I visited Istanbul and Gallipoli in early August, with the specific intention of
being at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli on the 12th August 2015, exactly 100 years to the day after a relative
on my mother’s, mother’s side, was killed in that area. Charles Bray was in the Duke of Wellington’s
(West Riding Regiment) Y Company 8th Battalion, which formed part of the 32nd Infantry Brigade that
landed at Lala Baba, Suvla Bay on the night of the 6th August 1915.
I arranged the return flights from London to Istanbul, but RSL Tours arranged everything else
for me, i.e. the airport transfers, hotel for the two periods I was in Istanbul, and the
three-day Eceabat-based Gallipoli Tour which started and finished in Istanbul.
In Gallipoli, I stayed two nights at the hotel, in a room that overlooked the
ferry and had views across the Dardanelles to the Asian side. The hotel had a top floor
restaurant that had even more magnificent views over the Dardanelles. The food was fine and the
hotel staff were friendly.
The afternoon on the first day of the Gallipoli Tour was taken up by an interesting coach trip to
the ancient site of Troy on the Asian side, via the ferry to Çanakkale.
The second day started with a visit to the Cape Helles area, which has both Turkish and British
memorials to the fallen. At the British memorial, I quickly found the name of my fallen
relative, listed along with the other approximately 21,000 Allies whose whereabouts remain
There was also a visit to the relatively new Gallipoli Kabatepe Museum which cost $80 million
dollars and has 11 gallery rooms, each equipped with advanced high-tech simulation equipment.
The story of the 1915 Gallipoli naval and land campaigns is told from both Turkish and ANZAC
points of view. The technology allows visitors to choose their presentation language and
interact with the display.
In the afternoon, there was a visit to the Anzac Cove area, including the Beach, Lone Pine, and
Chunuk Bair Cemeteries, and to the trenches at Johnston’s Jolly.
On the morning of the third day, I was taken on my own by a guide to Suvla Bay. We stopped at
Atatürk’s House Museum in Bigali and the Suvla Museum on the way. I visited some of the British
cemeteries just inland from Suvla Bay, mostly containing the graves of unknown soldiers, as well
as the beach.
My afternoon was free, so I went over on the ferry to Çanakkale, which has a lovely promenade
that features the magnificent model of the horse used in the Brad Pitt film ‘Troy’, and a model
of Troy showing it as used to be. After returning to Eceabat to wait for the coach to take me
back to Istanbul, I still had time to wander along the promenade at Eceabat and look at its
realistic ‘Respect for History Park’, which is close to the ferry terminal. The park contains
model trenches of ‘Quinn’s Post’, a contoured scale-model of the Gallipoli Peninsula campaign,
and busts of Turkish generals.
The guides on all three days were excellent and I would recommend RSL’s Gallipoli tours. Without
them I would never have managed to achieve my objective of being at Suvla Bay on the 12th
We had a fabulous 3 day trip. Our guide, Yusuf, was knowledgeable and
communicated very well. The sites we visited at Cape Helllas, Anzac Cove and Suvla Bay gave us a
strong appreciation of the strategies used by both sides in the battles. We had done a lot of
research so already knew a lot of factual info from the Aussie point of view but the Turkish
viewpoint was also explained well. We were very moved by the Turkish Memorial and the people who
made it a pilgrimage.
Yusuf made every effort to assist my husband who had difficulty walking, even
taking a stool for him to rest on.
The bus drivers were also worthy of compliments. Driving through Sultanameht late at night when
returning to Istanbul was so colourful and interesting and the driver was brilliant, negotiating
tight corners and narrow streets with ease.
I booked on the three day tour starting and finishing in Istanbul. The tour
encompassed Troy, a full day around the battlefields and an additional half day to one of the lesser
DO NOT do the one day tour from Istanbul unless you're really pushed for time. You just don't get
a real feel for the area and it's a long day. Stay overnight, all accomodation and meals are
included in the tour packages which are great value for money.
I had a really enjoyable three days with the team from RSL Tours and couldn't fault any part of
the tour program.
Highly recommended professional outfit.
We Went on the 3 Day tour of Troy, Gallipoli and Suvla Bay. The tour was
fantastic! Very informative guides especially Hassan! He is so welcoming and passionate. The Grand
Eceabat Hotel was spacious, clean and tidy with the most amazing Turkish hospitality. The soups that
were on offer were delicious. Plenty of traditional food. A wonderful all round Turkish
The only thing you need to be aware of is the cheese sandwich they give you on the bus from
Istanbul to Eceabat... They do stop over at a petrol station where you can get a good breakfast
though. Otherwise this trip is a must do!
From start to finish RSL made our 3 day 2 night trip to Troy and Gallipoli
amazing. Our party consisted of four adults and two kids (under 10),with our main focus being the
battlefields at Gallipoli. Our trip was organized and set-up by Olimpia and she included everything
that we wanted to see to include a trip to Troy. Olimpia was absolutely fantastic with making sure
that the group was taken care of and she allowed us to use the best guide that RSL has (in my
opinion). Hasan was by far the most knowledgeable battlefield guide, I have ever met. I have been to
battlefields all over the world and his depth of knowledge and ability to relate the material to
what we were seeing, made the trip so much more worthwhile for all of us to include the kids.
Everyone was surprised by the shear amount of things we saw and knowledge we gained. For a group
of Americans, this was a great experience and we learned a ton about the sacrifices on both
sides of the trenches. I will never forget Hasan and his incredible knowledge and passion for
telling both sides of the battles. During the three day tour, we were able to travel all three
major areas of the battlefield and had the chance to walk and visit some very remote areas to
include Hill 60. How our driver Clineyt managed to get our mini-bus into some of the areas we
saw, we will never know, but he was awesome and helped us to get the most out of our experience.
I would recommend RSL to anyone wanting to visit Gallipoli and especially Hasan as a guide. You
will not be disappointed in this tour, it was simply amazing.
My eldest brother was lucky enough to win a place at Gallipoli for the 2015
Anzac Day Commemoration. I was lucky enough to be chosen by him to be his Companion (thanks
We had 9 Great-Uncles serve in WWI, 3 of them at Gallipoli. We decided to spend 2 weeks on the
trip so that we could come home with sufficient stories to keep our (mostly Bro’s) Grand-Kids
We didn’t want to go on a holiday, we were called Pilgrims for a reason. We decided to spend a
week in Turkey (including Anzac Day) and then a further week in Belgium/France touring the
Western Front and in particular, Flanders Fields (where we lost the only Great-Uncle who didn’t
return). Primarily, we wanted to learn as much as we could about the Gallipoli Campaign as it
figures so prominently in how we Australians see ourselves, so we booked with THE BEST
BATTLEFIELD TOUR GROUP in Turkey - RSL Tours.
We booked Option 3 and found ourselves on Bus 18 with Hassan and the greatest
bunch of real Aussies and Kiwis I have ever met - it became blatantly clear that we all shared
the same passion, to immerse ourselves in the history behind one of the most tragic events ever
to fall on Australian shoulders, and to remember our Ancestors who had served and more often
than not, died there.
I don’t know if anyone knew what chaos would descend on the Gallipoli Peninsula in that week –
Tour Groups who had NEVER ventured near Gallipoli in the past were suddenly experts and created
road-trains of buses filled with people who had paid 5 times what Bro and I had paid. I’m sure
they ate great breakfasts and stayed in flash hotels, and had their baggage picked up and
delivered on time and never had to wait for a pickup but THEY DIDN’T HAVE Hassan AND THEY DIDN’T
HAVE Gavin AND THEY DIDN’T HAVE Ash and they were never on Bus 18.
I was met in Eceabat by the most beautiful woman in the world who handed me a red rose and
welcomed me to HER TOWN. I learned over the next 5 days that Turks are gentle, loving and open
people who feel as awful about losing their young to gut-shots and gangrene and shrapnel wounds
as we are. I lost count of the number of them who said to me “you are my brother”. When I left,
Hassan hugged me and cried.
As I came to grips with the absolute horror that those young Aussies and Kiwis were sent into, I
found great support in Hassan’s knowledge – he KNEW what had happened and he knew what I was
feeling AND HE CARED so he became a shoulder that I could lean on. I relied on him, as a
qualified Historian, to keep me focussed on the facts and not the rhetoric. I learned stuff
about Gallipoli that my father and grandfather didn’t know.
Yes, I remember the terrible queues for breakfast and/or dinner, I remember the yelling and
gesturing outside the RSL Tours offices trying to sort buses and passengers, I remember the
moans of disappointment on the ferry when we learned we couldn’t travel North to see more of
ANZAC Cove, I remember the 43 hours without a bed that it cost to attend ANZAC Day, I remember
the tortuous wait for Bus 18 to take me back to Istanbul after the Ceremonies and I remember the
chaos involved in getting all the passengers from all the buses into their individual shuttles
back to their hotels in the wee small hours of 26th April.
But I also remember the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque and the Hippodrome and the Grand Covered
Bazaar and Suleymaniye Mosque and Achi Baba Hill and V Beach Cemetery and the Cape Helles
Memorial and the Lancashire Landing Cemetery and the Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery and Alcitepe
Village and the Gallipoli Epic Simulation Centre and Kilitbahir Fortress and Brighton Beach and
the Ariburnu Cemetery and the Mehmetcik Memorial Statue and Johnston's Jolly and Walker’s Ridge
and the Turkish 57. Infantry Regiment Cemetery and The Nek and Chunuk Bair and Buyuk Anafarta
Village and Chocolate & Green Hills and Suvla Bay and the Kirectepe Turkish Gendarme Cemetery
and Scimitar Hill and Fishermans Hut and Lala Baba Hill. I remember the AMAZING ferry trip,
accompanied by Battleships returning from their manoeuvres, only a kilometre away, up the
Straits as if they were accompanying us.
I remember being taken on an incredible journey of learning by a group of people who were
qualified to teach me what I needed to know, and I am eternally grateful to them for the changes
that have occurred in me because of the knowledge I now have. Friends have asked me “how has it
affected you?” and my response is “when I tell someone I am an Australian, I now know what it
RSL Tours faced a sea of challenges in April 2015. They responded to most of them with the sort
of professionalism you would expect from an International Tour Operator. They dropped the ball a
couple of times but so did Ian Healy.
I am seriously looking forward to returning to Turkey in the off-season and asking Hassan to
REALLY teach me about the Gallipoli Campaign.
Thank you RSL Tours for all you did for me.
My wife and I attended the 2015 ANZAC Service, and chose to go with Rsl Tours.
The Option 3 package for the Gallipoli Battlefields is the best, and the time spent on the peninsula
will be well worth it. Rsl Tours will arrange accommodation (perhaps in some instance pension
accommodation if space is tight) and meals, nothing fancy, but you will sleep well and will not
Rsl Tours arranged our follow-on tours through Turkey and transport back to Istanbul. We went to
Pergamum, Kusadasi, Selcuk (Ephesus), Pamukkale, Konya and Cappadocia. Flew from Nevsehir back
to Istanbul to finish the tour.
Nothing but praise for Rsl Tours and the tours companies they arranged our follow-on tours with;
don't forget to pre-book your balloon flight at Cappadocia, Rsl Tours can do that for you.
My wife and I traveled to Istanbul in April 2015 along with thousands of other
Australians to attend the Anzac Ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary. We had previously been
to ANZAC Cove and had researched the area knowing Ecebat was small and had limited resources to
handle the influx of people that were to come. We booked with RSL Tours and they did an excellent
job organising the trip.
The accommodation available was only basic but we expected that and were prepared to put up with
it and just enjoy the whole experience. The Dawn service was excellent as was Lone Pine. It was
a disappointing end to the day with the delays in getting away from the site but this was not
the fault of RSL Tours it was an error by the organisers of the event again not RSL Tours. The
down side of this tour was the amount of rude and ugly Australians who abused and berated RSL
Tours Staff for things they had no control over. It was embarrasing to be around them. Following
on from the ANZAC event my wife and I embarked on a further 5 day tour with RSL through
Kusidasi, Ephesus, Pamukalle and Cappadocia. The trip was excellent and we experienced excellent
sites, accommodation and really excellent meals. Well done RSL Tours and an apology for the
behaviour of a small minority.
I must say I was more than impressed with RSL Tours and their efforts to make my
time in Istanbul and Gallipoli as comfortable as possible. My father and I arrived late on the 22nd
and had a daily tour booked to go to Troy which was scheduled a year in advance to be picked up at
6:30am. As I had already been overseas for a month it hadn't crossed my mind until just before I
arrived to my motel on the 22nd to check in with RSL Tours to see if they were still coming, this
however was not needed as they had gone out of their way and contacted my hotel and advised them to
have us ready for pick up at 6:30 the next morning! This was a tick in all boxes for dad and myself.
Further to this initiative, the tour guide we had taking us out to Troy was very knowledgeable and
made what would usually be a boring chat about history, be interesting and enjoyable!
We then returned back to Istanbul late that night and were again picked up on the 24th to our
tour out to gallipoli for the centenary, with 650 plus people booked on this tour I was
expecting chaos however I was wrong, Oli and the team had everything organised perfectly and
there was nothing I could find to fault the company. We received jackets, beanies and scarfs and
help whenever we need for even the smallest of things to make the pilgrimage as comfortable as
possible!! The help I received months and months in advance was admirable as well, I had so many
questions in regards to travel to Turkey and Oli was more than happy to answer all the questions
I had which was outside of her duties.
Overall it goes without saying that RSL tours is an excellent company and I cannot rate them
highly enough. Oli and team thank you so much for making the trip of a life time absolutely
I was extremely happy with every aspect of these operators for my Gallipoli tour
for Anzac day.
- The bus was clean, albeit with a scary crack down the middle of the windscreen.
- The local tour guides in Canakkale were extremely interesting and gave a historical account of
the battles, as well as some of there personal insights.
- Inclusive boat ride was extremely useful
- VIP service pick-up, being the first of 130 coaches to leave the ceremony. That was fantastic
and deserves an extra star!
Our intention was to do the Gallipoli Battlefield tour to mark the centenary of
the evacuation of The ANZAC forces on the 19th - 20th December.
One of our group suggested we go to ANZAC COVE for a dawn remembrance.
The people at RSL TOURS made it happen.
Our tour was the BEST.
The two days of escorted and guided site seeing was OUTSTANDING. Sunday the 20th
we went to places in the battlefield I had not known.
The RSL TOUR team with Olimpia, the drivers and guides, Hasam and Yusef gave us a complete
description and history of the sites, the movements, outcomes of many actions including several
compassionate deeds by soldiers on each side.
Their presentations of the WW1 battles between all sides were very balanced and commendable.
We were able to feel the awesome emotions and offer our gratitude with dignity and respect for
men of both nations.
All the RSL TOURS staff need complementing on their service and assisting us and
to other Gallipoli tourists.
We were a party of 8 travelling to see the battlefields of Gallipoli, we flew
into Istanbul and was collected and taken to a hotel in Istanbul which was a nice hotel. We were
collected the next morning and taken to Eceabat to start the tour, which took 5 hours ish to arrive
we did stop for breakfast on way.
On arrival, we had lunch and then did the half day tour of Troy with an excellent guide, we came
back and had dinner in the hotel.
The next morning we started our tour of the battlefields which was very informative and detailed,
one of the other parties on the bus was from Australia had a great grandfather who was killed on
the 5/11/1915 and we found his grave and was very moving as it was was 100 years to the day he
We had a spare afternoon following the tour and we visited the naval museum and replica mine
laying ship in Canakkale which was very interesting.
We were then taken back to Istanbul the Friday night and on the Saturday we had a full day tour
of Istanbul, which was very detailed and informative again.
To round off the evening we had a dinner boat cruise down the Bosphorus, which we thought
wouldn't be much good, but we had a great evening and even had one of our group up dancing with
the belly dancer!
So in conclusion, from the minute we were collected at the airport to time they dropped us off
everything was included apart from a few meals and drinks included in the holiday, we all had a
great time and would highly recommend RSL tours to anyone.
We booked the 2 day Gallipoli, Snorkelling, Troy tour with RSL tours and I am so
glad we did! We had the most memorable, wonderful time which my wife and I will never forget. from
the super efficient pick up at our hotel in Istanbul to our return, we were looked after in every
way and treated like family and as special guests. What sticks in my mind most is the friendliness
and hospitality we were shown by the entire RSL team! (Sorry guys if I have spelt your names
The commentary given by Hasan of the Anzac campaign was both informative and respectful to the
memory of both sides and very balanced, the folks that took care of us on the bus, special
thanks goes to Ozi & Chat whose most professional friendly service was above excellent,
(Ooooooooooop!!! ) and Chat you navigating of the bus in Istanbul was beyond incredible and was
a tour in itself! George and Zia for getting us home safely, the kind well presented organised
team at the Grand Ecuabat Hotel was nothing short of excellent and now I know why it is called
the "Grand" hotel!, Okay this is not a 5 star hotel in terms of room quality standards, nor does
it proclaim to be, however what it lacks in room fit out it makes up for in the above 5 star
"Grand" service, reception and attention extended to their guests by the entire RSL and hotel
team! I would not have wanted to stay anywhere else even if a free 5 star "Hilton" was up the
road. Thanks Barrack for the wonderful tour of Troy, you are an honouree Aussie citizen forever
in my country mate, you repertoire of the Australian language and jokes are nothing short of
inspiring! It made us appear as amateur Aussies!
Thanks Yousef for the most memorable swim in Anzac cove which I will never forget, thanks Nich
for introducing us to fine Peynir Helvasi in the little shop beside the hotel and for ringing
our hotel with your own phone before the way home to tell them we would be late, many thanks to
Olympia, for which nothing was ever a problem and took such great care of us, Gavin for your
effective email and organising skills, the entire restaurant staff for the excellent meals that
were served beautiful fresh authentic Turkish food which the quality and ambiance was
outstanding, to the patient hotel cleaners who cleaned our room only for us to mess it up again
after our snorkelling trip and to the friendly people of Ecuabat town who even shook our hands
and welcomed us Aussies and posed for our photos I love you all, last but not least the
beautiful and friendly dogs and cats that make this town what a gem of a special place it is
today, I now understand why the animals of the town are so friendly, because the people are also
and the animals obviously learn from this....these memory's I will have with me forever...I am
sorry from Australia for the past for the Gallipoli campaign in which our country fought against
such beautiful people with hearts made of absolute gold ..! Us Aussies have lots to learn from
you about how to treat guests in our country! You have all made me a better person from the RSL
experience ! Thank you all so much!!
One of the best organised tours we have ever taken. We did the two day Troy and
Gallipoli tour and had a fantastic experience.
Picked up and dropped off on time and was well taken care of by Olympia, Hasan, Burak and all the
other staff members.
Burak was a very enthusiastic, passionate and knowledgeable guide on Troy and made the visit to
Troy a very enjoyable and memorable visit.
Hasan was also a very enthusiastic, passionate and knowledgeable guide on Gallipoli and my wife
and I were glad that not only did we do the afternoon tour of the Australian and New Zealand
battlefields, but also the morning tour of the British landing sites as well.
We were the only two people who did the morning tour with Hasan since most people only do the one
day tour to Gallipoli which takes place in the afternoon.
I can highly recommend that it is best to do the morning and afternoon tours of Gallipoli as you
get to experience what it was like from a Turkish perspective, rather than just the Australian/
New Zealand perspective.
A visit to the Gallipoli Battle Museum was definitely a highlight of the morning tour, as was
seeing other battle fields and memorials not visited by most people.
Our room in Eceabat was average but more than suitable for one nights accommodation.
The meals at the hotel were homely, tasty and plentiful and the price of the tour was extremely
My husband and I originally travelled to Turkey intending only to stay in
Istanbul for10 days. However, we changed our plans and decided to go to Gallipoli. We had not booked
a tour ahead of time, so a day before our intended departure, I emailed RSL Tours for information
and availability. surprisingly, within a few minutes, I had a response and the tour was organised
for the next day.
Everything we were told occurred. We were told a driver would pick us up from our apartment at
6.00am the next morning and we would travel to Eceabat and have breakfast along the way. We
stopped at a highway restaurant and had breakfast which was included in the cost of our tour. If
you don't want a Turkish breakfast, you can pay extra at the Roadhouse for alternatives.
When we arrived in Eceabat, a small sleepy fishing village, we checked into The Grand Eceabat
Hotel. This hotel is a 3 star hotel, so please do not anticipate a Hilton or even a Novotel, it
is more akin to a country motel. However, it is very clean and quite and there is nothing more
you could want. We travelled in winter and the room was adequately heated.
After check in we had a 3 course Turkish lunch all inclusive in the price of the tour which is
extremely reasonable for what you get. The waiter (Turan) was very accomodating of all our
dining requirements, as were all the staff in the hotel. After lunch, we made our way to Troy by
ferry again all fares are inclusive. We spent the afternoon in Troy and visited the city of
Cannakale including the site where the horse made for the movie Troy is situated.
After our trip to Troy there are a couple of hours to kill before dinner. Eceabat, as previously
stated is a small fishing village, but it has a wonderful foreshore and you can easily take a
nice stroll along here. I really loved Eceabat because it was extremely tranquil and the people
were very friendly and helpful.
After a 3 course Turkish dinner you can choose to do what you want. If you want a bit more action
or even to skip dinner at the hotel, a ferry leaves Eceabat every hour for Canakkale and you can
take a 30 minute ferry ride and have a plethora of restaurants to choose from very close to the
wharf, the ferry ride is about 6 TL.
The next morning you have breakfast before heading out for a full day tour of Gallipoli. I can't
say I am a fan of the Turkish breakfast, however, I am sure if you asked for a continental or
English breakfast (minus the pork) the staff would be most accomodating..
The battlefields tour was amazing, our guide Jospeh was well informed and imparted a great deal
of knowledge of each site. The Gallipoli Pennisular is large, there are many historical sites
and he was able to give detailed information on each site and battle - just a great experience.
At the sites you can take time to absorb the environment and history and you are not rushed, our
driver George even made us cups of tea.
On the full day tour, breakfast and lunch and all entrance fees are included. This is great
because you basically don't have to pay for anything once you pay for your trip except alcohol
if you want it.
We returned to Istanbul with our driver (George) who dropped us outside our apartment. I would
highly recommend RSL Tours to my friends and family they are a trustworthy, respectable company
and all guides are tertiary educated and extremely well informed.
if I could give you some tips:
1. If you don't want to stay after dinner in Eceabat travel by ferry to Canakkale, it is lovely
on the foreshore and you could have a drink in one of the many restaurants.
2. There is a bottle shop in town, the owner even opens your bottle of wine - must be used to the
Aussies and Kiwis!
3. Ask for a room with good WIFI, ours worked perfectly, but someone in our group said theirs did
not, I cannot confirm this.
4. Take the two day tour, I think the one day tour would be to long it's at least 4 hours from
Istanbul to Eceabat.
5. Don't expect 5 star hotel accomodation, but the hotel is centrally located, extremely clean,
warm in winter and the staff are all friendly and helpful and most speak perfect English.
6. Pay by cash to avoid a 3% surcharge on your credit card.
7. If you want alcohol with your dinner, just ask for it, the staff are more than willing to
All in all, this is a great tour company and we really enjoyed our trip. Thanks to all the staff
who are extremely customer centric and cannot do enough for you. I am so glad I booked this tour
it made our trip to Turkey all the more memorable.
Lastly, thank you to Gavin the owner, who took the time to introduce himself to us over lunch,
enquired about our experience and stated that if there was anything he or his staff could do to
make our trip better to inform him.
Gavin, you have wonderful staff, the people we encountered really made our trip a wonderful
experience. Thank you to Joseph our guide - you were just wonderful.
Went on 2 day tour (Troy and Gallipoli) both guides (Burak and Hasan) were very friendly,
informative and excellent tour guides. Both days were comprehensive and very informative.
Gallipoli tour included both Turkish and Australian battlefields and the Turkish 'simulation
experience' which gave a history of the battle from the Turkish perspective. Tour included buses
from instanbul, breakfast, lunch and accommodation. I highly recommend this tour.
We left Istanbul at around 6 am and arrived in Eceabat around lunch time (part
of a two day tour). We did the Gallipoli tour the next day and our tour guide was Hasan who started
the tour at Kilitbahir Castle a fortress on the west side of the Dardanelles - which made sense once
we were in Gallipoli Cove.
From there we travelled to what Hasan explained as the proposed landing site. The information
provided was interesting. From here we travelled to Anzac Cove. To fully grasped what our
diggers experienced on the landing we walked from one cemetry along the beach to the Anzac
Memorial site, dedicated to the Aussie diggers and with the Sphinx in full view.
