There are few things in the world that can stop me from visiting an aquarium if I know there is one in a city. When I lived in Birmingham, I visited the Birmingham aquarium many times (even though really it was a very little one). I've visited Genoa in Italy a grand total of two times, and the aquarium there... three times... There is something about wandering around those quiet, softly lit walkways whilst staring at the colourful, inquisitive and amazing fish and aquatic life. I find it remarkably interesting as well as truly relaxing and peaceful.
Whilst Birmingham aquarium might be a fun place to visit, it really can't compete with the bigger aquariums in terms of size, variety or grander and architecture. The Oceanographic in Valencia, to give the aquarium the proper name, is the largest in Europe, with more than 110,000 square metres of watery and aquatic space. The architectural merits of this building alone would bring in people by the thousands, but really, they come to check out the 45,000 animals that call it home. From turtles, jellyfish and reef fish to sharks, dolphins and giant crabs, there is every possible aquatic species that you could think of here, and then a few thousand that you would never think of at all!
Aside from the sheer size of the place, what really makes the Oceanographic in Valencia are several points. The first is that they have one of the largest dolphin tanks in the world, one that holds 26 million cubic metres of water. To put that into some kind of perspective, that is close to 25 Olympic swimming pools worth of water, all for these well-treated dolphins to swim around in. This 10 metre deep tank is the perfect place to see these graceful and intelligent creatures in their natural habitat, which is playing, teasing and chasing each other underwater.
This is not just a special place in terms of the animals and aquatic life, but it's also part of a series of remarkable buildings in Turia Park in Valencia. Starting with the Bioparc in Valencia, running down to the Life of Arts and Culture building and then on to the Oceanographic, these three buildings are some of the most popular in the city. They run in a line from the Bioparc in the west to the aquarium in the east, and make for an ideal long day of incredible sightseeing.
Did you like the travel story?
Get more! Subscribe to our monthly inspiration newsletter.