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Butterfly Valley in Turkey

Our experience of exploring Butterfly Valley in Turkey and climbing to the base of the spectacular waterfall during our Sail Turkey cruise.

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Butterfly Valley

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:

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.

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25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. Natalie

    May 22, 2012 at 5:45 AM

    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!! 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      May 22, 2012 at 9:11 AM

      I was pretty nervous climbing up as well and had the same thoughts! Luckily there were others with us but I was running scenario’s in my head haha.

  2. Liv

    May 22, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    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!

    • Cole Burmester

      May 22, 2012 at 5:24 PM

      That is awesome Liv! It was an amazing spot and would hate to see it in the middle of summer when it is packed.

      • Liv

        May 23, 2012 at 11:48 AM

        But that’s the beauty of the place Cole – even in summer the beach never gets packed because it’s a bit of an effort to get to. Rarely more than a dozen people on the beach. Perfect!

        • Cole Burmester

          May 23, 2012 at 9:29 PM

          Wow that is awesome Liv! Guess we just showed up when there were 5 other boats there so seemed a bit busier…

  3. Sam

    May 22, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    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?

    • Cole Burmester

      May 22, 2012 at 5:23 PM

      Yea kind of got sidetracked away from the whole “butterfly” part didn’t I! We did see a few butterflies but it was out of season so nothing like we expected.

  4. Christy @ Technosyncratic

    May 23, 2012 at 12:30 AM

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

    • Cole Burmester

      May 23, 2012 at 9:46 AM

      The sign was pretty dramatic but peer pressure and the sense of adventure won over in this case 🙂

  5. Ali

    May 23, 2012 at 11:03 AM

    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

    May 26, 2012 at 9:37 AM

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

    • Cole Burmester

      May 26, 2012 at 4:20 PM

      We have so many places to go ourselves so will be going back sometime soon as well I think!

  7. Mayta

    June 5, 2012 at 7:30 PM

    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 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      June 6, 2012 at 8:13 AM

      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

    June 9, 2012 at 6:30 PM

    Beautiful adventure and great shots, I miss Turkey!

    • Cole Burmester

      June 10, 2012 at 3:25 PM

      We miss Turkey as well Angela! Although just in Italy now and damn it is good 🙂

  9. Waegook Tom

    June 13, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    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…

    • Cole Burmester

      June 13, 2012 at 7:07 PM

      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. Mary @ Green Global Travel

    July 13, 2012 at 6:30 PM

    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

    October 29, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    That sounds like a great adventure! Glad you went beyond the sign and didn’t get hurt 🙂 Beautiful shots.

    • Cole Burmester

      October 31, 2012 at 10:38 AM

      A little bit scary with the slippery rocks. But then again you need to live a little bit outside the norm in our opinion!

  12. Michael - TTC

    June 9, 2014 at 9:15 PM

    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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Adventure Travel

Walking the Camino de Santiago Photos

These are my favourite Camino de Santiago Photos from my pilgrimage along the French Way in March. A truly beautiful way to spend a few weeks.

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Puenta La Reina Bridge Camino Arrow

El Camino de Santiago kicked my ass. Well technically it kicked my feet. Turns out my minimal preparation for the Camino de Santiago was terrible. After a miserable effort of only 4 days, the doctor in Legrono told me that I wasn’t allowed to go on until me feet healed. I had walked just over 100 km’s and my feet were bloodied and blistered.

To be honest, I was relieved.

The thought of putting back on my shoes made my shudder. For the last 9 km’s I had stumbled along in jandals and socks. One of the travelling fashion sins I vowed I would never break.

Jandals on the Camino de Santiago

Jandals on the Camino de Santiago

So while I have unfinished business with the Way of St James (an upcoming post), I did want to share with you some of my favourite photos from the Camino de Santiago. Because I had yet to reach some of the more “unsavoury” parts of the Camino that Sherry Ott had discovered, every step of my pilgrimage had been beautiful.

Puenta La Reina Bridge Camino Arrow

Puenta La Reina Bridge – Camino de Santiago Arrows

There is no way you can get lost on the Camino de Santiago. Arrows, scallop shells and signs point you in the right direction at every bridge, road crossing and intersection.

Camino de Santiago Scallop Shell

Camino de Santiago Scallop Shell

Reaching the top of Alto Pedron gave views back the way I had come from Pamplona, as well as views to where I was going. The rocky path on the way down proved to be my ultimate downfall, as my too small shoes caused my toes to smash into the front.

Alto del Pedron Camino de Santiago

Alto del Pedron Camino de Santiago

Metal Pilgrims on Alto del Pedron

Metal Pilgrims on Alto del Pedron

There were so many beautiful old churches along the Camino de Santiago. But since I was walking in early March, it seemed that most were yet to open for the busier summer season.

Church of Obanos

The Church of Obanos

And between every small village the well-maintained pathways of the French Way wound across the spectacular Spanish countryside.

The French Way - Camino de Santiago

The French Way – Camino de Santiago Photos

Puenta La Reina

Puenta La Reina in the evening

Puenta La Reina has one of the most amazing bridges I have ever seen. It was also the 1st village I had the pleasure of sleeping in after busy Pamplona.

Puenta la Reina Bridge and Sunrise

Puenta la Reina Bridge at sunrise

Most mornings I was up and walking before the sun began to sprinkle across the horizon.

Spring flowers on the Camino de Santiago

Spring flowers on the Camino de Santiago

Pilgrims approaching Cirauqui, Spain

Pilgrims approaching Cirauqui, Spain

Every village and town was built on a small hill. Sure it looks beautiful until you realise you have to go back up again to go through them all!

Church of Santa Maria - Los Arcos

Church of Santa Maria in Los Arcos

While there were only about 20 pilgrims walking each section every day, it wasn’t uncommon for you to encounter them all. The people I met along the Camino de Santiago were some of the most inspiring and remarkable people I have ever spoken to. They are the ones that make the pilrgimage so special.

The endless French Way

The endless French Way

Irache Wine Fountain - Fuente del Vino

The free flowing Irache Wine Fountain or “Fuente del Vino”

Hay bales along the French Way

Hay bales along the French Way

Every village had at least one ancient church and it wasn’t uncommon to find them dotting the landscape in remote locations either.

Ermita de San Miguel

Ermita de San Miguel

Iglesia de San Andrés de Zariquiegui Church

Iglesia de San Andrés de Zariquiegui Church

I have travelled through Spain in the past, including cycling in Costa Brava and surfing in San Sebastian with both independent planning and a vacation planner. But having the opportunity to walk at my own pace through some of the most beautiful scenery in Spain on the Camino de Santiago has so far topped them all.

Natural arches - Camino de Santiago

Natural arches on the Camino de Santiago

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Adventure Travel

Hammock vs Tent Camping

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Camping with a hammock is slowly but surely becoming more popular in recent years with new and improved hammock designs being preferred by some campers, compared to the traditional tent.

In this article we will discuss some of the key benefits and drawbacks of sleeping without a tent, and analyze key criteria so that you can choose your preferred shelter choice!

Weatherproof

Most tents work well in the rain; however, you’ll need to bring a tarp if you’re using a hammock. Traditional hammocks are not waterproof, and are generally open at the top, allowing water to find itself inside if you don’t have an adequate tarp. Moreover, a decent under quilt is also a good idea so that you can stay warm and cozy during cold and stormy nights.

Packing up your hammock after a long night of rain isn’t too bad, whereas packing up a soaking wet tent is always annoying. You almost always get wet in the process.

Setup

For first time campers, pop-up tents are the simplest to setup. All you need to do is find flat ground, and bam, your setup is complete! The beauty of pop-up tents is that you don’t need to worry about figuring out where to insert the poles and erect the tent. Although, traditional tents are usually more robust, and have a longer life span.

Essentially, a tent is simple, but a hammock can become a little more complicated for first timers. You’ll need to find 2 trees facing a good direction and tie each end of the hammock to them. If your hammock setup is too tight, you will generally wake up with sore ancles, but if it’s too loose, you run the risk of the hammock touching the floor, and insects crawling in with you.

If your campground doesn’t have many trees, or if the trees are dead (they could break and injure you), hammock stands come to the rescue! Basically, hammock stands allow you to pitch a hammock if there are no trees nearby. They are portable, adjustable, and are easy to setup. The only drawback is that the ground should be relatively flat, whereas if you were to hang a hammock between 2 trees, there won’t be any stands touching the ground, so a rocky floor wouldn’t be a problem.

Comfort

One of the main reasons for choosing a hammock is the comfort that it provides you! It has a basically has in-built seat which is arguably more comfortable than a standard blow up mattress. You need to pick your tree’s wisely though! You don’t want a pinecone falling on your face mid-sleep.

If you have constant back pain and find it hard to sleep inside tents, you should give hammocks a try as they cause you to sleep sideways, similar to a banana shape, which a lot people find much more comfortable.

Price

Hammocks are usually lighter and don’t include a wealth of poles and gear that tents do. Depending on the type of hammock that you purchase, they are usually quite similar to tents. You can however, find very cheap tents <$60, but they most likely won’t last long.

A good tent or hammock can cost between $200-500 without accessories. If you need a hammock stand, that will add to your cost, just like a mattress and other tent necessities will to its cost.

