International Contemporary Art Museum

MIAC- Castillo de San José

The International Contemporary Art Museum-Castillo de San José is located near Puerto Naos and Arrecife, capital of the island.

It was built between 1776 and 1779 under the mandate of King Charles III. Its advantageous location on top of a cliff, was an added asset to the powerful Castle of San Gabriel, and made it an essential spot to defend Arrecife from and its port against the threat of modern states in conflict with the Spanish Empire.

It was abandoned for almost a century, when it became less necessary to use it as a fortress.

César Manrique convinced the authorities of the island to transform the ancient fortress into an art gallery, and the International Contemporary Art Museum opened in 1976.

The artist from Lanzarote started the 1st International Visual Arts Competition, including the work of Picasso, Tàpies, Miró, Mompó, Millares, Zóbel, among others, becoming the origin of one of the best abstract art collections of the second half of the 20th Century in the Canary Islands.

The fortress was expanded with new construction work being done, a modern restaurant where Manrique showed his true creative potential, turning it into one of the most attractive spaces of the building, a place where visitors can taste avant-garde dishes sheltered by the coast and the sea as they enjoy the impressive view of the bay through giant glass windows.

For further information regarding MIAC Castillo de San José  and the rest of the centres, please download the CACTLanzarote APP which is the virtual guide of the Tourist Centres. (Download HERE)

Museum: from 10:00 to 20:00 

Restaurant Qué-Muac (free access) :

•Restaurant: 12:00-16:00 Tuesday to Saturday

19:00-23:00 Fridays and Saturdays (Museum Nights)

•Coffee Shop: 10:00-20:00 Monday to Sunday

•Drinks/Bar: 21:30-01:00  Fridays and Saturdays

Prices from May 2017

Adults: 4.00 euros

Children: 2.00 euros (7 – 12)

Canarian adult resident: 3.20 euros

Canarian resident child: 1.60 euros

People residing in Lanzarote: 1.00 euros

We recommend purchasing one of our passes available at the Tourist Centres ticket offices, to visit 3, 4 or 6 centres, and safe up to €10.55.

You will be able to organise your trip more comfortably combining the International Contemporary Art Museum, MIAC-Castillo de San José, with other Centres of interest around the island. (for further info click HERE) 

• Restaurant QuéMUAC-Castillo de San José

•Gift shop with designer jewellery and the best local handicraft.

•Free Wifi.

•Free parking for cars and bicycles

The Art, Culture and Tourism Centres are in the process of eliminating architectural barriers and adapting to people with reduced mobility. So far, a part of the centre can be accessed.

Free access for children under 7.

There are comfortable high chairs available for children at the restaurant. There are also baby changing facilities in the toilets.

No pets allowed, except for guide dogs.

We recommend taking pictures of the facade of the building (an 18th Century fortress), the external gardens, the upper terrace and the view to the sea from Restaurant QuéMUAC-Castillo de San José. The use of a flash is not allowed when taking photographs inside the museum in order to avoid damaging the works of art.

MIAC collection

The MIAC collection is setting off on a phase of close collaboration between the Cabildo of Lanzarote and César Manrique. The selection of artists asked to join the opening of the First International Visual Arts Competition at the museum. The first great set of the collection and what it revolves around. Among the authors included there are some whose work was at its peak in the 1960’s, important names such as: Tápies, Guerrero, Torner, Zóbel, Sempere, Gordillo, Rivera, Le Parc, Pedro González… This original core, has been growing in the same direction and has been introducing the work of outstanding Canarian artists from the very first avant-garde ones: Óscar Domínguez, Pancho Lasso, Juan Ismael, and from later generations, Millares, Chirino, Cristino de Vera… Since 2000, the MIAC collection has increased introducing photographic work, and it also has outstanding pieces by authors such as Joel Peter-Witkin, Joseph Beuys and Jürgen Klauke, among others.


Check our calendar for more scheduled exhibitions.


