A city of 225,000 inhabitants, Elche is located just outside Alicante and is the capital of the Baix Vinalopó region. The Vinalopó River divides the city in two. Elche has a history as an industrial city (especially known for its shoe industries). Today the industries are still present, but the city also offers different attractions and services for visitors — among them the huge world heritage listed palm grove.
1 Aeropuerto de Alicante-Elche (ALC IATA L'Altet Airport) (13 km (8.1 mi) from Elche). This airport has flights to over 50 destinations at least weekly. One terminal is in service, known as Terminal N or the new terminal. Terminals T1 and T2 that were used before the construction of the new terminal are no longer in service.
Elche is on the Alicante-Murcia line. From either of those cities you can connect to most major cities in Spain. The train line passes the city through an underground tunnel, and there are two railway stations in the city. Renfe regional train (cercanía) line C1 can get you from Alicante to Elche in half an hour, and from Murcia in under one hour.
- 2 Estación de Tren de Elx Parc (Elx Parc Train Station), Avda del Ferrocarril Este, 10, ☏ . The primary train station, conveniently located next to the bus station.
- 3 Estación de Tren de Elx-Carrús (Elx-Carrús Train Station), Avda Llibertad, s/n, ☏ .
- 4 Estació Autobusos Elx (Elche Bus Station), Avda del Alcalde Vicente Quiles, 8 (near the rail station), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. The modern bus station has connection both to Spanish and international destinations. Facilities at the station include a restaurant and 24-hr convenience shop.
- Alsa, tel +34 902 422 242.
- Autocares Melillense, tel +34 965 456 947.
- Mollá (Grupo subús), tel +34 965 424 242.
- Serrano, tel +34 965 456 146.
- Autobuses Urbanos de Elche, tel +34 965 420 392.
- Vegabús, tel +34 966 613 222.
A-7 (European route E15) stretches along the Mediterranean coast and connects the city to the French border in the north and Algeciras and beyond in the south. Another main route is A-31 connecting Elche to Central Spain. Regional roads connects Elche to places like Alicante and Murcia.
Autobusos Urbans d'Elx (AUESA) operates a fairly extensive network of bus routes. A single journey costs €1.35, payable to the driver on entry; night journeys cost €1.45. If you plan to use the bus frequently, it may be worth purchasing a Bus Bono card, which will give you ten journeys for €8.40.
A route map can be downloaded here, and detailed route maps with schedules can be downloaded here. For travelers with smart phones, BusElche is a useful Android app with a route planner and estimated travel times.
At certain times of the day it might be impossible to find a parking space downtown, therefore you're better off going by bus or foot.
Palmeral of ElcheEdit
One of the world's largest palm groves and the only one in Europe, this was established by the Phoenicians and expanded by the Arabs in the 8th and 9th centuries. The palmeral consists of several parts spreading across downtown. It was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000.
- 1 L'Hort del Cura (Huerto del Cura), C/ Porta de la Morera, 49, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Daily; hrs vary, see details here. In addition to well-maintained palm trees, this private botanical garden features lovely water fountains and cactus gardens. €5 (adults), €3 (concessions), €2.50 (children/residents).
- 2 Parc Rei Jaume I (Parque Rey Jaime I). This municipal park was created by combining two semi-abandoned palm groves, and has been transformed by the planting of new date palms as well as fruit and ornamental trees and native grasses. Free.
- 3 Parc Municipal (Parque Municipal), Paseo de la Estación, s/n. Nov-Mar daily 07:00-21:00, Apr-Oct daily 07:00-23:00, Aug daily 07:00-23:45. Comprised of several individual palm groves, the largest of which was granted to the city in the 17th century by a wealthy landowner. Free.
- 4 Molí del Real. An 18th-century water wheel, which once was powered by a channel of the Vinalopo River.
- 5 Parc del Filet de Fora (Parque del Filet de Fora). The second largest park in the city after the Municipal Park, it was created in the 1990s by combining five individual palm groves. Free.
- 6 Museu del Palmerar (Museo del Palmeral), C/ Porta de la Morera, 12, ☏ . Tu-Sa 10:00-14:00 15:00-18:00, Su/holidays 10:00-14:00. Housed in a 19th-century farmhouse, this museum is devoted to date palms and the fronds used for Palm Sunday rites. Admission includes entry to the nearby palm grove and garden. €1 (adults), €.50 (concessions); free on Su.
