El Huerto del Cura (the Priest’s Garden) is the most important botanical garden in Elche and it forms part of El Palmeral. It has around a thousand palm trees, most of them date palms, and covers an area of approximately 13,361 square metres.
This well-kept garden is the number one tourist attraction inside the town of Elche. Its collection of palm trees is splendid and unique. The most notable of all the species that can be found in the park is the great Imperial Palm, a Phoenix dactylifera or date palm that was dedicated to the Empress Elisabeth of Austria (Sisi) and that is the undisputed star of the Huerto del Cura. There are also lots of palm trees named after notable people from Elche, as well as a section called La Rocalla, which has an extensive selection of cacti and dry plants grouped together in the sunniest spot of the garden.
As well as the amazing collection of plants, the garden is also dotted with sculptures. These include a copy of the Lady of Elche sculpture by Juan Orts Román and a bust of James I of Aragon, who conquered the town of Elche in 1265.
El Huerto del Cura is listed as a National Artistic Garden because of its incomparable collection of palm trees and plants. It was also given UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 2000.
The garden is the perfect place to take a long walk and marvel at the diverse collection of plants, or just to sit on a bench and relax. El Huerto del Cura has a hotel of the same name at the entrance on Calle de la Porta de la Morera, between Calle Beethoven and Camino del Gato.
If you want to visit the gardens and the surrounding area, the best option is to drive there and then park very close to El Huerto del Cura in the Saba public car park on Porta de la Morera.