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8 Breathtaking views from a plane

July 14, 2014

Inspired by BBQ Boy and Spanky’s series on Views from a Plane, I thought I’d do my own compilation of photos taken from a plane. My photo of a birds-eye view over San Francisco at dusk, with the Golden Gate Bridge and Bay Bridge visible, was featured in Views from a Plane. Hop on over to take a look at many other spectacular views featured in BBQ Boy and Spanky’s compilation.

What is it about flying in an airplane that makes traveling from place to place so special? Everybody has their own reasons, but if you were to ask me, I would say it’s the views. Some might prefer an aisle seat, but the window seat is what I covet the most. Especially one with unobstructed views. Sometimes I do get stuck next to the wing, but that still does not deter me from craning my neck every so often to catch a glimpse of what’s going on outside. Charting our route from point A to B while flying over familiar landmarks and not so familiar landscapes is unbelievably fun. Over the course of our travels, I’ve had the good fortune of witnessing some spectacular views from a plane. Here they are!

1) Andes mountains, Peru

Andes_Peru (1)

This was our first sight of the snow-capped Andes from our plane enroute to Cusco. We would soon be climbing these lofty mountains in our quest to hike the Inca trail to Machu Picchu, which we accomplished after 4 strenuous days of hiking through the Andes. These snow-capped peaks seemed perilously close to the plane as we landed in Cusco, which is at an elevation of 11,200 ft. The views from the plane gave us an idea of these magnificent mountains and their influence on Peruvian and Inca history.

2) Eleuthera, Bahamas

Eleuthera_Bahamas (1)

On our flight out of Nassau, we caught sight of the island of Eleuthera from the plane. It looked so serene and beautiful! The previous day, we had taken the ferry from Nassau to Eleuthera and spent several hours swimming in the Caribbean and relaxing on Eleuthera’s famous Pink Sands Beach. Being able to see the entire island in the distance from our plane window was surreal. Thank you Eleuthera for the sun-soaked, turquoise-hued, island-time memories!

3) Quintana Roo & Cancun, Mexico

Quintana_Roo_Cancun_Mexico (1)

Flying into Cancun, this was our first sight of Quintana Roo, Mexico’s coral reefs and the blue Caribbean. We spied the Zona Hotelera strip too, which is where we stayed while in Cancun. With its direct access to scenic beaches and oceanfront resorts, it was the perfect introduction to Mexico’s most famous resort town. We also drove up and down the Yucatan during our stay, stopping at quaint towns like Akumal and visiting famous Mayan ruins like the ones at Tulum.

4) Santorini, Greek Islands

Santorini_Greece

Santorini is a geologically unique island. Being of volcanic origin, the island was formed when the volcano collapsed on itself, forming a crater which soon filled up with the incoming water from the ocean. All that was left was a “C” shaped caldera which we now know as Santorini – one of the most beautiful islands in Greece. Make sure you get a seat next to the window and fly out of the Santorini airport in the daytime, for this magnificent view. Both the caldera and the Aegean sea are visible as they flank the island. White-washed houses look like sprinkled sugar cubes, and on the horizon you can see more Greek Islands appearing out of the mist.

5) Athens, Greece

Athens_Greece

Flying from the magical Greek Islands to a dense populous city like Athens takes a bit of getting used to. The plane flies directly over the Greek islands, so the views from the window are just magnificent. Every where you look, there are more Greek islands – scattered around the Aegean Sea like jewels on a treasure hunt. Coming into Athens, the mood changes from “island time” to “city time”. Athens might be full of people and buildings and metropolitan vibes, but you can still see the Acropolis and the Parthenon from any point in the city. That is the true magic of being in Athens. No matter where you go, you will be soaking up Greece’s rich culture, mythology, history and more.

6) Mount Rainier, Washington

Mount_Shasta

On our flight enroute to Vancouver, we flew over Washington and caught sight of Mount Rainier. It sure was a dreamy view. Rainier is usually obfuscated by clouds and the mountain peak is not always visible when at ground level. But from high up here, amongst the clouds, we could look down and admire Mount Rainier in all its snow-capped glory. This is a unmissable landmark if you’re flying out of the Seattle airport, so try to get a window seat and keep your eyes peeled for this view!

7) Napali Coast in Kauai, Hawaii

Kauai_Hawaii

Ok, this view is actually from a helicopter and not from a plane, but it still counts! A popular activity in Kauai is to go on a helicopter ride around the island. This takes you close to otherwise inaccessible waterfalls like the Manawaiopuna Falls which were featured in the Jurassic Park movie. You also get to fly close to Kauai’s famous rugged Napali Coast, where gorgeous cliffs drop precipitously into the ocean. Covered in lush foliage with rich tones of turquoise, copper and emerald, the natural beauty of the Napali coast is sure to take your breath away.

8) San Francisco and Golden Gate Bridge

San_Francisco_Golden_Gate_Bridge

And finally, ending with one of my favorite airports in the world – San Francisco! It is not often that you’re sitting at a window seat when the plane turns and lines up perfectly with a magnificent view of the orange-hued Golden Gate Bridge, but when it does, it is pure magic. One time I got to see both the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge spanning across San Francisco Bay at dusk, as mist and golden light danced below. Having driven across the Golden Gate Bridge countless times, seeing it from so high up was an unforgettable experience.

What are some of your favorite views from a plane? Got photos from your travels? Leave a comment and share them with us!

Happy flying!

~ Trupti

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From → Photography, Top 10

5 Comments
  1. You know what a fan I am of plane views Trupti 🙂 . Some great photos – but my favorite has to be of the Napali Coast. Great pic! I’m going to do another one of these compilations again going forward, it really ended up being one of my favorite posts.
    Glad to have met another plane window geek.
    Frank (bbqboy)

    • Thank you Frank! I was truly inspired by your post on Views from a plane. It is such a great way to get inspired by unique views of well-known and well-loved cities, natural sights and landmarks.

  2. The Andes in Peru is unbelievably beautiful, love them all, but this is my fav 🙂

  3. I could not agree more! The Napali coast is one of the most breathtaking views in the world.

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