Monuments and museumsEdit
- 7 Palau d'Altamira (Palacio de Altamira / Alcázar de la Señoría), C/ Diagonal del Palau, 7, ☏ . M-Sa 10:00-18:00, Su/holidays 10:00-15:00. First built by the Moors between the 11th and 13th centuries; the large southern tower dates from this period. The palace was expanded during the 15th and 16th centuries, and again in the 18th century. In the 20th century the building was used as a prison, and finally restored at the end of the century. It now houses a portion of the Archaeological Museum and is occasionally serves as a venue for cultural events. Admission combined with Museu Arqueològic: €3 (adults), €1 (concessions); free on Su.
- 8 Museu Arqueològic i d'Història d'Elx (Museo Arqueológico y de Historia de Elche (MAHE)), C/ Diagonal del Palau, 7, ☏ . M-Sa 10:00-18:00, Su/holidays 10:00-15:00. Housed in a refurbished former textile factory, the museum presents artifacts dating from the Neolithic period to the 15th century CE. Part of the exhibition area incorporates a portion of the Alcazar. Admission combined with Palau d'Altamira: €3 (adults), €1 (concessions); free on Su.
- 9 Banys Àrabs (Baños Árabes / Arab Baths), Paseo de les Eres de Santa Llúcia, 14 (beneath the Convent de la Merced), ☏ . Tu-Sa 10:00-14:00 15:00-18:00, Su/holidays 10:00-14:00. Moorish baths built in the mid-12th century, restored in 1998. An audiovisual presentation is available in English. €1 (adults), free (students/seniors/disabled); free on Su.
- 10 Basílica de Santa Maria (Basílica de Santa María), Plaça del Eucharistic, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tower: Oct-May daily 10:30-15:00, Jun-Sep daily 11:00-19:00. The church was built in the late 17th to early 18th centuries in the Spanish Baroque style, on the site of an earlier mosque, and is the venue for the annual Misteri d'Elx. Good views of palm groves and the city of Elche can be had from the top of the church tower, with 170 steps to the top. Inside the tower itself are three rooms, formerly inhabited by the bell-ringer with his family, with photographic displays on the church facade and the Misteri d'Elx. €2 (adults), €1 (children under 10), free (children under 5).
- 11 Yacimiento Arqueológico L'Alcúdia (L'Alcúdia Archaeological Park), Carretera de Dolores, km 1.5 (on the CV-855 motorway to Dolores), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Archaeological site and interpretation centre: Tu-Su 10:00-20:00 (ticket ofc closes at 18:00); Museum: Tu-Sa 10:00-18:00. This archaeological site extends over 10 hectares, and was inhabited from the Bronze Age to the Islamic period. The most famous discovery made here is the Iberian sculpture Dama de Elche, now located in the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid. Also onsite are an interpretation centre and a museum showcasing many artifacts discovered during excavations. €5 (adults), €2 (students/children), free (children under 6).
- 12 Torre de la Calaforra (Torre de la Calahorra / Calahorra Tower), C/ Uberna, 14, ☏ . Tu-Sa 10:00-14:00 15:00-18:00, Su/holidays 10:00-14:00. Formerly part of the city wall (now no longer extant), this tower was originally Muslim and built from the late 12th to early 13th centuries. Originally a full ten metres higher than now, neglect and an earthquake took their toll and the upper two floors had to be dismantled. From the 15th to 20th centuries it was used as an aristocratic residence and can now be visited. €2 (adults), €1 (concessions), free on Su.
- 13 Torre Vaillo de Llanos (Vaillo de Llanos Tower), Hort de la Torre (Municipal Park). Su 11:00-14:00. This watchtower was built in the late 15th and early 16th centuries as part of a defensive network. Now owned by the city, it has been fully restored and is used for temporary exhibits. Visitors can climb to the top for a good view of the surrounding palm groves. Free.
- 14 Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (Museum of Contemporary Art), Plaça del Raval, s/n, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Sa 10:00-14:00 15:00-18:00, Su and holidays 10:00-14:00. Initially established as a gallery for a local artists' cooperative, the museum now showcases a range of modern and contemporary art from the region and from across Spain. €2 (adults), €1 (concessions), free on Su.
- 15 Centre d'Exposicions (Exhibition Centre), Plaça de San Juan. A venue for temporary art exhibits organised by the Museum of Contemporary Art.
- Processó del Diumenge de Rams d'Elx (Procesión del Domingo de Ramos de Elche / Palm Sunday Procession). One week before Easter Sunday. In this annual celebration tens of thousands of residents proceed through the streets to the city centre, carrying locally-produced palm fronds woven into sometimes elaborate constructions. The procession itself has been dated to 1371, while the first use of palm fronds dates to 1429. It is listed as a 'Festival of International Interest' by the Spanish government.
