The city is on the southern/Asian bank of Dardanelles Strait (Turkish: Çanakkale Boğazı), which links Aegean Sea with the Sea of Marmara while seperating Europe from Asia.
The city was called "Hellespontos" or "Dardanelles" in ancient times, and there has been evidence of a settlement in the Canakkale area since B.C. 3000. As the city is on the Dardanelles/Canakkale Strait, one of the two major water passages connecting the Mediterranean and Black Sea, the area is rich in history and culture. The site of the historical city of Troy is close to Canakkale.
During World War I, Canakkale and the Canakkale Strait was the stage of a year-long battle between the United Kingdom, France and the Ottoman Empire. From April 1915 to January 1916, a joint British and French operation was mounted to capture the Ottoman capital of Constantinople (now Istanbul). The attempt failed, but not without heavy casualties on both sides.
There are buses from Istanbul at any time, day or night. Just go to Istanbul's otogar, and look for 'Çanakkale' signs on the windowpanes of bus company offices. It takes five and a half to six hours to get from Istanbul to Çanakkale. Kamil Koç (İstanbul Otogar, Bayrampaşa-Esenler, ☎ 444-0-562 (non-prefixed country-wide except cell-phones from which you should dial +90 212 444-0-562); +90 212 658-20-00 ([email protected]), . ) is one of the bus companies transporting passengers for 50 TL pp between Istanbul and Çanakkale. Truva Turizm (İstanbul Otogar no: 137, Bayrampaşa-Esenler, ☎ +90 212 658-33-86 ([email protected], fax: +90 212 658-33-89), . ) covers the same route for 45 TL pp (might be a few liras cheaper if the ticket is bought online through their website, but you will need Turkish language skills for that). The busy Çanakkale bus station also has several daily connections with most major Turkish destinations, such as Edirne and Izmir.
Most buses drop their passengers off just next to ferry harbour—which is conveniently located in the city centre—after crossing the Straits by ferry.
Çanakkale is linked to north, east, and south by well-paved highways numbered E87/E90/D550, E90/D200, and E87/D550 respectively. However, as there is no bridge crossing the Straits of Dardanelles yet, you will have to take either Gelibolu–Lapseki, Gelibolu–Çardak, Eceabat–Çanakkale or Kilitbahir–Çanakkale ferry crossings when arriving from north.
Of the possibilities to cross the straits, the 24-hr Eceabat–Çanakkale ferry line, with hourly intervals during most of the day and night (with an extra half hourly departures from Canakkale side at 7:30am), is likely to be the most convenient choice to get to the city from European mainland. It costs 2.5 TL for foot passengers, and 20 TL for cars (flat fare, i.e. not dependent on how many people are occupating the car).
Passengers from Istanbul must be aware that, under bad weather conditions, the sea-traffic in the strait is limited or cancelled, and crossing the strait may become impossible.
Turkish Airlines has flights from Istanbul three days a week.
Most of the places in Çanakkale are in walking distance. There is a Tourist Information office several meters from ferryboat station (on the right if you are coming from the ferry). You can pick up a free tourist map of Çanakkale and the surrounding areas. They also have schedules of the minibuses to Troy and ferries to Bozcaada.
One thing not to miss while in Çanakkale is bomba, which is the usual döner in half a bread plus an omelette added in. There are lots of buffets making it in the cluster of shops located just across the street from ferry harbor. Totally local, so don't expect to find it in anywhere else.
There is a public bathroom outside the ferry harbor area, but it costs 0.5 TL, has no toilet paper (napkins on a table outside the bathroom door), and has holes rather than toilets on the women's side. It is probably best to use a bathroom at a restaurant or your hostel.
Çanakkale is a convenient base to explore many nearby sights from.