Elche: City of Parks & Palms
Delight in a discovery of the unique oases of Elche, studded by the city’s UNESCO-designated palm trees and boasting a rich, Moorish-Roman history. Not only will you enjoy a walk in two Elche gardens, but you will also sample traditional foods and visit the city’s Santa Maria Church.
DurationApproximately 4½ hours
Pre-reservation of this Crystal Adventures excursion is recommended.
Arriving in Elche after an approximately 40-minute transfer from the pier, encounter a town that would look at home in North Africa, thanks to an arid climate and vast numbers of palm trees. In fact, the city and its environs host thousands of date palms—as many as 200,000. Originally planted as early as the 5th century BC by the Carthaginians and nurtured by the ingenious irrigation of the Romans, the palms remain a distinctive feature of the city. In 2000, UNESCO declared the Palm Grove of Elche a World Heritage Site.
Visit Elche’s Municipal Park on the northern side of town to stroll amid fine palm specimens. Trees can be up to 300 years old and grow to be more than 100 feet tall.
Next, proceed to another city landmark, Santa Maria Church. Depending on the scheduling of private events and services, you will step inside to admire its soaring ceilings and baroque ornamentation. The church’s exterior reflects a simpler Moorish-influenced design, highlighted by a blue dome.
After your church visit, transfer to Huerto del Cura, or “the priests garden,” a privatelyowned haven with tranquil water features and interesting cactus gardens. In this enchanting setting, enjoy a taste of typical delicacies, including such treats as fig bread, dried apricots, a traditional liquor called cantueso and, of course, dates.
Inspired by the magnificent gardens of Elche, return to your Crystal ship.
Important Notes: As this excursion involves walking over uneven surfaces, it is not recommended for guests with walking difficulties. It is recommended that guests dress in casual clothing and wear flat, comfortable shoes. This excursion will operate in all weather conditions. Video recording is not permitted at Huerto del Cura. Some crowding may be expected. Should a service or special event be taking place at Santa Maria Church, explanations will be made outside, with free time for an independent visit. The order of sights visited may vary. A minimum number of bookings is required for this excursion to operate. Pre-reservation of this Crystal Adventures excursion is recommended.