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Adventure Travel

Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel

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Trekking through the valleys of Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys with Middle Earth Travel feels more like the set of a Star Wars movie than a historical region once carved out and lived in by humans. Churches, homes and pigeon houses are scattered throughout the valleys, all waiting to be explored. The best part is, Middle Earth Travel know all the hidden secrets.

Standing at the top of Cappadocia

Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel

On the 26th of July (which just so happens to be my birthday!) Middle Earth Travel took us on their private and guided Top of Cappadocia day trek. From Pasabag, along the top of Cappadocia and down through the Gulludere Rose Valley to Goreme, we trekked 15kms in one day! (We recommend getting your bearings with this map)

Upon arrival to the Middle Earth Offices, we were warmly greeted by our new friend Atil whom we had met a few days earlier while mountain biking through the Kizilcukur Red Valley. We were then introduced to our guide and given a briefing regarding the day. Normally, the Top of Cappadocia tour would start from Çavuşin, however, since we had already explored Çavuşin Castle, they adapted our tour to compensate ensuring we would explore new terrain!

With charged cameras, plenty of water and our running shoes on, we were driven to our starting point of Pasabag. We wandered through the fairy chimneys, coming across camels and markets – then the true hike began.

Pasabag in Cappadocia

The police station in Pasabag, Cappadocia

Camel in Pasabag, Cappadocia

Camel in Pasabag, Cappadocia

It was a slow and gentle incline. With no trees to provide shade, I quickly realised why our tour guide had chosen to wear fully covered clothing! As the sweat quickly set in (a waterfall in Moss’s case) we snapped away with our cameras and enjoyed the entertaining shapes of Imagine Valley and the amazing view. We also passed a lot of rock piles, which according to our guide mean ‘father’ and are built to help lead the way.

Animal shaped formations in Imagine Valley

Animal shaped formations in Imagine Valley

Middle Earth Travel, Cappadocia

Making our way to the top of Cappadocia

Father leading the way (rock pile)

Father leading the way (rock pile)

The higher we trekked, the more breath taking the views became! As we walked along the summit of Bozdag mountain (the Top of Cappadocia) we could see EVERTHING – Pasabag, Çavuşin Castle, Kizilcukur Red Valley, Gulludere Rose Valley and Goreme. We were on the Father of Valleys! After a quick nod of agreement to the guide, we pushed ourselves the extra distance and made our way to the flag, as this HAD to be the highest point and was definitely worth a photo and a selfie or two!

View from the top of Cappadocia

View from the top of Cappadocia

Flag at top of Cappadocia

From the flag we looked down upon Aktepe Hill which is known as a popular destination for watching the sun set and could spot Kizilvadi Restaurant, our destination for lunch! Kizilvadi Restaurant is an attraction of its own. With its own historic winery and Grape church, plus some Middle Earth Travel treks even stay there for the night! After having a massive feed of soup, salad and pasta plus a surprise birthday cake, we made our way down into Gulludere Rose Valley.

Kizilvadi Restaurant

Kizilvadi Restaurant

The scenery is amazing, with strong colours visible in perfect layers on the chimneys, you would wonder what an artist was thinking, had it been a painting. Also, hidden to the side of the track we walked across a little bridge and not expecting anything to be there we were wowed by the massive church carved. It was absolutely huge and hard to believe that its most recent use has been as a pigeon house!

Coloured chimneys in Cappadocia

Coloured chimneys in Cappadocia

Pigeon houses in Cappadocia

Pigeon houses in Cappadocia

Church in Gulludere Rose Valley

Hard to believe this Church is carved inside a fairy chimney!

Middle Earth Travel Review

  • The team at Middle Earth Travel were extremely knowledgeable and certainly know Cappadocia’s hidden secrets. They have friendships with local tea garden owners which is also of benefit as it gained us entry to locked churches and hidden rooms that we would not have otherwise seen.
  • We covered a lot of ground, however we did not feel rushed. The whole day focused on showing us the region, therefore we had as much time as we needed to explore each church and to take ‘just one more photo’.
  • It wasn’t all about trekking. With a whole day and 15kms to cover, there were a few silly poses (especially in Imagine Valley), and we learnt a lot about the myths, legends and way of life in Cappadocia.
  • In conclusion I highly recommend Middle Earth Travel if you wish to go trekking or mountain biking in Cappadocia.
  • Cost: Day treks with Middle Earth Travel range from 50-90 euro, depending on the number of people taking part. This includes lunch, guide, vehicle transfers and entrance fees to historical sites, but excludes alcoholic and soft drinks.
  • Middle Earth Travel are outdoor enthusiasts and offer multi-day over night treks, mountain biking, abseiling, or custom made itineraries, in multiple regions throughout Turkey.
  • www.middleearthtravel.com

Disclaimer: We were provided with a discount for the trek with Middle Earth Travel, however, as always our thoughts on our adventure travel blog our own.

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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