Elche Medieval Festival
The Costa Blanca city of Elche enjoys two claims to fame, its splendid palm groves which are the largest in Europe and its footwear industry which is the largest in Spain, but visitors to the city during the autumn months of late October to early November are treated to the fantastic Elche Medieval Festival. The festival has been celebrated each year since 1990 and during the week long festivities the city is turned into a giant stage dedicated to life during the Middle Ages with visitors coming from far and wide to take part in the fun.
Planning and preparation for the 60 plus events that are held during the Elche Medieval Festival begin months beforehand with many of the city's clubs, societies and citizens getting involved and offering a helping hand. The results produce a mesmerising street scene from the Middle Ages and a riot of colourful costumes, fireworks, parades, theatre, cinema, plays, music and dance, accompanied by much feasting and drinking.
In the heart of the action is the Medieval Market where traditional tents and stalls set up in the city centre and stall holders dress for the occasion in a spectacular variety of costumes and also decorate their stalls in keeping with the times. Here, as visitors wander through the streets and market stalls they are entertained by excellent street performances of all kinds such as juggling, stilt walkers, falconry shows, hilarious jesters, pantomime, and magic shows.
Market Stalls & Performances
Throughout the market stalls visitors can watch various artisans demonstrating the techniques used during the Middle Ages to make an assortment of items from materials such as iron, glass, leather, wood and clay, as well as intricate jewellery making and the cosmetics used by court jesters and jokers. Stall holders add to the mood of the festival with their imaginative costumes and offer passersby a wonderful selection of arts & crafts, hand made leather goods, copper & brass ware, jewellery, wicker ware, rugs and cushions. Glorious smells of roasting meat, cauldrons of traditional soups and stews, roasting nuts and fresh baked bread fill the air and visitors can sample a wide range of cured hams, sausages, cheeses, pastries and sweets.
During the week long Elche Medieval Festival the crowds are entertained with around 60 different events including spectacular street processions, dance performances, fire shows, firework displays, music performances, recitals, re-enactments, Medieval theatre and cinema. First time visitors to Elche should definitely take time out from the festival to explore the beautiful palm groves, cactus gardens and Palm Museum during their visit, and not forgetting the famous shoe factories such as Salvador Artesano which also has a huge warehouse shoe outlet that will surely put a dent in the wallet but also a smile on the face 🙂