So you’ve seen the Sagrada Familia, you’ve been to the top of Montjuïc and you’ve had a day to relax on the beach, now its time to do something a little different on your Barcelona vacation! Perfect for families visiting the city, a trip to L’Aquàrium de Barcelona offers a great alternative to the usual sights of the Catalan capital and gives you a fascinating look into the depths of the Earth’s colorful underwater life. Home to more than 11,000 water creatures from more than 450 different species, visitors can get an unparalleled insight into the aquatic life of the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, Great Barrier Reef of Australia and plenty more underwater habitats from around the world. From penguins, to seahorses, to the intimidating Sandbar Shark, Barcelona Aquarium has it all.
An In-Depth Immersion: The Oceanarium
One of the most popular features of the Barcelona Aquarium is its 80-meter underwater tunnel, which offers a unique experience for those passing through. The only one of its kind in Europe, this submerged channel is designed to make you feel like you are actually taking a walk on the seabed. A great variety of water species swim over and around you as you stroll along the walkway, allowing you to catch a glimpse of some rarely seen creatures from the blue, such as giltheads, morays, ocean sunfish, and plenty of sharks including the ragged-toothed sand tiger shark.
Sharks to Seahorses: Species from Around the World
The Barcelona Aquarium is divided into three main sections and hosts 35 tanks, where a display of sea life from the Mediterranean and other waters from across the globe is sure to leave you astonished.
The Mediterranean tanks are separated into 14 different areas, including the Neptune Grass Community as well as the Red Coral Community. Aiming to give visitors an insight into the world beneath the surface of the sea which Barcelona faces, some of the aquatic life you will find here includes octopuses, dogfish, scorpion fish and seahorses.
For those who want a to venture into the underwater environments of the Red Sea, the Caribbean and the Great Barrier Reef, the vibrant colors of the Tropical tanks will surely capture your imagination. Here you can experience the day-to-day life of creatures ranging from a tropical shark to a coral reef, and even the poisonous and aggressive fish that are a part of this aquatic unit.
Finally, ‘Planeta Aqua’ is an area of the Barcelona Aquarium dedicated to the adaptation skills of the animals who have adjusted to life in some of the most diverse conditions: from the glacial cold in Antarctica, to the dark abyss at the bottom of the ocean, to warm tropical rivers. Some of the species on display in this section include the Humboldt penguin, the red-bellied piranha, the upside down jellyfish and the spotted garden eel.
Barcelona Aquarium for Kids
The Aquarium in Barcelona not only offers a fun and educational experience for children, but it also has activities especially designed to help them better understand the amazing aspects of natural life under the sea. ‘Explora!’ is a section boasting over 50 interactivities where kids can discover three Mediterranean coastal ecosystems, including the marshes of the Costa Brava and an underwater cave in the Islas Medas.
For those who are more familiar with the Spanish language, the Barcelona Aquarium gives kids the opportunity to have a shark sleepover! With the ‘Sleeping with Sharks’ program, children aged 8-12 can spend the night surrounded by sharks and more than 8,000 different fish, and discover their nocturnal behaviors.
The Barcelona Aquarium is truly a one-of-a-kind adventure, and for those who like to get a little more hands-on, the Diving with Sharks program is not to be missed. Here, qualified divers have the opportunity to get up close and personal with over 15 sharks while getting a crash course on the biology of these amazing animals.
So, whether you wish to see pleasant penguins, tenacious turtles or marvel at the sheer greatness of deadly sharks, the Barcelona Aquarium makes for a terrific family outing and certainly offers a memorable experience for all. With the option of a guided tour (in Spanish or Catalan), a cafeteria and a souvenir shop, you can easily enjoy the whole day at this fascinating facility.
- Where is it? The Barcelona Aquarium is located at Port Vell, and can easily be reached by either the Drassanes (L3) or Barceloneta (L4) Metro stations.
- How much is it? Tickets can be bought at the door and the entrance fee for adults is around 18€, while kids aged between 3-12 get in for around 13€
- When is it open? The opening hours for the Barcelona Aquarium are as follows:
Weekends and Public Holidays: 9:30am-9:30pm
July and August: 9:30am-11pm
For more information, visit the Barcelona Aquarium Website