Vasco da Gama Aquarium (Aquário Vasco da Gama)
Named after the Portuguese explorer who discovered an ocean trade route between Europe and India, this aquarium houses a wide variety of aquatic life. In addition to fish-filled tanks, the aquarium also exhibits preserved water-dwelling specimens collected by the marine enthusiast and former king of Portugal, Dom Carlos I.
Most travelers explore Vasco da Gama Aquarium independently, examining the various displays at their leisure. Peer into live tanks, which house everything from seahorses to sharks, and explore the museum area, which hosts mounted taxidermy including turtles and marine mammals. Visitors can also feed the fish that swim in the koi pond outside the aquarium entrance. Many hop-on hop-off bus tours of Lisbon make stops near the aquarium.
Things to know before you go
- Vasco da Gama Aquarium is a must for families, with kids enjoying up-close views of aquatic species.
- The aquarium is an excellent all-weather attraction, making it an appealing choice for a rainy day.
- Allow 1–2 hours for your visit.
How to get there
Vasco da Gama Aquarium is situated in the Algés district of Libson, near the waterfront. To get here, take the Cascais line train to Algés, which is a 10-minute walk away.
When to get there
Vasco da Gama Aquarium tends to drift under the radar of many visitors to Lisbon, who head straight for the bigger and more modern Lisbon Oceanarium (Oceanário de Lisboa) instead. For this reason, it is rarely crowded, with weekdays being especially quiet.
Lisbon Oceanarium (Oceanário de Lisboa)
Visitors with a keen interest in creatures of the deep may want to combine a visit to Vasco da Gama Aquarium with a trip to the state-of-the-art Oceanário de Lisboa. While the Vasco da Gama Aquarium shines a spotlight on the early days of oceanography as well as offering an intimate look at select species, the Oceanário de Lisboa impresses with wrap-around tanks inhabited by thousands of marine creatures—making visitors feel as if they have been transported into the ocean’s depths.
- Belém Tower (Torre de Belém)
- Berardo Collection Museum (Museu Colecao Berardo)
- Lisbon Maritime Museum (Museu de Marinha)
- National Archaeology Museum (Museu Nacional de Arqueologia)
- Monastery of St. Jerome (Mosteiro dos Jeronimos)
- Monument to the Discoveries (Padrão dos Descobrimentos)
- Belém Palace (Palacio de Belém)
- National Coach Museum (Museu Nacional dos Coches)
- Ajuda National Palace (Palacio Nacional Ajuda)
- Electricity Museum (Museu da Electricidade)
- Lisbon Cruise Port
- Pillar 7 Experience at the Ponte 25 de Abril
- Pena National Palace (Palacio Nacional da Pena)
- Santo Amaro Docks (Docas de Santo Amaro)
- 25th of April Bridge (Ponte 25 de Abril)