Frequently asked questions

Preparing for visits

Are the visits free of charge?

CERN has a rich educational and cultural programme. As an integral part of this programme, tours of the Laboratory are free of charge.

In which languages can I communicate with the Visits Service?

The staff of the Visits Service all speak CERN’s two official languages, French and English. Some of the team members also speak other languages.

Where can I find information to prepare for my tour ?

CERN’s public website provides a good introduction to CERN.

How long does a guided tour last?

Tours last approximately three hours. In addition, you will have opportunity to visit the two permanent exhibitions on the CERN site.

Why can’t I visit the LHC?

Underground tours are not permitted while the LHC is in operation.

Do I need to bring an identity document?

Yes, CERN's site are located on either side of the French-Swiss border and you might cross the border during your tour. In addition, depending on your nationality, you may also require a Schengen visa. We invite you to check with your consulate or embassy.

Do I need to supply a list of the participants?

No, currently there is no need to provide a list of visitors. However, you must make sure that all visitors fulfil the criteria listed in the important instructions.

Do I need to prepare badges showing the participants’ names?

No, name badges are not necessary.

Can CERN provide a risk assessment document or help to write one?

No. As the applicable laws differ from one country to another, CERN is unable to provide a standard risk assessment document. A medical service and fire brigade are based on site and strict safety rules are in place to protect everyone working at or visiting CERN.

How can I cancel a tour or request a change of date?

Please send an e-mail to visits.service@cern.ch

For the attention of visit organisers:

School visit organisers often wish to produce a t-shirt or other item for their group. We would like to remind you that the CERN logo is the property of CERN, and that its reproduction on any item produced by an external organisation is not permitted under any circumstances, including in the context of a school visit. However, the use of phrases such as “Visit to CERN, Geneva, Switzerland” is acceptable.

Arriving at CERN

How do I get to CERN Reception?

General information can be found here. Additional information for those arriving by train, plane or car or coach is also available.

Is there parking for cars and coaches?

Yes. A free car park is available close to the Reception area (Building 33). A number of spaces are reserved for coaches.

Does CERN provide transport to and from the airport and the train station?

No, but CERN can be reached by public transport. Those arriving at Geneva’s Cointrin airport can obtain a free bus and tram ticket from the machine in the baggage reclaim area of the arrivals hall. For further details please click here.

On the CERN site

CERN Visitors' Code of Conduct

All visitors are bound to respect the Visitors Code of conduct.

Is there a safe place where I can leave my luggage during the tour?

No. CERN does not allow access to the site with luggage. Please leave your luggage in your coach, at your hotel, at the aiport or at the train station.

Who conducts the CERN tours?

Tours are conducted exclusively by members of the CERN personnel.

Can I take photos and record videos during my tour of CERN?

Yes, CERN has no secrets and you can photograph or film anything you wish throughout your visit as long as you do not violate the privacy rights of individuals.

Can I connect to the Internet during my visit?

CERN doe not currently provide Internet access for visitors, and no public Wi-Fi is available on the site.

Is it possible to purchase souvenirs?

Yes , the souvenir shop in the Reception area sells books, educational items, clothes and gifts. More information can be found here.

Does the souvenir shop take credit cards?

Yes, Visa, Mastercard, Postfinance, Maestro and Diners Club cards are all accepted. You can also pay using Swiss francs or euro notes. However, change is given in Swiss francs only.

Can I eat in one of CERN’s cafeterias?

Use of CERN’s cafeterias is restricted to groups that have made a reservation and had it approved by the Visits Service. If your request has been approved, please contact visits.service@cern.ch  for more information.
Please note that due the high number of person at CERN cafeteria, your lunch will have to take place:
- before 11.30 a.m. if your visit takes place in the afternoon
- after 1.00 p.m. if your visit takes place in the morning

Take account of these time constraints in planning your visit.

Accommodation for school pupils and students

Is there any cheap accommodation for young people in Geneva?

Many school groups use the Geneva youth hostel.

Is it possible to stay at the CERN Hostel?

Yes. Groups of school pupils visiting CERN may apply to stay in the CERN Hostel if all the members of the group are at least 16 years of age and have already been registered by the Visits Service. Teachers shall be responsible for the group throughout the stay and must remain in the hostel with the pupils at all times. One teacher is required for every 10 pupils. Bookings cannot be made more than 90 days in advance of the tour and are limited to a maximum of three nights. Please note that no bookings are possible in June, July, August or September.

For all hostel bookings please contact: CERN Hostel

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