About Butterfly Valley
Located about 15 km south of Oludeniz and another 10km onto Fethiye, Butterfly Valley is a destination of exceptional natural beauty. It boasts a completely natural setting with not a touch of modern development. Butterfly Valley is a valley made up of large looming mountains that drop straight into the blue and aqua waters below. The beach has become a popular spot for your laid back backpacker to come to stay in the campsite, so you will often see tents pitched and plenty of people lazing about along the shore. There are no roads leading into Butterfly Valley, it is only accessible by boat or a very dangerous trek from Faralya, which is a beautiful Turkish village sitting on top of the mountains that overshadow the valley. During the season, a great number of colourful butterflies of genus Panaxia species gather in the valley to reproduce. They remain in the Mediterranean thicket during the rainy season feeding on the foliage. Towards the end of May, the butterflies in all their perfection make their appearance in the form recognisable to all and move continually towards higher humidity regions, following the waterways. And finally, they arrive at the valley, as the dry season progresses.
History of Butterfly Valley
Originally, Butterfly Valley was used as a port in the Lycian Era (BC 300-400) for the village of Faralya, also known as Perdikya. This continued right through the Byzantine era until the Ottoman Greeks. Building materials for houses, churches, roads and for sustaining walls were continually bought through this valley.
After the Greek population exchange, the land of Butterfly Valley was sold off to different individuals over the years including one owner who decided to cut down all the naturally growing citrus, berry and other fruit trees. It wasn’t until the late 80’s – early 90’s that the Anatolia Tourism Development Cooperation took over the land and has been rehabilitating the lush greenery of Butterfly Valley. Around the same time, Butterfly Valley was discovered by backpackers after their deeply loved lagoon was lost to mass tourism.
The name of the valley came from a huge flock of endemic butterflies found next to the waterfalls on the canyon. Located on the skirts of Mount Babadag, the cove of Butterfly Valley is under legal conservation by Cultural and Natural Heritage Preservation Board. It has mostly stayed away from the effects of mass tourism, however, the valley management now also run Ecological agriculture and ecological tourism programs to maintain this beautiful region.
How to get to Butterfly Valley
Getting to Butterfly Valley is quite straightforward. From Fethiye, there are regular dolmus buses to Oludeniz Beach. From Oludeniz Beach, there are regular boat shuttles in-between Oludeniz and Butterfly Valley. From Oludeniz, these start at around 11 am and finish at 6 pm. From Butterfly Valley the first shuttle departs at 9:30 am and the last departure is 5 pm. To get to the valley outside of these times you can call the Butterfly Valley Management and request a zodiac.
Most people tend to do a short visit to Butterfly Valley on a Fethiye to Olympos blue cruise. This a stop on day 1 of the cruise and customers have plenty of time for exploring, taking the short hike and hanging out on the beach.
Things to do in Butterfly Valley
Butterfly valley is under the Faralya coast where steep cliffs touch the marvellous stunning colours of the sea. Thus, observing Butterfly Valley from the village of Faralya, atop of the valley, is one of the best ways to see the valley and get those stunning photos. There is a steep hiking track between Faralya and Butterfly Valley but beware this is not for the faint-hearted or inexperienced climbers.
Butterfly Valley is also home to a long creek and several waterfalls. There are smaller hiking trails up through the valley to reach these water streams and bathe under their coolness. If you are lucky, you may catch sight of one of the 80 different species of moths and butterflies resting on the rocks nearby. In the midst of the valley, moths and butterflies will float through the trees often coming to lie on your shoulders as you walk.
One of the biggest past times in Butterfly Valley is camping on the beach. You can either hire one of the valley management tents or bungalows or bring along your own tent to pitch. While staying in the valley, many travellers get involved with the sustainable projects the team have also set up for the area.
There are also many arts and culture workshops that run through the season, yoga programs and there has also been the occasional festival held here too.
Most travellers who camp tend to stay just a few days and then move on from Butterfly Valley. Other places to visit in the area include Oludeniz, St Nicholas Island, and Twelve Islands, Tersane Island and Cleopatra Bath is travelling by boat.