Gallipoli (Turkish: Gelibolu) is a peninsula locality in north-western Turkey, close to Istanbul. The Gallipoli Peninsula is the site of extensive First World War battlefields and memorials on the north bank of the Dardanelles. The Gallipoli peninsula is one of the most sacred sites for the Turkish nation, with many monuments such as the Monument of Martyrs erected in the honor of the Turkish martyrs who died in the Battle of the Dardanelles being a great source of pride for the nation, as well as being a symbol of Turkish courage and victory and love of country. It is a commemorative site for the Allied (British Empire, France) and Turkish forces who fought, died and were wounded there. The area around Anzac Cove is particularly significant for Australians and New Zealanders who served for their previous "motherland" the British Empire, whose armies were sent by their "mother nation" the British, strait to the frontline and received their baptism in fire below the impenetrable cliffs there, and carved a fine military reputation under extreme adversity and enourmous loss of life; and this senseless military disaster marked the beginning of a separate Australian and New Zealand nationhood. The 1915 landings and battles are commemorated by Australians and New Zealanders on ANZAC Day, 25 April, every year. At this time especially, Gallipoli becomes a place of pilgrimage for many Aussies and Kiwis who want to honour the memory of their forbears.
Coach tours of the battlefields are available from Canakkale and Eceabat, and also straight from Istanbul around Anzac Day (April 25th) every year. A much better way of seeing the battlefields at your own pace is by hiring a car from Çanakkale or Istanbul. If staying in Çanakkale, a ferry crossing to Eceabat or Kilitbahir is involved. Ferries operate regularly throughout the day and are not too expensive. The battlefields around Cape Helles and particularly Anzac Cove / Pine Ridge are linked by an excellent road network. Most sites lie close to the road although some can only be reached by foot - there are usually paths of some description and the most you will have to walk is a few hundred metres. Suvla Bay is less accessable as the road is very poorly surfaced.
There are three main battlefield areas - Cape Helles (Turkish: Seddülbahir), Anzac / Pine Ridge and Suvla Bay (which has fewer places to visit). Depending on how detailed your itinerary is, it would be possible to visit the main sites of interest, particularly around Cape Helles and Anzac/Pine Ridge, in a single day. More realistically, two or three days allows plenty of time for an extensive tour, taking in all the battlefield sites, cemeteries and memorials. Must sees include:
The Çanakale Martyrs Memorial (near Cape Helles); The British Memorial at Cape Helles; Anzac Cove; Pine Ridge Australian Memorial; New Zealand Monument, Çanak Bayırı; Atatürk Statue, Çanak Bayırı
Aside from the 1915 battlefields, why not visit the new Gelibolu Milli Park Visitors Center where there are excellent displays relating to the natural history of the peninsula. You can also visit the ancient fortress of Kilitbahir south of Eceabat or take a ferry across the Straits to Asia; from Canakkale, drive to what is reputed to be the site of Ancient Troy (signposted Troia) about 30 kilometres to the south. The ruins of the legendary city - complete with (reconstructed) wooden horse - are open to the public.
Eat & Drink
On the peninsula itself, Eceabat is the only sizeable town close to the battlefields where you will find a good selection of places to eat. There is a restaurant in the Gelibolu Milli Park north of Eceabat. Food and drink can be bought in smaller towns such as Alcitepe close to Cape Helles. It is, of course, important to have plenty of water with you in summer when temperatures can be quite hot. Some of the major battlefield sites have stalls selling cold drinks as well as ice cream.
Canakkale is a popular place for tourists to Gallipoli and offers a wide range of hotels. Eceabat offers less choice of places to stay but is nonetheless a pleasant alternative, much closer to the battlefields themselves, less crowded and avoids the need for ferry crossings, thus saving time and money. Brand new hotel Crowded House in Eceabat has private and dorm rooms suitable for all kind of travellers. Hotel Aqua offers good en-suite rooms overlooking the Straits at a very reasonable price.
The Turkish government has been keen to ensure the safety of visitors to the sites and security measures are in place at busy times around Anzac Day 25th April. There is no sense of danger and Gallipoli is a very safe destination - local people are friendly and welcoming towards visitors. The Turks show great respect for the Allied war sites and it is of course very important to show the same respect towards Turkish sites. The Gallipoli peninsula is regarded as one of the most sacred sites for the Turkish nation.