Front of L’Aquàrium

©Esme Fox/Lonely Planet



It's hard not to shudder at the sight of a shark gliding above you, displaying its toothy, wide-mouthed grin – but this 80m shark tunnel is the highlight of one of Europe’s largest aquariums. Jutting out into the port, Barcelona's aquarium is home to the world’s best Mediterranean collection, as well as plenty of colourful fish from as far off as the Red Sea, the Caribbean and the Great Barrier Reef. A staggering 11,000 creatures of 450 species reside here.

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, black tip and sandbar) flit around you, along with a host of other critters, from flapping rays to creepy Mediterranean moray. The Planeta Aqua zone is host to a family of Humboldt penguins from Chile and a tank of rays and guitarfish, while Explora is a dedicated interactive children's area.

Underwater adventurers can cage dive (€150) in the main tank with the sharks, or scuba dive (€300) with a valid dive certificate.

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