In Elche, a Huerto (garden) is considered to be a parcel of land where palm trees are planted. Each garden normally has an allusive name related to the property owners or something historical. The Huerto del Cura (priest’s garden)’s name comes from the person that owned the property until 1918.
There's a pond with a copy of the Dama de Elche (Lady of Elche) in the garden – an Iberian sculpture from the 4th century B.C. which was found in 1897 and is actually located in the Archeological Museum of Madrid.
The Huerto del Cura barely has 13,000 square meters, but 1,000 palm trees are planted inside.
It’s considered to be a densely populated date palm population.
In addition to palm trees, there are other typical Mediterranean plants, like lemon, orange, pomegranate, and dates trees, among other subtropical species.
What sets the beaches of Elche apart is the fact that they're virgin. The city is still a little ways from the beach so they are very well-preserved.
Elche has about 12 miles of coastline, not counting Santa Pola. The first of the coastal beaches in Elche is Playa de Altet and then Fondet of Senieta, both surrounded by dunes. These two beaches are beautiful and totally virgin...you even need to make a good hike across the dunes to reach them.
Then you have the Playa de Arenales del Sol. It's nice, but it's the only beach in Elche that has any kind of urban build-up. After a long walk down Arenales del Sol, you reach Playa de Carabassi, the most popular beach in Elche. It's a stunning, long beach with many dunes and a nudist area. Afterwards, you reach Escull beach, the only rocky beach in Elche. This marks the end of the Elche beaches and the beginning of Santa Pola.
South of Santa Pola, in Salinas, the southern Elche coast beings again with Playa de Pinet, a beach set in an extraordinary landscape. Then Playa de La Marina, a super-virgin beach on the edge of a pine forest that stretches to Guardamar del Segura. Finally, you have the beach of Les Pesqueres – El Rebollo (and the La Marina campsite).
Finding a place to walking among gardens, palm trees, and Mediterranean flowers right in the center of a city is very difficult to find indeed.
Well, Elche has it. It's a relatively short route and should last between 20 and 30 minutes depending on how often you stop for photos!
These palm groves were once private but over the years ownership was passed to the city government. There are still some private gardens in the mix, but the majority is public and there are also several historic buildings with traditional regional architecture.
The silence and sense of peace in these gardens is really moving.
This warm water beach is a few kilometers from Elche and not far from the city of Alicante. Although it has lost some of its charm, it remains today as one of the most popular beaches in the area thanks to its clean sand and warm waters.
During summer, it may be the warmest beach along the Costa Blanca. It's also one of the waviest areas of the Costa Blanca although the waves are usually not too big.
This magnificent park in the city center is authentic Elche. It has hundreds of palm trees and slopes down to the river; basically, it's the park everyone wants in their city. It's big, it's fun, and it's always lively.
There are places to have some ice cream or a drink here and there, and the park is known for being a cool escape from the summer heat. There are beautiful plants, historic buildings, and manicured gardens that have had important places in the history of Elche. It lets you imagine the city as it once was.
There are also a couple of tourist information stands if you need to ask anything.
Ok, so, I honestly can't tell you much about the history or significance of this church....I'm not a "church tourism" kind of guy. But I am a fan of a good view from high up, and this is the best view to be had in Elche. Hands down. It costs 3 euros to go up to the top, making stops in the bell area along the way, but once you get up you're treated to absolutely breathtaking views of Elche in all its sunny glory. The sun-bleached plaster walls of the city next to the brilliant blue dome is absolutely striking. If you go on an off-day, you also might find that you have the whole rooftop to yourself. You can also see the Palmeral in its entirety from the top and gives you an even better idea of just how big it is. 100% recommended!
This protected area has three official routes you can do: two walking trails and one for bikes. I’d highly recommend these routes which let you enjoy this cinematic and enchanting natural area. The yellow route is short and gives you a nice overview of the park. It has some viewpoints set up called VOLCAM which give a good idea of the natural lakes.
The green route takes you further into the park and lets you see the yellow ponds and the Raja reservoir.
The real treasure, though, is the red route. We did it last Saturday from 8 to 11:00am, which is one of the two available times you can do it. This route passes by the two large reservoirs, Ponient and Llevant. In the spring, the reservoirs fill up and you can see them up close from the viewpoints. The view is priceless. I’d really recommend getting there early. There are some interesting wetlands in the park as well.
This is coastal natural area near the city of Elche that is equipped with a playground, barbecues, and recreational areas. The space features a Nature Centre that's meant to cater to group visits, but you can visit the park on your own. The park has a wide variety of bird life and several viewing points near the ponds where they usually nest. Hunting is banned here and it shows in the large number of rabbits running around.
This park is also next to a nearly-virgin beach called Playa de Carabassi. This beach is the best in Elche and I would really recommend it. It's free to the public and the sunsets are really spectacular.
If there is one airport that I know by heart, it's the Alicante-Elche airport. Since I live in this part of Costa Blanca, almost all of my travels start in these terminals.
