Elche (valencian Elx) is with almost 200,000 inhabitants the second largest city in the province of Alicante on the Costa Blanca. It is located about 20 kilometers southwest of Alicante, just 10 kilometers from the sea and is a very historic city. It was founded in the fifth century BC and has been inhabited by Iberians, Romans, Arabs and Christians. The old town of Elche, capital of the district of Bajo Vinalopó (El Baix Vinalopó), still houses important examples of its Moorish past. And although Elche is in the midst of a typical holiday area, the city belongs to the locals and the tourists are here the guests and not the other way around. That’s why Elche is so special and definitely a city worth the trip. Those who want to learn more about the development of the city, does best to Archaeological Site and monographic museum d’Alcudia. This place was alre ady inhabited in the Neolithic period.
Elche is one of the oldest cities in the region and is a paradise for tourists who are Palm lovers. The city is inundated by palm trees and is famous for its palm forest which is spread over the entire city. The palm grove, which was applied to the urban area around, is since 2006 a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One calls Elche, therefore, also the capital of palm trees and city parks. Much of the city consists of gardens and great parks. In and around Elche there are about 300,000 date palms. The famous Palm Park El Palmeral home alone more than 200,000 palm trees, some 200 to 300 years old and over 30 meters high. A walk through the impressive park can make you forget about everyday life and is completely relaxing. Another Palm Park is the Huerto de la Cura. With approximately 13,000 square meters it is slightly smaller than the Park El Palmeral, yet it is beautiful. The park Huerto de la Cura has been declared a National Historical Garden; thousands of palm trees from around the world are all crammed together. This Palm Park stands the “Palmera Imperial”, the Imperial and Royal Palm, an impressive octopus copy, immediately catches the eye and is an impressive sight.
Besides the numerous palm trees parks and gardens, Elche has many more attractions to offer. Highlight when you have a city break to Elche a visit to the Basilica Santa Maria (also called Assumption Church). You can see from a great distance its 37 meter high bell tower. The baroque church had a construction period of over 120 years and is decorated accordingly costly. From the top you have an amazing view of the city of Elche with its many palm parks and gardens. An important building in Elche is the Palacio de Altamira, only about 100 meters from the Church of Santa Maria Basilica. The castle was built in the 15th Century. Here is now the modern Archaeological Museum of Elche (entrance fee about 3 €, closed on Mondays). The Palm Museum and the Historical and Archaeological Museum (MAHE) are the most important museum of the city, among other to popular attractions of Elche.
The “Misterio de Elche” (Mystery of Elche) is a medieval mystery play; it was declared by UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site and the international tourist values it very much; it takes place on the 14th and 15th August.
In one part of the town is the Mercé convent. In the basement of the monastery you find Arab baths from the 12th century; a visit is absolutely worthwhile. In downtown Elche there are some pedestrian streets lined with boutiques and smaller stores. Here there is the hustle and bustle of the Spaniard. You can stroll here wonderfully or be inspired and immerse yourself in the action. You can relax in one of the many bars and restaurants round off the day with national delicacies. If you like history, palm trees and sun, is a city break right by Elche and comes fully at its expense.