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Canakkale, Troy, and the Battlefields of Gallipoli

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Whenever you get done exploring Istanbul, there are A LOT of of other places you can visit in Turkey. 

Some people decided to head down to the Mediterranean Coast to Kos and Mamaris. 

The most popular destination within all of Turkey (besides Istanbul) is the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia. 

However, only a few people ever travel to the city of Cannakale, Turkey! (Pronounced: Cha-nah-kah-lay)

 

It’s honestly a shame not as many people know about Canakkale, as it was my favorite destination within all of Turkey! 

It doesn’t have the “tourist” vibe of Fethiye or Kos. 

(Tourism is so under-developed in Canakkale that there is occasionally a language barrier!) 

But the people are friendly, and the prices are cheap compared to other cities like Antalya and Istanbul!

I loved Canakkale so much that I stayed here longer than I originally planned. 

So, what can you expect from Canakkale?

Canakkale- What to do & Cost

Canakkale, Turkey
Random Canakkale, Turkey Street

Canakkale is a laid-back, small town (170,000) located about 4 hours southwest of Istanbul. 

It is easily accessible from Istanbul via bus or car. 

Personally, I used the bus via Pamukkale Bus Company to travel from Istanbul. 

A bus ticket from Istanbul to Canakkale cost 130 Lira. (As of July 2021, about $16 USD.)

If you decide to take the bus to Canakkale, the bus will stop immediately after you drive off the ferry from Eceabat. 

Most hotels in Canakkale will be within a 1 mile radius from the ferry stop, so you should have no problem reaching your hotel. 

However, if your hotel location is too far, there are a few taxis hanging around. 

(Unlike Istanbul, I actually trust these taxis. Here’s why I don’t trust taxis in Istanbul.)

 

Canakkale, Turkey Ferry

Numerous restaurants and bars fill the downtown area, with some along the water. 

Canakkale is also a college town, so you are going to see numerous restaurants like hamburgers, pizzas, and Turkish Pide. (Turkish Pizza)

Prices can vary among restaurants in Canakkale, but expect to spend between 20-60 Lira per meal. (About $2.50 to $6.50 USD)

I never spent more than 45 Lira for a meal, but I was not purchasing steak either. 

 

So, besides eating your way around Canakkale, what else can you do? 

My favorite was to walk around the waterfront, as it has a really nice sidewalk. 

Additionally, the horse from the 2004 Brad Pitt movie, Troy, is located on the waterfront! (Pictured above)

The other thing you can do is walk around the shopping areas of Canakkale. 

Quickly, you will notice how cheap things are in Canakkale compared to Istanbul!

The most expensive part of any  trip to Canakkale is accommodation, but you can find a nice hotel for about $20-45. 

I stayed in a single-room, and I paid about $15 per night. 

The Gallipoli Battlefields

A bit of history about the Dardanelles Strait, and its importance as a military action.

The Battle of Gallipoli occurred as a way to control the Dardanelles Strait. (In ancient times, this was called the Hellespont. More on Trojan history below)

The Dardanelles Strait is the body of water that connects the Mediterranean to the Black Sea. (After the Sea of Marmara and the Bosphorus Strait.) Additionally, the Dardanelles Strait lead to the capital of the Ottoman Empire, Istanbul. 

Because of this, the Allied Powers wanted to control this strategic body of water and use it as an invasion point for the entire Ottoman Empire. 

(Today, the Straits are protected by the Montreux Convention. This limits Russian access to the Mediterranean Sea.)

The Battle of Gallipoli was primarily fought by the ANZAC & British forces, which is why it is an important spot for people from Australia and New Zealand. Additionally, this battle is known for where Australia and New Zealand began a national consciousness. 

However, they are not the only ones that these battlefields are an important site for. 

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish democracy, became a military hero here. His famous quote from this battle is, “Men, I am not ordering you to attack. I am ordering you to die.”

Fun Fact: In Turkey, the Battle of Gallipoli is called The Battle of Canakkale. 

Gallipoli Battlefields Cemetery

How to access the Battlefields of Gallipoli

 

Most people either stay in Canakkale or Eceabat to access the battlefields. (Most lodging establishments and restaurants are located in Canakkale. Only about 5,000 people live in Eceabat.) However, most tours begin in Canakkale. 

It is really easy to travel between the two towns via the ferry. 

Expect to pay about $.50 per person to use the ferry between Canakkale and Ecebat, and the voyage across the Dardanelles lasts between 15-20 minutes. 

The cost is the same for the Kilitbahir to Canakkale Ferry. (Only a few kilometers away.) This ferry takes about 30 minutes to reach the other side. 

(The cost increases for a vehicle and passenger on these ferries. It is about $4 USD. $8 round trip.)

Some people say you can hike the northern battlefields of Gallipoli, but I wouldn’t suggest it. 

If you do, you will need a taxi to drive you to the top (the New Zealand memorial), and you can walk down. 

Expect to walk between 2-3 miles per stop. (Examples of stopping include: the Battle of Lone Pine, Battle of the Nek, and eventually down to the museum and ANZAC cove. 

A great resource I found about hiking the battlefields of Gallipoli can be found here

Instead of walking, I highly recommend either hiring a tour guide or renting a car. 

