Lavender is a plant that we often use as herb in various healing potions, or as essential oil, or as perfume. The photogenicity of the lavender fields is indisputable – this is what we are assured of each year by the hundreds of romantic shots of purple infinity. Our first geographical association with lavender is the Provence region in France. The idea of an impromptu leap to lavender fields has been repeatedly concealed. 💜
We are sitting in a particularly hot summer Sunday in Sofia, wondering if it is humane to be so hot. The summer colds are raging, we are sweating and we are frustrated. At one point, is strikes our heads that Bulgaria is a powerful lavender producer (we read so a while ago) and it is just the beginning of July – lavender shoots online come to prove this. The last straw comes when we see some beautiful artistic photographs on the fields (hi Tsveti, if you’re here 😊) – we decide to go hunting for lavender!
No, we will not pick them and kill them – we’ll go on a photo shoot! Our mission is rapidly developing: 1. Will the Rose Valley be called the Provence in Bulgaria? 2. Will we find photogenic lavender fields? 3. Are there going to be cool photos? Anyway we are sweating all the time in the heat, so let’s sweat over lavender! Our hope is to get a better aroma back home.
The Bulgarian Provence – the Rose Valley
We grab the car and go down the Sub-Balkan Road. If you drove along it, you know it’s photogenic in its own right. But we are on a mission – we are looking for lavender. We noticed some to the left, but until we find where to stop and we found ourselves in some barley. Nace took some photos there – it was a great bonus! We also shot the small lavender array. Then we drove, and drove – suddenly we saw some huge purple fields. That’s where the real quest-saga started. But we are sure there are many other fields – the question is whether they are private and how free is access to them.
And the effect of interacting with lavender is undeniable – the aroma has a calming effect, especially when we’ve put so much effort to spot it and we’ve had some crazy off-road driving along dirt roads. And we all know that lavender can protect you from scorpions (from this movie). Maybe even from evil spirits. The Bulgarian Provence comes with several challenges but has its own charm and unrivaled beauty!
Lavender blooms from mid June to the end of July. That is why we must also look for the right time to enjoy their purple blooms. This is true for both Provence in France and the Rose Valley in Bulgaria.
How to find the lavender fields?
First we were after a village on the road – Rozino. Then we continued to the village of Tarnicheni, but on the way we saw massive fields. We crossed a train line along a dirt road and saw a man. He said, “It’s up there, there are roses, there is lavender too!”. Following the advice of a local (or at least that’s what we were hoping for), we continued offroading on narrow black roads across beautiful fields. Some had roses, others had other plantings. There was no lavender. Except for several single stalks.
At some point we felt that we were driving along a tourist hiking route to Sokolna hut. The road disappeared and we decided to go back. We took another dirt road and saw big fields. Lavender fields. The most purple and beautiful was private and well-fenced with barbed wire. Somewhere around the village of Tazha, there was the real deal. We took photos outside the fence, the sunset was already coming. We hurried to the more accessible fields, we hugged lavender, we prayed to the wind – the life of the travel-photographers.
As a conclusion, if you want to know how to find lavender in Bulgaria: you need to have faith, also a map, and you have to listen to your own inner voice.
How to photograph lavender?
From our brief practical experience, we can share some tips and tricks how to make cool pictures with lavender fields.
- We recommend that there be at least one other interesting thing in the photo, for example another object: tree, sunset, donkey or a person/people. We got lucky with the sunset, and we posed for enough pictures (still not sure if the latter was good or bad idea 😉). Dress up with something that contrasts well with purple.
- Lavender may not be well lined up and in a huge array, so other photo-shooting ideas are macro photography and considering separate stalks. Anything you feel like, just do it! You may not find a better field, better location or better light.
- Editing is very important – much of the lavender is not as purple at all as we imagined. Perhaps we have not hit the most purple fields, perhaps something else. Many pictures of lavender tend to be blue-ish – Nace doesn’t like this (because it looks unrealistic) and tries to bring back their true purple color.
- Selfies are a must! Photos with purple lavender will highlight your nice face features, even make you look thinner! And who does not want this?
The result – a photo gallery
Congratulations! You’ve gotten here, so we’ve got more pictures of our lavender quest for you. Thank you for your patience and we hope the following is rewarding!
Whether and how we did on our mission, please do let us know in the comments. It was a very interesting afternoon, over 400km around the Rose Valley, a few times getting lost, laughter, disappointment, excitement, thunder! An impromptu search for lavender fields, bonus barley fields, lots of dust and romance! We can not wait until next year!