- Elx al Carrer. Early June. One of the largest street theatre festivals in the country.
- 1 Mostra de Teatre Dama dÉlx, Carrer Kursaal, s/n (Gran Teatro). Late June. Two weeks of free amateur theater performances.
- Mostra de Teatro de Enseñanzas Medias. Late June. Dramaturgy students perform their final work of the semester.
- Moros i Cristians (Moros y Cristianos / Moors and Christians). 7-11 August. Like many other communities in Alicante, Elche celebrates the Christian Reconquista of the city with a festival of parades and reenactments. Key events include the Entrada Mora ('Entry of Moorish troops'), in even years on 8 August in even years and 10 August in odd years; the Entrada Cristiana ('Entry of Christian troops'), in even years on 10 August and in odd years on 8 August; and the Embajadas (Embassies), with a reenacted battle and meetings of the Moorish and Christians embassadors in the 2 plaza by the Altamira Castle.
- Nit de l'Albà (Noche de la Alborada / Night of the Alborada). 13 August. This annual celebration is held in honor of the Assumption of Mary. In a tradition dating to the Middle Ages, local residents begin setting off numerous firecrackers at 23:15; this was originally a way for families to thank the Virgin for their children. At midnight there is a giant fireworks display which reaches a height of 300m and resembles a giant palm tree; the entire city is illuminated for one minute.
- 2 Misteri d'Elx (Misterio de Elche / Mystery Play of Elche), Basílica de Santa María, ☏ (ticket sales). Rehearsals: 11 and 12 August at 22:30, 13 August at 17:30; performances: 14 August at 18:00, 15 August at 10:00, 18:00. A medieval lyrical work performed annually since the late 15th century. The liturgical drama celebrates the Assumption of Mary, and in 2001 was listed by UNESCO as a 'Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity'. The final performances on 14 and 15 August are free, but due to the enormous popularity it is advisable to get there several hours in advance. On even-numbered years there are extra performances on 29 and 30 October (ticketed) and 1 November (free). Rehearsals: €7-56; final performances: free; ticket sales begin in May and can be purchased online.
- Festival Medieval d'Elx (Festival Medieval de Elche / Elche Medieval Festival), Concejalía de Cultura, Ayuntamiento (information), ☏ . End of October to the beginning of November. The medieval cultural heritage of the city comes to life, with medieval music performances, plays, and workshops.
- LGTBI Diversa Festival. Every May or June Elche holds a LGTBI festival to celebrate Gay Pride. During these days plenty of activities are organized, such as concerts or film screenings.
Thanks to Elche's shoe manufacturing history there are many shoe stores with good prices and wide selection. In the downtown area you can find Spanish chain stores like Mango, Zara, Druni, In-Faradis, etc.
- 1 Mercadillo Central (street market), Plaça de les Flors. M Sa 08:00-14:30. A semi-weekly street market for local produce and other goods.
- 2 Centro Comercial L'Aljub (L'Aljub Mall), C/ Jacarilla, 7, ☏ . M-Sa 10:00-22:00. Eroski hypermarket, many different stores on the ground floor, dining options on the first floor as well as the ABC Elx.
- 3 El Corte Inglés-Hipercor Ciudad de Elche (Centro Comercial Ciudad de Elche), Avda Alcalde Ramón Pastor, 2, ☏ . M-Sa 09:00-22:00. A fusion of a Corte Inglés department store and a Hipercore hypermarket.
- 4 Carrefour, Avda de Crevillente, 31 (by the N-340 highway), ☏ . M-Sa 09:00-22:00. A branch of the French hypermarket.
Elche's most well-known dish is arròs amb crosta (Spanish: arroz con costra), which is a clay pot of rice, rabbit and/or chicken, sausage, beans, and chickpeas, cooked first on a stovetop, and with the addition of beaten eggs then baked in an oven. Another unique specialty are the delicias de Elche, dates stuffed with almonds and wrapped with fried bacon, served as tapas in many bars and restaurants. For dessert the tortada de Elche, a cake of ground almonds, eggs, and meringue (and no flour) is a favourite.
- 1 Asador Ilicitano, Carrer Mestre Giner, 9, ☏ . Daily 13:00-16:00 20:00-24:00. Specializes in grilled meat and fish dishes.