MIAC is developing a programme of activities that revolves around its Collection, although what matters the most is its promotion and the ideas behind the museum, conceived, as a centre where culture lives. Contemporary artistic manifestations go hand in hand with vital experiences activated by the society where the pieces are made. This brings us to new activities that are true expressions of creativity. Visitors are the ones who act permanently with the pieces or art, and it is they who we are addressing in order to contribute to the visual and intellectual training of our society. ENCUENTRO BIENAL ARTELANZAROTE Since 2001, MIAC organises Lanzarote Bienal, a project to promote artistic activities and a way of showing contemporary creation. The Bienal starts a debate among the cultural parties involved -artists, curators, architects, anthropologists, management and citizens- fully convinced of the fact that art must be in contact with reality and with life. Every edition covers themes and topics associated with culture, art, tourism, ecology, immigration, architecture, sustainability, all of them current issues nowadays, not only for the globalised world we live in, but also as unit of action for Lanzarote and the Canary Islands.


Education and Cultural Action Department (DEAC)

The work carried out by the Education and Cultural Action Department of the museum, focuses on developing an activity programme and educational materials aimed for all education levels, as well as for groups of adults and associations which may request it.

The educational activities take place in an attractive context, with an educational process that intends to be touching, active, interactive and reflexive, having fun whilst learning.

DEAC  aims to encourage the habit of going to museums using exhibition experiences that are fun and meaningful from childhood. In addition, bonds are established with schools and the museum so through ideas and proposals that teachers may have, the museum can become a useful tool for education.


• Guided tours: tours around the permanent collection and the temporary exhibitions of the Museum.

• School workshops: for groups of students and their teacher. Different topics are covered depending on the base of the Museum or the temporary exhibition, adapted to the content of each educational cycle.

• Other workshops: throughout the year there are other type of workshops adapted to the theme proposed for the celebration of the International Museum Day in May, the scheduled temporary exhibitions and other aspects related to the contents of the Museum.

• Teachers: Regular meetings at the schools to explain all the activities and how to use them in detail.

 Cultural Management Training Programme

The current society seems to have an increasing need for qualified professionals able to respond to the new challenges that arise from within the culture scene. The current educational and professional system, often doesn’t manage to meet the needs and necessities demanded by the cultural and artistic services.

Museums, foundations, associations, galleries, cultural centres, culture councils and other socio-cultural parties involved, need qualified professionals and technical personnel able to carry out activities and services related to the management and improvement of Culture as a whole.

This is why, the Cultural Management Training Programme, an initiative that the International Contemporary Art Museum, MIAC, part of the Art, Culture and Tourism Centres of the Cabildo of Lanzarote, offers citizens on the island the possibility, in collaboration with other professionals, technical experts, artists, students, management and citizens interested in this topic, to work in the training aspect of this professional sphere of cultural management.

Aware of the lack of training available, the Cabildo of Lanzarote, the Fundación Universitaria de Las Palmas and the University Las Palmas de Gran Canaria signed a specific collaboration Agreement to promote this Cultural Management Training Programme, whereby MIAC and the Institutional Development and New Technologies Vice-rectorate, organised a series of activities and training courses jointly focused on improving the professional aspect of the management of culture and art by the different socio-cultural parties involved on the island, as well as for graduates and university students interested in this field of knowledge.

In order to do so, we also had the educational-academic collaboration of the Lanzarote Tourism University College, a centre that is associated to the aforementioned University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

The Museum

Mission statement

MIAC not only aims to acquire, preserve and communicate its art collection, but also to promote knowledge and increase the access people have to contemporary art in its different shapes and forms, and in turn maintaining an ongoing temporary exhibition programme along with public activities (education, preservation, communication).


As a public institution, MIAC, aims to be at the centre of our current cultural context. In order to do so, it is essential to take this from the idea of plurality and multiplicity of singularities that coexist in contemporary societies.

MIAC is part of an island institution system which should expand nationally and internationally, with organisations that join their efforts in order to share the pieces displayed among their walls, as well as participate in the experiences taking place around them.

A museum is a place to interact, with critical autonomy, generating values and models that allow for a better understanding of where we are and where we can get to. The museum makes it possible to ensure, preserve and share some values.

