The picturesque city of Elche is full of diversity, from its modern bustling city center, to its surrounding tranquil nature and beauty. A popular tourist attraction amongst Spaniards, the city boasts more than a million palm trees and has been declared the biggest palm tree grove in Europe. In the year 2000, Elche's palm tree grove was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and its palms can be seen across Spain in the Palm Sunday parades at Easter time. Today, they remain the town's main industry.
Leaving from the pier in Cartagena, it's a 75-minute scenic drive to Elche where upon arrival you will first visit the municipal park where the majority of the palm trees are located. Then it is on to the Santa Maria Church, a 16th century church that was built on the site of an ancient Arab Mosque. It is here that the famous mystery play of Elche is carried out each year.
Continuing on, you will next visit the Huerto Del Cura (priest grove garden), where you will be surprised by a world botanical phenomenon, the Imperial palm tree, an eight-armed specimen.
Far from the hustle and bustle of the city, the garden is an oasis of calm accentuated with a magnificent mixture of Mediterranean and tropical plants. Not only does the garden house rare plants, it also has the more typical Mediterranean trees such as lemon, orange, pomegranate, carob and jujube. It also has areas of cactus, and of course, palm trees. In total, the area has over 700 palm trees and 500 other species of plants. As Muslims occupied this area for centuries, the fountains and main lake which are located in the center of the park are all designed in an Arabic architectural style.
At the conclusion of your time at Huerto Del Cura, you will re-board your coach for the transfer back to the pier.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 2-hours of moderate walking/standing. There are gravel surfaces to negotiate at the Municipal Park and Huerto del Cura. This tour is not considered suitable for wheelchair guests and those with mobility concerns are cautioned to evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Light weight clothing; sun cap; sunglasses, sunscreen and flat, comfortable walking shoes are suggested. It is also recommended that participants bring a bottle of water from the ship. The order of the sights viewed or visited may vary. Most shops in Cartagena close at noon Mon-Sat and do not open on Sundays.