Each year the town of Brihuega in Guadalajara, north of Madrid, holds a Lavender Festival. You can take guided tours of the fields and balloon rides above the fields until the end of July. Details from the Bruihuega Tourist Office here.
As you drive across the brown plateau above the town you suddenly come across spectacular purple fields. There are about a thousand hectares under cultivation, producing ten percent of the world’s lavender annually.
Last week we were sitting at the summit of the Abantos, the mountain high above San Lorenzo de El Escorial. After a few minutes we were joined by a small, confident fox who spent a few minutes with us before deciding we had no food to offer and wondering off over the hill.
You don’t need to travel far from Madrid to find something remarkable.
Within an easy drive of Madrid there is the beautifully preserved town of Pedraza. It made its money long ago through weaving and trading in merino wool, the quality of which rivalled the best Europe could produce. Today, the main industry is tourism, although there are still workshops producing furniture, pewter and ironwork. Well worth a visit.