Greek Adventure: Pefkos, Lindos, and Butterfly Valley

We arrived on Rhodes, Greece, late in the evening and picked up a rental car so we could explore the island over the next few days. Mike had booked an Airbnb on the coast, but it was dark when we arrived at the apartment in Pefkos (also known as Pefki). We were greeted by the owner’s mother, who had baked a cake for the boys. “Children are always hungry!” she said.

Imagine our delight when we awoke the next morning, opened the curtains, and took in this view from our private balcony!

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The view from our private terrace at the Airbnb we rented in Pefkos

We were starving after a good night’s sleep, so we took off down the coast in search of a restaurant with a hearty breakfast. We stumbled upon Coralli Restaurant, with a beautiful courtyard and an extensive menu. After we finished our meal, the waiter encouraged us to explore the property, which, as it turns out, was a full-blown resort.

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A side view of Coralli Restaurant from the beach in Pefkos

In addition to the restaurant, there was a large bar, an outdoor cocktail area with tinkling fountains and tropical plants, a swimming pool lined with comfortable lounge chairs and umbrellas, and a boardwalk that led to private tiki-style pavilions that could be rented for the day. Forgot your sunscreen or wanted a beer? There was also a grocery and sundries store on site.

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An aerial view of the Coralli Restaurant in Pefkos

Below the main level was a lush, grassy terrace with outdoor daybeds overlooking the beach. It was vacation heaven!

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The boys enjoying the swinging daybed on a grassy terrace above the beach at Coralli in Pefkos

While sightseeing and exploring are always a big component of our trips, we don’t always make time for plain old relaxing. Coralli encouraged us to do that while we were in Pefkos. There was plenty of reading by the pool for me, snorkeling and swimming for the boys, and drone flying for Mike.

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Ben and Zack playing pool at Coralli Restaurant in Pefkos

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Ben snorkeling off the shore of Coralli in Pefkos, Rhodes, Greece

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The boys with the friendly and accommodating staff of Coralli Restaurant in Pefkos, Rhodes, Greece

While we could easily have spent all of our time in Pefkos at the Coralli, there was so much more to see. We took a day trip to Lindos, which was just 20 minutes or so up the road, to see their ancient acropolis.

The city of Lindos was founded in 10th century BC, which makes the old town and its monuments archaeologically fascinating. Among other things, you can see the Temple of Athena Lindia, dating from about 300 BC; the relief of a Rhodian trireme warship carved into the rock at the base of the acropolis steps, which dates to about 180 BC; the remains of a Roman temple from approximately 300 AD; and the Castle of the Knights of St. John, which was constructed some time prior to 1317. It’s all surrounded by an old city with winding streets that deposit you at the base of one of the hills you must climb to see the ancient structures.

The boys were itching for an adventure, so we told them they could meet us at the top of the hill. The town of Lindos only has 700 residents, and all of the streets in the old city are pedestrian-only. Plus, you could see the acropolis from everywhere in town, which made it an easy destination. What we didn’t realize was that there were two different ways you could approach the top.

Mike and I climbed up the first path we found and sat at a little cafe while we waited for the boys to join us. We sipped on beers and made friends with the donkeys that had carted some of the other acropolis visitors up the steep hillside.

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One of our new Lindosian friends

After our second beer, we began to worry about the boys, who weren’t answering their cell phones. Mike went off in search of them while I stayed put in case they passed by the cafe.

Mike found them pretty quickly after he discovered the second acropolis approach. Turns out, they’d decided to do a bit of shopping but couldn’t find anywhere to exchange some American money into Euros. All was well, and they’d had a blast exploring on their own.

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A view of the harbor of Lindos from atop the acropolis

After we reached the summit, we took in the breathtaking views of the Lindos harbor. On the eastern side of the island of Rhodes, Lindos sits in a large bay and faces the fishing village of Charaki.

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Modern restorations and ancient architecture coexist at the acropolis of Lindos

The ancient structures of the Lindos acropolis weren’t surrounded by the scaffolding we saw at the Parthenon in Athens, so it was much easier to imagine what it might have been like to experience life there in 400 BC. The acropolis of Lindos was also far less crowded than the acropolis of Athens, so we were able to take our time and explore at a more comfortable pace. Some of the buildings and monuments were remarkably well preserved, while others have been restored over the years. It was well worth the visit.

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After a day of exploring, we headed back to Coralli for dinner before resting up for our next adventure on Rhodes.

The following day we ventured to Petaloudes, home of Butterfly Valley. This 600-acre nature park filled with Oriental Sweetgum trees is a resting point for the Jersey Tiger moth. We paid our €6 per person entry fee and rambled through the lush, quiet forest with its melodious waterfalls and dappled sunlight.

Butterfly Valley

(photo: Wikimedia Commons)

One of the rules of Butterfly Valley is that you must keep your voice at a whisper. The lovely little moths come to this region in the final phase of their lives, when they cannot eat and must rest to conserve energy. Loud noises make them fly away, which burns valuable fuel.

Jersey Tiger Moths

Jersey Tiger moths camouflaged on an Oriental Sweetgum tree (photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Jersey Tiger moths are camouflaged in a black and yellow pattern that disguises them on the Oriental Sweetgum trees while they sleep, but their undersides are a brilliant cherry red. Some visitors can’t help but startle the moths to see the pretty colors; these are usually rambunctious children who must be shushed by their parents. However, on the day we visited, there was a boisterous German fellow banging through the woods with his girlfriend and trying to scare the moths. Zack couldn’t help but ask the guy why he was doing it, and the man admitted he wanted to see the moths fly, even if it meant their death.

Jersey Tiger Moth by Trek Earth

The Jersey Tiger moth’s beautiful red underwings (photo: Vislou via Trek Earth)

After we distanced ourselves from the couple, it was a very lovely, peaceful day, and we were lucky enough to see some moths fly of their own accord.

But enough of this cool, quiet forest with its pretty little moths—we had a yacht to catch! Join us on the rest of our Greek adventure as we sail the Dodecanese Islands.