Located on the waterfront, Oceanario is one of Lisbon’s top tourist attractions. Opened in 1998 as part of the Lisbon Expo, this is the largest indoor aquarium in Europe and one of the biggest and most visited in the world. Oceanario welcomes around a million visitors every year and is home to more than 16,000 aquatic animals from around the world.
If you’re planning a visit to Lisbon and you have any interest at all in marine life, you’ll definitely want to visit here. But because this is one of the top attractions in Lisbon, there are a few things you should know before you visit Oceanario. Drop off your bags at a Lisbon luggage storage so you’re not carrying more than you need to, and follow this guide to make your visit the best possible experience.
How to get to Oceanario
Oriente Station is the closest Metro line to Oceanario, located around one kilometer away. Oriente is on the red line of the Lisbon subway system, which also connects the city to its airport. If you want to get closer to the aquarium on public transit, you can also take a bus. Bus line 26B stops right outside the aquarium. Plus, the aquarium is also a stop on Lisbon’s hop-on hop-off tourist bus routes, making it easy to reach from the center of the city.
An adult ticket to the aquarium costs €22, and anyone over the age of 13 is considered an adult for ticketing purposes. Tickets for children below 13 cost €15, with kids below two years of age free of charge. Those over 65 years of age benefit from a reduced price ticket of €17.
You can book tickets in advance on Oceanrio’s website, which allows you to choose a timeslot for when you intend to visit the aquarium. This can help avoid long lines at the ticket booth, so it’s a good idea to book in advance if you know when you’re planning to visit.
It’s also possible to buy a combined ticket for the aquarium and the Telecabine, which crosses the river nearby. At €28 for adults and €19 for kids, this allows you to see two of Lisbon’s top attractions in the same area for a single price.
The Lisbon Aquarium is open every day from 10 AM to 8 PM, with the last entrance at 7 PM. On certain days of the year, such as Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, the aquarium closes one hour early. On Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, it stays open until 8 PM but only opens at 11 AM.
What to see when you’re there
The aquarium is divided into several distinct habitats, each of which highlights a different marine environment. You can see tropical fish and coral reef creatures in the Atlantic forest, penguins and seals in the polar environments, and sea turtles, among other animals, in the Mediterranean Sea area. There are also interactive displays that allow you to learn more about ocean life through videos and hands-on activities.
The aquarium makes use of its massive tank to create the optical illusion that all the animals are swimming together. However, some animals are separated by clear acrylic walls so that the sharks don’t eat smaller creatures. Around 100 animals are kept in this tank, including a huge sunfish, the world’s largest bony fish, and a very rare animal to see in an aquarium.
Besides the fish, Oceanario is home to penguins and sea otters. The aquarium also offers immersive experiences that can teach you more about ocean life. They offer guided tours of the aquarium and a Sleeping with Sharks overnight experience that is sure to make a memorable part of any trip. They even offer Fado for Kids, combining traditional Portuguese music and performance with the stunning backdrop of the aquarium to give kids an unforgettable experience of the marine world.
Once you’re done exploring the indoor exhibits, head outside to check out Lisbon’s waterfront. The gardens around Oceanario offer plenty of places to relax and take in views of both the river Tagus and the city skyline beyond it. On sunny days there’s even a beachfront pool where people come to cool off after a day at the Aquarium, making it one of the best places to visit in Lisbon.
Other attractions near Oceanario
There are plenty of options if you’re looking for more things to do near Oceanario. The Lisbon Zoo is just a short walk away, with its own collection of animals, including lions and tigers. There’s also the 25 Abril bridge nearby, where you can get some great views of downtown Lisbon and out into the Atlantic ocean. Finally, there is Tram 28, which winds through the beautiful and hilly Old Town of Lisbon. This is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Lisbon, and it goes through many of the city’s iconic neighborhoods.
No trip to Lisbon would be complete without a visit to Oceanario – with its stunning marine life and interactive exhibits, it is sure to make any vacation that much more memorable. Whether you want to explore fascinating creatures or just take in the views of the city, Oceanario is a must-see attraction.
So make sure to book your tickets online before you go and enjoy a perfect day at Lisbon Aquarium. Happy exploring!