It makes the stops much more enjoyable, as you don’t have to walk nearly as much. 

Additionally, the tour guide helps tell the story of the battle that was fought. 

During my experience, the guided tour guide cost 40 Euro ($50 USD), and it included lunch, transportation across the ferry, access to the museum, and we visited the battlefields in an air-conditioned vehicle. 

Although my tour was actually a private tour (I was the only one there), private tours to the Battlefields of Gallipoli cost at least $200. 

Troy

History of the City of Troy

Ancient Ruins of Troy

Thanks to the Odyssey and the Iliad, Troy lives in infamy in the American Public School System. 

But I can almost guarantee that every class that studies Western Culture has a section dedicated to the Trojan War. (I learned about the Trojan War in Middle School, High School, and College.)

Now, it is debated if the Trojan War actually existed…. sorry historians.

However, the city still has an illustrious history.

Troy was a city that was originally founded somewhere during 3000 BCE. 

It was continuously destroyed, and the new city was re-built upon the previous ruins. (If Homer’s Trojan War did exist, it is estimated to have been either Troy VI or Troy VIII.) 

Throughout time, Troy slowly became forgotten about, and it actually was lost! 

It was not until the 1800s CE that Troy was rediscovered! 

And it was not until 1998 that the archeological ruins of Troy became a UNESCO World Heritage Site!

How to visit Troy

Please note: In Turkey, the ruins of Troy are called Troya. (Troy-ah) So, if you see any mini-buses with the words “Troya” on it, it is referencing Troy. 

Despite this, locals understand you if you just say Troy.    

Located about 30 kilometers from the city of Canakkale, there are 3 ways to travel from Canakkale to Troy

     #1 Personal Car – $2 for gas; $30 for a car rental per day in Turkey

A perfect small stop on your way down the Western Turkish Coast, this is the most ideal way to visit the ruins of Troy. 

Please note: There is a fee to park in the Troy Museum Parking Lot. This is standard across Turkey. 

    #2 Dolmus – $1

A cross between a taxi and public transportation bus (these buses are regulated by the Turkish government), most Turks use the Dolmus to travel between towns and villages. 

If you spend any amount of time in Turkey without a vehicle, you will ride in a dolmus. 

Within Canakkale, the dolmus bus station is located down by the river. It takes about 15-20 minutes to walk from the ferry drop-off point to the dolmus bus station. 

(Cue the van down by the river jokes.)

How to get to the dolmus bus station in Canakkale. 

Unlike other cities in Turkey, the dolmus bus station to Troy is NOT in the bus station (Otogar) in Canakkale.

From the ferry-drop off point, continue southeast on road D200. (This is the main road. The first place you walk by will be the Pamukkale Bus Ticket Office.) 

Walk along D200 until you reach the second stoplight. (This will be a large, 4-way intersection.) 

Turn right on Ataturk Cd. and head south. 

It will be about a 10 minute walk from the 4-way intersection. 

If you crossed the Canakkale Stream, you have gone too far. 

The dolmus leaves for Troy (Troya) every 1/2 hour to every 1 hour. 

However, during non-busy times, they may only leave every 2 hours. 

BE SURE TO READ THE SCHEDULE BEFORE YOU GO, otherwise you might be stuck there for a few hours. (Not that I am speaking from experience or anything.)

The Dolmus will pick you up and drop you off at the site entrance. 

    #3 Taxi from Canakkale – $20

If you want a private ride to Troy, the other option is a taxi. 

There are a lot of taxis in Canakkale, so just pick your favorite. 

Troy Archeological Site Cost

The price of your visit to Troy can depend on a variety of factors, including if you decide to take a tour. 

If you purchase a tour from a company in Canakkale, expect to pay about $40. They will arrange transportation for you, and the admission fee is included. 

To be honest, I don’t know if a guide is necessary for a visit to Troy. 

There are numerous signs explaining the historical significance of each place. 

If you decide to purchase a single entrance ticket to Troy, expect to pay about $8 USD. 

The Troy Museum (located in Canakkale) costs about $8 USD too. 

Final Notes about visting Troy

  • Expect to spend 2-3 hours at the ruins of Troy. (If you do not spend the time to read the signs, the site should only last about 1 hour.)
  • Visit Troy in the morning. It can be very hot as you are walking above the stone. (This can be said of anywhere in Western Turkey, especially between mid-June to August.) Also, please take water. 

In Conclusion

I really enjoyed my time in Canakkale, and I hoped this article helped explain how to get around and see some of the sites of Canakkale. 

 

Canakkale, Turkey Tower

If you have any questions, let me know. 

To summarize, here are the budget costs for a trip to Canakkale, Troy, and Gallipoli!

Budget for Canakkale, Troy, and Gallipoli 

Tour Guide to Gallipoli: $60 USD per person at most!!! (Anytime you decide to use a tour guide, the museum fee is included in the price.)

Troy Archeological Museum: $8 

Museums (Troy Archeological Site): $8USD per person

Ferry: $.50 for a pedestrian; $4 for a vehicle

Hotels: $20-40 per night

Food: $4-$6

Total: (Per Person): $40-$60 per night

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