El Cau de Elche

El Cau de Elche - Open Air Museum

The El Cau de Elche, is a wonderful Open Air Museum, situated just outside Elche/Elx, in the area known as El Ferril, in the Elche mountain range of Tabaià, this is a real hidden treasure and well worth a visit.

El Cau means The Burrow, and here in the arid mountains you will find over 100 sculptures, carved into this old sandstone quarry by Mariano Ross and friends.

El Cau de Elche

The sculptures include carved scenes of well known places in Elche such as the Elche Palm grove and the Basilica of Santa Maria, famous local figures such as shoemakers, hikers, the Lady of Elche, and even one for Elche Football Club, local festivals, animals and many, many more.

El Cau de Elche

There are two small rooms excavated in the stone, hence the name "The Burrow" one of which has a table and a few chairs and a visitors book.

In addition to all this artistic work, various species of trees, shrubs and aromatic plants such as Rosemary and wild Sage have been planted in El Cau, all typical of this arid terrain and the Mediterranean climate.  

Walk to the summit and find amazing views of Elche, The Puig Campana, the Serra de Aitana, the Maigmó etc

How to get to El Cau

El Cau is situated about a 15 minute drive North of Elche, the best place to park is at the Mariano Ros, where there is a small parking area for around 8 cars, put these co-ordinates into your sat nav - 38.3209896 -0.6938685 for the exact location.

Once at the car park cross the road and you will see this sign.

Find an interactive map here.

The route is very easy to follow as there are several signs (yellow and white) drawn or carved into the rock.  The route is about 600m and will take on average about 20 minutes, as it is all uphill, make sure you wear suitable shoes, as this is a mountain path, with some loose rocks, also remember, hats, sunglasses and sun cream and take plenty of water with you.

Is this suitable for Children and people with walking difficulties?

Children of all ages will love it here, but due to its location in the mountains and the stony route to get to the venue, it would not be suitable for children in pushchairs or anyone with walking difficulties.

When is the best time to visit?

El Cau is open ALL year round, but it would be exceptionally hot during the summer months, so the the best time of year to visit would be during the Spring, Autumn or Winter.

Entrance Price - FREE

El Cau de Elche

There are also NO facilities in this area, so if visiting during the summer, make sure to take adequate water with you.

El Cau de Elche - The history

Mariano Ross, the creator of El Cau, born in 1926, died in April 2017 at the age of 91.  Mariano was a shoemaker from Elche and began this work or art after he retired. 

El Cau de Elche

The first location for the sculptures was in the Sierra de Castellar, situated next to Elche Reservoir, in the same place where the remains of the first Islamic settlement in Elche were found, but due to various protection rules in 2000 Mariano had to move his sculptures to their current location, and with the help of friends and colleagues he continued working on the sculptures, most of which were made in honour of his beloved city, Elche up until 2008.

El Cau de Elche

Since Mariano's death El Cau continues to be looked after and cared for and even added to, the most recent sculpture is dated March 2023.

Whilst you are in this area, visit the Patano de Elche, either walk which would take about just under an hour to cover the 4km over the mountains, but this is a bit of a tricky route, especially if walking with children, so we would recommend you go from one place to another by car.

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