Restaurant QuéMUAC

Quality products in a wide gastronomic proposal

At the Restaurant QuéMuac in Catillo de San José, having lunch or dinner in the spectacular glass terrace overlooking the bay of Arrecife is pure luxury. The new menu focuses on the quality of local products, innovation, creativity and customer service. We recommend you try the almogrote croquettes served on white sweet potato purée; sanma tacos , limpets and potatoes (papa bonita) served on a shellfish creme; kid goat wrapped in a fig leaf, fig confit and banana purée.

There are menus available for vegetarians and gluten intolerant customers as well as a children’s menu.

The restaurant is located on the ground floor and it can be accessed either through the museum or the external staircase that surrounds the castle.

Las Noches del Museo at the Restaurant QueMuac will make you feel submerged in an ambiance of art, culture and good music with dishes prepared by our chef. An alternative option to enjoy your Friday and Saturday nights.

You may book a table by calling 901200300 or by clicking on the link.

Coffee/Bar: From 10:00 to 01:00 h.

 Restaurant: from 12:00 to 16:00. (Tuesday to Saturday) from 19:00 to 23:00. (Friday and Saturday).

Cocktail/Bar: from 22:00 to 01:00.

Suitable for vegetarians and gluten intolerant customers. Children’s menu available. We recommend our tapas and cocktails.

To make a lunch or dinner reservation within the restaurant’s opening hours, you may contact our customer service department 901200300

For special groups and events, contact our sales department by e-mail


Art prints, designer jewellery, books and magazines and local handicraft

Purchase prints of artists included in MIAC’s Collection, unique locally crafted objects and original jewellery.

From 10:00  20:00 

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Get to know our history

+ 50 years sharing César Manrique’s creation
The Art, Culture and Tourism Centres (CACT) of the Cabildo of Lanzarote are the main tourism role model on the island. In January 2005, the Art, Culture and Tourism Centres began to be run by a Local Business Entity (EPEL), supported in its entirety by the Cabildo of Lanzarote. The EPEL-CACT, the Tourism Board and the Domestic Tourism Office, are the three public entities that manage tourism in Lanzarote. For the people, but with a corporate philosophy, the Tourism Centres are the economic engine of the island, focusing their profits greatly on Social Work on the island.

Protection of natural values

Protection of natural valuesArtist from Lanzarote, César Manrique was its main creator,wisely making art and nature bond. The Centres have become a modern version of the traditional intervention of local people on their natural surroundings, which sets deep in the roots of the local population. Currently, the CACT are a tourist product that smoothly meets the existing demands, respecting the essence and philosophy they were intended for.

César Manrique Cabrera (Arrecife, 24 April 1919- Teguise, 25 September 1992) was a Spanish painter, sculptor, and landscape artist from the island of Lanzarote. He balanced his art with the protection of environmental values on the Canary Islands. He sought harmony between art and nature creatively. He was awarded the Global Ecology and Tourism Award (1978) and the Europa Nostra Award, among others, for his art and environmental work in Lanzarote (1985). He displayed a range of art forms (paint, sculpture, urban-planning and public art, among others) with an underlying willingness to integrate his natural surroundings. An all-encompassing syncretism (total art, in his words) plain to see in his public space designs. Making an effort to find harmony, not only showing his passion for beauty, but also for life. 

César Manrique, Cabecera

Foto Archivo Fundación César Manrique

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César Manrique pintor

Archivo Fundación César Manrique

The origins of the Art, Culture and Tourism Centresdate back to approximately 1966. After a three-year stay in New York, César Manrique (1919-1992), one of the Spanish abstract painting pioneers, came back to Lanzarote, his home town, for good, where at that time tourism seemed to be emerging. Being aware of the uniqueness of the island’s landscape, he started to promote an ambitious creative project that consisted of the intervention with nature, aiming to preserve and protect the environment, and linking it to a new economy for Lanzarote related to the tourism industry. Quickly, and backed by an enthusiastic team of collaborators on his side, they started to obtain their first results: Jameos del Agua (1966), Monumento al Campesino (1968), El Diablo Restaurant (1970), Mirador del Río (1973), Museo Internacional de Arte Contemporáneo, MIAC (1976) and Jardín de Cactus (1990) 
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