One of the largest and most modern aquariums in Europe, CretAquarium was founded and operates as part of the HCMR. It is geographically located on the north-western part of the former American Base of Gournes, where together with the premises of the research institutions of HCMR forms THALASSOKOSMOS - the largest centre for marine science and promotion of the Mediterranean sea world.

The birth of the first large aquarium in Greece

The creation of a large and modern sea Aquarium in Crete was a challenge as well as a vision not only for the local research society but Cretan society as a whole. The impressive response from the hundreds of thousand annual visitors to CretAquarium justifies the painful attempts that were made by the former Institute of Marine Biology of Crete as well as the current single body for marine research in the country -the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research.

CretΑquarium is an expert in presenting species and ecosystems of the Mediterranean, a sea of unique biodiversity that gave birth to ancient civilizations and welcomes millions of visitors every year from all over the world. Offering 60 tanks of different sizes, containing a total amount of 1,700,000 litres of sea water, it is home to 2000 sea animals, 200 different species found in the Mediterranean basin, and together with the appropriate scenery, it successfully represents the Cretan and Mediterranean sea beds.  Additionally CretAquarium designs and implements educational programmes and other innovative services, treats injured animals and is constantly enriched with new marine species.

The expertise possessed by the Aquarium on the presentation of the Mediterranean species and ecosystems is backed up by the long experience of the Centre in Mediterranean marine research. The Mediterranean Sea preserves an impressive biodiversity, gave birth to ancient civilizations and welcomes millions of visitors each year.

Each visitor has the opportunity to see the sea inhabitants of the Mediterranean, to learn, be charmed by them and contribute towards its sustainable future. At CretAquarium, the attractions become knowledge and experiences raise questions.

The Aquarium of Crete is part of THALASSOKOSMOS (the building complex of HCMR in Heraklion, Crete), the largest complex for marine research, technology and entertainment in the Mediterranean area,  that has established its function and its development of scientific knowledge and discoveries in Marine Science and wants to:

  • be a medium of promoting and popularizing knowledge and innovation generated by the HCMR and the global marine research industry, namely the future of human relations with the sea.
  • offer a unique spectacle that will always fascinate children and adults and to inform, educate and raise the awareness of the public on the diversity of Mediterranean fish species and habitats by visualising the Mediterranean sea life using modern ways and equipment.
  • discover, admire, experience and initiate actions on maritime issues for the decades to come together with the visitor.
  • enhance the eternal relationship between humans and the Mediterranean sea environment and to create incentives and raise questions on the protection and sustainable management of the Mediterranean sea ecosystem.
  • set its individual identity so that it distinguishes from other aquariums, to become unique among the destination options in Crete and to become an alternative entertainment option. 
  • be part of the continues research on the behaviour and welfare of sea species that can be adapted in controlled conditions, to have a modern research infrastructure and to ensure excellent access conditions to researchers and young scientists, to be an incubator of innovation.
  • refinance its actions and activities.

In order for such aims to be fulfilled, CretAquarium is manned by experienced, skilled staff, possessing scientific knowledge, talent, passion and vision. Its entire staff is continually educated and trained so they are always be in a position to offer top notch services to visitors.  Our philosophy is based on the fact that our people are one of the most important parameters of CretAquarium success, extending to the realisation of the Aquarium's visions and aims.