Portray of the Destination
Elche is the third major city of the Valencian autonomous region in terms of population, territory and resources. The Elche Palm Grove, heritage of the agricultural Andalusian culture, has been declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The city has also another cultural heritage that has been declared Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage: the Mystery Play of Elche (Misteri d’Elx). It is a sacred-lyrical drama, the last living proof of the medieval religious European theatre.
It is a commercial city, the Spanish footwear Capital and a modern metropolis dedicated to the tertiary sector that has turned it into an active, open and welcoming city.
We would like to thank the “Instituto de Turismo de Elche” for the texts and photographs provided.
Visit: Visite: www.turismedelx.com
Elche is located to the South of the Valencian Autonomous Region and it is the capital city of the area of Baix Vinalopó. Its municipal territory has 326 square kilometres (126 sq. mi) divided into an urban area and 30 country areas with important centres of population, together known as Camp d’Elx. It has almost 9km (6 miles) of very well-kept beaches that unfold behind barriers of dunes full of pine groves. The city lays on a plain crossed out by the Sierra del Molar, Tabaià and Castellar mountains which are the last foothills of the Sistema Bético mountain range and make up the different landscapes of the city. The reservoir of Elche was built in 1632 and it gathers up the waters of the Vinalopó River that divides the city into two areas.
Elche has a typically Mediterranean climate, with mild winters and perfect summers. There are no considerable variations of temperature throughout the year since the average temperatures are 26ºC (78.8ºF) in summer and 17ºC (62.6ºF) in winter. There is little rainfall mainly in spring and autumn. In the latter there may be downpours provoked by heat accumulation in layers of cloud colliding with the cold fronts the arrive from the North Pole.
When to go
Summer is always the best choice since the climate of the city allows you to enjoy the beautiful beaches. However, there are great cultural activities the rest of the year.
Elche had two major emplacements throughout its history. The first one was in the archaeological site of l’Alcudia, situated 2 kilometres (1.24 mi) south of the present city centre, from the Neolithic period until the Visigoth period and it offered the strategic advantage of easy defence thanks to the Vinalopó River. The primitive centre developed itself until the creation, in the 5th Century B.C., of the Iberian city of Heliké that lasted up to the Carthaginian invasion in 280 B.C. This was the splendid period of the Iberian civilization in which sculptures such as the Dama de Elche (Lady of Elche) were created. This sculpture is the main example of this period and it is kept in the National Archaeological Museum of Madrid and it represents the bust of a woman richly bejewelled.
In the year 209 B.C. the Iberian city get Romanized and in the 1st Century B.C. obtained the name of Iulia Illice Augusta colony, a rank that was only acquired in the present Valencian region Illici (Elche) and Valentia (Valencia) and that even allowed it the Imperial privilege of minting its own currency. The fallen of the Roman Empire brought constant destruction and rebuilding due to the arriving of Barbarian people and the end of the Visigoth Empire. Under the Moorish domination the town was emplaced in its present location during the 8th and 9th Centuries, in the area known as Vila Murada.
The Christian conquest by James I of Aragon in 1265 forced the Moorish to move to the Raval de Sant Joan and the Jewish to the present Church of El Salvador. In the early 17th Century, Elche lost one third of its population due to the expulsion of the Moorish people. In the 19th Century appeared the important activity of making espadrilles and it led to the present footwear industry that boosted the growing of the city.
The religious festivities mark the city calendar with unavoidable dates such as “Palm Sunday” that has been declared of International Tourist Interest. In this celebration thousands of Elche’s citizens parade along the streets bearing their blanched palm leaves in a beautiful prelude to Holy Week.