Through Hasan's narrative my respect and insurmountable awe of the Aussie & Kiwi diggers
escalated at each stop until we reached Chunuk Bair. I was amazed to hear of the friendships
formed between the Aussies/ Kiwis & their enemy (the Turks) during the battle - perhaps we can
all learn from this.
With a guide we were provided that added information - eg. the time, conditions encountered by
the Anzacs when they landed, the actual trenches illustrated in the movie Gallipoli (starring
Mel Gibson), the layout of cemetries - Aussies overlooking the sea, Kiwis overlooking the land,
Turks at Chunuk Bair etc.
Day tour from Istanbul to Gallipoli. Great value for money with sufficient time
on-site to gain an insight to the area and the campaign. Escort guide and military history guide
were friendly and knowledgeable.
- 630 am pickup from Istanbul (Old Town). - 1100 pm (approx) return to Istanbul.
- 4 hours (approx) spent exploring the Gallipoli campaign sites.
First I couldn't give a deposit, no worries, then I couldn't do the day that I
asked for, no worries.
From pick up to drop off the whole crew was fantastic. Our driver took us on a shortcut thru a
small rural town as the roads were very busy. Seeing the country side and shaving 30 odd minutes
off the drive was worth the couple of bumps. Plus we seen a country side that is hidden to
people taking the main track. Although the bus had 10 people on board,I had Hasan as my guide
for the day. He talked not only about the ANZAC perspective but gave an insight to the Turkish
side. Very informative and explained things well. Brekky and lunch was included in the day and
it was more than I expected, lunch was quite good. Turkish style, and while not to everyone's
taste, it suited me just fine. Getting there and back was half the fun.
I would recommend RSL to my friends.
We booked this tour because of advice read on TripAdvisor and we weren't
disappointed. It is a long day starting at 630am and returning to Istanbul at 1030pm (earlier than
the advertised 1130pm).
The trip out from Istanbul was comfortable and included a breakfast stop which was satisfactory
(non really designed for a Kiwi/Aussie/British palate) and sufficient comfort stops. Lunch was a
delicious buffet, but we did spend a long time afterwards waiting for the actual tour of
Gallipoli to begin.
The actual tour of Gallipoli was the highlight of our trip to Istanbul. The ANZAC guide was
extremely knowledgeable about WW1 and the ANZAC involvement. He provided a steady flow of facts,
stories and ideas without flooding us with information and answered all our questions.
The guide went out of his way to take us to Hill 60 where a relative of ours is commemorated, and
we were exceptionally grateful for this.
The trip back was long and the location we stopped at for dinner was just a petrol station cafe
(adequate) but too short a time.
This tour was the highlight of our trip to Istanbul and we would definitely recommend RSL Tours
for anyone wanting to make the pilgrimage to Gallipoli.
Amazing guide very very knowledgeable. Very flexible as we wanted to change
things last minute and nothing was a problem!
Thank you so so much Yusaf
Our guide (I think his name might have bern Hassan) blew me out of the water
with his knowledge and detail. I really valued his evidence based explanations about all aspects of
the gallipoli campaign. It felt like we were talking to a historian who specialises on this
It was a long day, but it didn't feel like it because the organization of the hotel pick up and
transport was easy and seamless.
Just beware the free breakfast is not much more than hard boiled eggs, toast and tea/coffee. The
rest is extra.
Overall, I was really glad we booked with RSL tours. There were no Gallipoli Myths or legends
purported here, only stories that were corroborated by records, diaries, and official documents
We had decided we couldn't visit Istanbul and not Gallipoli. I had researched
our options eventually settling on a one day return trip from Istanbul to Gallipoli with RSL Day
Tours. I was worried about the coordination of the pickup process as we weren't staying at a hotel
but the bus was collected us just after the specified time as it was delayed due to traffic. There
were about 30 people on the bus after all the pickups, some doing the day trip with us and others
doing longer trips and travelling with their luggage.
The trip to Eceabat took about 4.5 hours, which included a couple of bathroom stops. We were
provided cheese sandwiches, juice and tea/coffee on the bus for breakfast but we just had the
juice as we had eaten in our apartment. We were provided with lunch at a hotel in Eceabat which
was unremarkable but we weren't on the tour for the food. After lunch, those on the afternoon
Gallipoli tour piled on the bus and Hassan, our guide introduced himself.
Our first stop was a little to the south of Eceabat at the Narrows. Here we could see the
fortifications on each side of the Dardanelles that blocked the British navy from reaching
Istanbul. The next stop was to show us a reconstructed example of one of the guns used. After
this introduction, we clearly understood the goal of the land invasion - to destroy these
fortifications, which would enable the navy to clear the mines and open the strait.
We were then driven to the western side of the Gallipoli Peninsula to the area where the
Australian and New Zealand troops were meant to land and actually landed. Hassan explained all
the theories about what went wrong with the initial landings and said we could each decide which
theory to believe. Anzac Cove was small and in the process of having the beach reinforced. We
could not walk on it. We could, however, imagine the soldiers landing there and being faced with
a steep difficult climb to the first ridge. A little further north, we were able to visit a
beachside cemetery and walk along the beach to Long Beach where we could see the preparations
for the dawn service in a couple of weeks. From here, we visited another beachside cemetery
which included the the grave of John Simpson. We then were driven to Lone Pine; Hassan pointing
various points of interest on the drive inland. The ground is a mass of ridges and gullies and
it was clearly understandable why it was such a difficult theatre of war. At Lone Pine, there
was a cenotaph and more graves. Just behind, we were able to see the remains of some of the
trenches. We also visited the Turkish 57th Infantry Regiment Memorial and Chunuk Bair, the New
Zealand Memorial. We came away with a much better understanding of the Gallipoli Campaign.
We had a toilet break back at Eceabat and then a 4.5 hour trip back to Istanbul. A long day, but
I am pleased we did it. I would certainly recommend this tour to anyone who wants to do a day
trip from Istanbul.
Fully recommend this tour.
As per previous reviews, yes it is a long day but don't let that put you off.
We were picked up at 6.30 and only had 7 people on the mini bus out to the peninsula. Apparently
the 2 days before there were 19 and 26 people.
The 'breakfast' included was a 'gas station' type sandwich. It was edible. But we had been
warned of this and had packed snacks/fruit to fill the gap. They could serve tea/coffee on the
bus as well.
The bus stopped once on the way.
We got to the hotel for lunch just before midday. We had a decent lunch in hotel restaurant.
Great views. It was nice and relaxing. Not at all rushed. Some people then went off on the Troy
tour and there were 8 of us on the Gallipoli afternoon tour with Hasan.
Hasan was a great guide and was so passionate. There was a bit of driving around in a mini bus
and a bit of walking. Nothing too strenuous. The tour covered Anzac Cove down by the beach and
the Aussie and Kiwi memorials which were inland and up hill a bit. Stunning scenery and a great
We started to feet tired around 6ish which was fine as we could relax in the bus on the way home.
We stopped once and were able to buy some hot food. The mini bus was comfortable and fairly
Booking was done through email. Didn't encounter any problems.
I travelled from Istanbul to the Gallipoli battlefields on 17.3.15 with RSL
Tours. I was picked up at my hotel at the arranged time by minibus. There was a small group on board
who were picked up from other hotels. From the beginning the RSL agent informed us of our itinerary
for the day. He then offered all on board soft drinks, tea or coffee etc. he offered this service
numerous times on both legs of the journey. After a few hours we stopped at Eceabat for lunch. There
was time to have a walk on the seafront where there is a man size reproduction of opposing trenches
during the war. This display is well worth seeing.
A fine lunch was provided in the Eceabat Hotel.
After lunch our guide Yusuf Kirca informed us of our various destinations .
At each of the many locations we visited Yusuf informed us of the history in a completely
unbiased and informative manner.
Yusuf also invited those on the tour to contribute any information they had if they so
After the tour of we returned to Eceabat and departed for Istanbul arriving at approx 22.30.
This is a worthwhile tour for anyone interested in military history.
I did a group day tour from Istanbul to Gallipoli and it was a great experience.
There was a lot of driving, but once we got to Eceabat and the tour began it was clear that the trip
had been worth it.
