Elche is the third largest city in the Valencian community after Valencia and Alicante and the twentieth most populous city in the whole of Spain.
Elche has a permanent residential population of almost 230,000 people.
Elche is a stone’s throw away from two international airports of Alicante and Murcia with easy motorway links to Torrevieja and Cartagena. To see the location of Elche or to get driving directions see our dedicated Elche map page.
Once at the airport you have a range of different airport transfer options to Elche including private shuttle buses, taxis or Elche car hire.
Weather wise Elche is blessed with over 300 days of sunshine a year with long hot summers. See Elche weather for more details.
Elche Tourist Attractions and Things to Do and See
Elche’s economy is not based on tourism or construction but on footwear. Elche has over 1000 shoe factories which is important not only for Spain but also for the rest of Europe. Part of the municipality is on the coast but mainly the city is fifteen kilometres away from the Mediterranean Sea.
Agriculture still plays an important role in Elche producing dates, olives, cereals and pomegranates. The rubber trade employs close to 20% of Elche’s inhabitants.
Make sure you visit the local market selling fresh fruits and vegetables as well as other locally-made goods and produce – market day in Elche is on a Monday.
Elche is famous for its palm trees. The Elche Palm Grove is an orchard with over 200,000 palm trees and has been proclaimed a heritage site by UNESCO in 2000.
Huerto del Cura (Priest’s Garden)
The Huerto del Cura or Priest’s Garden is a hidden gem especially attractive on a hot summers day as the hundreds of palm trees there provide some welcome shade from the scorching sun. Surrounded by busy city streets, this is a strangely tranquil place, the stone walls encircling it, blocking out much of the city noise.
Inside you will find hundreds of species of palm trees of varying sizes, culminating in the huge eight armed Imperial Palm, the pride of the garden, which is some 170 years old and is supported by metal straps which prevent it from collapsing under its huge eight tons of weight.
Rio Safari Park Elche
Wherever you are staying on the Costa Blanca a great idea for a day out or excursion is to travel to the Rio Safari Park. This family friendly animal park has many attractions including a ‘train’ ride and some entertaining animal shows including an elephant show, a parrot show and a sea lion show.
Feeding the animals is something your children will enjoy as much as yourself, with monkey nuts and carrots for sale in the park shop. Make sure your kids feed the giraffes and the hippo especially. You can also take a ride on a camel or a donkey and visit the farm animals section with cows, pigs, goats, horses and sheep.
Elche’s first inhabitants can be traced back in history as being the Carthaginians and Romans.
Elche was also occupied by the Moors but James II of Aragon took Elche out of Moorish occupation during the 13th century. Elche grew larger during the 18th century and became a city of great importance during the 19th century with the arrival of railway links and its production of footwear.
Elche has many great archaeological finds of which the Lady of Elche is the greatest. The most important attraction in Elche is the orchard better known as the Palmeral de Elche in Spanish, or as Palmerar d´Elx in Valenciano which has a staggering 200,000 palm trees.
The Altamira Castle was built during the 12th and 13th Centuries and has been used recently as the town hall and as a prison during the Spanish Civil War. The Arabic baths, Basilica of Santa Maria, and Calahorra Tower are also worth a visit.
If you are visiting Elche in August be sure to go and see the Mystery Play which is a lyrical drama set in the Middle Ages.
Accommodation and Where to Stay in Elche
The local tourist office offers a service where they can help you find accommodation in Elche. There are hotels, pensions, apart-hotels and hostels. There are lots of Elche rentals with plenty of Elche apartments for rent and Elche villas for rent.
Elche Tourist Information Office (Oficina de Turismo)
Elche Tourist Office (Elx)
Address: Plaça del Parc 3, 03202, Elx/Elche.
Telephone: +34 966 658 196
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 18:00 h. Saturdays from 10:00 to 18:00 h. Sundays and holidays from 10:00 to 14:00 h.
The tourist centre office in Elche can help you will local information such as maps, guides, brochures, help with accommodation and they can answer any questions you have about dates for festivals, fiestas, weather information, transport and airport transfers to Elche.
Elche has a twelve kilometer stretch of golden beaches a fifteen minute drive away from the city centre. The coast line is divided into two parts one which belongs to Altet and the other belonging to the Marina.
In the Altea area the busiest most popular beach is the El Arenals del Sol and there is also another beach called El Carabassi. The beaches in the Marina area are surrounded by pine trees and sand dunes.
The El Pinet La Marina, Les Pesquers and El Rebollo beaches also make for a great day of sun and surf. The beaches offer all the water sports as well as having two dive centres with excursions to Tabarca Island.
Excursions and Day Trips from Elche
Elche is not far away form the hustle and bustle of the popular sea side resort of Torrevieja with its promenade, marina, markets, restaurants, nightlife and Habeneras shopping centre.
