It’s a thrill to visit ancient Troy, easily done in a day from Çanakkale, Bozcaadaor Assos, or overnight from Istanbul, by car or tour.
Troy is impressive for its great age (the oldest ruins date from 3000 BC) and beautiful situation. The hokey wooden horse is just for fun (especially for kids).
A movie, with Brad Pitt and Diane Kruger, was released in May 2004. More…
Discovery of Troy
For most of the last 3000 years, people assumed that Homer’s Iliad was fiction, and that Troy (Truva in Turkish) never existed.
Then in 1863 a British expatriate named Frank Calvert discovered ancient ruins at a place in western Turkey called Hisarlık (maps), and was convinced they were Troy.
Heinrich Schliemann showed up in 1868, provided money for more digging, and took credit for discovering Troy.
Here’s a tour by private car with driver-guide that takes you from Istanbul across the Sea of Marmara to Troy, then along the Aegean coast, stopping at Pergamum and Ephesus, and the hill village of Şirince, then heading inland to Aphrodisias and Pamukkale/Hierapolis, then returns you to Istanbul by plane, all in only 4 days. More…
Other guided tours to Troy and the Gallipoli battlefieldsrun from Istanbul, especially in April around ANZAC Day. More…
Although you can visit Troy from Istanbul in one day, I don’t recommend it. The drive (or bus ride) is about five hours each way. It’s much better to make an overnight excursion by rental car or by bus, including a guided minibus tour or self-guided hiking tour of the Gallipoli battlefields.
What to See & Do
Some visitors think “there’s not a lot to see at Troy,” and that’s true compared to Turkey’s hundreds of other ancient cities such as Pergamum, Ephesus and Aphrodisias.
But I get a thrill just from seeing Troy’s ancient walls, climbing around the ruins, and gazing across the Troad(the plains of Troy) towards the waters of the Dardanellesand the hills of Gallipoli beyond.
The new Troy Museum opened in late 2018, displaying artifacts from the site as well as Trojan treasures from the region around Troy, and displays on archeologial finds taken to other countries that may be returned to Turkey in the future.
Mount Ida (Kazdağı)
You can also wander into the mountains east of Troy to massive Mount Ida (Kazdağı), a great place for a few nights’ relaxation at a mountain inn. More…
Where to Stay
If you plan to stay a night in nearby Çanakkale, Bozcaadaor Assos, it makes sense to include Troy in your itinerary, especially if you’re heading south—it’s just off the main İzmir highway a few kilometers.
Also, heading south, if you have time to wander, consider going off the beaten path by turning west at Ezine to see the ancient sites of Neandria, Alexandria Troas, and the Apollo Smintheon, on a smaller road closer to the Aegean coast via Gülpınar to Assos (Behramkale). Signs point the way.
Click here for maps of Troy & Aegean Turkey.
—by Tom Brosnahan
Day-Trip from Istanbul to Troy
Excursion by Car from Istanbul to Troy
Excursion by Bus from Istanbul to Troy
Distances & Travel Times:
Assos (Behramkale): 66 km (41 miles) S, 1-1/4 hours
Ayvalık: 180 km (112 miles), 3-1/4 hours
Bergama (Pergamum): 230 km (143 miles), 3-3/4 hours
Bursa: 335 km (208 miles), 5-1/4 hours
Çanakkale: 30 km (19 miles), 35 minutes
Edirne: 255 km (158), 4-1/4 hours
Istanbul: 370 km (230 miles), 6-1/2 hours (including the Dardanelles ferry crossing; car ferry via Bandırma is faster)
İzmir: 315 km (196 miles), 5 hours