Butterfly Valley when approaching by boat. The village of Faralya is at the far top of the canyon, invisible in this angle.
Faralya is a village in Lycia, Turkey.
About 15 km south of Ölüdeniz (and 30 km south of Fethiye), Faralya was known simply as the "village on the cliffs of the Butterfly Valley" until recently, when travellers start to take a deeper look to the village. The village itself is quite a pleasant sight to see, with its houses and gardens cascading towards the cliffs of the Valley.
Faralya is officially named Hisar Mahallesi (quarter) of Uzunyurt (a "village" actually made up of 4-5 seperate hamlets as these hamlets don't have enough population to make them officially declared to be villages), though just "Uzunyurt" almost always refer to Faralya. However, almost nobody but the officials use this name and the village is always referred to by its ancient name of Faralya whether it be by the minibus signs or travel agencies.
There are minibuses (dolmuş) to the village from Ölüdeniz, continuing on to Kabak.
A narrow and winding, but tarmac (and sectionally potholed) road connects the village to Ölüdeniz, where it joins the main highway towards Fethiye near the Blue Lagoon. Though the distance is not that huge, it takes about 30 minutes to drive this road because of the conditions.
During high season (June-August) there are boats three times a day (11AM/2PM/4PM) from Ölüdeniz to the Butterfly Valley. They cost 15 TL pp return. Keep the ticket you'll be given upon getting on the boat in Ölüdeniz, it'll be asked for when getting on the boat that will take you back at the Butterfly Valley.
Hiking from Ovacık, 2 km north of Ölüdeniz, is also an option thanks to the Lycian Way which passes through the main road of the village. Most hikers do this 16-km section in one day, however two days combined with camping a night up in the mountains is much more comfortable, especially in summer.
Hitchhiking the road between Ölüdeniz and Faralya is super-easy, at least in summer when there are lots of holiday-makers travelling with their cars.
The village and the Butterfly Valley are connected by a very steep (dropping from the village's elevation of 350 mt to sea level at canyon bottom) and somewhat dangerous path, some sections of which require a little bit of mountaneering skills. It usually takes around 45 minutes to one hour to do the entire path—climbing up of which is unusually said to be easier than climbing down—but there are some fit travellers who are reported to do it in a little more than 20 minutes. The path starts from in front of the guesthouse George House up in the village and marked with red dots all along it.
Butterfly Valley as seen from the village
- Butterfly Valley (Kelebekler Vadisi), . "Discovered" by hippies in 1990s when their much beloved Blue Lagoon was lost to mass tourism, this 250 metres to 1 km canyon itself is following the steps of the Lagoon nowadays with much more day-trippers than it was a decade ago. Its name comes from a large swarm of endemic butterflies, the habitat of which is near the waterfalls on the canyon wall furthest from the sea. The view of the canyon from the village above is just as—if not more—beautiful as the view it has when you are in.
- Lycian sacrophagus, (at the exit of the village towards Kabak, on the gentle slope on the left side of the road). Since you are in Lycia, there is a (sole) sacrophagus to be seen here, too.
There are no ATMs in the village and almost no establishments accept credit cards, the one down at the Butterfly Valley being an exception. Nearest ATMs are located in Ölüdeniz and further away in Fethiye.
- Faralya Market, (on the road to Kabak, about 2-3 km from village). The only grocery store of the village which offers a very meager selection of vegetables, snacks, and drinks. No credit cards.
- There is also a small kiosk offering prepackaged snacks, drinks, and cigarettes down at the Butterfly Valley. However, be ready for paying twice or even three times more than elsewhere for anything you buy there. For short trips, it is best to bring your supplies from elsewhere with you.
Inside the Butterfly Valley, you have two options to overnight, the bungalows or camping in a tent, both of which are rented by the same establishment. While you don't have to carry your tent, the tents offered by the establishment there fills out quickly in high season, so you may have to bring your own...although this won't make any difference at the fee you'll be paying. During the high season (June-Sept), staying in a bungalow costs 45 TL/night pp, while overnighting in a tent costs 35 TL/night pp. The prices gradually fall towards winter, with the lowest being 22 TL/night pp between November and March. All prices are half-board, i.e. include breakfast and dinner.
