Aquarium in Barceloneta & the Waterfront

It's hard not to shudder at the sight of a shark gliding above you, displaying its toothy, wide-mouthed grin. But this, the 80m shark tunnel, is the highlight of one of Europe’s largest aquariums. It has the world’s best Mediterranean collection and plenty of colourful fish from as far off as the Red Sea, the Caribbean and the Great Barrier Reef. All up, some 11,000 creatures (including a dozen sharks) of 450 species reside here. Tickets are €2 cheaper online.

Back in the shark tunnel, which you reach after passing a series of themed fish tanks with everything from bream to sea horses, various species of shark (white tip, sand tiger, bonnethead, black tip, nurse and sandbar) flit around you, along with a host of other critters, from flapping rays to bloated sunfish. An interactive zone, Planeta Aqua, is host to a family of Antarctic penguins and a tank of rays that you watch close up. Explora is a dedicated children's area with activities spread over three themed environments.

Those with a valid dive certificate may dive in the main tank with the sharks.

Children aged eight to 12 can stay overnight on a Sleeping with Sharks program (including supper and breakfast). Check dates online and reserve by phone at least one week in advance. Kids should bring a sleeping bag and torch.