By Car -- It is inadvisable (and next to impossible) to rely on the ferry/dolmus from Çanakkale to tour the battlefields, an expanse of approximately 72.5 sq. km (28 sq. miles). To drive to the battlefields from Istanbul, take the E6 highway (toll road) toward Edirne. Exit Gelibolu for the hourly (daily) car ferry to Lapseki (take the coastal road south 30km/19 miles to Çanakkale) or continue through to Eceabat, with hourly car ferry service between 7am and midnight (then every other hour) direct to Çanakkale (both ferries 20TL; 20 min.).
Visitors to the park should stop at one of the two information centers at the start of their visit. The Kabatepe Tanitma Merkezi ve Müzesi (tel. 0286/814-1297) is 24km (15 miles) northwest of Eceabat, on a cliff overlooking Anzac Cove and the village of Kabatepe. This location -- above Brighton Beach where the Anzac troops were supposed to land -- is where you should begin your visit. The information center and memorial grounds claim the plateau that was the objective of the failed operation. The commanding hilltop was heavily fortified with Turkish artillery, but today remains eerily silent, with a few notable monuments and spectacular views of the cliffs.
There's also a visitor center at Çamburnu (Gelibolu Tarihi Milli Parki Ana Tanitma Merkezi; tel. 0286/814-1960), located about 1km (2/3 mile) south of Eceabat. Both have small museums (admission 3TL; daily 9am-1pm and 2-6pm) housing examples of the battlefield's detritus along with uniforms and old photographs. Your time is better spent outside. Visits to the battlefields are free.
For a virtual panoramic tour, log on to www.kulturturizm.gov.tr or www.canakkale.gov.tr.
Leave the Driving to Them: Guided Tours to Gallipoli and Troy
A visit to Gallipoli can either be approached as an overnight excursion from Istanbul (usually centered around Çanakkale and attached to a visit to Troy) or independently. Tours depart Istanbul at 6:30am and arrive at the battlefields around lunchtime. It's a long day arriving back in Istanbul after midnight, which is why most people opt in for the overnight in Çanakkale for the next morning's tour of Troy, with buses arriving back in Istanbul around 6pm. The day trip (Gallipoli only) costs 89€ per person, while the full overnight tour (both Gallipoli and Troy) costs from 119€. If you want to make your own arrangements (bus, car, hotel, dining) and only want a tour of the sites, tours to both sites run daily even in winter. If you're game for a crushing, crowded, and memorably solemn experience, join the hoards of Aussies and Kiwis headed to Gallipoli on April 25 to commemorate the tragic landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) at Gallipoli during WWI. The main agencies specializing in Gallipoli and Troy tours (including from Istanbul) are Hassle Free Travel Agency, located in Çanakkale at Cumhuriyet Cad. 61 (tel. 0286/217-5482) and on Akbiyik Cad. 10, Sultanahmet, in Istanbul (tel. 0212/458-9500; www.anzachouse.com), TJ's Tours (tel. 0286/814-3121; www.anzacgallipolitours.com) with whom you can independently schedule both the Gallipoli and the Troy tour in 1 day, and Fez Travel (Akbiyik Cad. 17, Sultanahmet, in Istanbul; tel. 0212/516-9024), running good quality budget options.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.