If you choose to stay up in the village itself, you have a number of guesthouses and hotels to choose from:
- Die Wassermühle, (on the main road, at the entrance of the village from Ölüdeniz), ☎ +90 252 642-12-45 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +90 252 642-11-79), . A nicely decorated hotel housed in the former watermill of the village located next to a little creek and waterfall. Starts from € 53 double.
- George House, (on the slope towards the Butterfly Valley, follow the sign on the main road), ☎ +90 252 642-11-02, +90-535-793-21-12 (mobile) (email@example.com), . Immediately on the cliffs of the Butterfly Valley, this family-run guesthouse is reported to be one of the most pleasant places to stay in Faralya. They also allow you to pitch your tent on the premises for free, however, they require you to have your meals there, then. 30 TL pp half board (including breakfast and dinner). About 17 TL pp a day (for meals) if you choose to camp at the yard.
- Mandarin Boutique Hotel, Faralya (behind the market), ☎ +90 252 642-10-02 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Hotel with sea and mountain views; offering 8 stunning rooms, with 4 poster super kingsize beds, double size jacuzzi, delicious homemade organic food and wines. Outdoor pool with separate outdoor jacuzzi. Adult only, ideal for couples, and honeymooners. Standard double rooms € 245 in season (Jul-Sep), cheaper in other months.
If you are short on cash, you can also wild camp safely around the village, even near the cliffs of the Butterfly Valley - the focus of the attention around there, given that you have camping gear. Just be discreet -away from the sight of houses and the road, there are many bushes there that can hide you, and erect your tent at about the night starts to fall.
- Faralya Art House (Kabak Valley), KARABAGLAR MAH. NO. 35, KABAK MEVKI - FARALYA (FETHIYE - MUGLA), ☎ +90 5362683001, . checkin: 06; checkout: 12.00. Faralya Art House is a small guesthouse in Kabak Koyu with five comfortable rooms and a campsite with bungalows and tents. It is located far from the madding tourist crowd, but the touristic area is close enough (Oludeniz sixteen kilometers and Fethiye 28 km) for a nice evening out. Faralya is one of the most beautiful and unspoilt scenic areas in Turkey. It has woods, mountains and always a view of the sea. It is full of historical monuments and authentic villages and you can walk for hours and hours without ever meeting other people. € 10.
The path between the village and the Valley is a dangerous one, with two young backpackers having died when attempting the route in the last decade. Never ever take shortcuts and always stick to the route marked with red dots - taking a shortcut was the reason of death of one of the backpackers. Make sure you know what you are doing at every step - no dreams about taking a seabath on that azure coast! Attempting the route with a heavy backpack is almost suicidal so leave anything you won't need at which side (up or down) you're staying at. The path from beach to the waterfalls inside the Valley also requires some attention.
Faralya's telephone code is (+90) 252.
The area is within the coverage of GSM networks.
- Kabak is a village 8 km further to the south, literally a dead-end as the road from Ölüdeniz through Faralya ends there, giving way to complete wilderness (which is, however, still accessible on foot via Lycian Way). Kabak also has a canyon (called Kabak Koyu) similar to the Butterfly Valley (with cliffs opening to the sea at one side, with waterfalls and so on...), though Kabak's canyon is more accessible than the Butterfly Valley: a dirt road—which will behave very badly on cars, so leave it at the upper village (from where a dolmuş with a fixed price of 30 or 35 TL no matter how many passengers it carries can be caught)—connects the village with the canyon. However, Kabak the village is less accessible than Faralya, the tarmac road goes only as far as the southern exit of Faralya (the direction of Kabak), turning into a dirt road (which is, however, wide enough for two cars passing side by side). There are also minibuses there from Faralya. In both the canyon's beach and upper village of Kabak, a number of guesthouses can be found.
- If you are in for a little bit of adventure, you may return back to Ölüdeniz by hiking the Lycian Way instead of taking the minibus. When hiking in this direction (i.e. Faralya to Ölüdeniz, or south to north), there is only a short (albeit, steep) ascending section right at the beginning of the trail just out of Faralya, then it's almost always gently descending all the way to Ölüdeniz through a beautiful pine forest, along some amazing cliffs, and with unforgettable views over Blue Lagoon. Remember that the last 8-km towards Ölüdeniz (the section after the mountain hamlet of Kozağaç) has no water source along the path, though.