Rhodes is recognized for its rich vegetation and natural beauty, which is very rare on a Greek island! The canyon of Pelekanos River hosts a unique Valley that is named after the Panaxia Quatripunctaria Butterfly. The 1 km route that composes the Butterfly Valley is beautifully organized with wooden bridges over pools and falls of water, paved footpaths, and little benches to enjoy the scenery.
The Secret of the Valley lies with the vast density of Liquidambar Styrax trees and the resin that it produces. The sweet smell of the resin attracts the butterflies. When walking around, you will see Liquidambar trees everywhere, and of course, hundreds of Butterflies on the trunk and leaves.
The Valley is situated close to the village Theologos, some 23 km southeast from Rhodes town, and 10 km from the Airport. The Valley was found in the 1930s by Italians, who developed a beautiful 1 km path that goes through the canyon along with the areas where the butterflies are most densely populated. First studies were conducted by a German entomologist Reinhard Eiger.
There are three entrances with parking areas. The bottom entrance is next to the Museum of Natural History. The middle entrance is considered to be the main entrance with a snack bar and a souvenir shop, and the upper entrance is next to the Monastery of Panaghia Kalopetra.
Kalimorphos Panaxia Quatripunctaria is a colored species of moth, that looks very much like a butterfly. It is 18 to 23 millimeters long, and the span of its wings reached 55 to 60 mm. When resting, the moth lows the head and has the shape of an equilateral triangle. Only when it opens its wings, one can see the bright orange color with dark spots from where it’s another name the “tiger moth.” They gather in the valley in high numbers during the hottest summer months (June to September).
From January to February, the butterflies are in the form of little eggs that are spread throughout the island. In April, these eggs produce the small larva, which is transformed into a chrysalis caterpillar, and in May, they achieve their final shape of a butterfly. When it turns hot, usually at the beginning of June, they leave their locale and migrate during the night until they reach the valley where they stay until the end of September. Butterflies are attracted by the smell of the resin of Styrax trees as well as the coolness and humidity of the surroundings.
By the end of summer, the insects mate and only female fly away (can reach up to 25 km) to leave some 150 eggs in safe and dark places between bushes and plants.
The butterflies live entirely from body fat during the summer. They sleep during the day and lose a vast amount of energy when alarmed and forced to flee from danger. It is, therefore, crucial for the survival of the species that visitors don’t disturb the butterflies if they are to make it through to autumn and lay their eggs once again starting off the cycle.
General rules apply when exploring the Valley:
-Taking only the footpaths when exploring, no deviation to avoid trampling rare plants
-Avoiding any kind of noise and loud talking
-Clapping hands is strictly forbidden
-No smoking and polluting the environment
-Respecting the indications of the signs and the guards
Let us know in the comments below, how was your experience! If you find this information useful and interesting, make sure to share it! We will be very happy and appreciate it!
Discover Rhodes & Fall in Love ❤️
Distance from Rhodes Town: 23 km (14 mi)
Path Length: 1 km (0.62 mi)
Altitude (Kalopetra monastery): 311 m (1020 ft)
Access: Taxi, tour coaches, public buses, rented cars/motorbikes
Open Every Day
June 10th-September 10th:
May 1st-June 9th & September 11th-October 30th:
High Season 5 EUR
Low Season 3 EUR
Children under 12 years – Free
Parking: Free of Charge