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Malta National Aquarium | Largest aquarium in the Maltese Islands

The Malta National Aquarium, located in its special starfish-shaped building, is a leading place dedicated to protecting marine life. Its extensive collection boasts over 175 species, encompassing a number of aquatic and terrestrial life forms, fr...

Founded On

2013

Founded By

Vincenzo Bellomo

Quick information

RECOMMENDED DURATION

2 hours

Timings

10am–8pm

EXPECTED WAIT TIME - STANDARD

0-30 mins (Peak), 0-30 mins (Off Peak)

Plan your visit

Did you know?

The Malta National Aquarium has 52 tanks including reptiles, insects and amphibians.

The national aquarium is situated within a subterranean structure beneath the promenade level.

Most of the fish are from the waters around Malta and the Mediterranean. They include the gilt-head sea bream, European sea bass, mullet, grouper, amberjacks and scorpionfish.




Book your Malta National Aquarium tickets

Why is the Malta National Aquarium a must-visit attraction?

  • Marine diversity: The aquarium has a wide array of marine life, showcasing the diverse ecosystems found in the Mediterranean Sea and beyond. Visitors can encounter various species of fish, sharks, turtles, and other fascinating creatures.
  • Educational opportunities: The aquarium provides an excellent educational platform for both children and adults. Informative displays, interactive exhibits, and guided tours offer insights into marine biology, conservation efforts, and the importance of preserving aquatic environments.
  • Conservation awareness: Through its exhibits and programs, the Malta National Aquarium raises awareness about marine conservation challenges and the need for sustainable practices to protect our oceans. Visitors can learn about the threats to marine life and what individuals can do to help safeguard these ecosystems.
  • Entertainment: Beyond its educational value, the aquarium offers entertainment for visitors of all ages. Watching colorful fish swim through vibrant coral reefs or witnessing feeding sessions can be captivating experiences.
  • Family-friendly atmosphere: The aquarium provides a family-friendly environment, making it an ideal destination for outings with children. Interactive displays, touch tanks, and special events cater to younger visitors, fostering a sense of wonder and curiosity about the underwater world.
  • Escape from the elements: Malta's climate can be quite warm, especially during the summer months. The aquarium offers a cool and refreshing indoor environment where visitors can escape the heat while still enjoying a fascinating experience.
  • Photography opportunities: The aquarium's well-designed exhibits and vibrant marine life offer ample opportunities for photography enthusiasts to capture stunning underwater scenes and memorable moments.

What to see at the Malta National Aquarium

Zone 1: Malta’s western shoreline & submarine

Zone 1: Malta’s western shoreline & submarine

This area predominantly comprises species typical of the Mediterranean, including the gilt-head sea bream, European sea bass, as well as other varieties like mullet, grouper, amberjacks, and scorpionfish. Through the collaboration between our Aquarium and Shark lab, over 300 sharks have been reintroduced into Maltese waters.

Zone 2: Valletta harbor

Zone 2: Valletta harbor

When you enter the Grand Harbor, you'll see a beautiful mural and lots of local fish, like sea bream and mottled grouper. They add to the charm of this maritime sanctuary.

Zone 3: Tropical oceans

Zone 3: Tropical oceans

The main tank houses marine creatures from the Indo-Pacific Ocean, showcasing various shoals of pompano fish, unicorn tangs, batfish, and other individual species.

Zone 4: Roman times

Zone 4: Roman times

In this area, you'll encounter an ancient ghost shipwreck, featuring replicas of ancient Roman artifacts alongside a variety of marine life such as damselfish, clownfish, and cleaner shrimps. The replica anchor of St. Paul's shipwreck, discovered in 2005 and now housed at the Malta Maritime Museum, is believed to be the very one used by Saint Paul during his journey to Malta.

Zone 5: Gozo and Comino

Zone 5: Gozo and Comino

This zone is surrounded by captivating views of the Azure Window, Xwejni salt pans, and the Blue Lagoon, showcasing the stunning beauty of Malta's sister islands, Gozo and Comino. Within this area, you'll find freshwater tanks teeming with a diverse range of wildlife, highlighting the rich biodiversity of the region.

Reptiles and amphibian area

Reptiles and amphibian area

From invertebrates like stick insects, beetles, and Brazilian red and white tarantulas, to reptiles such as black and white Argentine tegus, snakes, leopard geckos, and Anole lizards, there's a wide array of species to explore in this section. Additionally, you can also catch a glimpse of poison dart frogs in this area.

Maltese history and its hidden treasures

Maltese history and its hidden treasures

The National Aquarium showcases Malta's rich history and natural wonders, including replicas of iconic landmarks like Lantern Point, the Grand Harbour, Dingli Cliffs, and the Azure Window. Visitors can explore the Trireme Ghost Wreck, experience the Blue Grotto underwater, and encounter replicas of St. Mary's Statue, among others. From maritime heritage to stunning landscapes, the aquarium offers a captivating glimpse into Malta's diverse cultural and natural heritage.

