Elche Mini Guide
What’s so Special About Elche?
Elche has a lot to commend it through its history, natural surroundings and culture. The city was first set up by the Greeks who gave way to the Carthaginians and finally to the Romans. There have been a number of important archaeological finds from this era which are now on display in the city museum. The city became depopulated and poorer in the times of the Moorish occupation before rising to prominence again following the setting up of Spain’s railway system bringing with it the industrial revolution. Today the city is renowned for the manufacture of shoes in the hundreds of small and large factories around the city.
How do I get Into Elche?
By far the best way is to fly into Alicante Airport
, only minutes from the town. The airport has seasonal charter flights from numerous European destinations and dozens of no frills flights from budget carriers easyJet and Ryanair. It’s easy to get a bus into the city or a taxi if you find it more convenient. Hiring a car is useful too for exploring the beaches of the coast.
What Should I see or do when I'm in Elche?
Sometimes it’s possible to get a tour of one of the shoe factories in the city. This can be a fascinating experience, especially when you get to compare the hi-tech mass production factories with the hand-made shoes of local craftsmen. Altamira Castle is a great place to visit as, in its time, it’s been the town hall, a prison and a fortress. The castle is set in the unique and mind-blowing Palmeral of Elche, an orchard where nearly a quarter of a million palm trees grow.
What Makes Good Souvenirs There?
Shoes are great value there as many of the factories have outlet shops. The prices can be as much as 60% less than the RRP, especially if they have any almost unnoticeable blemishes from manufacturing. The other favourite treats to take home from there are the dates grown in the Palmeral. Oozing with sticky sweetness, they are great for friends and usually will keep for those special occasions such as Christmas when they’re expensive in the shops.
What’s Best to eat Around Elche?
You’re not far from Valencia
, the spiritual home of paella and many of the restaurants in Elche serve only paella in a variety of forms but, being inland, many of these involve meat and cured meats instead of the traditional seafood.
What About Special Events in Elche?
You are in for a treat if you visit the town in August for it is then that the town puts on the annual ‘Mystery Play of Elx’, which is like a religious opera, dating from the 1400s and is now recognised by UNESCO as a cultural treasure. On the 13th, the town hosts the Nit de l’Alba which is an all-night firework display.