Whether you visit the battlefields independently or on a tour, Çanakkale, and Eceabat in the south of the peninsula, make the best bases; modern Gelibolu town at the northern end of the peninsula is too far away.
The numerous open-air sites have no admission fees or fixed opening hours. Even with your own transport, you’ll need a day – two for enthusiasts – to see the major cemeteries and cenotaphs. You’ll also want time to wander a little, take in the natural beauty and, in season, swim. Outside the villages of Eceabat and Seddülbahir there are few amenities, so lunch stops must be carefully planned.
It’s also possible to visit the sites using a combination of minibus rides and walking. Minibuses run from Eceabat to Kabatepe dock, via the Kabatepe Information Centre/Museum, and from Eceabat to Kilitbahir. From the information centre, you can walk around the main sites just north within a couple of hours. At Kilitbahir, minibuses meet the Çanakkale car ferries in summer and take passengers to Seddülbahir via Alçıtepe, from where you can tour the surrounding cemeteries and memorials on foot. It’s also usually possible to rent mountain bikes in Eceabat, but some roads are steep, and secondary tracks can be rough and muddy in winter.
There’s little to choose between the many mainstream companies that offer guided tours of the battlefields – all are supposed to have licensed, English-speaking guides with a thorough knowledge of the sites. All tours from Çanakkale or Ecebat tend to cost the same (around TL90 per head), be the same length (5hr; in the afternoon), and visit identical sites, usually including lunch. Itineraries, with a strong Anzac emphasis, don’t stray much from a core area just north of the park boundary and visit – in this order – the Kabatepe Museum, several beach cemeteries nearby, the Lone Pine cemetery, Johnston’s Jolly, the Turkish 57th Regiment cemetery, The Nek and Çonkbayırı hill.
Huseyin Avni Sok 4, Eceabat t0286 814 1565, wcrowdedhousegallipoli.com. By far the best of the conventional tours. For an additional TL35, they offer a morning’s add-on of snorkelling over the Milo, an Allied ship scuttled in Suvla Bay.
Hassle Free Travel Agency
Çanakkale t0286 213 5969, wanzachouse.com. This recommended operator offers the standard tours from Çanakkale, and offers return tours from İstanbul.
Çanakkale t0532 738 6675, wkcelik.com. If you have your own transport, consider hiring the best private guide to the battlefields. An instructor at Çanakkale’s university, Kenan leads full- and multi-day tours as well as the usual itineraries.