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Soon you'll have yet another good reason for visiting Southern Norway: Having dinner at five metres below sea level. "Under" in Lindesnes will be Europe's first and the world's largest underwater restaurant. "We'll attract tourists from all over the world. That is our goal. I hope and believe that this will be the start of a new age for the travel industry," says Gaute Ubostad, one of the founders of this very special restaurant project.
The underwater restaurant "Under" will definitively put Southern Norway on the dining map, both in Norway and throughout the world. And there might be stiff competition for a seat in the restaurant.
"We aim to become a spearhead in order to have success in the international market. The restaurant will not only enhance Southern Norway's position; it will solidify Norway as a whole. I believe it'll be an attraction that makes that more people consider it exciting to come to Norway and combine a visit here with other things," says Ubostad.
The restaurant "Under" will be built out in the sometimes-harsh waters at Spangereid in Lindesnes municipality, Norway's southern tip. The underwater restaurant and tourist attraction opens in April 2019.
Here, the way of thinking is innovative, big and original:
In the picture at the top, you can see how the section of the building above the surface will look. It is reminiscent of a rock formation that is rising out of the sea; almost like a kind of art installation.
In the picture below, you can see how the main entrance - or passage down - into the restaurant will be, as seen from the shore.
The award-winning architect firm, Snøhetta, has designed the spectacular building.
When you step into the restaurant, your unique undersea journey begins. Here you can descend all the way to a depth of five metres without a diving suit. Just walk down the stairs.
Down in the restaurant, the notion of an "ocean view" takes on a whole new meaning. There, a huge glass wall will give you unique insight into the bustling life in the sea (Skagerrak) outside.
You will get to watch all sorts of fish species swim by including huge cod, colourful lip fishes, lobsters in gladiator battles, seals, spiny dogfish (i.e. mini sharks), distinctive seaweed and kelp in the changing seasons... And you can see a live performance of the roaring, stormy sea when nature is in turmoil.
This is where the research aspect of the project comes into play. The restaurant is going to "cheat" a little to ensure entertainment from the sea for its guests.
The researchers will be working to "train" the fish as well as the small animals eaten by the fish. Lighting, sound and smell will be used to attract plankton or cod to the area. And then there will be an ongoing feast to the delight of the viewing audience. "One of our main criteria is that our guests will get to experience something unique in the sea," emphasises Gaute Ubostad.
The picture below shows the restaurant under the sea as seen from the fish perspective, so to speak.
Of course, the restaurant experience is not just about the fish that swim by outside. The fish that is served on your plate is a very important ingredient.
The head chef at Under is named Nicolai Ellitsgaard Pedersen, and that means that the food is something to look forward to. Pedersen was formerly the head chef at the acclaimed gourmet restaurant "Måltid" in Kristiansand city centre.
Naturally, there will be an excellent selection of seafood at Under. But you also have the option of tasting seabirds and wild sheep that have grazed in the archipelago nearby.
Either way, the primary focus will be on having as much "short-travelled" food as possible, i.e. food from the local area. Gaute Ubostad and his family already operate Lindesnes Havhotell (Sea Hotel), which is located in the immediate vicinity of the site where Under will be submerged in the sea. Ubostad also runs Rosfjord Strandhotell in Lyngdal.
The family is heavily involved in the project #SpisSørlandet (Eng. Dine in Southern Norway), which works to promote Southern Norway as a place for guests to visit for the food. "Foodies" is the term used to designate such food-oriented tourists. And indeed, it's the foodies and other guests from around the world whom Gaute Ubostad & Co. intend to attract to Southern Norway by way of Under.
The underwater restaurant, Under, will be worth the trip in and of itself. However, you can experience a lot of other things in the Lindesnes region.
Vigeland, the municipal centre of Lindesnes, is a 15-minute drive from Mandal. From there, the road leads to Spangereid where sights include the famous Spangereid Canal.
Gaute Ubostad would like to make it as convenient as possible for guests who are coming from afar to experience Under. It is a comfortable walking distance from the restaurant to first-rate accommodation at Lindesnes Sea Hotel.
If you stay on Spangereidveien Road until it ends, you will come to another major tourist attraction in Southern Norway. Lindesnes Lighthouse is Norway's oldest, and it can be an excellent place for those of you who like stormy conditions.
A "worldwide attraction" and reason in itself to visit Southern Norway," says a thrilled Heidi Sørvig about the new restaurant. She's the head of tourism marketing in Southern Norway and is, of course, cheering on the exciting project.
Under is in fact well on the way to becoming a worldwide attraction. Especially after Snøhetta's illustrations of Under were made public, the interest has been rather intense from the media. News of the world's largest underwater restaurant has even reached CNN.
"Under" in Lindesnes will be Europe's first and the world's largest underwater restaurant.
The restaurant opens in April 2019.
The award-winning architect firm, Snøhetta, designed the spectacular building.
Sign up on their newsletter for information and book your table: www.under.no
Lindesnes is located in the southernmost part of Norway.
"Under" is within walking distance to the Lindesnes Sea Hotel.
The Sprangereid Canal is located right by the hotel, and the area is suitable for kayaking.
Lindesnes lighthouse, Norway's oldest lighthouse, is located a short drive from the hotel and the restaurant.
All photos: MIR / Snøhetta.