El Palmeral is the largest of it’s kind in Europe. With more than 200,000 trees, and another 50,000 in the nurseries waiting to replace the current trees. This is no ordinary tree plantation, El Palmeral is a protected Unesco site and part of the history of Elche. A history dating back over 1000 years to when much of Spain was under Moorish rule.
The Palm Groves Of Elche
From an aerial view, this majestic place appears to be a forest. In fact, the Palm Groves are a clever grid system of trees. The palm trees are planted in small plots of land. The collective name for these plots is “Huertos” (Orchards). Many of the white palms are sold throughout Spain and to some overseas countries.
A good percentage of the worlds palm trees were wiped out during the previous Ice Age. The trees found in the warmer places such as Elche and the Middle East survived. The date palm fruits that grow here have been an important staple food for centuries. These date back to at least the 3rd – 1st Century BC when the Romans settled here.
Tourists have no need to leave the city to appreciate the beauty and tranquility of the groves. There are some fantastic parks and gardens to explore within the city itself. The splendid Huerto del Cura gardens have a large selection of cacti and other plants and trees.
There is also a well laid out 2.5 km walking route. This route enables visitors to enjoy the magnificence of the palm groves of Elche. The route starts at the Huerto de San Placido. This is where the Palm Grove Museum lies in a splendid 19th century building. The museum offers visitors all sorts of fascinating historical facts. These include the origins and development of the palm groves.
El Hondo Nature Reserve
The district of Elche covers approximately 325 square km’s. Extending from the hills and mountain ranges. To the coastal sand dunes with the salt marshes and wetlands in-between. El Hondo Nature Reserve is part of a lagoon area. Formed of a mix of salt marshes, ponds and palm groves.
There is plenty of wildlife with around 170 different species of birds. These birds include herons, flamingos and various types of duck. There are also many types of fish and eels here. Elche is the perfect place to be if tranquility and peace are on your agenda. For a relaxing day out be sure to visit the palm groves of Elche and it’s other great attractions.