Fethiye – Muğla – Turkey
GPS : 36°29’55.6″N 29°07’14.5″E / 36.498780, 29.120706
Butterfly Valley (Turkish: Kelebekler Vadisi) is a valley in Fethiye district of Muğla Province, southwestern Turkey, which is home to diverse butterfly species. The valley is situated at the foothill of Babadağ, a 1,975 m (6,480 ft)-high mountain nominated for preservation as world heritage.
A wide-strip sand beach at a bay on the Turkish Riviera protrudes from the valley.
In the form of a narrow canyon stretching over around 3 – 4 km (1.9 – 2.5 mi), the valley’s steep walls are 350 – 400 m (1,150 – 1,310 ft) high. A trail in the valley leads to two small waterfalls dropping from 60 m (200 ft) all the year around. In the middle of the valley, a creek runs, carrying water from a spring in nearby Faralya village to the sea. A road from Ölüdeniz to Uzunyurt, which is part of the Lycian Way Ultramarathon route, runs atop the rocks around the valley.
The valley, rich in flora and fauna, takes its name from the large number of butterfly species found here. Scientists recorded some 147 flora species belonging to 54 families and 105 butterfly species from 15 families native to the valley. The butterfly species include the Jersey tiger (Euplagia quadripunctaria rhodosensis). Butterfies of many varieties in a wide range of colors can be observed in the valley between June and September.
Due to its natural beauty, Butterfly Valley is an important ecotourism attraction place in Turkey. It is accessible by shuttle boat service from Belceğiz Beach of Ölüdeniz in 5 – 7 km (3.1 – 4.3 mi) distance, operating hourly at daytime. In the valley, various outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, canyoning, canoeing and scuba diving can be performed. The valley is open to public the entire year.
Designated a nature reserve as protected area of first category on February 8, 1995, any type of construction in Butterfly Valley is strictly prohibited by law. Therefore, only temporary structures are allowed here. On an area of 10 daa (10,000 m2), up to 250 people can be accommodated in tents in addition to a few simple wooden bungalows. Central sanitary facilities are for shared use.
There are no accommodation facilities at the Butterfly Valley beach. You can set up a tent or stay in makeshift bush and leaf covered shelters. There is one restaurant set up on the beach in summertime. The owners will help you, showing the paths to follow. Electricity is supplied by a generator, available free of charge during certain times of the day. A small country restaurant and a bar provide food and beverages in the summer time.
Blue Voyage yachts cruise in and drop anchor for lunch and a swim, and hikers pass above the valley along the Lycian Way that leads, farther along, eventually to Antalya.
From the secluded beach at the entrance to the verdant gorge that leads to a 60-foot waterfall at the back, the setting is simply delightful. Although there is a well-trodden path to the waterfall it’s a good idea to bring waterproof shoes, as some wading through the streambed is necessary.
The valley is rocky and pine tree covered, is a bit hard for climbing but it gives you an astonishing feeling to see millions of butterflies covering the trees and rocks like a soft colourful scarf. At first, you do not notice them at all and you think it is the natural look of the place. However, with one sound or movement the butterflies take off, covering the sky and casting a shadow over the valley.