Find out all about visiting Butterfly Valley in Turkey, including how to get there and what adventures to do once you arrive.
As our Sail Turkey boat pulls into Butterfly Valley in Turkey along the Mediterranean Sea we are greeted by the sheer red, brown and grey cliffs that plunge over 50m into the turquoise sea. The order from the Captain is given to anchor while the tiny dinghy is dropped from the stern with a splash. With only room for four at a time it’s slow progress into the thin strip of sandy beach.
Getting to Butterfly Valley in Turkey
As far as we could tell Butterfly Valley in Turkey can only be accessed by boat, and luckily our 8 day Sail Turkey cruise with Busabout took us straight there on our second day.
There were half a dozen other tourist boats that had also motored up from the town of Fethiye although it wasn’t busy at all. And even though it is so isolated it was still no surprise that as with everything in Turkey there was still a man sitting under his umbrella waiting to charge us 5 Turkish Lira for the 1 km walk up Butterfly Valley to the waterfall.
You can only begin to wonder at the forces of nature that have sent millions of litres of snow melt every summer through Butterfly Valley slowly carving out the steep-sided canyon which is now a protected wildlife sanctuary for over 25 different butterfly species. Unfortunately since it was the shoulder season we were told not to expect too many butterflies. Apparently it is better during the height of summer.
The short hike up to the base of the waterfall is gorgeous. Trekking through head-high scrub with what few butterflies there were darting across the path is actually very relaxing. Especially since large hand painted signs along the route warn us that loud noises can actually kill the butterflies.
The silence was only broken by whispered words as we stumbled along in typical Kiwi fashion with our jandals on.
I was constantly worried that my hastily repaired jandals, which were held together with two bobby-pins after an earlier blowout, were going to completely fall apart on the uneven gravel path. Especially when we reached the first stream crossing.
As the path got steeper and the canyon walls closed in around us we had to begin to scramble over rocks and up through the river. Our jandals had to come off. Even though the rocks were covered in water they were surprisingly not slippery. Pretty fortunate as I am sure someone could easily have hurt themselves up here if not careful.
Suddenly the trees above us disappeared and the waterfall was revealed in all it’s glory. Bugger. All that hard work for this? It was only about 10m in height and meandered rather than thundered over the rocks above us. Still enough to stick your head in though and get drenched. But not all that impressive to be honest. Until we saw the hand painted sign attached to the rock face next to it…
“Do not got past! DANGER. DEATH.”
Obviously that meant a bigger and cooler waterfall up just a bit higher! Looked easy enough…
Just had to climb the vertical rock wall next to the first waterfall by holding onto a frayed knotted rope. Hold onto the same rope as you pass under the next small waterfall. Another vertical climb through the river up over boulders larger than me before edging along a 20cm wide ledge. Just don’t look down!
So stoked that I made the decision to climb up though as sure enough a 30m high waterfall gushed over the side of the cliff above us. I was so thankful that it was 25 degrees Celsius as I was already soaked to the bone and looking like a drowned rat. But the exhilaration of looking back down upon Butterfly Valley from that height was truly spectacular.
Unfortunately I didn’t risk taking our camera up to the very top so we don’t have any photos of me getting pounded on the head from the waterfall!
You can get to Butterfly Valley in Turkey with the awesome Sail Turkey cruise by Busabout: