Hiking in Elche and its wonderful surrounding countryside is a pleasurable experience. This is an activity that all the family can enjoy absolutely free. As far as cities go, you couldn't choose a better setting for hiking than Elche. A huge attraction of the city is its spectacular palm groves. These are the largest of their kind in Europe and have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among this sea of green are beautiful protected parks and botanical gardens, blooming with a superb variety of plants, flowers and cacti. For the more adventurous hiker, the surrounding countryside boasts mountains, valleys, nature parks and lakes, all criss-crossed by hiking trails.
Hiking in The City
The majority of day visitors to Elche are there to see the famous palm groves. These cover vast areas of the city. Aside from numerous smaller areas of groves, there are three major parks all offering nature trails among the palms and gardens. The Municipal Park and El Palmeral Park blend into one another. These are located along the Río Vinalopó waterway. Walking the pretty trails reveals something different at every turn. There is a central lake, waterfalls, fountains and monuments among the gardens. There is also kids playgrounds, aviaries and a restaurant. Close by is Jardín Huerto del Cura which is just as beautiful, with incredible cacti and picnic spots.
Hiking in The Countryside
Further inland among the mountains and valleys are numerous protected nature parks. These not only offer hiking trails, but the opportunity to enjoy mountain biking and rock climbing. Several have some serious climbing routes, not to be attempted by amateurs. Others boast routes for via ferrata. These are hiking and climbing routes featuring a variety of aids such as iron rungs, bridges, cables, carved steps and ladders. For those that prefers a more gently day out, these nature parks spread throughout the foothills of the mountains, making for an easier hike.
Towards the coast are several lakes that are ideal for hiking. These include the freshwater Lake Pedrera and salt lakes of Torrevieja, La Mata and La Marina. All of them are surrounded by nature parks. Walking clubs often arrange trips to Lake Pedrera where you can also enjoy a swim. Just be aware of and respect anglers using the lake when swimming. At the salt lakes it's more about ‘bobbing' than swimming. They have a similar salinity to the Dead Sea. So, bring along a book to read while bobbing about. Torrevieja Salt Lake has a picturesque ‘Greenway' running alongside. These are disused railway tracks converted to hiking and mountain biking trails.