Elche is a small but very beautiful green city in the province of Alicante. It is surrounded by a palm grove, the largest in Spain, and date gardens. There are no private beaches in the city, but the Costa Blanca coast is 15 km away, and a river flows in Elche itself.
Shoppers come here for shoes – the city is home to the country’s largest shoe factory, where more than half of all Spanish shoes are produced. And fans of gastronomic tourism will appreciate date desserts and local wine.
How to get to Elche
The nearest airport to Elche is located in Alicante. Aeroflot operates direct flights from Moscow Sheremetyevo, and Es Seven from Domodedovo. The journey takes 4 hours 50 minutes, tickets – from 180 EUR round trip. Vueling flies from St. Petersburg non-stop twice a week, the same amount on the way, but the price is already from 490 EUR, the cheapest and most convenient flights from Es Seven with a transfer in Moscow – from 240 EUR round trip.
The airport is located 20 km from the city. You can get there by bus number 1A, which runs every hour from 7:10 to 22:10, and on weekends and holidays – every two hours. The fare is 1.50 EUR.
- Cachedhealth: Information about shopping and eating in Spain.
The taxi ride will last 15-20 minutes and cost 23-25 EUR.
Public transport in Elche is buses. 15 routes cover the entire city and run from 7:00 to 22:00-23:00. There is a night route that runs only on Fridays and Saturdays from 23:00 to 5:30 from Reina Victoria Street through the center to the Poligono de Altabix area, where clubs and discos are concentrated. The traffic interval on Fridays is 40 minutes, on Saturdays – 20 minutes, the fare is 1.35 EUR. An unlimited travel pass for a month will cost 27.15 EUR. Payment cards are sold at newsstands.
A taxi ride within the center costs 5-7 EUR for a 10-minute journey.
Elche is not the most popular city among tourists, so there are few hotels here and most of them are inexpensive. You can stay in a good “treshka” in the center for 40-60 EUR per day for a double room with air conditioning and a bathroom. 4 * will cost from 60-70 EUR, and the most budget option is apartments, they can be rented from 35 EUR for an apartment with one bedroom, a living room and a small kitchen.
The most luxurious option – a villa with 4 bedrooms, a swimming pool, a private garden and a barbecue area – will cost from 370 EUR per day.
There is no own coast in the city, you will have to ride 15 km by bus to get there. There are several excellent Costa Blanca beaches in the area, many of which have been awarded Blue Flags. One of them is Arenales del Sol, sandy, clean, with a gentle entrance to the sea and a variety of infrastructure. Another sandy beach is La Marina, and the Carabassi and Del Clot del Galvanni natural reserves are considered the cleanest and most beautiful in the region.
Shopping in Elche
Elche is called the shoe capital of Spain, more than 50% of all shoes in the country are produced here. Shops are concentrated in the historical center of the city. You need to focus on Reina Victoria Street, which rests on the bridge over the river, and on the other side of the river – the most abundance. For large-scale shopping, it is better to go to the outlet at the Salvador Artesano factory (Partida Pla De Sant Josep, 324). It is located in the industrial area, so it’s better to get there by taxi (12-15 EUR). Another Elche Parque Empresarial outlet, where there are a lot of not only shoes, but also clothes, is also located outside the city, city buses 1A and 1B go there.
Shoes prices start from 5 EUR per pair.
Cuisine and restaurants
The most popular dish in Elche restaurants is rice with a crust (arroz con costra), which is cooked with chicken or rabbit meat, sausages, tomatoes and saffron, less often with snails. Also worth trying are meatball soup, mullet in ali-oli sauce (garlic, cream and olive oil) and fish soup. Dinner in a restaurant will cost 40-50 EUR for two.
Starters include bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with almonds, and desserts include date sweets and fig bread called tortada de Elche. The local white wine Palma Blanca Edicion Oro has repeatedly received awards from the best sommeliers, and for an aperitif you should try lavender tincture and, again, date liqueur.
Entertainment and attractions in Elche
The most interesting thing about Elche is nature. From all sides, the city is surrounded by the Palmeral de Elche palm forest, the largest in Europe with an area of 5 square meters. km. On its territory grow a date garden and the Royal Palm, which is already more than 160 years old, but it is famous for its 7 symmetrical trunks from one root.
At the end of the 19th century, during excavations in Elche, a valuable find was discovered – “The Lady from Elche”, a bust of a woman in an unusual headdress of the ancient Iberian era. Today it is kept in the Archaeological Museum of Madrid, but it has become a symbol of the city, copies of the bust and images on souvenirs can be seen everywhere.
Architecture and museums
St. Mary’s Basilica (Plaza de Sta. Maria, 1) is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city, which mixes many architectural styles from Gothic to Classicism. It was built on the site of an old mosque in 1334, destroyed or washed away by rain several times, and finally restored in 1784. There is an observation deck on the bell tower. Next to the basilica is the Gothic tower of La Calahorra (Carrer Uberna, 14) – all that remains of the fortress walls. Nearby are the Arab baths of the 14th century (Plaza Santa Lucia).
4 km south of the city, archaeological excavations of the Iberian settlement of Alcudia have been preserved, where the “Lady of Elche” was found at one time. Everything of value is located in the local Archaeological Museum, located in the Altamira Palace of the 15th century (Carrer de la Diagonal del Palau, 7). Another interesting museum is the Paleontological Museum (Plaza de Sant Joan, 3), where you can look at dinosaurs, which were dug up in large numbers in these parts.
In Elche there is no sharp temperature drop. Summers are moderately hot and winters are moderately cool. Rains are rare, with the most precipitation falling in autumn and March.