The festivities reach their zenith in August with the celebrations in honour of the patron saint the Virgin of the Assumption. Celebrations begin with a procession of Moors and Christians. The streets are filled with lights, colours, splendour, fireworks and music for days. The Nit de l’Albà (the Night of Daybreak) is one of the most remarkable moments of the festivities: the Elche sky lights up with hundreds of fireworks honouring the Patron Saint and making magical the night of August 13th. The main event of the fiestas is the Misteri d’Elx (Mistery Play of Elx), a lyrical medieval drama depicting the Dormition and Assumption in Heaven of the Virgin Mary. Many citizens of Elche participate in this ceremony processing through the streets of the old Vila Murada, or walled city, bearing lit candles. There is also a pagan side of the fiesta since many of the citizens remain awake until dawn having fun.
On the morning of the 15th, the day of the Assumption of the Virgin, the procession of the Mare de Déu takes place with the image of the patron saint crossing the centre of the city. The celebration ends with a spectacular firework display at midnight, August 15th.
A singular tradition is the Arrival of the Virgin. This takes place on December 28th and commemorates the legendary discovery of the chest containing the image of the Virgin. The Cantó horse ride through the streets of Elche is the high point of the festival.
As well as its rich cultural heritage, Elche also offers a wide range of local dishes using the great variety produced in the area. Its fertile region and proximity to the coast has historically influenced the local cuisine. The most widely known dish of Elche is “Arroz con costra” (literally, rice with a burnt base) but there also other delicious dishes such as “Arroz con Conejo y Caracoles” (rice with rabbit and snails) and “Puchero con Pelotas” (a type of stew with meatballs wrapped in cabbage leaves). Another exquisite dish is the “Mujol del Hondo” (mullet from El Hondo with garlic mayonnaise and local seafood).
For dessert the locally grown fruits are delicious (dates, figs, pomegranates, etc.) as well as the “Tortada de Elche” (a tasty local sweetmeat) and the “Pan de Higo” (a cake of compressed figs with slivers of almond). Traditional drinks include the distilled flowers of Arabian lavender, distilled aniseed (the popular “Nugolet”) and date liquor.
YES: si. NO: no. HELLO: hola. GOOD BYE: adios. GOOD MORNING: buenos días. GOOD AFTERNOON: buenas tardes. GOOD NIGHT: buenas noches. PLEASE: por favor. SORRY: lo siento. THANK YOU: gracias. DOCTOR: médico. PHARMACY: farmacia. NUMBERS: 1: un. 2: dos. 3: tres. 4: cuatro. 5: cinco. 6: seis. 7: siete. 8: ocho. 9: nueve. 10: diez. 11: once. 12: doce. 13: trece. 14: catorce. 15: quince. 16: dieciséis. 17: diecisiete. 18: dieciocho. 19: diecinueve. 20: veinte. 21: veintiuno. 22: veintidós. 30: treinta. 40: cuarenta. 50: cincuenta. 60: sesenta. 70: setenta. 80: ochenta. 90: noventa. 100: cien. 1000: mil. DAYS OF THE WEEK: MONDAY: lunes. TUESDAY: martes. WEDNESDAY: miércoles. THURSDAY: jueves. FRIDAY: viernes. SATURDAY: sábado. SUNDAY: domingo. COMMON WORDS: BIG/SMALL: grande/pequeño. HOT/COLD: caliente/frío. OPEN/CLOSED: abierto/cerrado. GOOD/BAD: bueno/malo. NEW/OLD: nuevo/viejo. PUSH/PULL: empujar/tirar. ENTRANCE/EXIT: entrada/salida. LADIES/GENTLEMEN: señoras/señores. FAR/NEAR: lejos/cerca. LEFT/RIGHT: izquierda/derecha. TAXI: taxi. BUS: autobús. MEALS: BREAKFAST: desayuno. LUNCH: comida. DINNER: cena. MENU: menú. WINES: vinos. DESSERT: postre. THE BILL: la cuenta. COMMON SENTENCES: DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH?: ¿Habla inglés?. I DON'T UNDERSTAND: no entiendo. WHERE IS IT?: ¿donde está? HOW MUCH IS IT: ¿Cuánto es? WHAT TIME IS IT: ¿Qué hora es? COULD YOU HELP ME: ¿Puede ayudarme?