There were about 10 stops across the Gallipoli peninsula and being a group of all Aussies, the
guide showed us sites of particular importance to Australia. Our guide Yusuf (aka. Jospeh ;))
spoke English well and was very knowledgable, explaining what happened here from a neutral
perspective and answering all of our questions. I particularly liked how patient he was - even
when we took longer in certain locations than he wanted us to he never told us to hurry up.
As an Australian, I think it was a worthwhile experience to visit the very place where the Anzacs
fought proudly and where the Anzac legend was created. The trip also got me to think and has
influenced my perspective and understanding of WWI.
My only criticism is the food. Breakfast and lunch were included, but not dinner. Lunch was fine
but breakfast was minimal at best, and the place we stopped for dinner charged rather
extortionate prices (by Turkish standards) for average food.
We did the group tour which was a day trip from Istanbul. I booked it a couple
of days earlier online and got a response back from RSL within 30 mins. Each time I had a query they
were very quick to respond; they even phoned our hotel the night before to confirm pick up time. I
was very impressed with their tour. It was very well organised and run. I had read reviews about
other companies in which people had changed buses on way to Gallipoli cost and had to wait at
Ataturk airport for pickups. The bus we were picked up in took us all the way to the Eceabat where
we had lunch and the group split up into those doing Troy and those doing Gallipoli. The driver and
his "helper" were very nice on the drive from Istanbul, always updating us on when we would stop for
breakfast, toilet breaks etc. We were met in Eceabat by their liaison officer who gave us clear
directions about the various schedules etc. All ran perfectly!
Our Guide for Gallipoli was Hassan and his knowledge of ANZAC, British, French and Turkish
involvement was very comprehensive and entertaining. His English was excellent (with a little
I would definitely recommend this tour company, hassle free and well organised. It is a few euros
more than Crowded house but they give discount if you have an ANZAC veteran in your family and I
think their base price is worth it.
Early start from Istanbul to Gallipoli Peninsula. It takes 5 hours to get there
with two meal stops on the way. For the early start breakfast was at 9:30 stop and lunch was on
arrival at tour depot before the 4 hours around the battlegrounds.
Our guide Hasan was very knowledgable. He liked a joke and told a good story.
Interesting to get a another view on the Gallipoli campaign. Hasan has done his study and
research - I have found there are strict criteria to become an historical guide in Turkey. We
saw all the battle sites, walked the beach at Anzac Cove and the cemeteries. We were given both
the Australian and Turkish history. Hasan using his reference as top war correspondent Charles
Bean from WWI.
On our return down the ridges, Hasan played John Williamson's "And the Band Played Waltzing
Matilda". This son made the whole experience very reflective on my day. The bus was silent with
a few people sing the chorus quietly and with respect. This tour company is on the Peninsula and
the closest to the site, the guides live here.
This is a long day travelling, but certainly worth it. We arrived back Istanbul at 11:30 pm. The
bus guide dropped us off too far away from our motel. Asked to be dropped off close to assembly
point if not close to your motel. Being dark on our return it took time to get our bearings. On
e we did a safe walk back to motel. The breakfast is self serve with cheese, egg, bread, tea.
Lunch set menus, but enough for the afternoon. Take plenty of water. Stops where more can be
purchased. Visited here in September -at 4 pm it was 31C. Toilet stops at minimal sites, and not
so clean at Turkish Memorial and keep 1Tlira in your pocket for these visits, not just here but
all over Turkey. The Gallipoli Peninsula is well with the visit.
Very pleased we gave the day to this tour.
I did a day tour of Gallipoli and it was well worth the long drive from
Istanbul. Our guide Hasan was entertaining and very interesting to listen to. He presented lots of
historical facts and it is clear that he is passionate about his field.
We were taken to all the main sites and the importance each stop was explained very clearly. I
sometimes find it hard to concentrate on all the information presented in tours but Hasan made
sure there was no "information overload" as each explanation was clear concise and very
The included meals (breakfast and lunch) were delicious and very filling! Everything about this
day was fantastic and I would recommend this tour to anyone!
Our cruise terminated in Istanbul so it was a given that we should visit
Gallipoli. Terry is a bit of a war buff so it was of particular interest. We were picked up from our
hotel at 0630 and returned about 1130 pm so a long day. Had an unusual breakfast on the way - it's
about 5 hours from Istanbul to the starting point of the tour - and then lunch at Kannakale before
setting off and a short meal break on the way back
Our guide Hasan is exceptional. He does not simply reiterate the traditional "wisdom" but has
researched from a variety of sources and continues to research daily. He offered to send us
details of his research sources, which he has done.
We visited sites significant to the Turks and the Anzacs. Some of the sites are a lot small than
they appear to be when we view the annual commemoration services.
Could not recommend this tour and especially the guide Hasan more highly.
We had a great day out thanks to RSL tours. Hasan did a wonderful job of
progressing us through the battles and presented the war in an unbiased and pleasant manner.
1. The tour was absolutely worth doing
2. The team is very well organised and you are completely looked after
3. I was caught out with the 'open buffet breakfast' as the food was quite sparse and in a
general bus/car stop. Would recommend taking some extra food especially if you have child with
you! That said, I was sorted out and not left with a hungry child - many thanks.
4. The day is long so just be ready for it - we were and could just slip our exhAusted 8 yr old
into bed at 12:30 am
At the end of a 22 day cruise I flew from Rome into Istanbul arriving at
midnight on Sunday with plans to do my RSL Tour of Gallipoli on the Monday and fly out back to Rome
Tuesday morning. So everything had to go according to plan , I did not have any margin for error. I
need not have worried , my airport transfers were there on time and my hotel Amira was
My RSL pick up arrived as advised at 6.45am ( I was last pick up ) and I settled into a
comfortable coach for a long drive to Gallipoli. The drive was 327 klms and took about 4 hours.
The time went quickly with the countryside quite beautiful , the roads were excellent and we had
adequate toilet stops and an open buffet breakfast ( included ) stop. At the town of Eceabat we
stopped at the offices of RSL Tours and I met RSL's Olimpia who my travel agent had booked the
tour through . Olimpia was lovely and very well organised and very efficient. I can recommend
her without hesitation to any prospective clients .We had lunch ( included ) on the roof of the
Grand Eceabat Hotel overlooking the Dardanelles.After lunch we joined other travellers who had
done longer tours and over nighted locally. We then got onto another bus and then did our
wonderful and comprehensive tour of Gallipoli.
Our tour guide was Hasan Gundogar and he was fantastic . He had done a lot of research on the
history of events at Gallipoli and was able to blend this official record with one from the
Turkish point of view. The result was fascinating and the four hour tour went too quickly. Hasan
showed us maps and photographs and later followed up with an email outlining the various
historical records he had studied and referred to in his presentation. Back to Eceabat we
changed buses again for the ride back to Istanbul arriving around midnight back at my hotel.
Olimpia was there to see us off on our return journey. Again , adequate toilet stops and a stop
for dinner ( our cost )
All up the trip was wonderful as was the efforts of Olimpia , Hasan and RSL . I unreservedly
recommend RSL , Olimpia and Hasan , the day was wonderful and the organisation and execution
flawless in all respects
Steve Foley Tasmania Australia
ps Only regret is that I wished I had stayed in Turkey for longer , it is a fantastic country and
it's people so friendly and nice.
When we went to Istanbul for a few days we did not expect to go to Gallipoli. We
did not think we would have enough time. We feared the one day tour would be too rushed to do it
justice. We thought perhaps another time. Luckily we changed our minds.
We were in the centenary of the commencement of the Great War; we had been to the Western Front;
we were planning to go to Albany in October to commemorate the departure of the first troops;
and we were just too close to miss out on such an important pilgrimage.
RSL Tours exceeded our expectations. Our transport was punctual and comfortable, our welcome at
Eceabat warm, and our guide Hasan a delightful companion.
Hasan's passion for the Gallipoli conflict is evident in the breadth of his reading and the
thoughtfulness of his interpretation of the landscape and the dreadful events it witnessed.
I had read some of CEW Bean's diaries and was impressed by Hasan's command of the detail of his
His was no ordinary recitation of commonly known facts, but a stimulating engagement with the
very process of history. And there was plenty of time too for quiet reflection and grief.
It was a long day for sure but not to be missed.
I rated this excellent, based not on the bus trip and the lunch provided, both
of which were ok, but on the content when we reached Gallipoli. Our guide Hussein was both very
knowledgeable regarding the landings and all aspects of the campaign. He provided a very balanced
view and dispelled some myths with very valid argument, backed by a number of photos from the
This is a very moving place, which has been given great importance by the Turkish, not just for
their own sites, but those of the allies as well. Remarkable really considering we were invading
We booked with RSL after reading TripAdvisor reviews and Ash (and his team)
lived up to their press.
The pick-up at 6.30am was on-time and efficient, the trip to Eceabat was smooth and uneventful - it
is a 4 1/2 hour drive with a stop for breakfast. The one slight improvement could have been giving
us a little more detail of what the plan was for breakfast before we stopped, but the driver was
polite, friendly and quite helpful when asked. Lunch was provided at Eceabat, and was very good
local Turkish style.
Yousef, our guide for the battlefield tour, was knowledgeable, engaging and friendly. Ash met us
back at the base hotel before the trip back to Istanbul and was extremely engaging.
The content of the day tour was what we expected and covered the Turkish, Australian and Kiwi
Good value and reliable. Recommended.
There was a mix up with the dates for our one day tour to Gallipoli (not my
fault but I should've checked the voucher) but RSL Tours immediately organised a minivan to take us
to catch up with the (full) coach and join the tour so we missed nothing except some sleep. The tour
was well organised and the guide helpful.
My only criticism is that to see things at a pace that allows absorption of the details of the
campaign you should really allow 2 days but that was our call. Will know better next time.
All Australians who go to Turkey should go. Not as the "crucible of the ANZAC spirit" but because
500,000 soldiers were killed with no material gain in a small geographical area and few things
demonstrate the madness of wars like this like Gallipoli. Having said that, what the ANZAC (and
British, French and Canadian) troops actually achieved against the odds was remarkable).
Fantastic experience!! Wish we had booked with these guys direct instead if
going through Gallipoli tours/new deal travel-they were not particularly helpful but as soon as RSL
took over at Ecebat we knew we were in good hands. Highly recommend!
tour so we missed nothing except some sleep. The tour was well organised and the guide
We took the one day tour of Gallipoli from Istanbul by RSL Tours. Yes, it's a
long way to go (there and back) in a bus in a day, but it is worth it. The tour is well organised,
starting with rapid replies to my email queries, through pickup and return. Our guide at Gallipoli
was Hasan Gundugar who did an impeccable job of initially engaging with those on the tour and then
imparting well researched facts and details in such an effective way. Hasan clearly has a passion
for the battlefield and it's history, and this showed in the way he counterbalanced the Australian
and Turkish perspectives. It was fantastic to see that the well-worn myths that Australians tend to
grow up with weren't peddled to the tourists, which would have been so easy. Hasan did a great job
in imparting facts based on documentary evidence.
Obviously, one can't get the complete detailed tour in a single half day, so more than a day is
required to really do the place justice, but if a day is all you have, then this is a must, and
RSL Tours are an honest, friendly and well organised group. I certainly recommend them.
We recently returned to the US after a great vacation in Turkey and Greece. The
highlight without a doubt was our visit to Gallipoli with Hasan Gundogar of RSL Tours. It was a very
special day for us and one we will never forget. When you grow up in Australia you know about the
Gallipoli story (at least from the Australian perspective) but to be able to now more accurately
visualize the landscape of the campaign and to also learn about it from the Turkish side was
extremely interesting. There are lots of myths about Gallipoli and Hasan was really good in
explaining the reasons for these. One memory we will always have is just how close the trenches were
... amazing as well as the fact that the Australians actually made it all the way up to the Third
Ridge the morning of the landing but had to pull back because of lack of support. How that could
have changed the outcome. RSL did a fantastic job in arraging the day for us. We were picked up at
our hotel in Istanbul and returned there after our day in Gallipoli. Even though it was a long and
full day we never felt time pressured which is due to Hasan's experience in the area and his deep
knowledge of the battles and landcapes in which they were fought. The RSL tour was well worth the
money we paid. It was a very memorable day for us and RSL and Hasan did an amazing job.
Brian and Lyn Harris (Los Angeles) .
It was a real pleasure for us to spend a very memorable day with you.
I have to start this with an apology. I wrote this review back in November but
put it in the wrong place. Still its not too late to correct that now. So here is my review written
at the time but now in its correct place. Having had more time to reflect on this tour I am still
extremely glad that I went on it. One of the highlights of my trip!
We were picked up from our hotel in a mini bus at about the agreed time. After one more hotel
pick up we were on the way to Gallipoli. Had a breakfast stop along the way with typical Turkish
fare, cheese olives, tomatoes etc. tasty food clean restaurant. On arrival at Eceabat we had
time to stretch our legs in a local park with a memorial. A wonderful old Turk approached us for
a chat then we went up to the top floor of the hotel for lunch. Again it was a simple Turkish
meal of tomato soup which tasted like it had never seen the inside of a can, followed by
chicken, rice and a salad.
We then met our guide Hasan. He speaks excellent English and obviously spent a lot of time
studying the Gallipoli campaign. There were four of us, all Australian, by now and Hasan
tailored the tour to suit our wishes. On learning that my grandfather served there and what unit
he was in he arranged for me to actually walk in his footsteps, up Artillery Road.
Hassan has a very balanced presentation style. He isn't in the cheer squad for either side and he
certainly doesn't regurgitate mantras like 'it was the Poms fault'. He is able to answer
questions, not only about battles but also about Turkish culture.
After seeing all of the significant areas on the battlefield site we visited the the old fort at
Eceabat, transferred back to the mini bus and back to Istanbul with a dinner break on the
A big mythology buff, I definitely knew that a day trip to Troy was in order as
part of a long layover in Istanbul. After a lot of research, I selected RSL Tours, and am very happy
with my selection. Oli, the coordinator, was kind enough to allow me to bump up my trip date due to
an unexpected schedule change, and was a pleasant conversationalist via e-mail as well! The bus
pick-up was right on time (within 3 minutes) and the ride was comfortable, given that it is over 4+
hours each way.
The guide, Burak, was terrific - filled with lots of interesting insights and information, and
very passionate about the topic (he has a forthcoming book with some theories on archaeological
questions at Troy) and made the visit come alive for all members of our small group.
I'm hoping to come back in the medium-term future after the museum (under construction at the
site) is completed to see even more of the archaeological findings, and will definitely use RSL
I recently visited Istanbul with a group of 3 friends on our way through to
Europe, our time was limited as we only had two full days in Istanbul but I was put in contact with
Ulas from RSL Tours in Turkey, Ulas's command of the English language and knowledge of the city was
a great asset to us as he gave suggestions of what we should see and do in the limited time we had
and in what order we should do it. He recommended having a private guide who would take us to
all,the attractions and also to the other places we wanted to see. On the Saturday morning our guide
Dilek met us at our hotel as did Ulas to ensure that everything ran smoothly. The next two days we
were left in Dilek's hands and she did a fantastic job of showing us her beautiful city and
engrossing us in her knowledge of the history and culture for which Turkey is so well known.
She had a wonderful personality, a great knowledge of her city and was very passionate about her
job, she always wanted to ensure we were happy and just gave us two very memorable days. At the
end of the second day, Ulas came back to meet us to ensure all went well and to have a coffee
with us before we left.
I have nothing but great memories of Istanbul and that is thanks to both Ulas and Dilek and RSL
Tours, I would have no hesitation in recommending them to anyone who needs touring and general
assistance throughout Turkey and Istanbul.
I cannot recommend RSL tours more. I have been on several tours with them now,
and they have all run smoothly and have made for a highly enjoyable experience. They are a family
run business that ensures that all your needs are meet.
This was especially true, when I undertook a 2 day Cappadocia tour through them. While this was
run by a sister company of theirs, RSL tours ensured that I was well looked after and made my
tour extremely enjoyable and one of the highlights of my trip and at a minimal expense.
They organised flights to and from Istanbul along with airport transfers, and put me up in a
luxurious hotel, making my trip stress free and relaxing. It included Red and Green tours,
taking in the different sites and all that Cappadocia had to offer. But by far the highlight of
the trip was the Hot Air Balloon ride. I was devastated when on my last day in Cappadocia, the
air balloon tour was cancelled due to bad weather. I quickly got in touch with Gavin at RSL
tours, and he miraculous managed to get me on the last spot on a balloon ride the next day!!!
(baring in mind that that day would've already been near booked out, not to mention the hundreds
of people in my position who missed out and who desperately wanted to get on the next day!), and
as well as managing to changed my flights to the following day (and airport transfers) for only
As I said, I cannot recommend RSL tours more!! For a friendly, stress free, enjoyable tours, that
do not break the bank, look no further than RSL Tours!!
My girlfriend and I this morning experienced the amazing hot air balloon ride
across the breathtaking scenery that is Cappadocia.
We booked online through RSL Tours, and were picked up early this morning, driven to have a light
breakfast & coffee before preparing for the balloon ride.
Our pilot, Tarik ensured a smooth take-off and landing, and the ride itself was smooth and made
for great photos. Unfortunately it was a bit cloudy but it was still a great view from the
height we were at.
We were a family group of 5 adults who wanted to tour Gallipoli together but
were finding it difficult to co-ordinate due to differing itineraries. After some research we opted
for the RSL private day tour from Istanbul.
I have to say the communication from Olimpia was outstanding throughout the process and added to
my confidence that this was the right company to do this with.
We were picked up promptly at 7.30 am as arranged and Hasan made us feel like valued customers
from the outset. His knowledge of the Gallipoli landings and battles was outstanding and we
learned so much from him. The (some digitally enhanced) photographs from the time of the events
shown on a screen in the minivan throughout the tour added a lot too.
My husband's grandfather was a New Zealander who had served at Gallipoli with the Australian army
so we had a vested interest in both the Australian and New Zealand sites. Hasan did a fantastic
job of balancing our areas of interest and allowing us to determine how long we spent at each
site. He would give us an overview of events in the area stopped at, answer any questions then
leave us to take in the site on our own so we felt we were on our own personal pilgrimage and
not being hovered over to move along. While we were off on our own Hasan was busy reading his
books to try to identify where he thought it most likely my husband's grandfather had walked and
fought based on the information we were able to supply him with. He then read the relevant
passages out to us and showed us where they referred to as we looked at the hillside. We were
humbled by his endeavours to add as much to our personal journey as he possibly could and as a
Turkish man he gave an incredibly balanced view of events as seen by all sides with both humour
and empathy in healthy doses. He added so much to our experience and this is where our real
value for money came from.
I must also mention our drive to and from Gallipoli which was 4 and a half to 5 hours each way
(including stops) but felt much less due to our fantastic driver - best driver in Turkey! - and
comfortable minivan with wifi, air conditioning and movies related to Gallipoli to break up the
journey. With only 5 of us there was plenty of room to spread out.
The breakfast was plentiful but rather basic and lunch mezes were fantastic while the mains were
average (my fish got a better review than the others chicken and meatballs) but all were
Olimpia made sure she greeted us and farewelled us and our tour at Gallipoli went over time due
to the lack of pressure from Hasan to move us along, we simply did not realise the time.
I cannot recommend this private tour highly enough. The additional expense pp over the standard
day tour was well worth it to us as we had longer at each stop due to our smaller number to move
around and it was personalised to us even as we went along and Hasan learnt more about our
family perspective on events.
RSL fully delivered and more what it promised in the tour description.
In September 2014 we wanted to go to Gallipoli and selected a private tour with
RSL. Our guide picked us up at 6.30am from our hotel in Istanbul. It's a long drive to Gallipoli and
you will be grateful for any stops along the way.
I was visiting the sites where my Great Uncle served in the 10th Australian Light Horse. Do your
research before you go and determine which battle sites you want to visit. I wanted to see Lone
Pine, Courtney's Post and Walkers Ridge. Our guide did ask us before we left Australia the
details of my relative, which regiment they were in and where they served. He did his research
and also recommended some books for me to read. It was a great day with our guide and we visited
all the sites I wanted to see. He was very knowledgable. Make sure you see the Turkish Memorial
and the new museum. You need to allocate some additional time for the new museum which gives you
the perspective of the Turkish experience.
Just be aware that on the return trip they do take a short cut back to Istanbul. Our guide did
warn us before hand and left us with the driver who spoke no English. We travelled the back
roads through little villages, slowing down for chickens, tractors and really rough roads. In
hindsight it was a great experience seeing the countryside.
I really recommend RSL Tours to anyone who wants to visit Gallipoli on a one day tour.
We came down to our hotel lobby at 7.30am, right on time, to find Murat waiting
there for us. He and driver Junaid took us on the long drive from Istanbul to Eceabat. Murat pointed
out places of interest along the way and talked of Turkish life in general. About half way we were
introduced to an "authentic Turkish breakfast" which tasted great and left us full. It was the last
day of Ramadan and traffic was very heavy with many people heading off for the Ramadan holiday. As
we got closer to Eceabat traffic came to a halt. Apparently there was a 10km queue for the ferry at
Eceabat to go to the Asian side. Junaid was able to put his local knowledge to good effect taking us
down back roads and across farm fields to get to our rendezvous with Yusef who became our guide and
George, our new driver. This is normally the point where lunch is taken but we were still full from
breakfast so we went straight to Galipoli.
Yusef was a fantastic guide with an extensive knowledge of all of the battlefields and all of the
history. He was able to explain what happened at each battlefield and why. What each side was trying
to do and what actually happened. His commentary was balanced and respectful of all the brave
soldiers who fought here.
The tour of the battlefields took between 4 and 5 hours and left us quite weary having visited so
many sites and absorbed so much information.
We did take a lunch break toward the end of the tour where Yusef and George introduced us to
Gozlemes filled with meat, potato or spinach and cheese. George also insisted that we try the
Turkish meatballs. Needless to say we didn't eat any dinner that night. Some people might be put
off by the lunch venue, but don't be. It is a rural cafe, so not fancy, but the food is great.
At the completion of the tour Yusef left us and Murat rejoined us for the drive back to Istanbul
with George. They had us back at our hotel by about 10.30 pm, weary but well satisfied with our
experiences for the day.
I have recently (26 & 27 April) used your company for two tours, one of the
Gallipoli Battlegrounds (26th) & the other in Istanbul (27th). I must congratulate you on having
such professional & knowledgeable guides & drivers in your employ.
Yusuf & Ahmed (on the Gallipoli tour) were the best anyone could hope for, I have no hesitation
in recommending the two of them (& your company) to any family & friends that wish to do any
tours in & around the area of Gallipoli. Even the fact that our coach broke down outside of
Eceabat did not detract from the tour.
In Istanbul, our guide, Ahmed (I hope I have I have his name right) went above & beyond what we
would normally expect form someone in that position. I had my 92yr old mother with me & when he
explained that the 2nd half of the tour would be difficult for her I did not expect the offer of
the hospitality of your office for the duration of the tour. My mother was made to feel right at
home by all of your staff. I am eternally grateful.
I have had the most amazingly wonderful and personalised trip to Turkey because
of the care and organisation by Oli at the RSL tours office and also because of the experienced and
knowledgeable RSL tour guides. I was travelling alone and wanted to visit my relative’s grave in
Gallipoli. I also decided to visit some other places in Turkey and after researching the RSL Website
I decided to book all of my tours, transfers and accommodation through RSL tours and I am very glad
I did. Everything was fantastic. I also believe that it was cheaper for me to do it this way. Oli
helped me plan my trip via a few emails and then kept in touch with me each step of my journey to
ensure everything was ok.
The tours are extremely well organised, the coaches are very comfortable and there is plenty to see
and do and the tour guides are all experts in their field.
In one week I visited Istanbul, Troy, Gallipoli Battlefields (2 days), Ephesus and Pamukkale. All of
these were day tours.
