About the Valley of Butterflies Rhodes Trail
The Valley of Butterflies on the Greek island of Rhodes is one of the island’s most popular destinations during the warm months from end of May to end of September, where especially the Jersey tiger moth (Euplagia quadripunctaria) gather by the thousands in the shaded canyon, which hosts the only natural forest of the Oriental Sweetgum tree (Liquidambar orientalis) in Europe. Some visitors are surprised over the steepness of the trail through this natural attraction, so we decided to record our hike through the valley, which took place out of season (mid-April), when there were yet no swarms of butterflies – or tourists.
This all changes in the warm season, where the entrance fee was 5 EUR for adults (children below the age of 12 years enter for free) at the time of posting. From the 1st of October to 31st of May the entrance fee is reduced to 3 EUR. The Valley of Butterflies is open from 8am to 7pm in the summer season and from 8am to 18am the rest of the year (always check the website for current opening hours). Regardless which month you choose to visit in, be sure to disturb nature as little as possible as the Valley of Butterflies is literally a resting place for the moths between their most vital life stages.
Some people shout, clap or make noise in other ways to disturb the moths (which are very sound-sensitive) into flight but this behavior stresses the insects and affects their reproduction and population size negatively. As they are nocturnal, they should be left to rest during the day. You will thus see signs warning against disturbing them, and also the staff patrols the trail regularly to keep noisy behavior in check.
The Valley of Butterflies Rhodes Trail Details
Date of the Hike Date when we did this hike ?
Weather On the day when we did this hike ?
Temperature On the day when we did this hike ?
Wind On the day when we did this hike ?
The Valley of Butterflies Rhodes GPS Route and Trail Description
*Click on the chart to see the location on the map
GPX route helps you with the navigation on a hike. It can be used with a smartphone, handheld GPS device or a GPS watch.About GPX Route
Reaching the starting point
The Valley of Butterflies (Κοιλάδα Πεταλούδων) is located in the northern part of the island, approximately in between the villages Kato Kalamonas and Psinthos, along the road called Epar.Od. Kalamonas-Psinthou (Επαρ.Οδ. Καλαμώνας-Ψίνθου). Plenty of private bus companies will take you there from 27 EUR (28 USD) and upwards. It varies whether the entrance to the Valley of Butterflies is included in such trips or not, so be sure to check your itinerary. You can also go by taxi (from Rhodes town, it’s about 35-45 USD each way). You could go by public transport (bus ticket about 6 USD from Rhodes town), but expect it to take one or more hours (check on google.maps) to get there in which case it might not be worth saving money on. The last option is to rent a car– we had a great experience with Sky Rent a Car in Ialysos.
If you choose to go by car on your own, go slow and steady. The inland roads of Rhodes are bit of a labyrinth, and even you have a GPS device or Google Maps navigating you to the Valley of Butterflies, you might stumble upon various obstacles on your way, whether it is a flock of sheep crossing, a closed road or a crossroad, where it is unclear or ambiguous which direction has right of way. There are three parking lots at the Valley of Butterflies with each their entrance; one at the bottom of the canyon where the small Museum of Natural History is located, one in the middle which is considered to be the main entrance, and a top entrance close to Monastery of Panaghia Kalopetra. Parking is free of charge.
The trail at the Valley of Butterflies literally meanders up the hill and down, and thus you should simply return to the exit where your means of transport is parked once you are ready to leave. Some tourist busses drop the visitors up at the top entrance, and then pick them up at the bottom entrance, so you only have to walk downhill. If you or your group tires easily, this might be the best solution for you. We did the opposite; we parked at the bottom parking lot and I went for a hike up the hill with our daughter in the Osprey Poco child carrier. Laura (who was feeling ill) only went part of the way, and then returned to the car to drive up to the top entrance and wait for us there.
There is literally no way to get lost inside the canyon on the one and only path, so navigation is not a problem. Making a circle tour by exiting the valley at a different entrance than the one you entered is possible, as you can walk on the side of the winding Epar.Od. Kalamonas-Psinthou road and enjoy the view of the landscape around you (especially if you are walking downhill). It may be more or less enjoyable depending on the weather and the amount of cars on the road – not least because there is no proper sidewalk, and the cars might drive too fast and/or too close to you for comfort.
For this short and easy hike in the early evening in mid-April I wore my Formal Friday Merino t-shirt with a Polartec fleece jacket and a pair of hiking shorts. I also wore a cap and my Tifosi Davos sunglasses, but the canyon was more or less completely in shade at that time of day. On my back I carried MK and a few refreshments in the Osprey Poco child carrier.
Equipment under scrutiny
Lowa Renegade Hiking Shoes
I was very very happy with the Lowa Renegade GTX LO hiking shoes on this trail. The shoes provide excellent stability and are thus perfect for hauling heavy loads. The Vibram outsole also provides very good traction which was very useful for this trail because some stretches very wet and slippery. The shoes are also breathable and very durable. They might be a bit more expensive than competitive products but they’re worth every penny. You can read the full review here.
Conclusion and photo gallery
The Valley of Butterflies is only suitable to visit for those who are able walk the several flights of stairs on their own – or kids who are still small enough to be carried. Strollers, prams, pushchairs or wheelchairs of any kind will not get much further than the entrance gates. You don’t need any particular hiking apparel or gear for this short and easy hike on well-kept pruned paths, but a pair of sturdy walking shoes and some water on hand is recommended, nevertheless. There is a debate whether the Valley of Butterflies should even be accessible to visitors during the summer days, as noise disturbs and depletes the moths of energy to reproduce, so be sure that everyone in your group is on their best behavior if you choose to visit.
If you have any questions about this hike, please drop us a line in the comments below.