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Oceanarium in Lisbon

Oceanarium in Lisbon Guide; how to get there, tickets, and incredible species

The Oceanarium in Lisbon is home to more than 15,000 creatures! That makes it the second biggest aquarium in Europe, with L'Oceanogràfic in Valencia having the largest one. It is located at Parque das Nações, once the decor of the Expo '98 exhibition. It's a favourite place to visit by children and adults alike, so let's literally dive in and see what to expect during your visit to Oceanário de Lisboa.

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Table of Contents

A little bit of background

Oceanário de Lisboa opened it’s doors in 1998. At the time, Parque das Nações was the exhibition ground for Expo ’98, and Peter Chermayeff led the design of the building. The structure is meant to resemble an aircraft carrier and lies in an artificial lagoon. It’s one of the largest aquariums in the world, and the main tank is 5,000 m3, which holds 5 million litres (1,300,000 US gal) of seawater!

For visitors, it’s nice to visit the underwater wildlife, but the Lisbon Oceanarium is, most and foremost, a world-leading centre for ocean conservation and education. In 2018 it even won the Tripadvisor award “best aquarium in the world” for the 3rd time in a row! That makes the Oceanarium in Lisbon well worth a visit!

Underwater Forests by Takashi Amano

Upon entering the Oceanarium in Lisbon, you’ll start on the first floor of the first structure. You’ll discover the temporary exhibition Underwater Forests by Takashi Amano. It’s the world’s biggest natural aquarium and presents tropical forests.

The 40-metre-long aquarium holds 160 thousand litres of fresh water, containing more than 10,000 tropical freshwater fish and 46 aquatic plants. Your senses are stimulated by smells and sounds, making the visit extra special. Tropical forests occupy less than 6% of the Earth’s surface, and it’s exceptional to see nature from a different perspective.

Fish and birds

Afterwards, you’ll follow a footbridge which leads you to the main aquarium. The main tank (One Planet, One Ocean) in the centre of the structure contains sharks, rays, chimaeras, marine plants, and sunfish. Around 100 species live in this tank, and it’s a mesmerising view to see them swim around. There are panels throughout the aquarium which more information about the species.

Around the main tank are four habitats representing the North Atlantic, the Antarctic, the Pacific and a Tropical coral reef. Here you’ll discover seabirds, penguins, otters, tropical fish, and corals. It appears the main tank is connected with the four marine habitats, but an acrylic wall separates them. This optic creates the look of a single aquarium and a sole ocean.

Aside from the main tank and these four sections, there are an additional 25 thematic aquariums which unique species. Some examples are jellyfish, the Chinese trumpetfish, clownfish, sea dragons, angelfish, plaice, barracudas, snappers, and the super cute pufferfish.

Other residents of Oceanário de Lisboa

A special shoutout to the two otters living in the Lisbon aquarium. Odi was born in 2017 in Alaska and the otter was rescued within 3 weeks close to Odiak Lagoon. Kasi was also born in 2017, and was found within two months in an area known as Kasilof. They were rehabilitated to Oceanário de Lisboa in 2018. Did you know otters have around 155,000 hairs per square centimetre?!

If you’re wondering if there are any other remarkable inhabitants, then you’re right! A number of invertebrates call the Oceanarium in Lisbon their home. You’ll spot many plants and algae between the fish and other creatures. Invertebrates are cold-blooded animals with no backbone. Examples of invertebrates are the anemone, coral, starfish, cuttlefish, polyps, urchins and jellyfish. Frogs, salamanders, toads, and newts are amphibians, cold-blooded vertebrates.

How much is the Oceanarium in Lisbon?

Compared to other sights in Lisbon, you pay a more premium price for the aquarium. That said, a lot of maintenance is required, animals need to be fed, staff needs to be trained, and a lot is needed to keep the operation going. Besides, the Oceanarium in Lisbon has a complete educational system, and they work hard to conserve the species.

That said, the Oceanário Lisbon tickets are as follows: children under two can enter the aquarium for free. A ticket for children between 3 to 12 costs € 15,00, and adults pay € 22,00 per person. Those who are 65 years and older pay € 17,00 per person.

Buy online tickets Oceanarium Lisboa

Special tickets

No family tickets are available at this point, but there are some special combination tickets. You can make a guided tour behind the scenes or combine your aquarium visit with a ride on the Telecabine Lisboa. Special events include concerts for babies, sleeping with sharks, and Fado for kids.

Also, trips (8 days) to the Azores are offered to discover the fantastic underwater world and learn more about the devil rays and manta rays. Another trip is a once-in-a-lifetime sailing trip to Arrábida. You’ll set foot on the beautiful sailing ship Santa Maria Manuela to discover Portugal’s most pristine marine reserves. This is a four-day trip, and a marine biologist will escort you.

Does Lisboa Card include the Oceanarium in Lisbon?

Good news! Do you have the Lisboa Card? Then you get a 15% discount on your Oceanarium Lisbon ticket! The Lisboa Card also gives you free use of public transport for a set number of hours, free admission to many sights in Lisbon, and a discount on places like the Oceanário Lisbon.

Get a 15% discount
Check the Lisboa Card for free public transport, free admission, and many discounts to Lisbon's sights!

Is a visit to the Lisbon Oceanarium worth it?