One hour north of Elche you can find Benidorm with its theme parks of Aqualandia, Terra Mitica, Mundomar and Terra Natura.
Moving to Elche
If you are thinking of moving to Elche, then you must read our expat interview with Miguel Angel Martinez Perez of Marhouse Internacional below:
Miguel, what would you say would be the advantages to living in Elche compared to other Costa Blanca towns?
Definitely you will live in a “real” Spanish town. What I mean is that many foreigners used to buy properties in some areas where it is even difficult to find Spanish people, like a “guettho”, but if you wish to live like a “real” Spanish, Elche is a very good choice. Elche is the second biggest town in Alicante province and the third one in Valencia Region and it offers everything you would find in a medium town (about 225,000 people). There are many companies based here and the main industry is shoes. It has universities, international schools and it is very well communicated to the rest of Spain and Europe through the International airport. It is a dynamic city where everyone will feel comfortable.
Would the area not suit certain types of people, i.e. are there any possible downsides?
Well, if you prefer to live in a very touristic area and not to mix with local people, there are better choices in Alicante province.
What proportion of the local population are Spanish?
I don’t really know. You can find people from many nationalities. However most of us are Spanish. It is not like other towns where there are even more foreigners than Spanish people.
What are your favourite things to do in the area?
I like running and the river side is an excellent place to practice sports. I also enjoy the beach. Elche beaches are gorgeous. Arenales del Sol, for instance.
Can you give us some insider tips to the best bars or restaurants?
The offer on restaurants is huge. There are many students from universities, so there are several cheap bars and restaurants for tapas (the old town – city center is a very good area for “tapeo”). For a real Spanish experience I would choose El Granaino restaurant and for a very special dinner La Finca restaurant (1 Michelin star, just fantastic!)
Are there many facilities such as doctors and dentists, shops etc?
Yes there are. There are 2 big public hospitals, 1 private hospital and several clinics. I think you can find every specialist here.
Regarding the shops, you can find them in every neighborhood, but I will suggest the city center and L´Aljub commercial center (very popular).
Are there smaller villages nearby that you might also recommend?
Elche is very well communicated to the rest of the province, so in 1 hour driving you can be in Altea (which is lovely). I suggest to visit Tabarca island: you can drive to Santa Pola and take a boat in the harbour (very nice trip).
What are the nearest international schools and how good are they?
Laude Newton College and La Devesa are in Elche. I have heard that King´s College will start to build a school this month. These schools are in Elche, all of them near the football stadium.
Newton College is recognized every year as one of the best schools in the region.
Is crime an issue for expats?
Not at all. Elche is a safe place to live.
Coming onto buying property, what is the market like now in terms of prices going up, or down or staying the same?
The market has been very quiet during some years. 2015 was the first good year and 2016 is growing nicely. Prices started to go up last year. I must say that we work with many Chinese clients who are investing in Real Estate for the golden visa. These clients are not affected by the Spanish recession.
Is this a good time to buy and are there any repossessions or very cheap properties still available to buy?
Without a doubt, it is a good time to buy. Prices are not going to go down further. On the contrary, they have started to increase a little bit. There are some repossessions but not that many as in the past and you can still find some cheap properties and many properties are now value for money.
What urbanisations are there and can you describe each one and how they might differ from each other?
Clients are now looking for apartments and townhouses in urbanisations in the new neighborhoods of Elche like new area of Altabix, Cantallops, Football Stadium. People are looking for urbanisations with swimming pools, playground area for children and paddle tennis court.
How much are the typical property prices in Elche for apartments, villas etc?
140,000 euros for a 3-bedroom apartment in an urbanisation in the new areas . In an older neighborhood you can find a 3-bedroom apartments from 80,000 euros.
Regarding the villas, a typical price is 270,000 euros for a property in a plot of land of 2,000 euros.
Any tips and advice to people looking to buy in Elche or surrounding area?
Elche is everything you can need and the weather is exceptional. It is not the kind of town that is full during the summer and empty in winter. From an investing point of view, I would choose to buy in an urbanisation in a new neighborhood: there is a big demand, people want to live there and it is easy to rent.
Miguel, thank you so much for taking the time to help our readers with your experiences in Spain. If you want to contact him, you can find his details below.
The video below has images and pictures of the town of Elche, showing you exactly what it looks like, including all the most famous sights and attractions if you are planning a visit to Elche on Spain’s Costa Blanca.
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Elche Page Summary – This page contains unique content about the large inland town of Elche on the Southern Costa Blanca coast of Spain.
This page contains useful information for people intending to visit or holiday in Elche. In this tourist guide to Elche we help visitors who are planning a trip with useful and practical advice on many tourism related subjects such as accommodation, sightseeing, weather, where to go, where to stay, travel information, excursions and what to see and do in and around Elche.
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