The Turkish seaport of Canakkale, which hugs the shore near the narrowest point on the Asian side of the Dardanelles strait, is located in an area that is rich in history and culture that date back at least six millennia, which gives travelers lots of options for day trips from Canakkale.
Throughout its 6,000-year history, the region has seen the rise and fall of once-prominent ancient powerhouses, wars so epic that stories about them still fascinate and capture the imaginations of history and mythology buffs alike, and modern-day nautical battles that became defining moments in one of the biggest wars the world has ever seen.
While these stunning historical events occurred long ago, they can still be explored today in several sites that are just a short car ride from the city. These are the 5 day trips from Canakkale that you must take if you truly want to dive into the history of this fascinating and storied region.
Gallipoli Peninsula (World War I Battlegrounds)
In addition to the 15th-century Kilitbahir Fortress, The Gallipoli Peninsula on the European side of the Dardanelles is the home of many monuments dedicated to those who served in the pivotal World War I battles that took place in the area.
One of these monuments is the Canakkale Martyrs’ Memorial, which was built between 1954 and 1958 to honor the service of 253,000 Turkish soldiers who took part in the eight-month-long Battle of Gallipoli, which took place from April to December in 1915. Beneath the Memorial is a museum dedicated to the battle and to the north is a war cemetery where 600 Turkish soldiers are buried.
The Helles Memorial (a.k.a. the British Memorial), commemorates the names of the British soldiers who lost their lives during the Battle of Gallipoli on the base of the monument, which is shaped like an obelisk.
The peninsula’s Anzac Cove Ceremonial Area honors members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps who used the cove as their base during the Battle of Gallipoli, and the Lone Pine Cemetery and Memorial is dedicated to the fallen soldiers who fought in the Battle of Lone Pine.
The Chunuk Bair Memorial commemorates the New Zealand soldiers who died during the Battle of Sari Bair.
Forty minutes southwest from Canakkale are the spectacular ruins of Alexandria Troas, a wealthy ancient Greek city on Turkey’s Aegean coast. Founded in 306 B.C. as Sigeia and renamed Alexandria Troas in 301 B.C. to honor Alexander the Great, the city was later controlled by the Romans, the Byzantines, and the Ottomans.
Among the 990-acre site’s ruins are a theatre, bath, odeon, gymnasium complex, and stadion. Both Caesar Augustus and St. Paul famously visited the city; Augustus reportedly considered moving the capital of the Roman Empire there, and St. Paul’s three visits makes the now-ruined city an important Christian landmark.
Alexandria Troas is free to enter, so make the drive to see for yourself why it’s one of the top day trips from Canakkale!
Another set of ruins, roughly a 90-minute drive southwest from Canakkale, is the ancient port city of Assos, located in the town of Behramkale. The city, which was founded between 900 and 1000 B.C., was the home of a school of philosophy started by the famed Greek philosopher Aristotle, who later fled to Macedonia after the Persians invaded and killed his friend, King Hermias.
Assos’ acropolis (which includes the remains of the Temple of Athena), the medieval town, the ancient theatre, a well-preserved city wall and main gate, an agora and gymnasium from the second century B.C., and a bouleuterion, are all notable points of interest.
After exploring the ruins, head down to the Assos Behram Hotel and Restaurant for a delicious lunch of fresh, local seafood. It is to die for!
Off the coast of northwestern Turkey in the northern Aegean is the 15-square-mile island of Bozcaada, also known as Tenedos. The island was mentioned in the epic poems The Odyssey, The Iliad, and The Aeneid, in which it is said the Greeks hid their fleet on Tenedos to trick the Trojans into thinking the war between the two was over, which led them to bring the Trojan Horse inside the city walls.
Here, you’ll find Bozcaada Castle, a colossal fortress that is thought to have been built by the Byzantines. The beaches on the island’s southern coast is a popular place to swim and get some sun, while the main town is a great place to view Greek and Turkish architecture while grabbing a bite to eat along the cobblestone streets.
Stop by one of the island’s best restaurants, Eski Kahve for some incredible stuffed grape leaves, stuffed ravioli, and non-alcoholic grape juice. For the alcoholic variety, go on a wine-tasting tour of the island’s many wineries!
Located at the archaeological site known as Hisarlik in northwestern Turkey is arguably the country’s most famous site, the ancient city of Troy. The ancient ruins, which were named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998, contain the remains of at least nine different cities that built on top of one another.
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The walls of the sixth iteration of Troy still stand today. The sixth city of Troy was the most prosperous of the nine and is the one that has been immortalized in the epic poems The Iliad, the Odyssey, and the Aeneid, which interweave Greek mythology with tales of the Trojan War, which include the iconic story of the arrival of the Trojan Horse at the gates of Troy and the events that followed.
Anyone visiting Canakkale should take the time to visit this fascinating archaeological ruin where myth meets reality. This fascinating site is a must as far as day trips from Canakkale are concerned.
Because the Canakkale area’s past makes up so much of its present-day identity, it is essential that visitors visit these fascinating locations for themselves if they’re looking to have a fun and educational experience that will take them on a thrilling ride that will take them back to the region’s ancient origins and forward in time to its modern-day splendor. These five day trips from Canakkale simply can’t be missed.