HistoryThere has been evidence of a settlement in the Çanakkale area since 3000 BC—almost countless ancient cities lined both banks of the Dardanelles. Due to its strategic location on a major sea passage, the area is rich in history and culture, and was the scene of the Trojan War and the crossings of Xerxes' Persians and Alexander the Great's Macedonians in opposite directions about one century and a half apart.
During World War I, Çanakkale and the adjoining areas on both sides of the Dardanelles were 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), with the fieriest conflict taking place on the Gallipoli Peninsula. The attempt failed, but not without heavy casualties on both sides.
By busThere 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 5½-6 hours to get from Istanbul to Çanakkale.
phone: +90 212 444-0-562, +90 212 658-20-00address: İstanbul Otogar, Bayrampaşa-EsenlerOne of the bus companies transporting passengers for 50 TL pp between Istanbul and Çanakkale.
phone: +90 212 658-33-86address: İstanbul Otogar no: 137, Bayrampaşa-EsenlerCovers 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 located in the city centre—after crossing the strait by ferry.
By carÇanakkale is 320 km from Istanbul, 325 km from Izmir, and 653 km from Ankara.
Çanakkale is linked by the well-maintained highways of E87/E90/D550 to the north, E90/D200 to the east and E87/D550 to the south. However, as there is no bridge spanning over the Dardanelles, you will have to take one of the ferry lines making the crossing (see the Get in: By boat section below for a full discussion) when arriving from Istanbul and elsewhere in Thrace.
By boatFour ferry lines operate across the strait, between three ports on either bank. Each line has its merits and disadvantages:
- Gelibolu (Europe)–Çardak (Asia) — a relatively shorter crossing than the Gelibolu–Lapsekli line, but this gain in time is likely to be offset by the fact that the landing pier at Çardak is 5 km east of Lapseki, hence further away from Çanakkale. The waiting lines can be extremely long (up to 3 hours) from time to time, as this line is often preferred by trucks. Once every hour day and night.
- Gelibolu (E)–Lapseki (A) — the longest line crossing the strait. Upgraded to motorway standards, the road down to Çanakkale following the Asian bank is much better than its counterpart along the European bank. Twice every hour between 07:00 and 23:00, once every hour during the night.
- Eceabat (E)–Çanakkale (A) — a relatively short line. The 40-km drive down to Eceabat from Gelibolu is partially under construction as of early 2018. Once every hour between 06:00 and midnight, once every two hours late night.
- Kilitbahir (E)–Çanakkale (A) — the shortest crossing. The 5-km road between Eceabat and Kilitbahir is quite narrow and has lots of sharp turns, but goes through an extremely scenic geography with the deep blue waters of the Dardanelles on one side and mountains covered by forests of pines and wild olives on the other. Relatively older boats than Eceabat–Çanakkale. Twice or three times every hour between 08:00 and 21:45, once every hour between 06:00 and 08:00 and also between 22:30 and 01:00, no services between 01:00 and 06:00.
All of the ports have public transport connections of sorts. A passenger ticket is 2 TL on the Kilitbahir–Çanakkale line and 3 TL on the other lines. The flat fare for cars is 35 TL for Kilitbahir–Çanakkale, and 40 TL for the others. A return ticket, which costs 45 TL/car, is available for all of the lines except Gelibolu–Çardak, but the crossings both ways should be made on the same date, before the midnight.
All lines are run by Gestaş except Gelibolu–Çardak, which is run by Gelba.
During the high season and especially the national holidays with a week-long breaks each, the voyages may be more frequent. In contrast, under bad weather conditions, the sea-traffic in the strait is limited or cancelled, and crossing the strait may become impossible.
phone: +90 286 217-65-65address: İzmir CaddesiArtifacts excavated from archaeological sites in the countryside surrounding Çanakkale, mostly amphorae and pottery, is among the exhibited in this museum.
