Head to Gallipolli this Anzac day to pay your personal tribute to the troops form home who fought so bravely in world War I.

The Dawn Service at Anzac Cove

The Anzac Day events at Gallipoli begin with the Dawn Service, which is a simple but poignant ceremony remembering the heroism and sacrifice of the soldiers who waded ashore in the first light of April 25, 1915.

Most of the Australians and Kiwis attending the Dawn Service arrive at the site from mid-afternoon on the eve of Anzac Day, or in the early hours of the morning itself.

During the night, big screens around the area show footage from documentaries and films about the Anzac campaign, as well as recorded memories of diggers. There are also performances of songs from the period by military bands.

Although there are several thousand people crammed into the site, the feeling is one of respect. Gone are the times of people raving and boozing during the night.

There’s plenty of time between the Dawn Service and the other services – Australia, New Zealand and Turkey all hold their own – to visit the many cemeteries dotted around the peninsula.

Australian Anzac Day Service at Lone Pine

The Australian Anzac Day service is held at Lone Pine, a plateau high above the beaches of the Gallipoli peninsula.

This area was at the front line of the campaign, and changed hands several times.

It became infamous as a site of carnage, a result of the close-quarter fighting which took place between Australian and Turkish troops in August 1915, when more than 4000 soldiers died.

New Zealand Anzac Service at Chunuk Bair

It’s a long, uphill walk to Chunuk Bair, where the New Zealand memorial stands proud. It was here from August 6 to 9 in 1915 that New Zealand troops made an epic stand against the Turks.

The New Zealand commemorative service here is a must for its accounts of the heroism of the soldiers, who captured this strategic stronghold, which is one of the highest points of the peninsula.

The views from Chunuk Bair are incredible – they offer a commanding panorama of the unforgiving landscape in which the soldiers fought.

Anzac Day FAQs

How do I get there?
The only way to attend the Anzac Day ceremonies at Gallipoli is on an organised trip run by a tour company. Most Anzac Day tours leave Istanbul on April 24. It’s a six-hour journey to Gallipoli. Most tour groups arrive from mid-afternoon onwards.

What happens when I arrive?
Unless you arrive in the afternoon and secure a spot on the grass, you’ll sit in a temporary grandstand until the Dawn Service starts. However, the view and atmosphere are good across the site.

Will it be cold?
It might be shorts and T-shirt weather during the day, but at night and early in the morning it will be freezing. You need to take a sleeping bag and lots of warm clothes. You can buy blankets on site for about £10.

Fuel for the day
You can buy food, such as burgers, kebabs and gozleme (Turkish pancakes), and water and hot drinks, on site, but it’s worth picking up some snacks in Istanbul. Anzac Day at Gallipoli is an alcohol-free zone.


Need to know

When to go: Anzac Day is on April 25.

Getting there: Fly to Istanbul with EasyJet, BA, Turkish Airlines or Pegasus. It’s about six hours by bus from the city to Gallipoli.

Getting around: An organised tour is the only way to attend the Anzac Day services at Gallipoli. Check out tour options at tntmagazine.com/toursearch.

Visas: Australians, South Africans and Britons need to buy a visa on arrival – do so before lining up for immigration. Kiwis don’t need a visa.

Currency: Turkey new lira. 1 GBP = 2.38 TRY.

Language: Turkish, but English is widely spoken in tourist areas.

Accommodation: At Gallipoli you’ll be sleeping under the stars; you cannot pitch a tent. In Istanbul, dorms start at about 20 TRY and doubles from 40 TRY.

See: tourismturkey.org; turkishconsulate.org.uk.

» Daniel Landon travelled with Intrepid Travel (020 7354 6169). An Anzac Day trip, departing Istanbul on April 24, is £80. A 14-day tour of Turkey, including Anzac Day, is £1060