- 2 Restaurante Dátil de Oro (Restaurante Parque Municipal), Paseo de la Estación, s/n (Parc Municipal), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Daily 09:00-22:00. A very large restaurant which serves some regional specialties, including dishes with dates. Set menu €15.25.
- 3 Restaurante Pernil, Carrer Juan Ramón Jiménez, 4, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 13:00-16:00 20:00-24:00. Specializes in paella and other rice dishes, and can accommodate vegetarians and vegans. Reservations can be made online. Mains €11-24, set menu €12.
- 4 Mesón El Granaíno, C/ Josep María Buck, 40, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M-Sa 09:30-16:00 20:00-24:00. Serves a wide range of Andalusian-style tapas. For meals offers Andalusian and Valencian specialties, but with an emphasis on creative cuisine. Mains €16-22, tasting menu €41-47.
- 5 El Misteri d'Anna, Partida Peña Águilas, 347, ☏ . Tu-Th 13:30-15:30, F Sa 13:30-15:30 20:30-23:00, Su 13:30-15:30. Set menu €37-45.
- 6 Restaurante Els Capellans, Carrer Porta de la Morera, 16 (in the Hotel Huerto del Cura), ☏ . Daily 13:00-16:00, 20:30-23:30. Mains €16-23.
- 7 Restaurante La Finca, Polígono Industrial 1, Partida de Perleta, 1-7, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Oct-May: lunch Tu-Su 13:30-15:30, dinner W-Sa 20:30-22:30; Jun-Sep: lunch Tu-Sa 13:30-15:30, dinner Tu-Sa 20:30-22:30. Located in an old farmhouse, the Michelin-starred restaurant is operated by Susi Díaz serves imaginative cuisine. Reservations can be made online. Mains €27-29.
- 8 Restaurante Frisone, Carrer Angel, 31-32, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Tu-Sa 13:00-16:00 20:00-24:00, Su 13:00-16:00. Listed in the Michelin guide; serves modern and experimental cuisine. Reservations can be made online.
- 9 Restaurante La Masía de Chencho, Partida de Jubalcoi 1, 9 (Ctra Murcia-Alicante, km 62), ☏ , , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 12:00-01:00. Housed in a farmhouse dating from 1700, and renovated in 1985, this establishment offers national and international cuisine. Set menu €50-70.
- 10 Restaurante La Taula del Milenio, C/ Prolongación de Curtidores, s/n (in the Hotel Jardín Milenio), ☏ . Headed by chef Manuel Álvarez Giménez. Mains €12-25, set menu €27-35.
The Polígono Altabix (Altabix entertainment complex) is a former industrial complex which was tranformed in the 1970s into a leisure area, with numerous clubs and bars as well as restaurants. There are also a number of bars and pubs around the centre of town.
- 1 Hotel Campanile, Carrer Petrer, s/n, ☏ . Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 12:00. Has nonsmoking rooms and free Wi-Fi. Parking €5/day. Doubles €45, breakfast €9.
- 2 Hostal Candilejas, Carrer Dr. Ferrán, 19, ☏ .
- 3 Hostal Madruga, Plaça Jardí d'Asp, 5, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 13:30, check-out: 12:00. Nonsmoking, free Wi-Fi. Doubles €40.
- 4 Hotel Ibis, Carrer Barxell, 5, ☏ , fax: , ✉ H5236@accor.com. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Has nonsmoking rooms and free Wi-Fi. Pets permitted on request, parking €6/day. Doubles €51, breakfast €8.
- 5 Hotel Jardín Milenio, Carrer de Curtidors, s/n, ☏ , toll-free: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 16:00, check-out: 12:00. Has nonsmoking rooms, an onsite restaurant, outdoor pool, and fitness centre. Free Wi-Fi, parking €6/day. Doubles €65+, breakfast €10.
- 6 Tryp Ciudad de Elche Hotel, Avinguda en Joan Carles I, 7, ☏ . Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 12:00. Has an onsite restaurant, nonsmoking rooms, and free Wi-Fi. Parking €12/day. Doubles €66, including breakfast.
- 7 Holiday Inn Elche, Carrer Miguel Servet, 25 (Elche Parque Industrial), ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 16:00, check-out: 12:00. Facilities include nonsmoking rooms, fitness centre, onsite restaurant, and bicycle rental. Free Wi-Fi, parking €4/day. Doubles €60, including breakfast.
- Urgencias hospital de ELCHE, ☏ .
- Centro de Salud Dr Sapena, C/Dr. Sapena 91, ☏ .
- Centro de Salud Altabix, ☏ .
- Ambulatorio San Fermín, +34 966 913 319.