The official currency of Spain is the Euro. There are banknotes of 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5 Euros. Also coins of 1 and 2 Euros and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents.
1 EUR (Euro) = 1.20 (United States Dollar) - 1 EUR (Euro) = 0.66 GBP (British Pound Sterling)
In comparison with other countries within the European Union and perhaps due to its high tourist vocation, Spain is one of the cheapest countries for travelling. Obviously, the prices vary depending on seasons being summer the pick season.
Elche (Elx in Valencian)Country
+1 GMTOfficial Language
326 square kilometres (126 sq. mi)Population
Over 200,000 citizensPolitical Regime
Constitutional MonarchyPublic holidays
January 1st: New Year; January 6th: Three Wise Men Celebration; March 19th: Saint Joseph; March-April: Hol¡y Week; May 1st: Labour Day; August 15th: Virgin’s Assumption Day; October 12th: National Day of Spain; November 1st: All Saints Day; December 6th: Day of the Spanish Constitution; December 8th: Day of the Immaculate Conception; December 9th: Saint Leocadia; December 25th: Christmas.Religion
Just like the rest of Spain, Elche is mostly Catholic and the holiday calendar of the city is true proof of this.Religion
90% CatholicsArrival / Departure
The city of Elche is a strategic enclave since it is placed in a privileged area, 12 miles away from Alicante and 31 miles away from Murcia. It is placed in a zone that can be perfectly reached by air, land or sea. In the boundaries of the city it is the International Airport of l’Altet and the city is near the port of the capital of the province. Regarding road connections the city links up with the highways of the Mediterranean and with the highway of Madrid and it also has excellent railway connections that will even have, in the near future, a station of AVE (high speed train).Safety
Taking into consideration the importance of tourism in Spain, the security of the tourist is a high priority for the country; however, there are always some useful advices for them. In order to avoid any kind of problem it is advisable to take the money needed in the moment and not all the money available especially if you are inside a crowd.Visa
Visas are not required to those tourists coming from the European Union, United States, Argentina, Mexico or any other Latin American countries, though a return ticket must be purchased in every case. Travellers from Australia, Anguilla, Bermuda, Brunei, Canada, Cyprus, South Korea, Hong Kong, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Israel, Japan, Macao, Malaysia, Montserrat, New Zealand, Saint Helena, Singapore and Turks & Caicos Islands do not either need visa provided that they do not stay more than 90 days in Spain.Clothing
There are not fixed rules regarding clothing since it changes according to the climatic period, the place or the circumstances. Spaniards usually do not overdress to attend to work or to share leisure time with others; in general, casual comfortable clothes are used and in January the low temperatures require warm clothing.Electricity
220V, 50 Hz. Sockets take two round plugs.Radio and Television
TV Channels: TVE1, TVE2, Antena 3, Tele 5 and Cuatro.
Radio stations: Cope, Onda Cero, RNE, Catalunya Radio.Telephone
The Spanish phone code is 34 and the Elche code is 96. To make phone calls to another country you must first dial 00 and the international code of the country you are calling to and finally the local phone number. If you wish to make phone calls within Spain you do not need to use a special code. The main operators are Amena (website: www.amena.com
); Movistar-Telefónica Mobiles (website: www.movistar.tsm.es
) and Vodaphone (website: www.vodafone.es
It is common to find phone booths along the streets and they work with regular coins or phone cards that can be bought in places called “locutorios”. In these places you will find several phone booths where you can make phone calls without using coins or cards and paying when you finish your call and also several different services such as: sending and receiving fax and Internet.
TEL.: 902 157 445Fire Brigade
112Newspapers and Magazines
National newspapers: Abc, Diario 16, El Mundo, El País, Estrella Digital, La Razón, La Vanguardia. T
Local press: La Verdad, Información, Las Provincias, El Periódico, Noticias Elche.
The postal service in Spain is efficient; letters within Europe should take no more than 3 to 5 to be delivered. Registered post should cost a minimum of 2.5 Euros. The post offices are open from 8.30AM to 8.30PM on weekdays and from 8.30AM to 1PM on Saturdays.
