Butterfly Valley in Turkey

| May 21, 2012 | 24 Comments

Find out all about visiting Butterfly Valley in Turkey, including how to get there and what adventures to do once you arrive.

Butterfly Valley in Turkey

Butterfly Valley in Turkey

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.

Busabout Sail Turkey Photo Essay, Butterfly Valley in Turkey

Butterfly Valley in Turkey

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.

Butterfly Valley in Turkey

The campground in Butterfly Valley in Turkey

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.

Butterfly Valley Waterfall, Butterfly Valley in Turkey

Adela resting after climbing up Butterfly Valley in Turkey

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:

About the Author ()

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

Comments (24)

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  1. Natalie says:

    I walked the path to the waterfall but decided to turn back once the climbing got a bit ott. I too, was worried about my camera plus the fact that I was on my own. Just kept imagining that if something happened to me, no one would find me!! :)

  2. Liv says:

    I love Butterfly Valley. I used to live in Oludeniz and liked to go and enjoy having Butterfly Valley beach mostly, if not completely, to myself on my days off!

  3. Sam says:

    Well done for walking on past the sign. Often the best experiences result from a slight detour from what is expected of you. Did you see any butterflies?

  4. Haha, clearly “DANGER. DEATH.” means keep trekking on! Waterfalls are totally worth it, though.

  5. Ali says:

    I am such a sucker for waterfalls! But I think I might have been scared off by the DANGER DEATH sign. Glad you didn’t die!

  6. Andrea says:

    We didn’t really get out in nature at all on our trip to Turkey last year – another reason to go back – looks gorgeous!

  7. Mayta says:

    Hehe – I have spent a couple of years working in Butterfly Valley. In summer, they tell visitors that the summer months are too hot for the butterflies, and that they need to visit in Spring/Autumn. Having only seen three butterflies in three years, I’m fairly certain that even with the minimal development in the valley, they have been scared away. Still my candidate for most beautiful spot on Earth :)

    • Hahaha that is crazy about the butterflies. There must have been so many in the past for it to be named Butterfly Valley! And we agree it is right up there for beautiful spots :)

  8. Angela says:

    Beautiful adventure and great shots, I miss Turkey!

  9. This sounds totally different from my experience in Butterfly Valley! I took a boat tour there…well, apparently I did, but I’m not sure if the boat went anywhere near it. We certainly didn’t set foot on land. I ended up with a horrific sunburn on my gorilla legs…it wasn’t fun when it started to peel.

    Anyhow, I’m glad you guys had an awesome experience and got some great shots! Although I think you’re clinically insane for going up to the waterfall of death and inching across that tiny ledge. I can feel myself plummeting to my death just thinking about it…

    • Can’t call ourselves the Adventure Couple if we sit on our asses all day Tom :) The ledge was a bit ridiculous but with a few other guys heading up I couldn’t be the one to sit back relaxing.

      Sucks you didn’t make it to Butterfly Valley itself but chilling in the sun on a boat, can’t really complain. Apart from the burns I guess!

  10. Wow, Butterfly Valley sounds like quite an adventure! I’m glad you decided to leave the camera behind when you went to the very top. Some photos are just not worth it. The photos you took are beautiful and it would be a huge loss if your readers didn’t get to see them :)

  11. Debbie says:

    That sounds like a great adventure! Glad you went beyond the sign and didn’t get hurt :) Beautiful shots.
    Debbie recently posted..Photo Of The Week: A Lion Playing In A TreeMy Profile

  12. Been twice and would go back in a heartbeat. Lovely place to visit. One of the best on the Med coast

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