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The Lavender Fields of Croatia

Lavender seekers should definitely head to the island of Hvar in Croatia. The small village of Velo Grablje has beautiful lavender fields that look like a spreading purple carpet in late June and early July.

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Lavender on island Hvar Croatia, meadow brown butterfly
A meadow brown butterfly in a lavender field on the Croatian island of Hvar. Photo: Nino Marcutti / Alamy Stock Photo / Be&W

Let’s travel in our imagination to the Croatian island of Hvar. In the very inconspicuous village of Velo Grablje, it is here that the country’s largest cultivation of lavender began. It all began in 1928 when two professors – Antun Bradanović and Frano Tabain – came to the village. They visited the island to help the locals fight a dangerous pest that was destroying the vineyards.

The Croatian purple carpet

During their visit, the professors gave the local farmer three lavender seedlings with a request to propagate them. This was to protect other vegetation from those nasty pests. Although the locals were generally skeptical, farmer Bartholomew Tomčić enthusiastically planted the lavender seedlings given to him, believing they would begin to multiply in time. To everyone’s surprise, the lavender quickly grew, and its cultivation began to yield huge profits. The public immediately changed its mind about lavender, and Tomčić himself became the forerunner of lavender cultivation in Croatia.

In the second half of the 20th century, a huge production of lavender oil began, and its largest producer in Dalmatia was Lorenco Tudor. He was named the “King of Lavender,” and the village of Velo Grablje was dubbed the “village of billionaires.” In 1974, Croatia was the eighth-largest producer of lavender in the world. In 1997, a fire destroyed huge areas of lavender, thus causing a decline in production. As of today, lavender is still grown on the island, but no longer to the same extent as it once was.

Lavender festival

Today, the village of Velo Grablje is deserted and has about ten permanent residents. Thanks to the lavender festival, this small village regains its joy and fullness of life for a few weeks. Every year in late June and early July, a festive lavender festival is celebrated here. Participation in such a festival gives you an unforgettable experience.

Suppose you are able to imagine sizable fields of blooming lavender – a purple, boundless landscape. On top of that, feel the sweet lavender fragrance wafting in the air. This is what the lavender fields of Velo Grablje look like. For those few weeks, this place turns into a real lavender land you can access. All you have to do is visit the island of Hvar during the days of the lavender festival.

During the ongoing festival, in addition to seeing the lavender fields, you can delve into the secrets of lavender farming. During this event, a tour of the lavender museum is available to all visitors, where you can see the machinery and tools used in processing the flowers.

Lavender love

While on the island of Hvar, it is a must to purchase some lavender souvenirs. Here you can buy lavender essential oils, lavender perfumes, and candles. Lavender honey – a specialty of the island – is very popular, especially the one bought at a family farm will allow you to enjoy the wonderful taste and aroma and benefit from its health properties. You can bring bags of dried lavender to your loved ones as a gift. This is a great idea for a gift from the island. The scent of lavender will surely appeal to them and bring a smile to their faces.

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