Rosa Damascena

Rosa Damascena

Why is there a Bulgarian Rose Festival?

Did you know that Bulgaria is the world's largest producer of oil extracted from the rose flower?, This oil is then exported and used in multiple products such as chocolates, jams, spirits, and of course perfumes, many of which if they are of quality have this component in their mixtures, as for example in the Chanel Nº5 and many others…



The main area for growing the rose is next to the city of Kazanlak in central Bulgaria. At harvest time more than a couple of thousand people manually pick each rose. The importance of this crop and the industry it generates is a source of pride for Bulgarians who celebrate the harvest season with a colorful Festival.


Bulgarian Rose Festival in Kazanlak

Antique alembic for distilling rose oil during the Kazanlak Rose Festival


Dates of the Rose Festival.

The Bulgarian Rose Festival in Kazanlak is held at the beginning of each June, specific, being the main day of the festival the first Sunday of the month of June. The festival is therefore short-lived, 3 oh 4 days and in them many possibilities are concentrated for visitors. Some of these activities are the following: pick your own roses in the huge rose fields near Kazanlak, visit factories for the distillation of rose oil from its flower petals, go to jam tastings, rose-flavored cakes and liqueurs, visit the Museum of the Rose and of course enjoy the parade, performances and festivities that take place during the Kazanlak festival.

A Rose Festival is also held in the neighboring city of Karlovo, at the end of May, another in the city of Strelcha also the 30 May and also in Pavel Banya the 14 of June. The events of these rose festivals are similar to that of Kazanlak but concentrated in a single day.

But if you cannot visit Bulgaria on the dates of these festivals, then you have the option of knowing the Valley of the Roses at any time of the year because even if there are no special events you can always visit the Museum of the Kazanlak Rose, the house-museums where the ancient process is shown and even the rose oil distillation factories, that although they are inoperative outside the rose season, we know some that are open to visits all year…

rose oil homemade

Homemade rose oil production

Bulgarian rose flavor

Rose flavored jam and liqueurs








Kazanlak Festival Events.

The big day of the Bulgarian Rose Festival in Kazanlak in 2020 It will be the day 7 June and as in previous years there will be a colorful parade in which local young people throw rose petals to the attendees, there are groups of men dancing with the ancestral costumes of "kukeri", groups from local schools attend, many dressed in regional folk costumes and all in a festive atmosphere accompanied by popular music and dances. Furthermore, on the last day of the Festival, one of the local young women is chosen "The Queen of the Rose".

Bulgarian Rose Festival Parade

Bulgarian Rose Festival Parade

Trajes de & quot; Kukeri"

Costumes “Kukeri”










Of course, because it's harvest time, all the time that is spent there, whether in the city or in the fields, you are surrounded by an incredible smell of fresh rose. The doors and windows of the house are decorated with roses, and each woman wears some rose in her hair.
What I like most about the Bulgarian Rose Festival is how happy everyone is. You can guess how proud Bulgarians are of their country and its traditions by the joyous faces and smiles they show throughout the festival..

The History of the Rose Festival.

The first Rose Festival was held in the Rose Valley of Bulgaria in 1903 because this was the main rose growing area for the extraction of rose oil. It is said that its cultivation was brought from ancient Persia in the Middle Ages and soon became a product exported to the rest of the world. The species that is cultivated is the "Rosa Damascena". As the story tells, rose growers, they dressed the most beautiful women with roses to show the quality of the roses to potential buyers and hence the tradition of choosing a "Queen of the Rose" during the Festival.

Collecting the Bulgarian Rose flowers

Collecting the Bulgarian Rose flowers

Reina de el Festival de la Rosa de Bulgaria

Queen of the Rose Festival








How to plan the trip to the Valley of Roses.

The harvest time is very short, only 25 days, and each rose is hand-picked, one by one. Rose oil is called there "liquid gold" (as we do in Spain with our olive oil) because to get a single gram of rose oil it is necessary to collect a few 1.300 roses, as I said before, by hand.


Bulgarian Rose Festival in Kazanlak

Picking roses by hand


The Bulgarian Rose Festival in Kazanlak is more than just a party, it is a rich cultural legacy and will soon reach fame in the rest of Europe, so if you go to travel to Bulgaria on those dates we recommend that you meet him, Count on us to take you there and guide you through the most outstanding places and activities of the festival, most of them require advance reservation and payment of a ticket, before the start of the Festival. It is highly recommended plan well a visit to the festival to be able to join one of the groups that collect roses by hand, which is done in the neighboring towns to Kazanlak where the rose growing fields are located.

Here is our travel proposal of 8 days that also visit the Karlovo Rose Festival: Trip to the Rose Festival and other Bulgarian attractions.

1 commentary

  1. Dana Reply at

    Many years ago a friend of mine gave me a bottle of rose oil . It was wonderful. I would love to go to the festival, although this year it is impossible for me.

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