Out of the many wonderful places to visit in Rhodes, there is one name that always stands out–noneother the Butterfly Valley. An one of a kind nature reserve, Butterfly Valley or Petaloúdes in Greek is not only valuable in terms of aesthetics as the site also happens to be the sole natural forest of Europe’s Liquidambar orientalis or Oriental Sweetgum trees. But, the main reason that makes this place unique is that hosts millions of butterflies for 5-6 months every year. This butterfly species called Jersey Tiger or Panaxia Quadripunctaria and is about a nocturnal moth. The area is very important for them as constitutes their breeding point.
Visiting the Butterfly Valley is no doubt one of the best things to do in Rhodes Island. It is the perfect place for all families with kids who want to embark on a unique summer holiday. They can examine and observe the butterflies’ life cycle and simply bask in the stunning beauties of nature. You and your kids will fall in love with the serene walk that through this shaded verdant valley with beautiful waterfalls and a small river. And the best thing about it is that during all of these, there will be butterflies around you that camouflage themselves against the trunks of trees as you stroll to the Kalopetra monastery at the peal or when you stop for a quick rest on one of those wooden benches dotting the path.
Visitors of Butterfly Valley can look forward to witnessing the spectacular phenomenon that rarely occurs in nature. There are large numbers of wonderful butterflies that congregate in the small valley during the last stage of their life cycle.These butterflies are adult insects following the waterways and migrating here for the purpose of reproduction. Females leave for other suitable places for laying their eggs during early fall.
During the later part of May or the last days of the wet season every year, there are thousands of butterflies that get attracted to the scent of the oriental sweetgum trees covering the whole landscape. The levels of humidity who create an ideal microclimate combined with the aromatic raisin excretion by the oriental sweetgum trees is what makes Butterfly Valley a unique of its kind.
The valley basically serves as the resting place for the butterflies. This is because they cannot consume food during their life cycle’s final phase so they just take a rest in order to conserve their energy. Loud noises will make them fly away, which means that they will consume valuable energy. Visitors can observe the butterflies while they sleep well-camouflaged in yellow and black. When in flight, you will-see the flashes of their over wings in cherry-red color. And if you are still and quiet enough, you might even get lucky if they end up landing on your arm, just the perfect scene to capture in a wonderful photo!
Of course, your tour to the Butterfly Valley with your family will never be complete the Museum of Natural History. This museum is housed in the well restored Italian home of the 30s. This is where you get to find extensive information regarding the reserve and its flora and fauna. The hatchery is the most interesting part of this museum where there are butterflies reproducing in the protected area in an ideal environment and stable climate conditions.
An area of 25.000 sq. meters where you can meet lots of ostriches as well as other kinds of other animals. Animals like deers, wild boars, ponies, goats, kangaroos, camels and lots of different kind of birds. The funny thing is that you can interact with them by taking selfies and even better feeding or petting them.
After you are done visiting the Butterfly Valley, you can continue exploring the island further. There are beautiful villages surrounding the Butterfly Valley where you could take a short break after your morning tour and experience local life first hand. We suggest the villages of Psinthos and Maritsa. We highly recommend them for their popular traditional tavernas where you can have the chance to taste excellent appetisers and homemade cooked foods!
Butterfly Valley can be found in the northern tip of the island. Just 26 kilometers from Rhodes town and 7 km from Rhodes airport. If you are coming from Rhodes city, the valley can be found between the villages of Theológos and Paradisi along a tiny road heading inland. You can also get there by riding a bus.
Don’t miss out on going to the Butterfly Valley and be up close and personal with the winged beauties there!