I can only say that the expectations of how my trip would be were exceeded. I wanted to walk in
my relative’s footsteps at Gallipoli, to visit where he arrived, to visit where he died in
battle and also to visit his grave – and I did all three of these things plus much more. Of
course this was not part of RSL’s regular itinerary, but this was no problem, Oli changed the
itinerary to suit my request and then she chose Hasan to be my tour guide. Hasan went above and
beyond what I expected. He researched into the night to find every piece of information he could
including maps, photographs, documents. We visited my relative’s grave and it was very moving
and special. We had other tours booked in for the rest of the day and I asked to come back to
look for Tommie’s trench where my relative died. After the other tours had concluded Hasan took
me for a Turkish dinner at Krithia and while we sat there he used Google maps to obtain the gps
coordinates to locate Tommies Trench and together we discussed and planned. Then we drove to the
area of the 2nd battle for Krithia and walked through what is now part pine forest and olive
farm. Hasan expertly located some trenches, but knew the direction of Tommies trench and quickly
located it. I was able to be right there thanks to Hasan. Later he took me to V Beach where my
relative landed. I walked on the beach and the roads that my relative walked on. It was
My accommodation was very comfortable, in a good location and usually with a great view. Many
breakfasts and some lunches and dinners were included in my tours. The price was great too. I
had the greatest time. Everyone I met was so nice and I made many new friends.
No matter what sort of trip you want to do in Turkey e.g. a research trip to Gallipoli or a
regular tour or exploring other areas of Turkey, I thoroughly recommend RSL Tours. When I go
back to Turkey I will book with RSL tours again.
We took the private car option with RSL, and for us it was the right choice. We
were picked up on time by a very friendly and helpful couple of interpreter and driver and sped off
to Gallipoli. The drive was just great through very attractive farmland and countryside. The stop
for breakfast was a good one. Clean and well presented roadside restaurant. No different to what we
have in Australia.
Then on to Eceabat. With breakfast stop, the trip took about 4 hours 20 minutes. This journey was
We were then introduced to our personal tour guide, Joseph. He turned out to be a great success
with us. Very knowledgeable, many interesting and unusual facts to share with us. Very
informative and a thorough delight to be with as he illuminated the whole story of the conflict,
the various sites and the history of the times.
We also went to the new Turkish multi media theatre complex to see the various AV presentations.
This is well worth the visit as one hears and sees the story of Gallipoli from a Turkish point
of view. We were very pleased we did this. It takes about an hour but well worth the time.
My wife has a relative who died at the landing on 26 April 1915. Joseph was very helpful in
finding his name engraved in stone at Lone Pine. We were able to leave a poppy my wife had
brought from Australia there next to his name.
Lunch was very pleasant. Soup was excellent and the meat balls were the best meatballs I had
whilst in Turkey.
Ash is the gentleman managing this company and throughout all our email correspondence and our
time in Gallipoli he and his staff were professional, helpful and a pleasure to be with.
The trip back to our hotel was just as enjoyable as the trip down. As too was the roadside diner
These guys are good and the service is terrific.
Hasan met our small group in Istanbul and travelled with us to canakkale where
we overnighted for a tour of Gallipoli and Troy, this fellow is wonderful he is witty and helpful
and very knowledgeable about his subject which he obviously loves...we could not have been more
foirtunate than to have been guided by Hsan of RSL Tours....Nothing was too much trouble and I
thoroughly recommend hsan and hope one day to be back again!
Gallipoli was a wonderful experience and thanks to Hasan I found Troy very interesting, thats the
beauty of his guiding he makes everything straight forward and delivers his information in a way
that is very easy to digest and keeps your attention Well done Hasan!
My family ( 2 adults , 3 teenage children) organised a 2 day private tour of
Gallipoli starting and finishing in Istanbul. This is an expensive option but well worth the money -
AUD$2000 when all said and done.
We were picked up from our hotel at 7.30am and taken in a very comfortable minibus to Eceabat
stopping for breakfast on the way. We arrived at Eceabat at lunch time. After lunch we drove
with our guide Baris to a new interactive display of the Gallipoli campaigns. The presentation
is designed to simulate some of the experiences of those envolved in those campaigns. Although
in Turkish we were given electronic devices which enabled us to hear an English version. It was
We were then taken to the southern sector at Cape Helles.There we visited the massive memorials
to the British and the Turks. Both are simple but very impressive. We also saw some of the
landing beaches including V Beach. Now very beautiful but on 25 April 1915 a virtual
slaughterhouse.On the return trip to Eceabat we stopped off at a small village for cay.
Although we could have had dinner at Eceabat we took the ferry to Canakalle where we ate in one
of the many seaside restaurants. The ferry ride across the Dardenelles at dusk was very
The next morning we toured the northern battlefields where the ANZACs fought. This time our
guide was Hassan. We had time to walk along ANZAC Cove and Z Beach.This gives you an
appreciation of just how difficult the terrain was. We then walked up towards the Baby 700
cemetery. We then visited the Lone Pine cemetery, the Nek and finally the magnificent Turkish
monument at Chunuk Bair. You get an appreciation of the terrible conditions each side fought
under. In a couple of places the trenches are only metres apart. Lone Pine is not much bigger
than a soccer field.. Yet for 3 days thousands of men fought and died over this now tranquil
I cannot speak too highly of both our guides. Both Baris and Hassan are experienced, extremely
knowledgeable,interesting and easy to deal with. They both have a passion for what they do. Each
told the Gallipoli story from the Turkish as well as the Allied side. The Turks regard Gallipoli
as hallowed ground as we do. It was really interesting to get that perspective.
RSL Tours did a fantastic job. It was even better than we anticipated.
Accomodation at Eceabat was basic. I think it might be best to stay in Canakalle.
Irealise that most will want to do a day trip from Istanbul but if you are able spend 2 days at
Gallipoli.You won't be rushed.Try and give yourself time to walk in some of the cemetries.
Seeing so many young men's lives wasted will break your heart.
We asked the team at RSL tours to help tailor a tour for us that included the
Gallipoli peninsula, Troy, Pergamon, Ephesus and Pamukkale. Not overly complex but with enough Car,
bus, and tour guide changes for probelms to occur. Everything went according to the plan. Olympia
and her team were organised, helpful and informative. A great guide Yousef at Gallipoli and Arif at
ephesus were standouts.
We are happy to recommend this group.
I've just spent the past 2 days with RSL Tours and all I can say is thank you
for an experience that I will be talking about for the rest of my life. Day 1 was pick up from
Istanbul to go to tour the Gallipoli fields & then spent the night in Cannakale. Day 2 was a tour of
Troy, then to do a tour of Pergamon which is 3 hrs fromTroy and then they dropped me off in Kusadasi
which is another 3 hours from Pergamon.
Where do I start???!!!! Firstly these guys are true Tourism people and they understand what it
means to have an excellent experience. Olympia (who seems to be the front woman) was very
friendly and hospitable. The guide Joseph was even better. As an Australian it is a life desire
to come to Gallipoli and I absolutely appreciated that Joseph had taken the time to learn the
information that his target audience would be looking to hear.... Yes he still gave the Turkish
perspective but he was able to being to life the battlefields as it was for the Australians. RSL
tours run the Gallipoli day with the respect it deserves and for this I am truly grateful.
Day 2 was equally well organised and I had Joseph again for the Troy tour and then a different
local guide for Pergamon.
If you want to do anything in this region just ask them, they will go above and beyond to
Being an Aussie, I could hardly take my family to Turkey without seeing
Gallipoli, the sight of a famous WWI battle, where both of my grandfathers had fought, and the
closest thing we have to sacred ground. Based on a bunch of positive Trip Advisor reviews, I got in
touch with Ash at RSL Tours. I let him know that we wanted a slightly different tour, wanting to see
the Gallipoli battlefields, then Ephesus and ending up at Gocek, on the Mediterranean coast.
He was extremely helpful, suggesting we take our own van, driver and guide, and soon we had our
itinerary worked out.
After an early pickup in Istanbul we drove to Eceabat, met Ash, had lunch and were introduced to
Barish, our guide for the next two days.
As you might expect, our visit to Gallipoli was extremely moving, to be able to stand on Anzac
Cove and hear the story of those battles, told from the perspective of both sides, will stay
with me a long time.
That afternoon, we drove down the beautiful western coast and the next day visited Ephesus. It
was amazing to be able to stand in the footsteps of St Paul and visualize a city created so long
ago. This tour gave us a great insight into the ancient world and the manner in which they
Suggestion: try to get there early, as it is pretty crowded.
Our man Barish was a fantastic tour guide, informative, interesting and with a great sense of
humor, our drivers were calm and careful. We had a ball. After only a few days 'in the van' we
said goodbye as friends with genuine sadness. Great job RSL.
I should add of the bookings for our Turkey trip (I have several other reviews) were done online,
paid using Paypal, it was secure and extremely simple.