My last visit to the valley of butterflies was 28 years ago. We were attending a legendary island tour with travel agency and travelled in a boiling hot bus. This time we took a scooter and drove with our hair flying in the air (or maybe not, most of the hair was nicely kept in place with the helmet).The distance to Petaloudes is 25 kilomteres from Rhodes town. I do not have so many memories from my last visit, only that there were no butterflies to be seen. This time was luckily different.
We drove to the valley in late afternoon. Since it was Sunday and we couldn’t see any cars or busses, we thought that the place was closed. The valley was open but in addition to us, there were hardly any other tourists (which we didn’t mind at all). I was happy to see that there were lots of Panaxia Quadripunctaria all over the place, you just had to know where to look. Apparently they land there mid June.
The nature in the valley was stunning with lots of ponds, small waterfalls and wooden bridges. The walking ways were respecting the nature. The valley is split into 2 different sections. We climbed both sections all the way to the monastery of Kalopetra which was built already in 1782. We were greeted by Apostolis who kindly showed us around the monastery.
I would love to visit the place again, even without the butterfies. Few things to keep in mind when you visit the valley:
– Take a lot of water with you. It took us over 2 hours to go through the whole route and most of the 2 hours was spent climbing up.
– Wear proper shoes. I was wearig my Nike Airmax trainers which were perfect for climbing and walking but I saw a few people who were struggling with flipflops.
– Don’t make a lot of noise. The valley is meant to be a relaxation place for the butterflies and they get interupted quite easily. During our time some idiot was throwing wooden sticks and stones to get the butterflies to fly. Grrr…
– Entrance fee was 5€. If there are no butterflies, the fee is less.
– We saw two cafes in the area. We visited the place close to monastery and were happy to notice that their prices were reasonable.
On our way back we spotted a small winery, Anastasia Triantafyllou, which sold other kind of delicious products as well. We didn’t like the wines in general but we did find one dry white wine that was ok and in addition bought some delicious olive paste.