Before You Go
2. Arrange for a battlefield tour. It's 35 km/22 miles from the Turkish war memorial on Cape Helles at the southern tip of the Gallipoli peninsula to the northernmost battlefields of the campaign. A tour solves the transport problem, and is the easiest and best way to visit most of the battle sites in one day. Many travel agencies in Istanbul run Gallipoli tours, including Efendi Travel, a TurkeyTravelPlanner.com partner. More...
Bus to the Dardanelles
Take the Istanbul Metro to the Otogar station and find a bus for the 310-km (193-mile) trip to Eceabat (5 hours, on the European/Gallipoli shore) or Çanakkale (5 hours + ferry crossing to the Anatolian shore; More...). You may want to depart in the morning, but in any case leave by midday (lunchtime). To reach Çanakkale, you take the ferry across the Dardanelles. The crossing is fun!—a short sea voyage over the legendary Hellespont after a long bus ride.
Ferry to Bandırma + Bus to Çanakkale
Another way to go is to ride the fast ferry from Istanbul's Yenikapı Ferry Terminal to Bandırma, on the Sea of Marmara's southern shore, walk uphill or take a taxi for the short (2-km, 1.2-mile) ride to Bandırma's bus terminal (otogar), then catch a bus to Çanakkale. There may not be as frequent bus service from Bandırma as from Istanbul, but the bus ride is shorter (less than 3 hours).
When you get to Çanakkale, settle into your hotel, then enjoy a good dinner at one of the seaside restaurants overlooking the Dardanelles.
Your tour takes you to around the expansive Gallipoli battlefields quickly and easily. (If really want to go on your own and you've got strong legs, you can do a self-guided hiking tour of the battlefields.)
If your tour does not include Troy, you go by minibus dolmuş to the village of Tevfikiye, which is next to the Troy archeological site. To do this, exit the Çanakkale bus terminal to the main street (Atatürk Caddesi), turn left (south), and walk for 6 minutes (600 meters/yards) to the bridge over the Sarı River. On the right (southwest) side of the bridge is the minibus station.
In summer (June, July, August, September), minibuses depart about every 30 to 60 minutes, with highest frequency in the morning, much less in the late afternoon. You should leave for Troy just after breakfast in order to give yourself the best chance of finding a minibus for the return trip to Çanakkale.
If Troy is your only interest and you don't care to tour Gallipoli, you can catch an Istanbul-bound bus in the afternoon on Day 2 and be back in Istanbul by late evening, making this a two-day, one-night excursion.
—by Tom Brosnahan