VALENCIA, SPAIN. It seems only natural that the largest port city off the western Mediterranean coast is home to Europe’s largest aquarium, El Oceanográfic. Its opening on Valentine’s Day of 2003 marked one of the most architecturally captivating installments of La Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias cultural and entertainment complex, and officially landed Valencia on the bucketlists of all marine life enthusiasts.

The aquarium fits perfectly within the museum and entertainment network that is La Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias so don’t hold back on immersing yourself in cultural, educational, and artistic expression and history. El Oceanográfic showcases one of the most diverse collections of marine life in the world. Here you will see not only the cast of Finding Nemo, but any creature from the Humboldt Penguin and Sand Tiger Shark, to the Scarlet Ibis and the dolphin. Cruising through the halls of El Oceanográfic, it is obvious that the creation and preservation of all of its inhabitants’ natural ecosystems is the most significant component of their mission. The aquarium gives guests a taste of the South American coast, Atlantic Ocean, Canary Islands, Antarctic, and more. Staying true to their goal of adequate representation of all of the world’s maritime landscapes, you will even find birds and botanical life characteristic of each environment.

Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias Valencia

Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias | The North

You may only want to view schools of fish or glowing sea jellies but should you want to a more interactive experience, there are options:

El Oceanográfic will gladly educate guests in specific marine animals; this works perfectly if you happen to a have a special affinity for a certain animal. A few classes offered focus on turtles, sharks, and penguins.

It is also possible to spend the day as well as the night in the company of your favorite sharks. Offered mainly to larger groups, El Oceanográfic can open its doors for extended hours to host a mini escape to the Atlantic Ocean. Sleeping underneath the bellies of Hammerhead Sharks may seem daunting at first but hopefully the dinner and collaborative activities provided throughout the day will make it easier to have peaceful dreams.

Don’t forget about the Palau de les Artes, Umbracle, Agora, or Hemesferic.