The main post offices of the city are:
* Main Office
Pº de la Juventud, 18
TEL: 965 44 69 11
* Branch No1
Av. Libertad, 110
TEL.: 965 46 81 70
* Branch No2
TEL: 965 42 50 92
* Office Parque Industrial de Torrellano
C/ Juan de Herrera
Health Care Services
In general, the Spanish Health care system is good. There are no special warnings. Actually, the only precaution has to do with the sunshine that could cause heatstroke. It is important to mention that Spain has a large network of Health care Centres that offer first aid as well as qualified doctors. In the city of Elche you will find the following centres:
* Hospital General de Elche
Camino de la Almazara, 11 T
EL.966 67 90 00
* Centros de Salud
- CS Carrús
Alfredo Sánchez Torres, 8
TEL.965 43 51 80
* CS Jose María Pemán
Jose María Pemán, 29
TEL.965 44 81 12
* CS Toscar
Vicente Fuentes Sansano, 36
TEL.965 44 32 12
* C.S. de El Raval
Camí de Felip, s/n
* Ambulatorio de San Fermín
C/ Jorge Juan, 46
* Red Cross
Gabriel y Galán, 33
TEL.965 45 25 36 www.cruzroja.es
Elche is a city that is perfectly linked to the rest of Spain and other countries thanks to the International Airport of l’Altet. It is placed 8 miles away from the built-up area and has weekly flights to over fifty destinations.
Services of the airport:
Tourism Office of Elx-Airport: 966 919 367
Information: 966 919 100
Iberia: 966 919 188.
Other companies: Air Nostrum 966 919 188, Basic Air 966 919 444, LTU 966 919 450, Lufthansa 902 220 101, Monarch 966 919 447.Public Transport
The city has a very efficient system of public transport. The different lines of “Autobuses Urbanos” allow you to travel along the city with an approximate frequency of 10 minutes. For more information call Autobuses Urbanos at 966 613 147.
There is also a regular taxi service that can be reached by phoning at: Radio Taxi TEL.965 427 777.Railway
The railway crosses the city by means of a subterranean line and has two stations in the urban area and a halt in the municipal district of Torrellano. The project for the Madrid-Alicante AVE (high speed train) considers also one stop in Elche, enhancing in this way the connections with the city.
More information: RENFE-Elche 96 545 62 54. Information: RENFE 902 240 202 www.renfe.es
Elche has a modern bus station, placed near the railway station, with regular services to the nearby cities as well as to the most important national and international capitals.
Elche bus station: 96 661 50 50.
Elche has road connection with the motorways of the Mediterranean and the highway of Madrid. It is linked to the rest of the Mediterranean coast and Europe by the motorway A-7 (European itinerary E-15). Another important route for long-distance travels is the highway N-330 of the basic network of the State that links up the province of Alicante with the rest of the Iberian Peninsula. Also, there are complementary networks such as the N-340 that passes through Alicante, Elche and Murcia by Orihuela and the N-332 that links up the coast of Elche with other tourist areas. The motorway Alicante-Cartagena (A-32) has been recently inaugurated and connects Elche with both cities. Car Rentals
In the city of Elche you can rent-a-car in the following offices:
Record Rent a Car: 902 123 002 www.alicante-live.com/alquiler-coches.htm
Elche is a fully Mediterranean city since only 8 miles separate it from the coast. The port of Alicante is located 12 miles away and has modern facilities that make possible the sea transport of goods and travellers.
Information of the Alicante Port: 96 513 00 95.Spanish embassy in the destination Taking pictures
There are no restrictions regarding the taking of pictures.See climate
www.worldweather.orgCurrency converterwww.xe.com/uccA dinner
From 12 to 25 Euros.A coffee
1 Euro.The Bus
1 Euro.The taxi
1.10 Euros when the meter starts running (standard fare), 1.44 at night and 1.65 on holidays.The train
4 Euros approximately.