About Elche

City Centre   Huerto del Cura   Outskirts
Old Town, Basilica de Santa Maria, Plaça del Congrés Eucarístic, Placa Glorieta, MAHE, City Hall, Palacio de Altamira   Palm Garden, Lady of Elche   Bimilenario Bridge

ABOUT Elche:

Population: 229 000 (metro 757 000 with Alicante)
Other names:
Elx (Valencian)
Spanish, Valenciano
5th century BC
Baix Vinalopó
Autonomous community:
326 km²
Year visited: 2016

is situated just West to it's twin city, Alicante, in southeastern Spain, a few kms from the Mediterranean coast of Costa Blanca, surrounded by mountains. Elche (Spanish), or Elx (Valencian) are both official names of this city, that is mostly famous for it's ancient palms and palm gardens. Elche is the 2nd largest city in the Alicante province, and 3rd largest in the Valencian community. The city has a rich history, it's origin La Alcudia, was founded about 2500 years ago by the Greeks, later occupied by Carthagians and Romans. Elche was under Moorish rule until the 13th century. The palms that made the city famous were planted by the Phoenicians 2500-3000 years ago. Today you find palms everywhere, wild palm forests, palm gardens, parks, boulevards and squares filled with palms. The most famous palm garden (in Elche called huerto) is Huerto del Cura.
Situated in central Elche, you can visit (for a small entrance fee) this small but beautiful and well organized palm garden. About 1000 palm trees grow, many of them named after royalties. Here you find a copy of the mysterious Iberian bust, the Lady of Elche.

Despite being such an old city, the City Centre of Elche is mostly modern with lots of modernist apartment buildings. But there is also a historic part where you find old churches and other historical buildings. Significant for the centre of Elche is all palms and several palm gardens, parks and squares filled with palms. Vinalopó River, that is more like a creek surrounded by trees then a river, divides the city in two parts with the city centre and old town to the East, where you find most of the palm gardens. Several bridges passes high above Vinalopó, of which two modern suspension bridge with interesting designs, and some old ones in classic style.

In the heart of the Old Town you find Plaça del Congrés Eucarístic. Around this square and Placa de Santa Isabel, you find the Basilica de Santa Maria, a large beautiful church with blue roof, the Museum of Archeology and History (MAHE) that is situated in a modern building built above ruins that are visible from above and he Archaeological Museum of Alicante (MARQ) in the historical Palacio de Altamira with it's ruins that can be seen from above. The current Santa Maria Basilica was finished in 1784, the previous church, built in Valencian baroque style, was built above the site of a Moorish mosque. The Town Hall (Ajuntamiento d'Elx) is also situated there, next to the river, and consist of one modern and one old part in baroque style. Just to the North of the square there is a large public palm garden. Another nice square is Placa Glorieta with a nice postmodern building, beautiful tile benches and open air restaurants. Significant is also the modern congress center, where we parked our car. The city centre is a bit dead daytime but really comes alive in the late afternoon.

Elche has two universities and is known for it's footwear industry, the city has over 1000 shoe factories! Elche hosts many interesting festivals, like the Mystery Play of Elche, Moors and Christians and the Medieval Festival.


In February 2016, we made a trip to Costa Blanca, Murcia and Valencia. We visited Elche as a half daytrip from Benidorm, after a visit to the Canelobras Caves. Our main focus was to visit Huerto del Cura, the most famous palm garden. But we also had time to visit the city centre and the old town, where we had diner. The Alicante-Elche Airport, the airport we flew to and from, is situated in the outskirts of Elche. We also passed Elche several times on the highway.

We also visited Benidorm and other cites at Costa Blanca; Alicante, Calpe, Altea, Villajoyosa.

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