Seven Springs (Eptà Pigès, Επτά Πηγές) is a great place to escape from the heat of the summer and enjoy a magnificent natural scenery. It is a romantic destination surrounded by woodland and green, distant about 30 km from the capital, on the road that leads from Kolymbia to Archipolis and Eleousa, towards the mountain area of the island. The seven bubbling springs generate water all year long, culminating in a small man-made lake that provides a natural habitat to tortoises, eels, crabs and a rare fish species called Gizanithat lives exclusively in the creeks of Rhodes.

The access to the lake is really popular with visitors and a tremendous experience. The combination of crystal-clear waters with pine and plate trees creates a peaceful scenery, offering the visitor relaxing moments. To get to the lake you have to walk through a very narrow dark tunnel 186 m long. The tunnel, constructed back in 1931, leads the water of the seven springs and river Loutanis to the lake. Almost at the middle its length, there is a well used as an air-shaft. Walking through the dark tunnel with your feet in the running water, is an eerie yet exciting and unforgettable experience that can be particularly refreshing. If you don’t fancy the trip through the tunnel, then you can simply follow a walking path to the lake.

The lake itself is about 200 m in length, 10 to 50 m wide and from 1 to 8 m deep and has a small cascade at its narrow end. It is used as a depository for the irrigation of Kolymbia region. It is the only place in Rhodes where visitors can enjoy a swim in fresh water. Surrounding the springs are beautiful cool pine trees and rich vegetation. There are many little rustic bridges and rivers, numerous footpaths and the area is known for the geese, ducks and peacocks wandering through the woods.

The area belongs to a Natura 2000 1 protected zone (GR4210006) together with the Valley of Butterflies (Petaloùdes, Πεταλούδες) and Mt. Profitis Elias2.

Valley Of Butterflies

The Valley of Butterflies (Petaloùdes,Πεταλούδες) is a natural park located at a distance of 23 km from the capital Rhodes. Belongs to a Natura 20001 protected zone (GR4210006) together with Seven Springs (Eptà Pigès, Επτά Πηγές)and Mt. Profitis Elias2. It is the place where tiger moths of the species Panaxia Quadripunctaria gather in summer. This species of butterfly is common in the Mediterranean, in Europe and in Western Asia. In Greece it is also found in Crete and other islands, and in the southern part of the mainland Greece.

A small river, named Pelecanos, flows down to a narrow valley, ending with a waterfall that tumbles into a green pool. On the bends there is a forest of Zitia , a species of tree that excretes an aromatic raisin, which is said to attracts the butterflies. The combination of the valley’s microclimate with its exceptional flora, creates the ideal environment for the breed of a large population of caterpillars, that live on the trees and feed from the tender leaves.

In the beginning of June, the caterpillar is transformed to a beautiful moth and moves towards the wetter areas. Flying only during the night, the butterflies spend the entire summer into the cool, humid habitat of the valley. They mate during the last weeks of August and in September, most females fly away from the valley – in some cases they fly for more than 25 km – to lay their eggs in safe dark places, preferably among bushes and the plants and then die.

During the summer visitors can observe a unique phenomenon that made the valley famous. Millions of months gathered on the trees, in some cases covering entire tree trunks, resting for the night. Aside from the butterflies, the valley is full of lush vegetation and rich fauna. Surrounded by huge rocks, century-old trees and the flowing crystalline water, a narrow pebbly pathway with wooden bridges will guide you through a scenery of rare beauty until you reach the top of the creek. Lower, in the entry of the valley, there is a small but interesting Natural History Museum where visitors can learn more about the valley of Butterflies its unique ecosystem. There is also a souvenir shop and a restaurant.

Picture Credit – Discover Rhodes