The Valley of the Butterflies, called Petaloudes in Greek, is a 5 km long green valley located in the interior of the island of Rhodes, about 23 km from the capital. The valley, thanks to the flowing river, creates a special humid and fresh microclimate that attracts thousands of butterflies every year.
Visiting the Valley of the Butterflies "Petaloudes" is one of the most popular excursions on Rhodes, because the nature here offers a truly unique experience and you are in a very pleasant environment in the shade of trees and cool water. The Valley of the Butterflies is located about 7 km from the small seaside resort of Theologos (Tholos) on the west coast of the island and 20 km from the very popular and lively tourist resort of Faliraki on the east coast of the island, for example. Special public buses also run to the reserve.
Around the Pelekanos river, which creates streams and waterfalls in the gorge and does not dry up even on the hottest days, there are flocks of the nocturnal butterfly Callimorpha Quadripunctaria. These moths take refuge here at mating time, apparently lured by the intoxicating scent of the resin of the eastern amber tree (Greek "Zitia"). The valley is usually their home from early June to mid-September, when during the day sleeping swarms of butterflies wrap themselves around tree trunks and rocks.
The butterflies have orange wings with four black spots. But these are only visible in flight. If the butterflies are sitting and sleeping, they are inconspicuous and blend into the background. Some visitors to the valley deliberately scare the moths into taking flight, for example by clapping their hands. Probably for this reason, however, the number of resident moths decreases each year because these moths have no stomach and do not eat during the period from about May until mating or egg laying. They survive only on the energy they have stored up from their previous caterpillar stage of development. Thus, disturbance by visitors means an unnecessary consumption of valuable energy for them. The main plea to visitors to the Valley of the Butterflies is thus: please be quiet and considerate.
Only a part of the total length of the nature reserve is open to visitors, about a 1 km long stretch through which a nature trail leads. We recommend starting at the upper end of the trail at the Mon√≠ Panag√≠as Kal√≥petras church, where you will have a spectacular view of the whole region. From here, you can then follow the well-maintained paths and steps to the bottom of the gorge, where you can still visit the butterfly museum, housed in a beautifully restored Italianate house from the 1930s. In the natural history museum you will find extensive information about the local, very diverse fauna and flora, and a particularly interesting part is the "hatchery" where these butterflies breed in a protected environment with stable climatic conditions.
In the 2020 season, the entrance fee was 5 Euros and was valid for entry to the whole valley (the valley is crossed by roads, so it can appear to have two parts) and to the butterfly museum. You can refresh yourself in the pleasant taverna.
Tips for trips on Crete: Lindos White Town, Rhodes Capital, Kalithea Spa, Symi Island and Panormitis Monastery, Seven Springs (Ept√° Pig√©s), Valley of the Butterflies (Petaloudes), Faliraki Water Park
Did you visit this place and do you have some additional informations, interessting observation or photos?