Attractions in Elche and its surrounding areas cover a wide spectrum, from the city's famous palm groves to the nearby beaches. In fact, the entire Costa Blanca offers attractions galore such as the thrilling water parks of Benidorm and Torrevieja, and the delightful protected marine reserve around Tabarca Island. Admittedly, you would need a vehicle to visit the surrounding attractions, but for those that don't, there are still some fantastic things to see and do in the city.
Elche is in fact famous for two things. Its palm groves are the largest of their kind in Europe and were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. These beautiful groves span an area of 3,500m2 and boast numerous pleasant nature trails. These lead to spectacular botanical gardens and some very special palms such as the majestic Imperial Palm. Exploring the groves, you will also come across a variety of monuments, fountains, waterfalls and lakes. There are seating areas to stop and take a rest or enjoy a picnic, and playing fields along the banks of the river.
Elche's other claim to fame is its footwear industry which is the largest in Spain. You can read more about the industry in our Entertainment category. Wandering around the city gardens you are never far from monuments and museums. Many are located in charming squares or plazas. Here you will find pavement cafes to enjoy a coffee and bit of people watching, and a selection of bars and restaurants to suite all tastes. One of the city's most popular attractions only takes place once a year. The spectacular Elche Medieval Festival takes place each year at the end of October or beginning of November. This riot of song, dance and colourful costumes is not to be missed.
Surrounding the city of Elche are many superb attractions. Some of these are just a stone's throw away, and others a bit further afield. The beautiful golden sand beaches of Costa Blanca are a mere 20 minutes drive. The pleasant fishing town of Santa Pola is the closest part of mainland Spain to Tabarca Island. From the town there are several types of boat trip to the island each day. This is the only inhabited island off the Costa Blanca coast and a protected marine conservation area. Tabarca is a popular attraction, receiving thousands of visitors each day during peak season. There is excellent snorkelling and scuba diving and several other interesting attractions.
Slightly further from Elche are the beaches and wild sand dunes of Guardamar. For those that want to visit beaches with many nearby water activities, The city of Torrevieja and resort area of Orihuela Costa are perfect. These are around 50 minutes drive. Torrevieja has two large marinas boasting many fantastic water sports and activities. For its size, Orihuela Costa is recognised as having the most Blue Flag Awards in all of Spain with many stunning beaches and great facilities. Nature enthusiasts and keen hikers will surely enjoy the wonderful nature reserve and swamps of Pantano de Elche. It is teaming with interesting flora & fauna and has a lake and waterfall.
If visiting Santa Pola with children, be sure to take them to Pola Park. This is a lovely amusement park, in some ways reminiscent of an old fashioned fairground. It boasts a few attractions for adults and teens but is mainly geared towards children. Then you have the spectacular Rio Safari Elche. This wonderful animal and leisure park lies between the city and Santa Pola. It is home to many animals from around the world. It's possible to spend all day here as they also have a nice leisure area. This offers a swimming pool, water slide, go-karting, cafe and picnic areas. For the ultimate in water slides, there are excellent aqua parks in Torrevieja, Quesada and Benidorm.