From mid-June through mid-September, we include butterflies on the way to Old Rhodes!
Thanks to its strategic location, the island of Rhodes has always played an important role in the history of the Mediterranean. Development here began in 407 BC and was planned by the greatest of all city planners of antiquity--Hippodamus of Miletus. The island quickly developed into one of the most important seafaring and trading centres in the Eastern Mediterranean and the sites and history you will see and learn about will support that. The island lost some of it glory over time, but regained its status in 1309 when the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem conquered Rhodes.
Old Rhodes is encircled by strong medieval walls--a typical example of the techniques of fortification of the 14th-15th centuries. The walls of Rhodes are unique in Europe in regards to their state of preservation and their form. It is the stone construction that supports a walking platform from which the Knights could move and fight when needed. Massive towers and bastions project from several places and they are decorated with elaborate stonework, while a wide, dry moat provided the first line of defense. To ensure the enemy could not easily fill it, the ground on the opposite side was contained by a massive wall, which was difficult to dismantle. There are many entrances into the city and inside...so much to see.
These impressive walls contain so much history, and much of the locations where history was made are there and serve as a background to the narration. Only by visiting, will one understand Rhodes' importance to this part of the world.
By contrast, the Valley of the Butterflies will take you in another direction. This unique nature reserve is found inland on Rhodes. “Butterfly Valley” is the site of the only natural forest of Liquidambar Orientalis (Oriental Sweetgum trees) in Europe, and a resting point for the Jersey Tiger (Panaxia Quadripunctaria), a nocturnal moth. Witness a spectacular phenomenon that occurs only rarely in nature. Huge numbers of butterflies congregate in this small valley during the final stage of their life cycle. Every year, at the end of the wet season (late May), thousands of butterflies, attracted by the scent of the Oriental Sweetgum trees, cover the entire landscape. They are actually adult insects that follow the waterways and migrate here to reproduce (females leave for other suitable areas to lay their eggs in the early fall) due to the high humidity of the area.
The moths cannot eat during this final phase of their life cycle, so they rest here to conserve energy. Any loud noise would force them to fly away, thereby consuming valuable energy. Observe them as they “sleep” well-camouflaged in black and yellow; in flight, their cherry-red overwings flash.
In the Valley of the Butterflies, there is a museum housed in a nicely restored Italian house from the '30s.
- Food, beverages, and gratuities are not included in the price of this tour.
- Admission to the Palace of the Knights (6 Euros), the Archaeological Museum (8 Euros), and the Butterfly Valley (5 Euros) are not included in the price of this tour.
- You will be walking in the Old City where the streets are often uneven. Please wear comfortable shoes.
- Valley of the Butterflies is available from mid-June through mid-September. We suggest you book 7 Springs and Old Rhodes the rest of the year.
- Tours on Sundays and holidays will incur a surcharge.
Days offered: 7 days a week