As the entrance price might be higher compared to other sights in Lisbon, you might wonder if it is worth it. And without bias, the answer is an absolute yes! While you enjoy watching the sea creatures, Oceanário de Lisboa works on the collection, breeding programmes, and conservation. The aquarium financially supports global projects and is an essential contribution to preserving our oceans and those who live in them. You can look at their website to read more about their great work and support.

Oceanário Lisbon opening hours

Lisbon Oceanarium is open daily from 10 AM until 8 PM. Please note that the last admission is at 7 PM. Extra good news, the aquarium is also open during the holiday season! The opening times are as follows:

✓ December 24th from 10 AM to 7 PM
✓ December 25th from 11 AM to 8 PM
✓ December 31st from 10 AM to 7 PM
✓ January 1st from 11 AM to 8 PM

The last entry is an hour before closing time.

How much time do you need for the Oceanarium in Lisbon?

This leads to the next question, how much time do you need to visit the Oceanarium in Lisbon? The fastest possible visit is about 1 hour. But if you really want to see all the species, enjoy the tranquillity of the aquarium and learn about the animals, you’d need between 2 to 3 hours.

Where to eat

You can grab a snack or a sandwich at the Tejo Restaurant inside Lisbon Oceanarium if you get a little hungry during your visit. The menu is inspired by Mediterranean cuisine, and it’s open from 10 AM until 7 PM (6 PM in winter).

The gift shop

After visiting the aquarium, you can browse in the gift shop of the Oceanarium in Lisbon. You’ll find anything from clothes, toys, notebooks, ceramics, and accessories. All products are linked to the ocean, and sustainability is vital in the store. 95% of the shop’s products are sustainable and make great gifts! Protecting and valuing the sea is extremely important, and promoting sustainable consumption is a step in the right direction. The gift shop is open from 10 AM until 8 PM (7 PM in winter).

How to get to the Oceanarium in Lisbon?

The aquarium of Lisbon is located at Parque das Nações which is super easy to get to. The address is Esplanada Dom Carlos I s/nº. If you arrive by car, the coordinates are GPS N 38º 45′ 48,61″ W 9º 5′ 37,62″. Oceanário Park has 274 parking spots, and there are four more parking garages nearby.

The nearest train station is Oriente which is well-connected to public transport:

 

✓ The Red line on the metro network will take you directly to Oriente Station;

✓ Bus lines 705, 725, 728, 744, 708, 750, 759, 782, and 794 stop close to the aquarium;

✓ And Intercity trains, inter-regional and regional trains arrive at Oriente. You can take the Sintra line (Amadora and Campolide) if you come from Sintra;

✓ You can even arrive by boat from Cais do Sodré or Terreiro do Paço!

Telecabine Lisboa
Telecabine Lisboa

Other sights at Parque das Nações

Don’t leave the area just yet, as there is a lot to do around Parque das Nações! For example, you can ride with the Telecabine Lisboa between the Oceanarium and the Vasco da Gama tower (now the Myriad Hotel). During the ride, you’ll enjoy the view over the Tagus river and this part of Lisbon. Another great place to visit is the Pavilion of Knowledge or Pavilhão do Conhecimento. Especially for children, it’s a great place to visit! Curious about other things to do with your kids? Then check out this post with 15+ activities for children in Lisbon!

Closer to the train station, you can visit Centro Vasco da Gama shopping mall. Or take a walk around Parque das Nações, where you’ll spot the massive sculpture Iberian Lynx by Bordalo II. From Oriente Station, you can take a train back to Santa Apolonia Station, which is a great starting point to discover the neighbourhood of Alfama. From here it’s easy to get back to Lisbon’s city centre also.

Book your stay in Oriente

Oriente might not be your first choice when you arrange your accommodations in Lisbon. But it’s actually a lovely area and Lisbon’s city centre is easy to reach. The train station at Oriente connects you exceptionally well to Sintra, Lisbon, and the airport. For example, the airport is only 10 minutes away, you can walk in Alfama within 10 minutes, and a direct train service runs to Sintra. It’s a quiet area to stay in, and the upcoming areas like Marvila are easy to reach.

Booking.com

Conclusion

With awards in the pocket, being one of the world’s biggest aquariums, and working hard on ocean conservation, a visit to the Oceanarium in Lisbon is well worth it! It’s a perfect place to hide on a drizzly day, and Oceanário de Lisboa is open during Christmas! Will you visit when you’re in Lisbon?

Written by Marga

Written by Marga

Content creator, travel writer and photographer

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I’m Marga, the blogger and photographer behind this site! I live in Lisbon, and I’m a cat-mum to 13-year-old Savage. I love coffee, cheese, a good book and exploring this beautiful country. I write about Lisbon and the rest of Portugal, and I hope this website will help as an inspiration for your holiday.

7 Responses

  1. Wooow! I have to admit, I have been to a lot of aquariums (they are often amazing in Japan…) but I am normally a bit disappointed in the USA/Europe as they are not quite as impressive. That does not look the case in oceanarium in Lisbon – this looks spectacular!

    I especially love those underwater forests!

  2. We are sorry we missed a visit to the Oceanarium on the many times we have visited Lisbon. We are scuba divers and always love to see the underwater world in new places we visit. A place like the Oceanarium is a great way to get started. Good to know it is worth the price of admission! And that there are some ways to save a little money.

  3. The Oceanarium looks like a good place to visit in Lisbon and a great place to be when travelling with kids. From the pictures on this post, Parque das Nações neighbourhood looks so different from the rest of Lisbon. I guess many tourists give the neighbourhood a miss though the place showcases a different side of the city.

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