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Description: On this private half day walking tour our guide will show you Valencia´s Bull Ring, Market and Old Quarter...more...

Valencian Community, Spain Travel & Accommodation Guide

Elche, A Magical Town In Alicante Spain  by Lee Smith

Elche Hotels  /  Spain Travel Guide  /  Valencian Community Travel & Accommodation Guide

The capital city of the Baix Vinalopo District as well as the second largest city of the Alicante Province, Elche is a charming tourist destination, situated within the Valencian Autonomous Community, in the Costa Blanca Spanish region. Elche has a prosperous history dating back to the times of Iberian, and hence it is home to a plethora of historical sites.

Acknowledged as the ‘The City of Palms,’ Elche is much famed for its expansive palm tree grove, also known as the Palmeral of Elche, which is credited to be the only Palm forest in Europe, consisting of over 10,000 palm trees, of which majority of them are date palms. Covering an area of more than 3.5 sq km, the grove is believed to have been planted by the Phoenicians during the 6th century BC, although cultivated and designed by the Moors between 8th and 13th century. Most spectacular of the forest’s sight is the Imperial Palm, boasting seven stems and taking after the shape of  a Candelabra. Further, many of the areas within the grove have now been developed into beautiful gardens and parks. Another interesting thing regarding this grove is that it is still watered by the irrigation system of the River Vinalopó, devised during the 10th century. The forest has been now declared as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO.

Equally fabulous is the Mystery Play of Elche, which is conducted annually. Declared as the masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage in 2001 by the UNESCO, the play is a sacred cum lyrical program dating back to the 15th century. Further, it is the only proof of the medieval religious European theatre.

Apart from these, Elche boasts a continuum of museums, such as the Municipal Festa Museum, Pucol Agricultural Museum, and La Alucida, all of them housing a range of rare artifacts. Popular among the city’s monuments are Torre de la Calahorra, Basilicca de Santa Maria, Town Hall, and Torre de Calendura. In addition, excellent options are available for nature as well as wildlife lovers, such as El Honda Nature Park and Clot de Galvany.

Attractions in Elche also cover some fabulous white beaches like La Marina, El Carabassi, L’ Altet, Arenals del Sol, and El Penet, each of them coupled with excellent facilities for a range of water sport activities. Further, Elche hosts a variety of fiestas, including Palm Sunday, The Hallelujas, Fiestas of the Virgin’s Arrival, and Nit de l’Alba.

Besides being home to a range of stunning as well as historically significant places, Elche is one of the leading producers of footwear in Europe.

The city’s gastronomy is usually Mediterranean in style, al though a continuum of restaurants serving international cuisine such as Valencian, European, and Spanish can be seen here.

Elche is within easy reach of almost all popular tourist destinations in Costa Blanca. For instance, Elche is only an hour’s drive from Alicante, which is at its northwest and half an hour drive from Benidorm – one of the most prominent tourist resorts across the shorelines of the Costa Blanca.


Elche Hotels

About the Author: Lee Smith writes about Elche in Alicante

Latest update: October 2, 2012