Amazing Places: Butterfly Valley, Turkey

Exploring Turkey's Turquoise Coast with Arkadaslik Yachting

Updated: May 27, 2019

All About Butterfly Valley

Butterfly Valley, or Kelebekler Vadisi as it is known in Turkish, is a 4KM long, narrow valley located at the foot of Turkey's Babadağ Mountain overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. It is located about 30KM south of Fethiye and 15KM south of the bustling resort town of Ölüdeniz. The valley received its current name in recognition of the nearly 100 species of butterflies, including the black, orange and white Jersey Tiger native to the area, that can be spotted in the valley between June and September.

"Discovered" by hippies in the early 1990s, the isolated Valley of the Butterflies appeals to backpackers, hikers and naturalists. It was designated as a nature preserve in 1995, so construction in the valley is not allowed, although there are a few temporary structures including a makeshift bar and restaurant which provide sustenance to the valley's many visitors throughout the summer months, and several "bungalows" (small wooden huts) that are available for overnight rental. There is no electricity or telephone service in the valley.

The famed Lycian Way runs along the crest of the valley, providing hikers a spectacular view of the Mediterranean-facing canyon from a height of 300 to 400 meters above sea level. The valley bottom is only accessible by foot or by boat. Fit and adventurous climbers can attempt the steep trail linking the village of Faralya to the sea, but most people travel to Butterfly Valley by boat – either during a Blue Cruise or on a water shuttle from nearby Ölüdeniz.

Weather-permitting, gulets travelling the long stretch of open water between Kalkan and Gemiler Island stop at the mouth of Butterfly Valley for breakfast. (The valley's eastern exposure makes it an unsafe anchorage in windy weather.) Guests can swim in the small bay, climb the steep cliffs overlooking the sea, or hike the trail into the gorge to visit two small waterfalls carrying water from the nearby hillside village of Faralya to the sea. Later in the day, day trip boats from Ölüdeniz arrive at the entrance to the canyon, disgorging passengers and transforming the quiet pebbled beach into a party zone for the afternoon. As the day winds up and visiting boats depart with their passengers, the valley once again becomes a peaceful oasis for those who choose to camp under the stars.

Additional Information about Butterfly Valley

Have you had the chance to visit Turkey's Valley of the Butterflies? We'd love to hear about your experience and see your photos.