L’Aquàrium de Barcelona

Occupying a prime harborside location at the center of Barcelona’s bustling Port Vell area, L’Aquàrium de Barcelona is considered the best Mediterranean-themed aquarium located anywhere in the world. L’Aquàrium de Barcelona contains approximately 11,000 living organisms spread out across over a dozen massive tanks, and roughly 450 unique species call the attraction home, including a variety of sharks, rays, and penguins. You’ll also find a cafeteria-style restaurant here, as well as a gift shop and interactive kids’ zone.

History of L’Aquàrium de Barcelona

L’Aquàrium de Barcelona first opened its doors to the public in 1995; its establishment came about as part of a local initiative (designed to coincide with the city’s hosting of the 1992 Summer Olympics) that saw the government invest heavily in reimagining the previously industrial Port Vell neighborhood as a hub of entertainment destinations and sightseeing attractions.

In 2001, L’Aquàrium de Barcelona significantly expanded its offerings by opening the Planeta Aqua and Explora!exhibits. Today the aquarium remains popular with visitors from across the world, while also garnering acclaim for its ongoing research and conservation efforts.

L’Aquàrium de Barcelona Highlights

L’Aquàrium de Barcelona’s calling card is that it’s considered the world’s biggest Mediterranean-themed aquarium. As a result, several of its most popular aquarium tanks focus on sea life native to the Ebro Delta and the Medes Islands, both of which are delicate and endangered ecosystems located along the Spanish coastline not far from Barcelona.

For many visitors, the attraction’s biggest highlight will be the chance to walk through a 250-foot-long tunnel that cuts through the center of the aquarium, providing guests with the sensation that they themselves are actually moving through the midst of these remarkable underwater habitats! Likewise, families visiting the aquarium with small children will not want to miss Explora!, an interactive space designed especially for young kids. This fun-filled activity zone is full of hands-on opportunities for children to learn about three distinctive Mediterranean coastal habitats. 

Other popular experiences found at L’Aquàrium de Barcelona include Planeta Aqua, where you’ll encounter habitats to devoted to penguins and multiple species of rays; Tropical Seas, a series of tanks that display the colorful inhabitants of a tropical reef, including zebra sharks and stonefish; and the ever-popular feeding times—depending on when you visit, you may be able to see aquarium staff members feed the penguins, sharks, and rays!

More to See and Do at L’Aquàrium de Barcelona

In addition to the diverse assortment of sea life spread out across its many exhibits, L’Aquàrium de Barcelona offers visitors a variety of additional experiences to choose from. Continue reading below for more information.

*Throughout the year, L’Aquàrium de Barcelona hosts numerous special events and family-centric activities. These include everything from guided behind-the-scenes tours to aquarium-wide scavenger hunts to Sharkmaniacs, a craft workshop where your little one can create their very own souvenir shark-themed art work. For additional information on the type of event that’ll be running when you’re planning to visit, be certain to check out the L’Aquàrium de Barcelona’s official website in advance of your trip.

*If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can make your upcoming visit to L’Aquàrium de Barcelona a truly unforgettable one by splurging on a special experience that lets you “dive” into the midst of the aquarium’s shark tank. This unique activity is pricey, but something to consider if you’re a thrill-seeker who has a particular passion for sharks.

*With so much to see and do at L’Aquàrium de Barcelona, many guests find it necessary to take a break during their visit. A great way to rest for a bit while exploring the many wonders of the aquarium is by stopping in for a beverage, snack, or meal at the attraction’s in-house restaurant/cafeteria. There you’ll find a menu full of staples like sandwiches and salads, all with seating that provides pleasant views of the adjacent waterfront.

*If you’ve enjoyed your visit to L’Aquàrium de Barcelona, you’ll probably want to make some time to check out the attraction’s gift shop. This delightful store sells an assortment of t-shirts, books, knickknacks, accessories, and more. Of course, if your little one identifies a new favorite sea friend during their visit, you can pick up a stuffed-animal version of the creature here, too!

*The Red Route of the Barcelona Bus Turístic makes a stop at Port Vell. If you plan to go on a hop-on hop-off bus tour of the city, it can be a good idea to use that experience as a means for traveling to and from the aquarium. Many visitors find it a convenient way to save money on transportation while also avoiding the hassle of worrying about parking a car or figuring out local public transportation.

Why L’Aquàrium de Barcelona Should Be on Your Must-See List

L’Aquàrium de Barcelona may not be the biggest aquarium in terms of actual size, but its special focus on Mediterranean species of sea life makes it a vital part of the local community. L’Aquàrium de Barcelona is a terrific place to visit for a couple hours if you’re a family with small children; this attraction is always a hit with kids. Likewise, if one of your vacation days in Barcelona happens to be marred by inclement weather, L’Aquàrium de Barcelona makes for a wonderful rainy-day sightseeing option.