Elche, south of Alicante
is the third most populated city in the Valencia community right behind Valencia and Alicante, with a population of 225 thousand people that can easily double in peak season. A large part of the municipality is coastal, however, the main city is 11 kilometres from the coast and through it runs the river Vinalopó, that splits the town into two parts.
Originally some ten kilometres from its present position this town started as a Greek settlement, after which through time, battles and conquests it is located where it is nowadays. During the 19th century, the city became more important with the arrival of the railway and the industrial development of the traditional shoe industry. The most historic remains found is the “Dama de Elche” bust, dating from the 4th-century b.c., and on display in the National Archaeological Museum of Spain.
The economy is mainly based on the footwear industry with some famous European brands having their head offices here, and as an effect of that 20% of its economy evolves the rubber industry. As with other towns of the Costa Blanca, tourism has gotten more important over the last decades. There are also a conference centre and public university in town and the Alicante airport actually is located in its territory.
Average high temperatures in summer months can reach up to 33 Celsius, with a total of just 32 rainy days per year.
One of the interesting places to visit Elche is the “Palm Grove of Elche” (Palmeral de Elche), an orchard with over 200.000 palm trees, and being a world heritage site. Other interesting places of interest are the Altamira castle, the Santa Maria church and a number of musea.
Elche is very well connected to the infrastructure on the Costa Blanca, as the AP-7 crosses its territory offering multiple exits, and the A-3 from Alicante to Madrid is also close by. Other national roads such as the N-330 connect Elche with the centre of the country and the N-332 connects its coastal area with other tourist areas. Frequent trains stop in two stations in town as Elche is on the route between Murcia and Alicante offering easy connections to any point in the mainland. There is also a modern bus station next to the railway station offering services locally and to nearby communities as well as national and international destinations.