In the western side of the island of Rhodes, south east of the village of Theologos, lies the Valley of the Butterflies (Petaloudes). This is one of the most attractive natural destinations on the island. During August, thousands of ‘butterflies’ overwhelm the valley in order to reproduce.
Although called butterflies, this lovely shaded valley is actually full of moths. All the same type of moth They are absolutely everywhere you look, covering all trees, caves, and rocks. There must be millions. The walk itself is beautiful, with picturesque log bridges over sparkling streams, stairs climbing around waterfalls, and cobbled pathways, but you didn’t feel that you were climbing up a steep valley.
As you reach the head of the valley, you’ll find a little cafe to take rest, while enjoying a cooling drink or ice-cream. And although not on the official guidebook, just a little-ways up the hill is the impressive chapel complex of Saint Spiridon. Typically whitewashed, and displaying some beautiful religious artefacts and regalia, the chapel is well worth the extra walk and visit.
The valley of the Butterflies was an amazing place to see, and our visit lasted almost 3 hours, and at â‚¬5 great value! To get there from the East coast highway, look for signs that say Atafantou/Psinthos, and follow the signs to “Psinthos”. You’ll soon start to see signs that say “Butterfly”. You won’t get lost, and the drive along the twisting mountain roads will thrill you.
As you’d expect, the midday sun was burning down on us as soon as we came out of the woods, so on the way back to our hotel, we decided to stop off at St Paul’s Bay. It’s idyllic, with two small beaches crowded by the shear rock face and caves of the Lindos acropolis. The glistening aquamarine sea, was dotted with a few boldly painted fishing boats, and overlooked by the chapel of St Paul.
The chapel of St Paul is one of the most highly sought after wedding locations in the Greek islands, and seeing the chapel and location, I can understand why. Knowing that a wedding party from our hotel were due to be married there, we decided to become inappropriately dressed, wedding-crashers for the afternoon.
We enjoyed the first wedding so much, we stayed for a second. Both brides look fantastic (and nervous) in their gowns, and the RAF airman in uniform looked extremely handsome. Unfortunately, that couldn’t be said for the other groom, sporting a Hawaiian shirt and shorts, he didn’t look so good, but hey, it’s his wedding!
It’s quite a walk down to the chapel and one of the bridal parties was preceded by a violin serenade, the other was greeted at the chapel by classical guitar music. After the service,none of the wedding parties climbed aboard a boat and sailed off out of the bay. It looked wonderful.
Later we found ourselves a nice taverna nestled at the waters edge to have lunch, and with a cool breeze coming of the sea, relaxed and watched the world pass by, and recovered from all the excitement.