welcome to el cau elche

The fascinating El Cau de Mariano Ros – a free open air museum in Elche

We recently discovered a hidden gem near Elche – how we had lived in Spain for almost 5 years without knowing about it beats me! It was actually someone in my Costa Blanca Facebook Group who mentioned El Cau de Mariano Ros open air museum and we knew we had to visit.

If you are looking for something to do with kids in Elche, and enjoy being outdoors, this is somewhere you should definitely add to your list. Another bonus is that it’s completely free!

el cau elche sculptures

Where is El Cau?

El Cau (meaning “the burrow” in English) is located approximately 15km outside the city centre of Elche, in the El Ferriol area. It’s definitely what you’d describe as being ‘off the beaten track’ so make sure you put it into Google Maps first to avoid getting lost down some very narrow and windy mountain roads!

torre at el cau elche

How to get to El Cau

To get to El Cau you will need to drive as it’s not near the city centre, or near anywhere really!

There are various different routes you can take if you want to hike here, but I’m going to tell you the easiest way to get there and the one that we took.

If you use the above Google Map it will take you to a small car park which is located across the road from the bottom of the path up to El Cau. It’s a fairly steep path but not too hard going, though definitely not suitable for pushchair, wheelchairs or anyone who can’t walk far.

The signpost and path to El Cau, Elche

Opposite the car park you will see a small signpost to El Cau and need to follow the path up the hill. There are signposts as you go and when you round the corner you’ll be able to see your destination.

signposts to el cau elche

Tip: Make sure you’re wearing trainers or walking shoes, and take a hat and water if it’s hot!

What is El Cau?

El Cau is located in what used to be a quarry in the Tabaià mountain range. I’ve said it’s an open air museum but you could also call it a gallery or sculpture park, to be honest I haven’t really seen anything else like this before.

It’s a very unusual place with more than one hundred sculptures carved into the rock on the hillside, depicting various scenes and locations from around the nearby area, as well as historical and biblical scenes.

Walking up to El Cau in Elche

As you walk around the area you’ll also have some amazing views over Elche’s countryside and out to the coast in the distance. It’s a very peaceful place to sit for a while, though if you enjoy hiking you can also walk out past El Cau and into the hills.

Sitting looking at the view at El Cau Elche

There are also benches where you can have a rest and enjoy a snack if you’ve taken one with you but please make sure you take your rubbish home with you as this place is immaculate.

Since El Cau is located on an open hillside it’s open 24/7 and there’s no entry fee.

When and why was El Cau created?

All of the works at El Cau were created by local artist Mariano Ros, a lover of nature and art, who started his hobby on a different hillside in the area when he was no longer able to walk much. He began sculpting and painting scenes depicting his beloved home town of Elche on the stones in the hills of nearby Sierra de Castellar, though the works were moved to the current location in 2000. Different scenes were added over the years by Ros and his friends, but unfortunately Ros died in 2017.

mariano ros el cau elche

The area has been well taken care of since his death and it remains a popular place to visit.

What sculptures can you see at El Cau?

There are so many different sculptures here to see, take your time looking at them and see how many places and events you can recognise.

scupltures at el cau elche
palmeral scupltures at el cau elche

Some of those include scenes of Semana Santa, the Elche cathedral, the famous Palmeral, and the city’s football club.

alicante airport scuplture at el cau elche
rio safari scupltures at el cau elche

You’ll also see sculptures of the Rio Safari Park, the airport, the Glorieta Fountain, the Lady of Elche, and the city’s coat of arms amongst others such as religious sculptures and local animal species.

san pascual scuplture at el cau elche
reptile scupltures at el cau elche

If you’re looking for somewhere unusual to spend a few hours near Elche, we’d definitely recommend a visit to El Cau to see the hard work that has gone into this. It’s a fascinating place with beautiful surroundings, and you won’t find anywhere else like this.

la pasion at el cau elche

Just remember that in the height of summer this open area will be very hot so it might be better to visit out of the summer season.

Have you visited El Cau, Elche before? If so, which was your favourite sculpture here?

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.