Estepona, situated along the Costa del Sol in the province of Malaga, has recently opened an Orchid House to add to its reputation as ‘El Jardín de la Costa del Sol’ ( Garden of the Costa del Sol).
With an area of approximately 11,000 sq ft this fabulous architectural building is the largest Orchid House in Europe. On approaching the Orchid House the first impression is that the building looks just as if it had been lifted straight from the architect’s plans. The modernist design blends in perfectly with its surroundings and also with the beautiful botanical gardens that have been created to frame the exterior of the structure which takes up the space of the old Agricultural Association headquarters and daily market that has now been relocated elsewhere.
Three glass domes provide natural light, the largest being 100 feet high and weighing fifty tons. Once you enter the building you will be directed through a plastic curtain and you will then follow a trail that takes you past the plants to a viewing platform overlooking the 17 metre high waterfall that cascades down into a small lake. Follow the winding path downwards that takes you past the plant lined walls and then walk behind the waterfall (cameras away because you may get a little wet!) until you emerge on a lower level.
Distinct areas have been created to represent the differing natural environments of South America and Asia, with their own native orchids on display. Over 8,000 different species are already being cultivated in the Municipal Greenhouses ready to be slotted into place with care being taken to select varieties that flower at different periods of the year, so that whenever you come, there will be a stunning display of orchids in flower.
The Orchid House can be found at the north end of Calle Terraza, the main shopping street that runs from the seafront to the top end of the town. Opening times are from 10.00 am to 9.00 pm Sunday to Thursday and 10 am to 11 pm on Friday and Saturday. An evening visit is enhanced by the spectacular illuminations!
The best news of all is that entry to the Orchid House is free!