Far off of the radar of most guidebooks and Spain travel guides is the city of Elche, located in the south of the Valencian Community.
While it might not have spectacular beaches or be as famous as cities like Alicante and Valencia nearby, Elche is a fascinating city that’s definitely worth getting to know.
Parts of Spain, including where Elche is located, were ruled by the Moors for several centuries until nearly 1500. Elche itself was under their rule throughout the Middle Ages, until 1244. Their fingerprints still remain in this city.
In Elche, you can find “El Palmeral,” a massive plantation of date palms that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Moors implemented an irrigation system that allowed this grove to grow in Europe due to Elche’s warm climate. It’s the only date palm plantation in all of Europe and is a beautiful and fascinating place to walk around and visit.
Elche’s Old Town also has plenty of signs of its Moorish past. By strolling around its pedestrian-only streets, you can see architecture and blue domes that are clearly inspired by Arabic architecture.
Believe it or not, you can also visit an underground Arab bath complex dating back to 1150. It has been excavated and can now be visited, providing a fascinating look at Elche’s past.
Be sure to check out Elche if you’re in Spain!