Located near the foothills of the Serra del Maigmó and Serra del Sit mountain ranges, the town of Elda lies about 30 kilometres inland from Alicante on the banks of the Vinalopó River. Unique in the sense that just a single road separates it from the neighbouring town of Petrer, Elda has been inhabited since Neolithic times and in later years its 12th century castle has borne witness to many a battle during the rule of several nations.
Modern Day Elda
Elda's footwear industry, although not as extensive as Elche's which is the largest in the country, is an important addition to the town's economy and it is especially known for the manufacture of women's footwear. Evidence of this can be seen in the fascinating Museo del Calzado (Museum of Footwear) that houses an extensive collection of both modern day and older shoes as well as examples of shoe making machinery and tools.
Visitors to Elda can also explore the Museo Ethnológico, Museo Archeológico, 12th century castle, 16th century Church of Santa Ana and the impressive Casa Grande del Jardin de la Musica. Around town visitors can wonder through the squares and plazas, catch a movie at the Cines Yelmo or Cines Max in Petrer, grab a take away from McDonald's next to the movie theatre or choose a selection of snacks from one of the town's supermarkets to enjoy on the banks of the river near the football stadium. Throughout the town are roadside cafes, bars and restaurants where a more substantial meal and wonderful Jalon Valley wines can be had.
The town makes a good base for exploring the abundant surrounding countryside, and in particular the vast mountain ranges of Serra del Maigmó and Serra del Sit. Here there are opportunities for camping and fishing, mountain biking, horse riding, hiking the mountains numerous nature trails and rock climbing or scrambling. Alternately, further towards the coast is the city of Elche famed for having the largest palm groves in Europe and Spain's largest shoe manufacturing industry, where a visit to one of the factory outlets will surely dent the wallet 🙂