BEST OF 2 CITIES: ALICANTE & ELCHE
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Discover the largest palm-tree grove in Europe, a real oasis, and enjoy the views from Santa Barbara's castle.
Activity Level :
Elche, despite being a mid-size city, can be proud of having 2 UNESCO World Heritages: The “Palm Tree Forest”, declared a World Heritage Site in 2000, and “El Misteri”, since 2001 a masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage. The Palm Grove in Elche is the largest one in Europe with more tan 250,000 palm trees. The main species you can find in Elche is the date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) brought to this area by the Phoenicians 2,700 years ago.
The dates, its edible sweet fruit, are harvested in December, and the fronds are in demand all over Spain for the traditional Palm Sunday processions. Palm Groves were also used by the local farmers as a natural shelter against frost for the fruit trees and vegetables growing underneath.
Since the 1960s Alicante, the capital of the "Costa Blanca", is one of the most popular holiday destinations for international tourists in Spain, its main attraction being the long sandy beaches and, of course, “Santa Barbara’s Castle” the largest fortress in Spain.
We leave from the cruise terminal and after 30 minutes we arrive in Elche. Tour starts in the “Priest’s Garden”, the most impressive one in the Palm Tree Forest, where you can stroll along the paths between ponds and a huge variety of plants, not to mention the astonishing cacti collection. Visitors are welcomed by a replica of the mysterious Iberian bust called the “Lady of Elche”, considered to be the most important archaeological artifact in Spain. The highlight of the garden is the magnificent 8-trunk “Imperial Palm Tree”, named after Empress “Sissy”. In the garden we can enjoy a tasting of local produce from Elche: dates, fig bread…
Next we move to the tranquil Municipal Park, with plenty of palms and located next to the old quarter. In the blue-domed Basilica of Santa María, the largest Catholic church in the city, you can learn about the unique Passion Play known as “El Misteri”, a lyrical sacred drama performed in August.
Then we drive back to Alicante on time to visit Santa Barbara’s Castle, on the top of the Benacantil Hill, 166 m above the sea level. From its multiple vantage points you can enjoy the best views of the city and the Mediterranean.
Some free time will be given in the old town.
Shuttle bus stop, next to Ocean Race Museum
Please note :
Weather appropriate clothing, sun cap, sunglasses, and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
This Tour includes :
- English-speaking licensed guide.
Entrance tickets to the Priest Garden
Entrance tickets to Santa Barbara's Castle
1 small bottle of mineral water per person.
This Tour does NOT include :
- Food, drinks, souvenirs and any personal expenses.
Price for the whole party, not per person
Options (+ or -) may apply and will be calculated at the next step
This Tour is available in the following languages :
English, Deutsch, Español, Italiano, Français, Portugues
Kids friendly tour
Wheelchair friendly tour
No (uneven ground in the castle)
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