Many people who have been holidaying in Spain for years have not heard of Elche. Yet Elche is a unique and fascinating city which is very easily reached from Alicante or Murcia airports, and is perfect for a short break.
What makes Elche such a unique place to visit is its Palm Grove, which is estimated to contain over 200,000 protected palm trees. That’s a lot of trees, and the palms not only surround the city, but are found in peaceful parks and gardens within the city itself, providing a haven from the heat and traffic. The site was proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2000.
Getting to Elche
Elche is most easily reached from Alicante airport, and is also easily reached from Murcia or Almeria. To find the best flights from your local airport try Skyscanner.
From Alicante airport, it is an easy drive of approximately 20 km (see Holiday Autos for great low-cost car hire in Spain). There are also regular buses and trains between the two cities, and from Murcia – see bus timetables and train timetables.
Where to Stay
There are two super hotels that are actually situated within the palms. These are Jardin Milenio and Huerto del Cura. We have stayed in both of these hotels, and can highly recommend them. Both have extremely good restaurants, and are a very pleasant walk through the palm trees into Elche centre.
Huerto del Cura consists of separate accommodations scattered around lush gardens with a pool and water features. Jardin Milenio is a little cheaper but still beautifully situated with a lovely courtyard and fountains. Half board is available at both hotels, but you get a better menu if you stay B&B and eat a la carte. This also gives you the option of eating at both hotels if you are staying more than one night.
For more accommodation options in Elche you can search on booking.com.
The centre of Elche is a busy city, but you are never far from a park with pleasant paths, palm trees, and often sculptures and water features.
A (usually) small stream dissects the town in a deep channel, which also has paths and bridges which are great for strolling.
Huerta del Cura (Priests Garden)
Particularly special in Elche is the Huerta del Cura garden (entrance fee). This is an idyllic garden containing many species of palms as well as flower beds, sculptures, peacocks and beautiful ponds occupied by basking terrapins.
In the centre of the garden is the remarkable Imperial Palm with eight arms coming from a central trunk. The ancient tree is carefully supported to prevent collapse.
There are also impressive cacti in the gardens.
Other things to do in and around Elche include
- an award winning Archaeological and History Museum
- the Basilica where you can climb to the bell tower for an excellent view over the palms
- a Roman Bath museum
- a Museum of Contemporary Art
- a Palaeontological Museum
- an Agricultural Museum
- the nearby Rio Safari animal park
There is also good shopping, including an absolutely enormous shoe factory outlet (there are numerous shoe factories in and around Elche).
If you fancy a short break with a difference, or want a stopover close to the nearby airports, you can’t beat Elche.
Please remember that this site is based purely on our own experiences – therefore kindly note the Disclaimer.