The Airport is located 9km. southwest of Alicante although it is actually in the municipality of Elche.
All you need to do is set food in the airport to realize that Alicante is a popular tourist destination, especially for Europeans.
In 2009, Alicante Airport recorded passenger traffic of 9,139,607, most of which came from low-cost carriers operating out of Europe.
The footwear pilgrimage is alive and well in Elche! Salvador Artesano has over 40 years' experience manufacturing shoes and is a pioneer in industrial tourism. In fact, they have a factory shop that is the largest in Europe.
The store is amazing. It has everything for everyone (hence the slogan "Shoes for everyone.") They also offer all kinds of items from leather goods to some really unexpected items. They have sections for children and also for special sizes.
You can visit the factory and then buy the shoes in the store. There are over 100 people working daily in the factory, and it's an experience for the whole family. I'm sure you'll leave with good memories and hey, maybe even a pair or two of shoes!
This bridge is the entrance to the center and watches over Elche. It is certainly the prettiest bridge and its lush and colorful setting is part of the identity of the city. The surrounding buildings, the slope of the river and palm trees dotted around gives it a lot of personality. The architectural style of the bridge with the walls, which holds the lamps, is also very unique. The views from the center of the bridge are utilized by photographers and painters alike.
This palm tree specimen is unique in its grandeur and form. The descendent trees have formed at the foot of the mother palm and created an incredible chandelier-like tree.
This 8-branched wonder is 165 years old, weighs over 8 tons, and lives exclusively off the sap provided by the central trunk.
The Plaza de la Glorieta is one of if not the most important places in Elche. Located in the city center, this iconic square is a part of history of the people of Elche. Since its creation in the late 18th century, the square has experienced numerous renovations, the last taking place in the late 1990's.
La Glorieta is also a popular point of celebration among supporters of the Elche football team. The last great success (in 1999 after earning a spot in the 2nd Division), brought together more than 20,000 fans in the square and adjacent streets. The victories of the Spanish team at the World Cup also filled La Glorieta with revelers.
Nowadays, the square is open to the public 24 hours and there are many shops and cafes. Corredora St., home to all kinds of celebrations (Moros y Cristianos, Christmas, Palm Sunday, etc.), passes right by the plaza.
In the center of the square, there is a fountain topped by an angel from Misteri and a copy of the famous Lady of Elche.
The bell tower of The Basilica of Santa Maria is, I think, the highest point in Elche. You can see everything, from the sea to the palm grove.
Climbing the 170 steps to the top allows you to really grasp the sheer size of the palm grove: it's like a green blanket that covers large areas of Elche.
The climb also has a couple of stops where you can see exhibitions of local culture. Do make sure to pay attention to the opening hours, though.
This is a reenactment originally created by a local medieval order and represents a living history of the people Elche. It is not run by the church but depicts the last moments of life of the Virgin. It is wonderful, but difficult to summarize. I think moments like the opening of "les portes cel" and the appearance of "Núvol," the scene of "Ternari" (very exciting), the descent of the angel Araceli, or the descent of the two angels playing a guitar and a harp, are small examples which give you an idea of the elaborately theatrical nature of this festival.
These plays happen on the 11th, 12th and 13th of August, and then 14th is the eve to the large closing fiesta which happens on the 15th. The acts for the coming year are decided between the 30th of October and 1st of November.
Our experience was magnificent, even if it was only a recital (you can get tickets at the Board of Misteri). The organization provides you with a guide so you can correctly follow the plays and also hands out fans to help keep yourself cool in the hot August weather.
Ultimately, Misteri is a "civic celebration." I dare say that is even the true expression of a local people in their own language, as it has been called by several scholars on local folklore.
The Misteri is the true heritage of Elche.
Located in the picturesque province of Alicante in Valencia, Elche enjoys a Mediterranean climate drenched in sunshine throughout the majority of the year. The main things to do in Elche are visiting the Basilica of Santa Maria, the Calahorra Tower, and the Tower of the Consell.
Another of the main attractions in Elche is the Elche Palm Grove (El Palmeral), an expanse of more than 200,000 palm trees within the town, making it the largest palm grove in Europe. After being blown away by the palms, another item on the list of places to visit in Elche is the 12th-century Palace of Altamira, which formed part of the defense of the Almohad walled town that belonged to the Counts of Altamira.
If you are lucky enough to be wondering what to do in Elche in late August, you can enjoy the big week of festivities, celebrations and Elche attractions, which bring together visitors and local alike. For the culture vultures looking for interesting things to see in Elche, the Misteri D'Elx museum, Pusol School Museum and the Archaeological and Historical Museum of Elche are high on the list.
If you are still left looking for stuff to do in Elche,
enjoy a taste of the Mediterranean coast. Leave the city headed eastward for a few kilometers and find Arenales, Carabassí, or Pinet, some of the most famous beaches in the province of Alicante. Elche activities are not hard to come by, so don't waste any more time and book your next Mediterranean cultural vacation!