A relaxing walk in nature or hardcore training in the stairs
The Valley of the Butterflies is one of the most mentioned sights at Rhodes. Bus trips are arranged there by travel agencies but the best you can do is to rent a car and drive there by yourself. Butterflies are in the valley mostly on May but we saw some on early June during our visit. Butterflies come to the valley in the last phase of their life. They get some energy from the sweet trees in the valley, but they are so tired already that forcing them to fly by disturbing is a death sentence for them.
People just don’t know how to behave
It’s said everywhere that make sure your kid don’t make loud noises and don’t disturb the butterflies. During my visit to the Valley of the Butterflies, I noticed that it was mostly the grown-ups that can’t behave – not the kids. I saw a few middle-aged men who came up with an idea to shake a tree or clap hard to make the butterflies to fly. Very selfish and thoughtless behavior if you ask me.
The positive side was, that people were kind enough to give space to other visitors and let others pass in narrow places. They even waited, if someone was about to take a photograph.
The route to the valley is part of the experience
I highly recommend, that you arrive to the Valley of the Butterflies from the South. You can head to Faliraki and continue West from there. At first, the road is normal countryside road, which leads through a couple of villages before the terrain starts to rise. Finally you reach a serpent-road while you descent to the Valley. This part of the road is the best I’ve found in Rhodes so far.
Toilets at the Valley
Since having some bowels problems, location of the toilets interest me. While I know that things like IBS and IBD is getting more common, I have put this under a headline of it’s own. Toilets are something that the tourist info and other travel articles seem to forget easily. The reality is, that there are toilets down at the beginning (outside the gate) and the other one is all the way up the mountain at the cafe. There is none between those and the route is about one kilometer but slow to advance. You also need a coin to enter the toilets (I know remember if it was 1 or 2 euros coin). So be prepared for that.
The Path in the Valley of the Butterflies
A half constructed, half natural path goes in the thick forest with a stream flowing next to the path at the beginning. There’s even some small waterfalls to see. The path in the Valley of the Butterflies is basically climbing up the mountain and I can’t recommend it to anyone with bad legs or if you need special equipment to move. It’s ok at the beginning when it’s more constructed, terrace like paths but when you continue further, you get a natural path. The butterflies are at the beginning while they are attached to the trees. They are fairly hard to see when not flying, since the lower side of the wings are more colorful than the camouflage top wing. There are also other animals you can spot. We saw 2 crabs and a lizzard.
On the second half there is no longer so many trees and the slope is getting steeper. There are all kinds of stairways and steps to help the climb. It’s still steep. You are going to need water, because the air is hot and moist which make it even harder. At least for a Nordic person like me. When you get to the top, you can reward your effort in the cafeteria. Gather some energy because you need to go back the same way. This time it’s downhill but those steps are not easy downwards either.
Is the Valley of the Butterflies a place worth visiting?
If you acknowledge the things I have said above, it really is worth visiting at least on early season. There is not many place at Rhodes with this much green and forest. A calm stream next to the path all those animals you can spot. The parking place at the bottom was free of charge and before noon there were many free spots left. Please note that this is a tourist attraction so there are other people around and you’ll need to wait for the perfect moment if you do not want other people on your photos. A good call would be to leave all the rush and haste at the gate and just take the journey easy. The best way to enjoy the place is nice and easy sinking in to details.