Butterfly Valley: one of Turkey’s most unspoiled spots
This stunning spot is famous for - you guessed it - its butterfly population.
Reachable only on foot or by water taxi from Fethiye’s Oludeniz Beach, the 250 metre wide, kilometre-deep canyon is one of the most striking sights in the area - and blessedly isolated from the worst of the summer crowds. Butterflies swarm around the waterfalls that line the canyon wall, and the lush green vegetation that runs down to the shoreline lends the location an exotic, primordial feel.
The easiest way to get to Butterfly Valley is by taking the water taxi that leaves from Oludeniz twice a day at 11am and 2pm. The return trip from the valley departs at 1pm and 5pm. There will be touts telling you that there are no more boats leaving for the valley: take no notice and wait for the official boat. The trip takes around 45 minutes from Oludeniz and costs around 20 TL return, and entry to the valley costs 6 TL.
There are refreshments available at the valley, including small food outlets. Food and drink can be expensive so you might want to take your own from Fethiye.
If you’re a hiker you’ll be in paradise here: there are trails leading out of the canyon that lead to a series of waterfalls and stunning views over the valley.
The reasonably short (but arduous) hike to the waterfall’s base is very picturesque: you’ll find yourself trekking through tall bushes with butterflies flying across your path. The path quickly becomes steep and the canyon walls oppressive - here the hike becomes more of a scramble, so make sure you take good shoes if you’re planning on walking. You’ll eventually be rewarded by a 10 metre high waterfall. If you’re brave you can climb the rock wall beside the waterfall (there is a rope there but it wouldn’t pass any health and safety tests) to eventually reach another 30 metre waterfall. The views from here are incredible.
If you’re not into extreme walking you can butterfly spot, wander around the valley or don a snorkel and explore the crystal clear blue waters. When the sun goes down there are bonfires and BBQs on the beach. However, if you stay this late you will need to remain for the night at the basic accommodation provided in the canyon.
Butterflies come and go, and some visitors are disappointed by the small numbers encountered out of season. The best time to visit is high season, when you can count as many as 25 butterfly species in the canyon.
Despite the valley’s soaring popularity in the last decade, it’s still a remarkably beautiful, clean and out-of-the-way location for anyone looking for a day trip from Fethiye.