Korfmann Libraryphone: +90 286 213-72-12address: Fevzipaşa Mahallesi, Tifli Sokak 16
phone: +90 286 213-17-30address: Fevzipaşa Mahallesi, Çimenlik SokakThe museum positioned around (and including) the Çimenlik Castle (Çimenlik Kalesi, also known as Kale-i Sultaniye) which dates back to 1461. A replica of a minelayer named Nusret that was employed in the naval battle of Dardanelles and photos taken during the period is among the exhibition of the museum.
Trojan HorseThe one that was used in the movie Troy was donated to the city.
Many travellers to Çanakkale are also attracted by the sites in the surrounding area; see the Go next section below for some suggestions.
Damak Tadiaddress: Yali Cad. 20small place, tasty food. Close to the justice building and the Naval Museum.
Peynir HelvasiA special dessert made of cheese, yolk, semolina and sugar. Husmenoglu is a patisserie famous with that dessert.
Barduckaddress: Fetvane Sk 17/ACoffees, beers and cocktails in a renovated historic house and its open-air backyard where smoking is allowed.
Yalı Hanıaddress: Fetvane Sk 31A coffeehouse with rustic wooden tables and chairs, offering tea, coffee, and beer in the courtyard of a converted inn building dating back to the 1880s. Visit in the spring, when the huge wisteria vine covering pretty much all of the courtyard is in full bloom of its purple flowers.
phone: +90 286 217-4454address: İskele Meydanı 17100
phone: +90 286 213-5969address: Cumhuriyet Meydanı N:61 17100
Otel Efesphone: +90 285 217 3256address: Fetvane Sokak 5Small, clean and friendly hotel close to the ferry terminal.
phone: +90 286 218-0808address: Kepez 17100
phone: +90 286 217-9456address: Kayserili Ahmet Paşa cad. Kordonboyu
phone: +90 286 217-1024address: Cevatpaşa Mah. M.Akif Ersoy cad.No:2
phone: +90 286 217 8792address: Fetvane Sokak 13Nice hotel close to waterfront. Comfortable rooms, helpful staff and lovely courtyard.
Çanakkale is a convenient base to explore many nearby sights from.
- The Gallipoli Peninsula is on the opposite banks of the Dardanelles. A self drive to the historic battlefield of Anzac Cove, filled with the memorials and commemorative areas, will cost more than 160 TL including car hire, fuel, and ferry toll. At 70 TL per person, tours are cheaper, but you will be rushed and unable to do it at your own pace.
- Kilitbahir — a village just across the narrowest section of the Dardanelles known for its extremely well preserved castle, which is the most obvious landmark seen from the waterfront when illuminated at night. The village has frequent ferry services from Çanakkale, and is a convenient starting point for visits onward to the southern and decidedly less-visited World War I monuments of Gallipoli, such as Cape Helles.
- Gökçeada (Imbros) and Bozcaada (Tenedos) — two of the biggest islands of Turkey, also the only significant Turkish islands in the Aegean Sea, are nearby. Both islands are multicultural to a degree, and have native Greek communities as well as Turkish ones. Gökçeada, the northern and much bigger of the couple, has long been known for its atmospheric abandoned villages that recently have started to revitalize. Bozcaada is a lively, charming island with a beautiful old town and a millenia-old wine-making tradition.
- Dardanos and Güzelyalı — two low-rise seaside suburbs surrounded by pine forests just south of the city. Dardanos is also the site of an ancient settlement as a burial mound (tümülüs) attests.
- Troy (Truva or Troya in Turkish) — an archaeological site about 30 km away. Ruins of the legendary city of the Illiad fame with the (re-constructed) wooden horse.
- Assos (also known as Behramkale; about 100 km away) is a pleasant seaside village with a hilltop Temple of Athena and mind-blowing views over the Aegean—which might have helped Aristotle to decide establishing a philosophy academy there.
- Along the Troad Coast — an itinerary south of Çanakkale combining visits to Troy, Assos, and a number of other historic sites along the Aegean coast.