Panoramic ocean views

Panoramic ocean views

Situated on the beautiful coast of Qawra in St. Paul's Bay, this place offers amazing views of the Mediterranean Sea. It's a great spot to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the Maltese coastline. The aquarium has outdoor areas where you can see the views. If you come at the right time, you can see the sky and sea turn colorful with orange, pink, and purple during sunset.

Research and conservation at the Malta National Aquarium

The research and conservation programs at the Malta National Aquarium are centered on local endemic endangered marine and freshwater species. The team's efforts are dedicated to enhancing understanding of these creatures' habitats and collaborating with local NGOs and government entities to prevent their uncontrolled extinction. They actively organize coastal cleanup events to preserve the environment. In order to safeguard sharks, the aquarium takes special care in handling their eggs, ensuring their successful hatching and growth. Additionally, the Malta National Aquarium is committed to reducing plastic consumption in its catering areas, providing litter bins, and establishing recycling zones to contribute to environmental protection efforts.

History of the Malta National Aquarium

The National Aquarium project in Malta was initiated in 1993. Ultimately, the town of Qawra was chosen over the initial location near Marsascala. Qawra was deemed more accessible to tourists and closer to Bugibba and San Pawl il-Baħar, which lacked sufficient tourist accommodation facilities at the time.

Funding for the construction of the site was facilitated by the European Union, and the inauguration of the National Aquarium took place in October 2013, marking its completion two years after the commencement of construction.

Malta National Aquarium architecture

Malta National Aquarium architecture

The distinctive slanted roof of Malta's National Aquarium is a prominent feature, mirroring the graceful shape of a starfish. Split into two levels, the ground floor hosts a restaurant and gift shop, while the basement houses the aquarium and associated facilities. This architectural marvel exemplifies both modern design and a commitment to eco-friendly design. Covering 2,500 square meters with a 33-meter-long tunnel, it took 16 months to plan and build. From initial concepts to technical details and exhibit design, every part of the project was carefully coordinated to offer visitors an unforgettable underwater adventure.

Frequently asked questions about the Malta National Aquarium

Why is the Malta National Aquarium significant?

The Malta National Aquarium is the largest in the Maltese Islands, showcasing a rich variety of Mediterranean and exotic marine life. It is famous for its diverse range of fish species native to the Mediterranean Sea, including colorful reef fish like damselfish, wrasses, and sea breams, as well as larger predators such as groupers, barracudas, and moray eels.  It's also a center for marine conservation, offering immersive experiences through interactive exhibits and educational programs that highlight the importance of preserving marine ecosystems.

What was the inspiration behind the creation of the Malta National Aquarium?

The Malta National Aquarium was conceived as a center for education, conservation, and research, aiming to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of marine ecosystems. By showcasing the beauty and diversity of marine life, it seeks to inspire action for the preservation of our oceans and provide a recreational and educational space for both locals and tourists.

What’s inside the Malta National Aquarium?

The Malta National Aquarium hosts various exhibits such as the Coral Reef Tank, Predator Tank featuring larger marine species, Mediterranean Tank showcasing regional fish diversity, and themed tanks highlighting specific habitats or ecosystems.

What are the must-see installations at the Malta National Aquarium?

The Malta National Aquarium features tanks with Mediterranean fish, reptiles, insects, and amphibians, along with replicas of local historical artifacts. It includes an Underwater Tunnel showcasing sharks and marine species.

What unique features and experiences does the Malta National Aquarium offer?

Beyond its extensive collection of marine species, the Aquarium boasts panoramic ocean views, outdoor terraces, and a modern architectural design. It offers educational workshops, special events, and behind-the-scenes tours that provide an in-depth look at marine conservation efforts and the care of aquarium inhabitants.

What architectural style is the Malta National Aquarium known for?

The Malta National Aquarium is known for its contemporary architectural style, characterized by its starfish structure, sleek lines, expansive glass facades, and harmonious integration with its coastal setting, exemplifying modern sustainability principles and emphasizing a connection with the marine environment.

When did the Malta National Aquarium open?

The Malta National Aquarium opened its doors to the public in 2013, offering a state-of-the-art facility dedicated to showcasing Mediterranean marine life and promoting conservation awareness.

How much does it cost to visit the Malta National Aquarium?

The price for a Malta National Aquarium ticket starts at €15.90. Prices can vary based on the type of ticket you choose and the attractions you can access with it. Discounts are available for children, students, and senior citizens.

How do I book tickets to visit the Malta National Aquarium?

Tickets for the Malta National Aquarium can be purchased online or in person at the aquarium. It is recommended to book ahead of time to avoid long lines and ensure availability.