Strategically sited at the northern entrance of the Dardanelles, GELIBOLU is a moderately inviting, if often windy, medium-sized town. Founded by the ancient Greeks as Kallipolis, it served as the Anglo-French headquarters during the Crimean War, and still has an important naval base. It’s too far, around 50km, from the Gallipoli battlefields to be a practical base – the days of inebriated Antipodeans stumbling off a bus here, thinking they’d arrived at the World War I sites, are over.
At the heart of town stands a colourful, square fishing harbour, ringed by cafés and restaurants, its two pools separated by a broad stone tower, all that remains of the fortifications of Byzantine Kallipolis. The fortress was held by an army of rebelling Catalan mercenaries for seven years in the early fourteenth century and later fell to the Ottomans (1354), who rebuilt and expanded it. Today, the tower houses the Piri Reis Museum (Piri Reis Müzesi; Fri–Wed 8.30am–noon & 1–5pm; free), dedicated to the legendary sixteenth-century Turkish cartographer, who prepared navigation charts of the Mediterranean and was the first man to accurately map the American coastline. The only other points of interest are a few sturdy but otherwise unremarkable Ottoman tombs, inland from the port and around Hamzakoy, the resort district in the north of town, with its long, coarse-sand beach.