Museo Atlantico, Lanzarote

Lanzarote: Home to Europe’s First Underwater Museum

Editor’s Note: Living in Europe in 2009 and 2010, my weekend escapes took me to a number of awe-inspiring destinations around the continent. One place that was a top contender for a Spanish getaway? The Canary Islands, a popular destination for British sun seekers and a destination that piques the interest of many holiday makers.

Post by Carly Conrad

If you’re considering a Canary Island holiday, there are many reasons why Lanzarote should top the list when you’re planning your getaway. The other-worldly landscape is one that you have to see to appreciate. In Timanfaya’s Fire Mountains, geysers of steam erupt from ground if water is thrown into a hole. In the north, Cueva de Los Verdes is the world’s longest lava tunnel, and it is used as a concert chamber in the summer months.

Lanzarote, Canary Islands

Image courtesy of the Creative Commons Licence

The island is also a convenient one; easily accessible with all the modern amenities you could need, and Lanzarote flights won’t cost you a fortune. If you still need a bit more convincing to plan a visit, take a look at Lanzarote’s newest sight: Museo Atlantico, Europe’s first underwater museum. Intrigued?

What is it?

Museo Atlantico Underwater Museum, Lanzarote
Museo Atlantico, Photo by: Jason Taylor via The Guardian

Museo Atlantico is a collection of underwater sculptures on the Atlantic seabed, 15 metres beneath the surface near Lanzarote’s southern coast. Currently, there are 60 statues, but it will eventually be home to about 300 different sculptures, making it a haven for SCUBA divers, snorkelers and art lovers alike.

The main installment is The Rubicon, which shows 40 statues walking towards a gateway. Modernity meets the ocean here – you’ll find some of the statues holding tablets and taking selfies. Each figure had to be sculpted above ground, then lowered into the water.

Why was it created?

British sculptor Jason deClaires Taylor is the man behind this project. He has created many underwater instalments, including the world’s only other submerged museum – MUSA near Cancun in Mexico.

Taylor’s aims for Museo Atlantico are environmentally focused. The sculptures are an artificial reef, intended to encourage habitation by marine creatures on a previously barren seabed. The longer the statues remain underwater, the more they become part of the ecosystem as they play host to algae, crabs, and much more.

Lanzarote, Canary Islands
Courtesy of Simon Turkas via Creative Commons

The museum can be reached from Lanzarote’s modern Playa Blanca resort on guided trips with tour operators like Dive College Lanzarote. If you want to see the museum on a dive, you’ll need to be certified. However, don’t worry if you’re not an experienced diver – snorkelers of all levels can also visit the sculptures.

 

A visit to this incredible underwater exhibit is a museum trip you’ll never forget. By adding Museo Atlantico to its list of fascinating sights, Lanzarote is rapidly becoming the most unique destination in the Canaries. Ready to visit?

More about Shannon Kircher

Shannon Kircher is the founder and editor of The Wanderlust Effect, formerly The Traveling Scholar. Founded in 2009, she has continued to document her international escapes as an expat in Europe and the Caribbean. She is a former resident of London and San Francisco and now calls the island of Anguilla home. In addition to The Wanderlust Effect, Shannon is the Director of Marketing for the Frangipani Beach Resort and is on the Board of Directors of the Omololu International School in Anguilla.