Type of protected nature area: Nature Reserves Near Towns
Virtually forming part of the DNA of Elche’s citizens and always happily appearing as they go about their daily lives, the Municipal Park is not just a space for enjoyment and repose but a true, breathing lung of oxygenizing vegetation located in the heart of the city.
Its six hectares bring together the groves known as Huertos del Colomer, Real, Mare de Déu and Baix. The largest portion of this area was bequeathed in a will of 1661 by the then landholder, Nicolás Caro, to the patroness of the city, La Virgen de la Asunción.
The city council is in charge of the conservation and maintenance of this public park, the city’s first and dating from 1946; upon inauguration it had an area of 20,000 square metres.
On of the most noteworthy elements of the Municipal Park is an 18th century water mill known as Molí del Real. It was powered by the water channel known as the Acequia Mayor. The building still has the characteristic arches and buttresses of a mill on the river frontage overlooking the Vinalopó.
Also of interest is the visitor’s centre or Centro de Visitantes, in a pseudo-oriental style and nicknamed “el huevo” (the egg) due to its shape and colour. It is the only building surviving from the 1946 regional exhibition and fair. It once housed the city’s archaeological and palm museums.
La Rotonda, is a handsome outdoor amphitheatre considered to be emblematic as is the bandstand dating from the 80s and reminiscent of a 1960s bandstand that once stood in the Glorieta.
The adjoining pigeon loft is an evocation in Valencian (Colomer) of the original grove. Feeding the pigeons is one of the preferred pastimes of visitors to the park, particularly among youngsters.
El Hort de Baix, was the last addition to public outdoor spaces and dates from 1960; it stands out because of its broad staircase and because it can be converted to a spectacular outdoor night club during the August festivities of the patron saints. It is also used for other events throughout the year.
There is a cafeteria-restaurant in the centre of the park with spacious areas both indoors and outdoors. By the park’s southern access you can find the Tourist Information Office which is housed in an oriental-style edifice.
Even though the date palm reigns supreme in the Municipal Park and all of Elche’s extensive palm groves, we can also see other varieties of palms as well as an enormous range of flora: bougainvillea, many kinds of fig trees, araucarias, rosewood, magnolias, false peppermints, Elche poplars, banana trees and even the rare tulip tree from Gabon.
The park is dotted with fountains and small ponds and one of them has a swan colony, much to the delight of children.
November to March: 07:00 to 21:00.
April to October: 07:00 to 23:00.
August: 07:00 to 23:45.