Every July for 7 years now, the lavender fields of Brihuega, Spain become a natural stage for sunset concerts. Festival de La Lavanda is possibly one of my greatest Secret Spain tips yet.
When I came up with my little Secret Spain idea, I had set out to become an explorer in my new home away from home.
But I had only a faint idea of the surprises this beautiful country had in store for me.
So imagine my wonder and excitement when, while searching for how to get from Barcelona to La Provence in France, I instead came across the beautiful lavender fields of Brihuega, Spain.
But where exactly is Brihuega, and why should you visit?
Brihuega: The Lavender Garden of Alcarria
Unjustly called The Spanish La Provence (after all, whoever decided that lavender is endemic to France, and France only!) over 10,000 hectares of lavender grow in the fields surrounding Brihuega.
This, believe it or not, accounts for 10% of the world production! A rather significant amount, once you put it into perspective.
Brihuega is a small but very nice Spanish village. Before the lavender craze, the village was mainly known for its historic landmarks such as the Arabic caves, the cathedral, and the bullring.
Brihuega boasts picture-perfect fields of lavender – with a twist!
The twist is Festival de la Lavanda.
The thirty-something fragrant lavender fields spread along the GU 925 route provide a beautiful visual teaser on your way to the Brihuega Lavender Festival, at its seventh edition already.
The Lavender Festival started off as an intimate event between friends, but soon caught the eye of many, becoming an iconic local event in Brihuega.
The event is typically scheduled for two evenings, the middle of July: when the sun is shining, the skies are clear and the lavender is nearly ready to harvest.
The artists are different each year, and 2018 was the year of flamenco and boleros. We only attended the second evening, when Café Quijano enchanted young and old alike with their love songs amid lavender fields at sunset.
It was one of those memories that last a lifetime.
Festival de la Lavanda
The Festival de la Lavanda (English for Lavender Festival) is a serendipitous initiative launched 7 years go by the owner of a lavender field, which grew in popularity almost overnight, probably thanks to social media.
You can visit their official website here: Festival de la Lavanda
The sunset concert in the midst of lavender fields did not take long to become an absolute hit.
After all, listening to authentic Spanish music whilst sipping on cava and (like this year) tasting Michelin starred food is not something you can easily decline 0 lavender or no lavender.
Once you add the magic ingredients, lavender & sunsets, it’s a done deal.
Visits to Brihuega have boomed as a result of the music festival, most concentrating in the lavender flowering period. Over 20,000 people are expected to visit in 2018.
Here is some practical information for attending the Festival de la Lavanda:
Location: Some 100km from Madrid. Accessible by car but limited accessibility by public transport
When to Go: The Lavender Festival is organized around July 15 of each year. The month during which harvest begins.
The tickets sell out rather quickly so book in advance.
What to Expect: Spanish music concerts in the lavender fields of Brihuega, at dusk. The event sometimes includes exclusive gastronomic experiences.
New in 2018, there were also active events planned, such as the Lavender Trail( later canceled, perhaps due to low interest)
Practical Tips for Attending Festival de la Lavanda
Transportation: If you can, rent a car from Madrid. The festival is working with a taxi company to facilitate transport to the fields and back. But: it’s expensive! A roundtrip car hire (Tesla) from Madrid to Brihuega will cost you 300€!
Our option was to take the train from Madrid airport to Guadalajara (5.5€ one way) and we booked a taxi to the lavender fields (58€ one way). The fields are some 50km away from Guadalajara.
Accommodation: not a wealth of options, our choice was the AC Hotel by Marriott in Guadalajara (77€/ night, breakfast included)
If you’re looking to splurge, Niwa Hotel and Spa in Brihuega will do the trick, although you’ll have to book months in advance (it was fully booked for that weekend 4 months in advance)
Book using the link below and you’ll get € 15 off
Dress code: All White. People do stick to the dress code, and so should you: the hot July sun will explain perfectly why.
Take comfy shoes, you are in the countryside after all. Also pack sunglasses, a sun hat and a blouse will come in handy after the sun sets.
Timing: The concerts typically start at 9 PM, but the organizers recommend you get there at around 7 PM.
Traffic can get quite hectic and easily congested on these rural roads. Why be stuck in traffic when you can smell the lavender?
Food & Drinks: The festival serves drinks and some small nibbles if you want to
Photography: Photographs are of course allowed and encouraged. There were even a few drones this year, though my guess would be they will be soon regulated. And although the tantalizing, Insta-perfect lavender fields are a joy to look at and snap pictures of, nighttime photography aficionados will also especially love Brihuega’s clear summer skies, where the Milky Way shines at its best!
Note for those with Allergies!! If you’re allergic to flowers or bees, this is not exactly the place for you. There will be plenty of dust as well.
I wholeheartedly recommend this unique experience, if you’re looking to Travel.Differently.