Last Updated on: 10th March 2024, 09:36 am

What to do in Lisbon on a rainy day? I had this issue during my December trip to Lisbon.

The initial solution was to go shopping. Fortunately, the commercial center was next to the Lisbon Aquarium.

That’s how I ended up visiting the Oceanarium of Lisbon, an impressive aquarium that’s home to 8000 sea creatures in the permanent exhibition One Planet, One Ocean.

lisbon aquarium anemones

Anemones are the most beautiful marine creatures – there are plenty of colorful anemones in the Oceanarium of Lisbon

Choose Centro Vasco da Gama for your shopping in Lisbon on a rainy day. You can tell me thank you in Portuguese later.

For now, make a note in your agenda to go visit Oceanario de Lisboa, the Lisbon Aquarium, as soon as you’re done shopping. This is a great activity for families with children, couples, solo travelers, and marine life lovers visiting Portugal’s capital city. The Oceanario is on the ocean shore, near Vasco da Gama shopping center, on the Esplanada Dom Carlos I.

Esplanada Dom Carlos I is a very nice promenade in Parque das Nacoes, a modern space featuring high rise buildings, science exhibitions, a gondola (Telecabine Lisboa) and a marina. Also known as the expo, Parque das Nacoes has been created in 1998, for the Lisbon World Exposition.

oceanario lisbon monster

This scary monster will welcome you by the entrance to Oceanario de Lisboa

Oceanario de Lisboa was also created in 1998. Since then, millions of visitors came to admire the fish and the other marine creatures living in the huge tanks of the Lisbon aquarium.

Here is a closer look at this cool Lisbon attraction. You’ll find out how you can visit the Lisbon aquarium, how to buy your tickets, how much time to allow for your Oceanarium visit, and many other useful tips and interesting facts. If you’re wondering where to stay in Lisbon, you may want to choose a hotel in this modern area of Portugal’s capital city.

Is Lisbon Aquarium worth it?

Yes, the visit to Lisbon’s aquarium is well-worth it.

Oceanario de Lisboa is a world-renowned aquarium, a massive facility that houses a wide array of marine species, from colorful fish to majestic sharks and rays. The aquarium is not just an entertaining tourist attraction but also an educational center that promotes awareness and conservation of marine life.

I’m so glad I’ve got this rainy day in Lisbon. Otherwise I would have missed the opportunity to see the aquarium in Lisbon with its starfish, anemones, sharks and penguins among many other sea life creatures.

Shark watching in Lisbon Oceanarium

Shark watching in Lisbon Oceanarium

The central tank is the biggest I’ve ever seen. It is full of life, fish and other marine creatures travel across the giant glass walls, wandering through algae and rocks, following a secret itinerary. Watching them moving is a hypnotic and highly entertaining experience.

I could spend hours in the Lisbon Oceanarium, doing nothing but watching the sharks and the thousands of small fish passing through.

How to buy tickets for the Oceanarium in Lisbon?

Click here to buy your Oceanario de Lisboa ticket at the price of today, [todaysdate]

You can also buy your tickets at the entrance, but you may need to do the line. I visited Oceanario de Lisboa on a rainy day and there were lots of people waiting in line to get their tickets.

How to get to the Lisbon Oceanario?

The Oceanario de Lisboa is near the Oriente bus, train and metro station, on the red line.Here’s a Lisbon metro guide with map to help you find your way around the city.

You’ll see that the Oriente subway station is just by the entrance to Vasco Da Gama shopping center. As you get outside, you can either take the cable car (telecabina, gondola) or walk along the shoreline to get to the entrance of the Lisbon aquarium. This is a pleasant 10-minute walk, so you don’t need to take the gondola unless you want to entertain your children.

Fish Species at Oceanario de Lisboa

The Oceanario de Lisboa is home to over 8,000 marine creatures that represent more than 500 different species. Some of the notable fish species that you can find at the aquarium include:

  1. Blacktip reef shark
  2. Blacknose shark
  3. African butterfly fish
  4. Anglerfish
  5. Atlantic cod
  6. Atlantic spadefish
  7. Azure demoiselle
  8. Bluering angelfish
  9. Bull ray
  10. Common eagle ray
  11. Common sea dragon (this one looks like a branch with small leaves)
  12. Clown anemonefish (I found Nemo at Lisbon Oceanarium)
  13. Green sea turtle
  14. Seahorse
  15. Giant Pacific octopus
  16. Hammerhead shark
  17. Zebra shark
  18. Turbot
  19. Spotted garden eel
  20. Red lionfish
lisbon aquarium shark

One of the smaller sharks in the Oceanarium

lisbon oceanarium clown fish

I found Nemo and his siblings! – Clown fish in the main tank of Oceanario de Lisboa

lisbon oceanarium tank

These grumpy guys prefer the bottom of the oceanarium tank

You can see all of the fishes in the Lisbon aquarium here.

Apart from fish, Oceanario de Lisboa is home to many invertebrate species such as anemones, corals, starfish, polyps and jellyfish.

The bird species living inside the Lisbon Oceanarium include the Atlantic puffin, the common mure, the magellanic penguin and the southern rockhopper penguin.

10 Interesting Facts about Oceanario de Lisboa

  1. The Oceanario de Lisboa is the second-largest indoor aquarium in Europe and the largest in the Iberian Peninsula.
  2. The aquarium’s main tank, the Ocean Tank, holds 5 million liters of seawater and is the largest in the aquarium.
  3. The Ocean Tank houses three sunfish, which are the largest bony fish in the world.
  4. The aquarium is home to a colony of African penguins, which can be seen swimming and waddling around the Penguin Habitat.
  5. The aquarium hosts a sea otter that’s very difficult to photograph, because it moves at impressive speeds. I did my best to capture some sharp images of this cute sea otter, but I failed.
  6. The Oceanario de Lisboa has a dedicated conservation program that aims to protect marine species and their habitats.
  7. The aquarium has a temporary exhibition area that features rotating displays on marine life and conservation efforts. I loved to read all of those facts about the various species of marine life I had no idea about.
  8. Visitors can take a behind-the-scenes tour of the aquarium, which includes a visit to the food preparation area and the quarantine room.
  9. The Oceanario de Lisboa was featured in the Hollywood movie “The Invisible War,” which starred Kevin Bacon.
  10. The aquarium is located in Parque das Nações, a modern neighborhood in Lisbon that was built for the Expo ’98 world’s fair.

The Oceanario de Lisboa is not just an aquarium but an immersive experience that takes visitors on a journey through the fascinating world of marine life. From the awe-inspiring Ocean Tank to the playful penguins and sea otters, there is something for everyone at this amazing facility.

lisbon oceanarium penguins

The first time I’ve seen penguins – I didn’t expect to find them in Lisbon’s aquarium

The aquarium’s commitment to conservation and education makes it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the natural world.

If you travel to Lisbon with kids, consider adding the aquarium to your bucket list. They’ll love it!



Violeta Matei
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