For Australians, Brits, New Zealanders, the French and even Turkish, a visit to Gallipoli is an iconic and essential part of researching a significant piece of their history (and one of the top historical sites in Turkey). This site was the location of a battle during World War I that had more tragedy and hardship tied to it than many others – one where both heroes were born and lives were taken in mass numbers.
Each year, thousands upon thousands of people take little pilgrimages to Gallipoli, most nearer to April 25th, the official date of ANZAC Day – and also the date of the landfall of the major 8-month battle there.
If you are thinking about visiting Gallipoli, especially closer to ANZAC Day, you’ll want to plan ahead… way ahead! It’s not only a small little section of Turkey, but it gets filled with thousands for the day’s remembrance events. So, hostels, hotels and apartments are bound to be filled up. If you want to visit for this special day, I suggest booking a flight to Turkey for the following year. You can do it all yourself, but many tour companies can help to give you a more well-rounded view with less stress (trust me; we were worn out from visiting on a normal tour without the thousands of extra visitors crowding the way!).
For other days of the year, it is still wise to book a tour, unless of course you plan to rent a car. The many sites, monuments and cemeteries for the soldiers that fought and died are spread apart and up on a hill. Just getting in and out of the vehicle all day made me tired; you’d need to walk for an entire day to get around it on your own! Plus, the history lessons provided by the guides will save you heaps of research time if you’re not too familiar with the stories like myself.
Located near Canakkale in Turkey, a 7-hour bus ride can take you there from Istanbul (Metro or Camel Coach will work). Once in Canakkale, tours can be booked, or you can start a personal tour of your own by taking a ferry across to the Gallipoli peninsula (photo) (vehicles are permitted on the ferries). I was put on a TJ’s Tours to Gallipoli and thought it was quite good, but I must mention it was provided free of charge.
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photo: Alaskan Dude