Rhodes guide Must See

Butterfly Valley

It is a gorge, around 1-km long, planted all over with ferns, plane trees, oak trees, pine trees, laurels. However, the tree that makes it unique is oriental sweetgum, a species that looks like plane tree and is not encountered in any other part of Greece. The smell of the sap excreted by this tree attracts millions of Panaxia quadripunctaria (or Callimorpha quadripunctaria) butterflies, from June to September, which are characterized by four orange spots on each wing. This particular butterfly can also be found in other parts of Rhodes, where there is a lot of water (e.g. in Salakos). However, you will not see such a big number of them anywhere else. A small river is running across the gorge, forming rainfalls in some parts. Next to the river, a delineated path meanders. Along the route, there are small bridges, steps, benches, all made of wood.

In the past, the tour guides would use ultrasound whistles to scare the butterflies, so that the tourists could take pictures of them flying around. However, this was forbidden, since it would tire them and cause them to die. The butterflies are sleeping during the day and any disturbance of their sleep is an unjustified loss of energy. Therefore, any of the following is forbidden:

  • deviating from the path
  • smoking
  • whistling
  • clapping and shouting.

An old Italian mill, next to the river, has been turned into a bar-restaurant. A small museum of natural history is also operating in the same area, with samples of the valley flora and fauna and a butterfly hatcher, where live species are reproduced and kept in a specially formed greenhouse, as well as many butterfly species.

Info

- Entrance to the valley is allowed from 08.30 to 19.00 (with a ticket).

- At its highest point, the path of the Butterfly Valley leads to the monastery of Kalopetra. It was founded in the Middle Ages and collapsed due to an earthquake in 1779. It was rebuilt in 1782 by Alexandros Ypsilantis, prince of Wallachia and Moldavia, who was exiled in Rhodes along with his two sons, Dimitrios and Konstantinos.

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