Petaloudes, the valley of the butterflies, is one of the most famous attractions on Rhodes. It can easily be reached by bus. The two-hour hike commences along well tended paths through the almost tropical, shady valley and up to Kalopetra monastery. Initially a steep dirt track uphill, then more a scree track downhill. At the end it is necessary to use a stretch of road.
7 km, difference in altitude 210 m, moderate
AWT If you arrive by bus, you have to walk back down the street to the museum (175 m).
0.00 At the lower entrance, our beautifully laid out path leads up into the park 1. Sumptuous greenery surrounds the often numerous visitors who, from mid-June to September, come looking for the butterfly panaxia quadripunctario, the bright red-spotted Harlequin, which is attracted by the resin of the sweet gum. It only flies during the night, however; during the day its body has brown-and-yellow stripes.
After almost ten minutes you pass a road between two ponds.
0.15 Further up, the path divides for a short stretch. Cross over a roadway diagonally to the right to reach the upper entrance to the park and, above it, the 0.25 monastery of Panagia Kalopetra (300 m). The church has a magnificent iconostasis from the 19th century and, in front, attractive picnic benches.
Behind the car park, look for a path leading downhill, at first paved with stones. Then you walk 150 m along the road, leaving it before the sharp right-hand bend, 0.30 and work your way uphill along the sandy path which veers left at the top. This is when many folk think of giving up smoking. The lovely view to the right, to Profitis Elias and to Mt. Ataviros , offers some consolation.
0.40 On raised ground we are saved by a turn-off to the right , which we naturally take.
From here it is down-hill, past a stable (left) after 300 m. On the right can be seen the power station by the sea and the radar station on the mountain near the airport.
Where the track widens, we stumble down to the right. The scree is slippery on the 0.55 steep, but dramatic descent 2 as far as another widening of the track. (On the hill be- fore that is an unfinished building which could be reached with a little effort along a path.)
Otherwise we continue on the same level, along the shady forest track leading right 1.00 in the direction of the road. Unfortunately the sandy path which runs left through the valley is usually blocked by a fence gate, so we have to walk down the 1.10 road. Having passed the car park, we arrive at the middle entrance to the Petaloudes valley, where the bus station is