Anzac Day, April 25, is the busiest day of the year on the peninsula. Up to 10,000 Australians and New Zealanders arrive to commemorate the Allied defeat. During the preceding days, Eceabat and Çanakkale fill with visitors: tours can be organized locally or through travel agents in İstanbul, while all UK-based overland companies include Anzac Day in their itineraries.

The day begins with the 5.30am Dawn Service at Anzac Cove. Most visitors show up much earlier to camp out, as the police close all roads around the grave sites to traffic from 3am, and earlier for anniversary years. The service used to be relatively informal, but these days antipodean diplomats and government ministers attend, and the ceremony features official speeches, prayers and a member of the Australian or New Zealand forces playing a poignant “Last Post” at sunrise. An hour’s breakfast break follows before the morning’s ceremonies resume – wreath-laying at the British, French and Turkish memorials, and more services at the Australian memorial at Lone Pine and New Zealand memorial at Chunuk Bair.

For most visitors, being at Gallipoli on Anzac Day is a solemn affair – many come to commemorate ancestors who lost their lives. Alcohol is strictly banned at the Dawn Service – and indeed, year-round at all the cemeteries and memorials.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Turkey features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The best aerial views in the world

The best aerial views in the world

Got a head for heights? If you're craving a new perspective on your travels, the best thing to do is get up high. From mountain-top panoramas to cityscapes, her…

17 Oct 2017 • Olivia Rawes camera_alt Gallery
Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

That ever-growing travel wish list might be putting some pressure on your pocket – but there are plenty of destinations where you'll get more bang for your b…

11 Oct 2017 • Emma Gibbs camera_alt Gallery
19 places to get utterly lost

19 places to get utterly lost

One of the great joys of travelling is stumbling across unexpected places, wandering without a single destination in mind and embracing the journey. These place…

12 Sep 2017 • Keith Drew camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook