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.
Although the region was inhabited as far back as the Bronze Age (3000-1200 BC), the thick vegetation made the valley inaccessible. In the 1930s, the Italians channeled the water from the highest point of the valley to a lake at a lower altitude. Then, they built a water mill and recreational centre for the Italian settlers and local residents.
The location was named Rio Pelecano, Pelican Gorge, since the valley’s former name was Pelekanos. The facilities were abandoned and neglected during the period of British administration on the island. After the Dodecanese Islands were incorporated into Greece (1948), the valley came to be managed by the Greek National Tourism Organisation. It was renamed Valley of Butterflies and became widely known after being featured in films of that era.
Then the use was granted to the Municipality of Rhodes and later, in 1990 to the Theologos community. Several maintenance and restoration projects under the chairmanship of Philimonas Karikis began. In 2012 its ownership was permanently transferred to the Municipality of Rhodes. In 2020 President Ioannis Iatridis proceeded to a thorough revamping of the Valley’s entrance. Thereby completing its outlook as we presently know it.
You will fall in love with the serene walk that through this shaded verdant valley with beautiful waterfalls and a small river. Notice the butterflies around you camouflage themselves against the trunks of trees and stop for a quick rest on one of those wooden benches dotting the path.
Observe the unique freshwater crabs in the ponds. That mimic shapes of butterflies on their shells to attract them! In the same ponds you will meet the champion of survival called ghizani fish. The valley is one of the few areas this little fish can be found.
You will also see turtles, a wide variety of birds and if you are very quiet maybe some dears.
In the valley live the moths biggest enemy too that hunt them in the night, the bats.
Visitors of Butterfly Valley can look forward to witnessing the spectacular phenomenon that rarely occurs in nature. There are large numbers of 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. That’s why visitors should strictly avoid any kind of disturbances, like whistling or hand clapping.
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!
A 18th century monastery built on an altitude of 370 meters. Its location offers a stunning landscape of the forest, the west coast as well as the turkish coastline.
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! Τhere 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!
The quickest and easiest way to reach Butterfly Valley is by car.
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 drive from the east side by turn left to Afandou town and head to the traditional village of Psinthos. About 8km after passing Psinthos you meet Kalopetra’s Monastery where the northern entrance of the valley is.
You can also get to Butterfly Valley Rhodes by bus. The ride will take you a bit more time than get there by car (45-50min). Services operate by DES RODA every day during the summer season (May-October) and depart twice daily. Buses begin from the central bus station at Mandraki harbor, right behind the New Market. Check here the updated bus timetables.
Yes, there are pay toilets next to the main entrance of the Valley. There are also ones at the top of the valley, in Kalopetra Monastery. They are free of charge but a donation is required.
From 01/06 – 30/09 Butterfly Valley Rhodes ticket price is 5€ for Adults & free for Children under 12.
The rest months of the year is 3€. Children under 12 have free access.
Butterfly Valley operates every day from 8:00am to 7:00pm.
The Valley is a spectacular place to visit all over the year. But, the peak of its beauty is between the months of June to September when the butterflies complete the idyllic scenic by flying around or creating interesting patterns on the trunks of the trees.
Don’t miss out on going to the Butterfly Valley and be up close and personal with the winged beauties there!
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