Notes for the First Time Visitor
I went to Gallipoli for the
first time more than a dozen years ago. Visiting the
area is a much greater undertaking
than popping over to France and Flanders! Hopefully
these notes will prove useful if you are planning your
own trip. Feel free to email me for any further help.
We flew from Heathrow on
British Airways which cost around £250 in May 2000. We
took an early morning flight, and with a four hour
journey and two hour time difference, we arrived at
Istanbul mid-afternoon. We had previously arranged to
pick-up a hire car whose officers were in the airport.
This we picked up in a nearby car park and began the
journey to Gallipoli. We tried to follow the directions
in the Holts guide (see below) but took a wrong turn
somewhere and missed the motorway section. However, the
normal roads weren't that busy. The journey took five
and a half hours, stopping a couple of times en-route at
'service stations' to either fuel up, pick up supplies
or use the toilet.
Some people prefer to stay
in Istanbul for the night and then travel onwards.
However, our experience of driving around the suburbs of
the city, and then on the highway coming back in
certainly put us off from this idea. If you do want to
do this it might be best to taxi your way to a hotel and
return to the airport to pick up your car.
There are only a few hotels
and one B&B on Gallipoli itself; there are others on
the Asian side of the Narrows at Canakkale, but this
means a ferry ride twice a day. The ones I know of are:
HOTEL - ECEABAT
Under Travel Agency: This company provides
battlefield tours of the area in a small bus, conducted
in English (ok, Australian!) using local guide Ilhami
Gezici ('T.J.'). Accommodation is also available.
Tel: +90 286 814 2431. Fax: +90 286 814 2430.
HOTELS - CANAKKALE
Akol (****). Tel: +90 286 217 9456.
Hotel Anafartala (***).
Close to the ferry terminal. Tel: +90 286 217 4454.
Hotel Truva (***). Tel: +90
286 217 1024.
Hotel ANZAC (*). Basic
accommodation, favoured by back-packers from Australian
and New Zealand. English spoken. Tel: +90 286 217 0156.
Fax: +90 286 217 2906.
B&B - CAPE HELLES
Helles Panorama. Run by a retired CWGC gardener
and his wife. Much favoured by British visitors to the
area. Close to Seddulabahir, and within walking distance
of Lt-Col Doughty-Wylie VC's grave.
Tel: +90 286 862 0035. Fax: +90 286 212 9497.
- I went to visit this B&B during my May 2003 visit
and found Errol Bayan and his wife charming people. They
have a lovely house overlooking Morto Bay and Cape
Helles, and the rooms are smart and comfortable. A
wonderful place to stay!
There were a couple of
books about the Gallipoli battlefields published in the
1920s, but the only real definitive guide is Phil Taylor
& Pam Cupper's Gallipoli - A Battlefield Guide
(Kangaroo Press 1989). Written by an Australian couple,
it actually covers the whole battlefield and is very
good on the cemeteries. Sadly it appears to be out of
print, and difficult to find in the UK. I hope we might
see a reprint some day.
Update: see my
review of this and latest availability on the Book
Nigel Steel published
Gallipoli in the 'Battleground Europe' series in 1999,
but this is a reprint of an earlier book and is more a
potted history of the campaign than a guide book and
although we took it with us, we found it of limited use.
In April 2000 Major &
Mrs Holt published their Illustrated Guide to the
Gallipoli Battlefields (Pen & Sword 2000). This
was the first major guide book for many years, and one
we took with us. Having never used one of their books
before, I did not know what to expect. There are some
lovely colour photographs, but it proved of limited use
'in the field' and we noted a large number of mistakes
both in terms of information and finding your way
around. In the end, we mainly referred to the Taylor
& Cupper book (see above).
After we got back Steve
Newman's Gallipoli: Then & Now was published
by After The Battle. I wished we had had this when we
were there, as it is an excellent book with some superb
photographs and a useful text. Recommended.
I understand that several
other titles in the 'Battleground Europe' series will
relate to Gallipoli. Stephen Chambers, for example, is
currently working on Gully Ravine. See the Pen &
Sword web site (see links page).
Currently the only modern
map available is Major & Mrs Holts Battle Map of
Gallipoli This map can be bought on its own, or
comes with the guidebook (see above).
However, when we actually
used this map we had a number of problems with it. Hills
were hollows, and hollows were hills. Some cemeteries
were not actually in the same place as marked on the
map, and this proved a big problem in the wilderness of
Suvla. The authors claim that the map was made using
GPS. I suspect that a revised edition will be necessary
in due course. Update! Major
& Mrs Holt are currently working on an updated
version of the map and guidebook. For further details
visit their website: Major
& Mrs Holts Battlefield Guide Books and Maps
- there is now a new map of the Gallipoli battlefield.
It is based on a series of maps made by the Turkish Army
in 1916/17 and shows roads, tracks and former trench
positions. It also has some problems, but is far better
than the current edition Holts map. The map can be
bought from the Visitors Centre at Gaba Tepe. I will be
reviewing this map shortly on the Book
Unlike most other WW1
battlefields, Gallipoli is a wilderness. So a word
of warning - never walk the place on your
own, always have water, a first aid kit and a hat. Stick
to the main paths, and wear good boots. Never walk in
bare feet or sandals as there are all sorts of things in
the scrub that bite! Don't drink the local water,
especially out of wells. Bottled water is widely
available. At Suvla there are big packs of dogs that
guard the goat herds. Most are harmless, but they don't
look it! We all had walking poles, with a hefty handle
which might prove useful if one came at you - otherwise
take some dog biscuits!
Despite these problems
Gallipoli is a fascinating battlefield which everyone
should visit at least once.
And once you've
been once - well, you will soon want to return!