amazing cities that you could never forget. The mosques are beautiful, and I loved hearing the call to prayer throughout the day. My friends and I also had a crazy taxi experience in Istanbul, though our driver was a crazy speed demon! Definitely a bit nerve-wracking!

  • lost in travels

    your pictures make me want o go even more now : ) i had no idea that it was separated like that! good ting you made it out of the car, i can’t believe that he was THAT bad! i hope you didn’t have to pay him after that!

  • Lisette

    I love your pictures girlfran. I’ve always wanted to go to Turkey!

  • Bel

    Beautiful pictures! I really want to visit Turkey one day. That taxi ride sounds like a real nightmare! What a terrible driver! People drive really badly here in morocco, but I’ve never been in a taxi that bad!
    Take care

  • Molly @ The Move to America

    What gorgeous photographs! I have never been to the Blue Mosque butcan imagine what it is like.

    I have done my last post about my staycation in Cornwall and have linked again to your post / blog.

  • Irene

    I would love to visit Istanbul someday! It seems like such a beautiful city to me, complete with history and art. Very nice photos of the blue mosque, it looks like a very interesting place to visit!

  • Dara @ Not In Jersey

    the driving and the call to prayer remind me of egypt. I did love the sound of it! I almost went to turkey but I think there was some tension there at the time so we ended up going somewhere else instead.

  • courtnirae

    Cats! look like they are all in a kitty street gang. I love ove to visit Turkey, it is so incredibly breathtaking! So are your photos =]

    A Golden State of Mind

  • Kelly Z

    We were supposed to take a Mediterranean cruise for our honeymoon that stopped in Turkey – this makes me wish we didn’t have to change our plans even more.

  • emi

    that cab ride…ahh! i’ve had a few like that too! glad you made it out safe haha. istanbul sounds’s on my list! XO

    the well-traveled wife

  • Bonnie Rose

    I do not know if I say this every time, but your travel photography is my favourite of yours. These ones are my favourite as of late. It has a very cinematic feel to it. I have yet to go to Turkey and really have wanted to since I was a young girl. My dad went many times for work, would love to go. Blate? ;) Thank you for linking up with Belinda and I for Travel Tuesday! I hope you link up again next week.

    Bonnie Rose | A Compass Rose

  • Jessica

    Hello, new follower from Tuesday Travel Blog hop. Beautiful photos of Istanbul and so many street kitties! Would love to have you check out our new travel blog as well:

  • Asia Reynolds

    I would’ve jumped out of the taxi IMMEDIATELY.
    The mosque is beautiful, great pictures!

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