There is really no choice but to fly to Turkey. Many international airlines have routes there, and you have three choices of Airport. Ataturk is Turkey’s largest airport, and lies about 20km to the west of the centre of Istanbul. To the south east of Istanbul is the smaller Sabiha Gocken airport, named after a pioneering Turkish female aviator. Over on the western cost of Turkey is Izmir, which has a sizeable airport. All of these arrival points are some 250 -300 km from the Gallipoli peninsula.
The following assumes arrival at one of the airports described above.
From Ataturk airport, there are a few options for reaching the peninsula. Perhaps the simplest of these is to use one of Turkey’s excellent coach companies. The trip takes about 5 hours. Coaches make well-timed comfort stops, and most are equipped with WCs. Food and drink can be purchased on board and complementary wet wipes are handed out! Coaches can be taken from the centre of Istanbul, but if you have arrived at Ataturk airport and have no specific need to dive into the melee of this superb city, then the easier option is to take the metro train or a taxi to the Esenler Otogar. The Otogar is Istanbul’s vast coach station, situated about ten miles from the airport. This is an absolutely vast complex, but there are plenty of signs and staff to guide you. Truva, Camel Cok and Metro, to name a few coach companies, all run coaches to the Dardanelles. It is best to book ahead. Current costs are around 55TL (£20) for a return.
From Sabiha Gocken airport, it is quite possible to reach Gallipoli by coach, but there are none that go direct there, and it will mean a local bus or taxi into the centre of Istanbul to meet your long-distance transport. Another possibility, from this airport only, is to book an internal flight to Canakkale, the major town on the south side of the Dardenelles. These are scheduled only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and there is only one flight on each of these days, so careful synchronisation with your international flight is needed. Current costs are around 150 TL return.
From Izmir, limited coaches run north via Pergamum and Troy to Gallipoli. Taxis can be booked for the journey, but will be rather expensive.
Hiring a car may be a good option, with a few caveats, if you are part of a small group and intend to travel to various parts of the battlfields once you arrive. From Ataturk or Izmir airports, you will have a 5 – 6 hour drive. You will need to add perhaps two further hours if driving from Sabiha Gocken, given the need, albeit on dual-carriageways,to drive through Istanbul itself. The main roads in Turkey are relatively good, but driving standards are variable and in some cases non-existent. This is probably not a good option for new or inexperienced drivers, although it is worth noting that once you are on the Gallipoli peninsula itself, traffic is very light (except around 25th April), so hiring a car locally is worth considering.
If you choose to stay anywhere on the peninsula other than in Eceabat or Canakkale, you need to bear in mind that shops and restaurants will be few and far between so full-board is probably the best idea outside of these towns. From Eceabat, which is on the north side of the straits, that is, the battlefield side, the Anzac area is about 10km to the north, Cape Helles some 30km to the south west and Suvla Bay about 25 km north eastwards.
The choice of accommodation really comes down to a range of hotels or otherwise pansiyons, (small guest houses). Links to a selection of these can be found here. The Hotel Kum, on the north side of the peninsula, also offers camping.
Canakkale has the largest selection of hotels and is the biggest town in the region. Bear in mind that if you stay on this side of the straits you will have to take the ferry across to the peninsula and back every day. The ferry itself is very cheap, but the transit will add an hour to each end of your day. An alternative is to stay in Eceabat and then take the ferry over to Canakkale in the evening to make use of the much wider choice of places to eat. Ferries run until late at night, but check the last departure time so that you do not get stranded for the night!
Continue here for advice on visiting and walking the Gallipoli battlefields.
If you are looking for battlefield information on a specific location then please follow a link button below.
145 Bellingham Rd,
Tel: (+44) 7956 188 826