Taking a Gallipoli day trip from Istanbul

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Grace Hillier

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With its famous and tragic history, the Gallipoli peninsula has become a must-see site in Turkey - especially for Australians (like me).

The disastrous results of the war with over 130,000 casualties and the place where some of the fiercest fighting that took place in the first world war make the Gallipoli campaign unique.

How to reach Gallipoli from Istanbul?

If you plan to visit this legendary peninsula, then you should know it takes about 4 hours to drive from the city center of Istanbul to Gallipoli. 

You can either travel on your own to Gallipoli or with a tour company. Both have their pros and cons, so let’s look at the differences.

Traveling solo

If you’re making your own way there, then you’ll have more options when it comes to transportation. The public bus is probably the most affordable transportation method.

It’d be an 8-hour trip, though, so it’s not the fastest means. You can also go by car, which cuts the trip in half. 

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A tour company  

There are several tour companies that offer day trips to Gallipoli, like Bosphorus Tours.

With this tour company, you’ll be picked up from your hotel, driven to Gallipoli and dropped off at the Grand Eceabat Hotel in Eceabat for a rooftop lunch. Then you’ll be taken on to Anzac Cove for an afternoon tour of the Gallipoli Peninsula. 

The tour guide takes you to the most important sites, like Brighton Beach, where the Australian and New Zealand soldiers were supposed to land. You’ll also see the Beach Cemetery where Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick, one of the best-known of the Anzac soldiers, was buried. 

At North Beach you’ll go to the Anzac Commemorative Site where the dawn service is held on Anzac Day (April 25th).

You can also walk on the Artillery Road from the shoreline to Lone Pine, which is the main Australian cemetery in Gallipoli.

You’ll see places like Johnston’s Jolly, where the Turkish and Allied soldiers came head-to-head, and Chunuk Bair (the main New Zealand memorial). 

This day tour finishes around 6pm and then you are driven back to your hotel in Istanbul. 

How long to spend at Gallipoli?

You can see the main sites in Gallipoli in one day. But if you’re coming from Istanbul, then it will end up being quite a long day because it is a 4-hour drive each way, so you’ll be travelling for at least 8 hours, in addition to looking at the sites. 

Another option is to do an overnight trip and stay nearby in the towns of Eceabat or Canakkale. 

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What sites should you visit in Gallipoli?

Every tour is different. The spots you visit depend on the tour company you’re traveling with and the length of your trip. Whether you go with a tour or solo, the most famous site to see are:

Kabatepe War Museum

Kabatepe is one of the few museums that has immortalized the Gallipoli campaign. With authentic relics and 3D simulations, the museum will show you how the Commonwealth forces fought the Turkish troops.

You also get to see military uniforms, original diary extracts, weapons, letters, and more.


You’ll learn how that cove was the first landing site of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC).

The tour guide will explain how the eight-month campaign changed the perspective of the Australians. Despite the losses, it helped establish a new sense of pride.

Some of the sites here include:

  • Ari Burnu - Where the ANZACS first landed, leaving 5,000 casualties.
  • Johnston's Jolly - Walk in the ANZAC trenches.
  • Shrapnel Valley - The main route for troops and supplies from the beach to frontline for the Allied troops.
  • The Nek & Walker's Ridge - You’ll learn about the brave and tragic battle the New Zealand forces had against the Turks. Despite being a narrow ridge, the Nek was hit by machine guns, artillery, and naval gunfire.   
Trenches in Gallipoli - Anzac trenches


Visiting Gillapoli’s memorials and seeing the graves of young soldiers who sacrificed their lives in war is said to be a humbling experience.  

Whether it’s Chunuk Bair (the main New Zealand memorial), Lone Pine (the main Australian memorial), Turkish Memorial, or Beach Cemetery (where well-known Australian soldier John Simpson was buried), the Gallipoli peninsula has commemorated the thousands of battles that took place on its land.

What is the best time to visit Gallipoli? 

Since a tour of the peninsula will largely be outdoors, we recommend avoiding winter as it can get to freezing temperatures (32 Fahrenheit, 0 Celsius).

Visiting between the months of May-October means you’ll be able to better enjoy the outside aspects of the tour. 

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What happened at Gallipoli? 

To give a short summary, during the first world war, the battles at Gallipoli lasted 8 months (25 April 1915 to 9 January 1916) and were an effort by the British and French to force Turkey (then the Ottoman Empire) out of the war. Actually, the main reason they wanted Turkey out of the war was so they could open up a supply route to Russia, starting from the narrow Dardanelles Straight and on up through to the Black Sea. 

Although it was a failed campaign for the Allied forces, it was an important moment in history for Australia and New Zealand as it cemented their values of endurance and ‘mateship’.

It was also a defining moment for the Ottoman Empire as it led to the formation of modern Turkey by Mustafa Kemal, one of the campaign leaders and later the first president of Turkey. 

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