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Tour Highlights

  • One of the world’s most iconic open water swims, swimming from Europe to Asia

  • Take part in the once a year 'Victory Day' Hellespont swimming race

  • One of the world’s busiest shipping lanes is closed for the race

  • Follow in the historical wake of Leander and Lord Byron

  • Meet and swap stories with open water swimmers from all over the world

  • Enjoy the festivities of the SwimTrek Post Race Dinner


Have you ever dreamed of swimming from one continent to another? Well, this is your chance!

Join us on the ULTIMATE world swim in 2017, as one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world is closed to traffic for the annual ‘Victory Day’ race. This event gives you a truly unique opportunity to swim across the legendary Dardanelles strait from Europe to Asia!

Steeped in the mythology of Hero and Leander, the Hellespont was officially swum for the first time by the famous poet, Lord Byron, in 1810. Ever since, it has been considered the absolute epitome of open water swimming and can often be found at the very top of any avid open water swimmer’s international wish list!

Not only is this famous stretch of water steeped in its own ancient mythology, it also holds a special place in SwimTrek’s history as the swim which prompted our founder, Simon Murie , to set up a pioneering open water swimming company more than 13 years ago!

Entries for this once-in-a-lifetime event are strictly limited and SwimTrek is the sole provider of all race places for non-Turkish residents. Please be quick to secure your place on this unforgettable swimming holiday in 2017!

Who is this for?

The Hellespont is a significant open water swim and you should note that conditions during the race may well be challenging. Therefore you should have experience of having swum 4½km in open water and also have experience if such conditions do arise.

What's included?

  • Entry into the Hellespont Swim Race
  • Three nights accommodation
  • Welcome drinks on Night 1
  • All breakfasts
  • Swim coaching clinic on Day 1 (optional)
  • Pre-race acclimatisation swim on Day 2 (optional)
  • Pre-race boat tour on Day 2 (compulsory)
  • Pre-race pasta lunch
  • Post-race celebration and dinner

What's not included?

  • Travel to and from the start of the tour
  • Lunch and Evening meals (except the pre and post race meals)
  • Optional guided tours

Related Links

Day 1

10:00-12:00 Coaching Clinics (Optional Pre-Trip Event)

If you arrive early to Çanakkale, you have the opportunity to attend a pre-race Hellespont coaching clinic with your SwimTrek coaches. They will offer some advice and coaching tips, including some drill sessions and demonstrations, in order to help improve your technique just in time for the race.

20:00 Welcome Drinks

After settling into your hotel, we will meet at a local garden terrace in Çanakkale in the evening where you will have a chance to relax and meet other swimmers who are in Çanakkale for the swim.This complimentary dinner for all competitors gives you a chance to celebrate your achievement with your fellow competitors at a renowned local restaurant.

Day 2

09:00-12:00 Acclimatisation Swim

On the morning of Day 2, there is an opportunity to take part in an acclimatisation swim on a private beach, a short walk out of Çanakkale’s bustling centre. This is a great chance for you to get used to the swimming conditions.

12:00 Race Registration (Compulsory)

At the race registration, you will be given your swim hats and timing chips in preparation for the next morning’s swim. Please note that registration is compulsory in order to take part in the event.

13:00 Pre-Race Pasta Lunch

This basic pasta buffet meal is put on by the local Rotary Club and offers you an opportunity to meet up with Turkish swimmers.

14:00 Boat Tour (Compulsory)

This boat tour is a great opportunity to travel along the swim route on a privately-hired ferry. You will be given a commentary on suggested swim directions, tactics and other general information that you may find useful. Please note that the boat tour is also compulsory in order to take part in the event.

Day 3

08:00 Race Meeting Time

We meet promptly at 08:00 for a bag drop and to catch the ferry to the race start point on the European side of the Dardanelles.

09:00-11:00 Hellespont Swim Main Event

The world’s most concentrated shipping lane is closed to all traffic as we participate in the annual Turkish Remembrance Victory Day Hellespont Swimming race. You can either race to win it or just go along at your own pace and enjoy swimming in the wake of Leander and Byron. The awards ceremony will then be from 15:00-16:00.

19:30 Post Swim Dinner

This complimentary dinner for all competitors gives you a chance to celebrate your achievement with your fellow competitors at a renowned local restaurant.

Day 4

07:00-11:00 Hotel Check Out

You have a relaxing morning to recover from the previous day's exertions, departing at your convenience. You will have the option of taking a tour to the Gallipoli Peninsula, where it is possible to swim off one of its beaches.

Trip Schedule

Start Point: Çanakkale, Turkey

Start Date: 28 August 2017

Finish Point: Çanakkale, Turkey

Finish Date: 31 August 2017

Event Schedule

Date Activity
Day 1 Monday 28 August
10:00-12:00 Coaching Clinic (Pre-Trip Optional Event)
20:00 Welcome Drinks*
Day 2 Tuesday 29 August
09:00-12:00 Acclimatisation Swim
12:00 Race Registration (Compulsory)
13:00 Pre-Race Pasta Lunch
14:00 Boat Tour (Compulsory)
Day 3 Wednesday 30 August
08:00 Race Meeting Time
09:00 - 11:00 Hellespont Swim
15:00 - 16:00 Awards Ceremony
19:30 Post-Race Dinner
Day 4 Thursday 31 August
07:00-11:00 Hotel Check Out

*After settling into your hotel, we will meet at a local garden terrace in Çanakkale in the evening where you will have a chance to relax and meet other swimmers who are in Çanakkale for the swim.This complimentary dinner for all competitors gives you a chance to celebrate your achievement with your fellow competitors at a renowned local restaurant.

Race Times

The Hellespont is a major strait dividing Europe from Asia. As a natural body of open water, it is affected by local weather conditions, which can vary considerably from one day to the next. In order to complete the swim in the most favourable conditions, we have several different options for exactly when the race may take place. The above schedule shows the preferred option of conducting the race on Wednesday 30th August at 09:00, however please see below for alternative race times that may be utilised, if required. Please ensure that you keep these alternative times in mind when booking your travel to and from the event.

Trip Information

Race Equipment

Due to the nature of the event and the mild water temperature, wetsuits are not available from SwimTrek. The race organisers do allow swimmers to wear wetsuits during the crossing, however please be aware that using a wetsuit means that you will be ineligible for any of the race awards. Compulsory swim hats will be given out on the day of the race by the event organisers. You should bring a swim costume, goggles and a towel.

Temperatures

Month Water Temperature* Air Temperature*
August 23-25°C / 73-77°F 33-35°C / 91-95°F

*Please note that these temperatures are indicative and should be used as a guide only.

Race Caveat

In the event of bad weather and the swim being cancelled, there are no reserve days available but there is an opportunity for an alternate coastal swim route.

Coaching Clinic

If you arrive early to Çanakkale, you have the opportunity to attend a pre-race Hellespont coaching clinic with your SwimTrek coaches, from 10 am to 12 noon. They will offer some advice and coaching tips, including some drill sessions and demonstrations, in order to help improve your technique just in time for the race.

Race Information

Pre-Event Medical (Compulsory)

The race organisers require a signed medical document from a doctor / medical practitioner prior to attending the race. This will be forwarded to all participants after they have completed their booking.

Acclimatisation Swim (Optional)

On the morning of Day 2, there is an opportunity to take part in an acclimatisation swim on a private beach, a short walk out of Çanakkale’s bustling centre. This is a great chance for you to get used to the swimming conditions.

Race Registration (Compulsory)

At the race registration, you will be given your swim hats and timing chips in preparation for the next morning’s swim. Please note that registration is compulsory in order to take part in the event.

Boat Tour (Compulsory)

This boat tour is a great opportunity to travel along the swim route on a privately-hired ferry. You will be given a commentary on suggested swim directions, tactics and other general information that you may find useful. Please note that the boat tour is also compulsory in order to take part in the event.

Pre-Race Lunch

This basic pasta buffet meal is put on by the local Rotary Club and offers you an opportunity to meet up with Turkish swimmers.

Race Information and Time Limit

The world’s most concentrated shipping lane is closed to all traffic as we participate in the annual Turkish Remembrance Victory Day Hellespont Swimming race. You can either race to win it or just go along at your own pace and enjoy swimming in the wake of Leander and Byron. There is a time limit of two hours to complete the course. The Turkish Coastguard will remove swimmers from the water if they do not finish the crossing by this time.

Swim Distance

The total distance of the Hellespont swim is approximately 4½km, however the swim is current-assisted, which makes it equivalent to swimming approximately 3-3½ km.

Swimming Conditions

Swimming in the sea is a fantastic experience, but you need to be aware of potential problems. Marine life such as jellyfish or sea urchins could be present on this swim, however we will work on minimising your contact with these. If stung by jellyfish you can normally carry on swimming. However if you do have a problem we can treat you on one of the escort boats. You should contact us prior to booking if you suffer from Anaphylaxis. You should seek medical attention if you develop any infection following contact with the above.

Race Time Options

Option Date
Option 1 Wednesday 30 August at 09:00
Option 2 Thursday 31 August at 09:00

On Monday 28 August, the event committee will meet and will decide which of Options 1 or 2 will be selected, based on the most favourable weather forecast. In the case of none of the above options being suitable, an alternative coastal swim will be organised. If none of these 2 days is suitable, then we will offer you a reduced entry for the following year.

Race Organisers

Please be aware that whilst SwimTrek organise the tour part of this package, The Çanakkale Rotary Club are the organisers of the swim and are fully responsible for race safety, logistics and contingency planning.

Getting There

There are a number of scheduled services operating to Istanbul from various international cities. While we have outlined various travel options below, they are subject to change and should be used as a guide only. We suggest that you use Skyscanner for alternative flight options for this trip. Whichever route you choose to take, we recommend confirming your flights and other travel arrangements as early as possible in order to avoid price rises and availability issues.

Travelling via Istanbul Ataturk International Airport

If you are flying into Ataturk airport, please see the SwimTrek transfer information below. Private transfers can be arranged via SwimTrek Turkey.

Airline Departure Airport
Atlas Global Luton, Paris
British Airways Heathrow
Pegasus Airlines Gatwick, Frankfurt, Moscow, Munich, Stansted
Turkish Airlines Gatwick, Moscow, New York
Aeroflot Moscow, New York (via Moscow), St Petersburg

Travelling via Sabiha Gökçen International Airport, Istanbul

If you are flying into Sabiha Gökçen airport, please see the SwimTrek transfer information below. Private transfers can be arranged via SwimTrek Turkey.

Airline Departure Airport
Atlas Global Paris
Delta New York (via Netherlands)
Pegasus Airlines Gatwick, Frankfurt, Moscow, Munich, Paris, Stansted
Turkish Airlines Gatwick, Paris, New York

Connecting Flight From Istanbul to Çanakkale

If you would prefer to take a connecting flight instead of the SwimTrek transfer we recommend visiting the following airlines.

Airline Departure Airport
Turkish Airlines Istanbul Ataturk Airport
BoraJet Sabiha Gökçen International Airport

Turkish Airlines flights between Istanbul Ataturk Airport and Çanakkale have a short stopover in Ankara, with a total travel time of approximately 3-4 hours. At the time of writing, outbound flights are available at 10:00 and 10:45, with return flights from Çanakkale at 14:10.

BoraJet flies directly from Sabiha Gökçen Airport to Çanakkale, with a flight time of approximately 50 minutes. It should be noted that, at the time of writing, outbound flights are only available at 23:55, with an arival time of 00:45. Return flights from Çanakkale depart at 06:00 and arrive at 06:50.

Designated SwimTrek Transfer

If your travel plans coincide with the times of the private Hellespont bus, we would advise that you book onto it, as public transport has proven to be a little unreliable in previous years. To book a place on these buses, please visit SwimTrek Turkey.

Istanbul to Çanakkale

Monday 28 August 2017

From To Departs Arrives
Sabiha Gökçen Airport Çanakkale Hotels 13:15 Approx. 20:45
Ataturk Airport Çanakkale Hotels 14:00 Approx. 20:45

Wednesday 31 August and Thursday 1 September 2017

From To Departs Arrives
Çanakkale Hotels Ataturk Airport 06:45 Approx. 13:30
Çanakkale Hotels Sultanahmet (City Centre) 06:45 Approx. 14:00
Çanakkale Hotels Sabiha Gökçen Airport 06:45 Approx. 15:00

Public Transport

The local bus takes approximately six hours from Istanbul to Çanakkale. You need to catch the bus from the ‘Otogar’, just 10km west of the centre of Istanbul. The ‘Otogar’ is on the same Metro train line as Ataturk International Airport, where most international flights come into. We recommend the ‘Truva’ bus company.

Practical Information

Accommodation

In order to maximise your enjoyment of the tour, we have a choice of accommodation options which are all based on twin-share with en suite facilities. Subject to availability, the accommodation options which will be available to you at the time of booking are the following.

Hotel Name Star Rating Location
Canak Hotel 3-Star City Centre
Grand Anzac 3-Star City Centre
Truva Hotel 4-Star City Centre
Akol Hotel 4-Star City Centre
Kolin Hotel 5-Star 5km from City Centre

All of our 3 and 4-star hotels are located within 10 minutes walk of each other in the city centre. In order to make the most of your stay in Çanakkale, we recommend staying at one of these hotels. If you choose to stay at the Kolin Hotel, transfers are available for the following events: welcome drinks, acclimatisation swim, boat tour, swim registration, race start, post-race dinner. If you prefer to return to the hotel outside of the normal transfer timetable, you can catch a local taxi for approximately €8. If you require additional nights accommodation before or after the event, please contact our Turkish partner at SwimTrek Turkey.

Supporters Package

There are a limited number of supporters tickets available which include shared accommodation with a race participant, as well as entry into all non-swimming events. We cannot guarantee that supporters will be able to travel to the start of the race on the European side, however in previous years this has usually been possible. In general, it is more advisable for spectators to stay on the Asian side and view the race from the finish line.

Meals

All breakfasts are included as well as the pasta lunch on Tuesday 29 August and the post-race celebration dinner on Wednesday 30 August. Other lunches and dinners are not included, which gives you the option to choose where and with whom you would like eat with.

Extra Expenses

You should bring extra money with you to cover such items as entertainment, meals and any of the additional tours etc. Local currency is the Turkish Lira (YTL). Cash machines are plentiful in Çanakkale. Additional tours, such as trips to Troy and Gallipoli, can be organised through our partner agency in Çanakkale at an additional cost. Please visit SwimTrek Turkey for more information about tours or additional nights in Istanbul, if you are looking to extend your stay in the city.

Passports and Visas

Turkey is not part of the European Union. Non-residents of Turkey require a full passport to enter the country, which should be valid for six months beyond the expected length of stay. Citizens of most countries, including all E.U. member states, U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand require a visa to enter Turkey. Most foreign nationals entering Turkey must purchase a visa before to entering the country via Turkish Government E-visa. Please note that visa regulations are subject to change and we advise that you check your own visa requirements prior to travel.

Vaccinations

There are no essential vaccination requirements for Turkey. Although the risks are low, you may wish to obtain vaccinations against typhoid and hepatitis A, and check that your polio and tetanus vaccinations are up to date.

  • The Hellespont was an iconic swim. Well organised and safely managed. It was fun and enjoyable from start to finish - great event, great new friends and gave a full sense of achievement. Superb !

    Alan B. UK - 2016
  • The experience of a lifetime. You must swim it!

    Paul S. UK - 2016
  • My first SwimTrek trip exceeded all expectations so it won't be my last.

    Catherine D. Australia - 2016
  • Had a fantastic time, brilliant fun! Well organised, met some wonderful people and the sea was beautiful - like swimming in silk. One of the best days!

    Kate F. UK - 2016
  • It was - again - a perfect mix of wonderful location, challenging swimming event and meeting interesting people from all over the world.

    Andreas F. Germany - 2016
  • My favourite ever swim - Europe to Asia at the Hellespont. The most classic swim in the world. Great location, beautiful swim, well-organised trip by SwimTrek.

    Ricky M. UK - 2015
  • I swam the Hellespont to celebrate my 60th birthday. It was the highlight of a month-long trip to Turkey. It surpassed my expectations and I would jump at the chance to do it again.

    Graeme H. Australia - 2015
  • What an amazing experience both in mind, body and soul. The turks are an incredibly hospitable nation who take pride in everything they showed us and arranged for us. We were privilege to swim a historical route from Europe to Asia that will leave a lasting memory for me!

    Kim F. South Africa - 2015
  • The swim of a lifetime!

    Ralph C. USA - 2015
  • It was brilliant and the best birthday I've had in years!

    Shila S. Switzerland - 2015
  • I'm so thrilled to have taken part in the swim and can proudly say I've swum from Europe to Asia. The SwimTrek suggested training programme really worked, with superb advice on hand. I am officially a swim addict now!

    Lou A. UK - 2014
  • A very memorable swim which I would recommend to others.

    John W. UK - 2014
  • An event not to be missed. One better than sailing over the Dardanelles is to swim through it. Having succeeded, the title of "Intercontinental Swimmer" sits easily!

    Robert Marriott - 2013 Competitor
  • This has been one of my favourite swims to do. The water was beautiful and it was really great to make it it to the finish. I met some really interesting and inspiring people also, which made the trip even more memorable.

    Clinton P - 2013

Enter guest details to see which departures can accommodate your party:

Dates Availability Special Type Price From
28 Aug -
31 Aug, 2017
Available
3* Grand Anzac £540 Book Now
28 Aug -
31 Aug, 2017
Available
3* Canak Hotel £540 Book Now
28 Aug -
31 Aug, 2017
Available
4* Truva £640 Book Now
28 Aug -
31 Aug, 2017
Available
4* Akol £640 Book Now
28 Aug -
31 Aug, 2017
Available
5* Kolin £700 Book Now

Accommodation

Hotel akol small
Akol Hotel

Overlooking the Dardanelles Strait, The Akol is located in the heart of Canakkale, only a few steps from the seaside.

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Canak Hotel

Çanak Hotel is a comfortable and centrally located 3-star hotel in the city of philosophy, mitology and history with marvellous views of the Dardanelles.

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Grand Anzac

The 3* Grand Anzac Hotel offers rustic and neo classic architectural design combined with high technology in the heart of Canakkale city center.

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Kolin Hotel

The Kolin hotel is Çanakkale's only 5* hotel and is located 6 miles from the centre of town. The hotel offers a comfortable environment from its clean, modern rooms, to the gardens overlooking the Strait.

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Truva Hotel

The 4* Truva Hotel was refurbished in 2012 and offers modern comfortable rooms from its ideal central location on the shores of the Strait.