The Aquarium of Barcelona is the biggest saltwater aquarium in Europe and also the largest Mediterranean-themed aquarium in the world. It is home to no less than 11,000 marine creatures, representing 450 different species, which all together consume over two tons of food per week!
What you will find in this article:
- Information about tickets and opening times
- How to get there
- What to see and do in the Aquarium de Barcelona
- Feeding times
- Some tips to get the most out of your visit
Why should you visit the Aquarium in Barcelona?
The Aquarium is one of Barcelona’s most popular tourist attractions.
Its main draw is the eighty meter long underwater tunnel that goes through the main tank, which holds hundreds of fish of many different species as well as two species of sharks.
On top of the main tank, there are many other smaller habitats representing underwater ecosystems from other parts of the world.
There is also an interactive area, where you can learn more about the animals and the ecosystems on show.
The Aquarium is a fun visit for people of all ages, but kids especially will love it.
Visit the Aquarium in Barcelona
To see everything you will need about 1.5 to 2 hours.
The Aquarium is located in Port Vell, the old port of Barcelona, next to the Maremagnum shopping and entertainment center.
You can easily combine a visit to the Aquarium with La Barceloneta, Barcelona’s old fishing neighborhood — an excellent place for a seafood lunch.
What is the best time to visit the Aquarium?
The most exciting time to visit the Aquarium is when the fish are being fed. Feeding time usually coincides with lunch, between 12 am and 2 pm.
Scroll down for more information about feeding times in the Aquarium.
Practical info: prices, tickets and opening hours
- October to May: 10 am — 7.30 pm
- July and August: 10 am — 9.30 pm
- June and September: 10 am — 9 pm
Barcelona Aquarium Tickets and Prices
- Adults: the regular entrance fee for the Aquarium is €20.
- Children 5-10 years: €15
- Children aged 3 and 4: €7
- Seniors: There is also a discount for seniors (65+), the rate is €18
- Children younger than three enter for free
Unfortunately, the aquarium does not have any free days.
You can either print out your tickets or save them on your smartphone and show them at the entrance.
Make sure you bring a valid ID for children and seniors with discount tickets.
Although some websites state you can get a discount for the Aquarium buying your admission tickets online, this it not true.
How to get to the Aquarium of Barcelona
Scroll down to the bottom of this article for a map.
- Metro: The closest metro stations are Drassanes (L3, green line) or Barceloneta (L4, yellow line). If you stop at Drassanes, walk towards the waterfront and take the wooden walkway towards Maremagnum. Go past the mall to the left and you’ll get to the Aquarium. From la Barceloneta, head right when you exit the metro along the main road that runs parallel to the water and after a couple minutes you’ll see a large, grassy area. Cross the street here and go straight through the grassy plaza and you’ll get to the Aquarium.
- Walking: The Aquarium is a short walk from the city center. Head towards the Barcelona waterfront, and depending on whether you are closer to the Drassanes metro stop (on La Rambla) or Barceloneta, follow the directions provided above.
- Cycling: From the centre you can easily bike to the Aquarium. It will take you more or less 10 minutes from Plaça Catalunya and there are several parking places for bicycles nearby.
- Hop-on hop-off bus: Both the Bus Turístic and the red buses stop at the Aquarium. For the Bus Turístic, which we recommend, you’ll want to take the red line.
- Car: If you come by car there is a parking lot underneath the shopping center of Maremagnum, next to the Aquarium.
What to see and do at the Aquarium of Barcelona?
The Barcelona Aquarium opened in 1995. It has 35 tanks which contain a total of six million (!) liters of seawater. Each tank simulates a different sea area.
One thing you won’t find at the Aquarium however are whales, dolphins, and dolphin shows.
Cetaceans are very intelligent, sentient creatures and the Aquarium’s goal is to preserve marine ecosystems and educate its visitors, not put on shows with animals.
Oceanarium & underwater tunnel
The largest tank is the Oceanarium. This massive tank is 36 meters wide and 5 meters deep and contains 4 million liters of water. It is the home of the Aquarium’s most famous residents: sandbar sharks and sand tiger sharks.
The Oceanarium is definitely the highlight of your visit.
Walking through the 80 meter-long underwater tunnel, you’ll feel like you are on the Mediterranean sea floor.
Besides the two different species of sharks, there are many other fish in this tank, such as stingrays and dories.
Fun fact: The Aquarium organizes sleepovers for kids between 8 and 12 years old — in the underwater tunnel. Pretty cool huh?
The remaining 34 tanks may be smaller than the Oceanarium, but they contain many beautiful fish and other underwater species, such as guitarfish, rabbit fish, and octopi.
A personal favorite are the so called fantasy tanks, a group of smaller aquariums that contain many odd and rare animals that are largely unknown.
The aquarium also has tanks dedicated to the Great Barrier Reef (with stunningly beautiful coral), the Red Sea and the Caribbean Sea.
The Aquarium has a penguin habitat, where you can see the curious Humboldt penguins diving and pirouetting underwater.
Almost three quarter of the earth is covered with water, yet in many ways we know less about the oceans and their inhabitants than we do about the moon.
On the second floor of the Aquarium you’ll find Planeta Aqua, an educational space dedicated to teaching visitors on the diversity of marine ecosystems through video games, interactive displays and exhibits, and many tanks large and small.
Some of these represent the oceans’ abyssal depths, which are inhospitable but teeming with life, while others display shallow, tropical waters.
You’ll also find a open-air tank with stingrays, and displays describing the evolution of marine animals and reptiles.
Explora! Is the perfect experience for young children. You’ll be taken on a tour of discovery through the mysteries of the underwater world by watching, touching and listening.
You’ll see living fossils, and how some sea animals change color to hide themselves.
Explora! is divided into three areas, each representing a different Mediterranean ecosystem: the swamps of the Ebro Delta, the coast of the Costa Brava, and the underwater cave in the Islas Medas, a group of seven islands at the Costa Brava.
No less than a 150 different meals are prepared every day for the Aquarium’s many residents. If you’re at the Aquarium around lunch time you’ll get to see the fish being fed.
The sharks are fed on Tuesday and Friday between 12 am and 1 pm. Divers feed them pieces of octopus and other fish from underwater using feeding poles.
The penguins are fed twice a day, between 1.30 and 4.30pm.
The stingrays are fed every day at 2 pm except Sundays. Don’t get too close to the tank while they’re feeding them unless you want to get wet — they get really excited during meals.
* Feeding hours can differ slightly from week to week, check with the Aquarium to confirm
Swim with the sharks
Would you dare to swim with sharks? For €150 you can participate in this exciting activity.
You need to have of a diving license and take a special course “swimming with sharks” at the Aquarium.
Food and drink
There is also a restaurant located within the Aquarium and it is possible to order a children’s menu.
Do you want to see more animals? The Barcelona Zoo is also very popular with kids and it’s not far from the aquarium. You can visit both in a single day if you want.
Personal tip: Not far from the aquarium is the Museu d’Història de Catalunya. From the roof (free) you can enjoy a spectacular view over the city while you have coffee or a cocktail. Or stay for lunch! Take the elevator to the fourth floor.
Attractions near the Aquarium
There are many attractions near the Aquarium: