The largest aquarium in Europe | DW Travel | DW


The sea has traditionally played a big role in Boulogne-sur-Mer, a town located about thirty kilometers south of Calais. It is indeed the largest fishing port in France. The Nausicaá Marine Center – a gigantic aquarium – is located not far from the fishing boats, just off the coast. The building’s sleek exterior looks a bit like a gargantuan manta ray. Inside, visitors can admire this majestic sailor from the front and up close.

The Nausicaá has allowed visitors to immerse themselves in the depths of the oceans since 1991.

In Nausicaá, visitors walk through winding corridors leading to a strangely fascinating underwater world, where a total of 1,600 ocean species are on display. One reservoir is home to colorful tropical fish zigzagging among coral reefs, while in the next, delicately shimmering jellyfish drift in weightlessness. A few meters further on, visitors can watch sea lions glide elegantly through the water. An 18-meter glass tunnel, meanwhile, allows intrepid visitors to practically immerse themselves in the ocean, while sharks, rays and large schools of fish float above their heads.

Up close with manta rays

Watch DW’s Hendrik Welling explore this beautiful underwater world in DW’s Lifestyle & Culture Magazine, Euromaxx. During his visit, he learned a lot about the rich marine life of the ocean and was made aware of its fragile ecosystem by the marine experts on site. Hendrik was even allowed to help feed the manta rays.

Window to another world

France Nausicaá Marine Research Center in Boulogne-sur-Mer

Sea giants: manta rays are the stars of Nausicaá

A highlight awaits you towards the end of the visit: the largest aquarium in Europe. Containing 10 million liters of water, this enormous reservoir mimics the ecosystem of the Pacific Ocean off the Colombian coast, thousands of kilometers away. Visitors can marvel at the marine life through a 100 square meter window, admiring goliath groupers, schools of sardines and even hammerhead sharks passing before their eyes. Not to mention the giant manta rays, which even seasoned divers rarely have the opportunity to see.

Maintenance tips :

Address: Nausicaá, Boulevard Sainte-Beuve, 62203 Boulogne-sur-Mer, France

Getting There :You can reach the aquatic center in around 2h30 by car from Paris, or by train from Paris via Calais, then by bus (line F).

Hours:Every day from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., closed on 25 Dec.

Admission:Day tickets from € 18

Special tip:The neighboring Maison de la Beurière museum shows how the fishermen lived in Boulogne-sur-Mer towards the end of the 19th century.

Buchcouver |  Buchcover Extreme Orte French

The accompanying book

The series “Europe to the Maxx” on the lifestyle and culture magazine of DW Euromaxx showcases Europe’s vibrant culture, showcasing extraordinary architecture, spectacular landscapes, unique cultural phenomena and more. Make sure you don’t miss any of these recommendations and get the book that comes with the book, 111 extreme places in Europe not to be missed, published in collaboration with Emons Verlag. This alternative travel guide is both informative and entertaining, appealing to avid travelers, fans of Europe and anyone who likes to show off on the next pub quiz.


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