SURROUNDINGS LAS COLINAS DREAMS
The Spanish coastal city Elche (or Elx in Valencian) is located 23 kilometres from Alicante. Apart from Aicante itself, Elche is the largest city in the province of Alicante with its 234,765 inhabitants. The Arabs founded the city in the tenth century. When they built it from the ground up, they surrounded their dream of civilisation with palm trees. These trees are still there (El Palmeral) and are the tourist attraction par excellence. Elche has an exotic character because of this.
Palmeral is probably the biggest attraction in Elche. This is the palm grove that the Arabs once planted in the city. There are sources that suggest that the palm trees were already planted in the fifth century, by the Carthaginians. However, it is most likely that the palm trees have been there since the tenth century, when the Arabs moved the city of Elche and came up with a new, ingenious irrigation system to keep them flourishing. Meanwhile, the Palmeral has been inscribed on the World Heritage List.
This basilica is located in the old centre of Elche, and is therefore not to be missed. This church is worth seeing from the outside alone. The entrance doors are gigantic and decorated with different reliefs. The Basílica de Santa Maria is definitely worth a look.
Apart from the Palmeral, the Huerto Del Cura also portrays the exotic character of Elche. In this botanical garden you will find cacti, palm trees and other tropical plants. There are so many colours that your eyes won't know where to look. Nice to know is that a large part of the 1000 palm trees in this garden is dedicated to different celebrities. The first to have eight trees dedicated to her was Empress Sissi.
Elche's Arab past is evident not only in its palm grove, but also in its ancient baths. The Banys Arabs is one large space with the remains of a number of old, Arab baths. You won't be here for too long, but with its free entry and central location, a visit is definitely worthwhile.
This tower is located behind the cathedral of Elche and is an old remnant of the Arab defence in the past. The tower is not very big, but you can go inside. With its wall covering and old stone, you really get to experience the medieval character in which the tower was once built. Just like the bath houses, this is a nice place to visit when you have nothing to do.