Frequently asked questions

Preparing - Guided Tours (upon reservation) - Arriving - On site - Accomodation

Preparing for visits

Are the visits free of charge?

Visits of CERN are free of charge, should they be guided or free (exhibitions).

In which languages can I communicate with the Visits Service?

French and English. Some of the team members also speak other languages.

Where can I find information to prepare for my visit ?

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

Guided tours (upon reservation)

Where can I request a guided tour?

All information is available here.

I cannot select the date of my choice. Is this normal?

Guided tours can be requested only:
- 9 months in advance for school and students groups (12-48 persons)
​- 3 months in advance for other groups (12-48 persons)
​- 15 days in advance for groups of less than 12 persons

​Should you have respected these delays and your date is not selectable means that that date is already full.
​CERN receives about two times more guided tours request than it can accomodate. Try another date.

Why do you ask if we have our own bus?

Some of CERN's visit locations are located remotely from CERN Reception (up to 15km away). It is therefore important to organize transport. CERN has limited transport service. If you have your own bus, we will use it during the visit to travel between visited locations. Please make sure the driver is aware and ready to drive you. Please note that the use of individual cars is not allowed. Only buses (from 20 to 50 seats) are allowed to enter our sites with guided tour visitors.

Who conducts the CERN tours?

Tours are conducted exclusively by members of the CERN personnel.

How long does a guided tour last?

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

Can I visit underground?

Underground tours are not permitted while the LHC is in operation.
The LHC tunnel can never be visited.
Very limited underground visits are possible in experimental caverns during LHC shutdowns.

As a general rule: underground visits are extremely rare and cannot be guaranteed.
But there are many interesting places to be visited above ground.

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. A valid ID document is therefore 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 ?

Connect to http://myguidedtours.cern.ch, select the requested tour and click on Cancel the guided tour button on the top.

How can I request a change of date, number of visitors, use of restaurant, language etc for my guided tour ?

Please send an e-mail to visits.service@cern.ch referring to your request id.

Do I need to provide the list of visitors' names?

Yes. Guided tours enter CERN sites and all visitors must wear visibly a personal visitor's card.
​Once your guided tour request has been approved, you will have access to a form to provide each visitor's identity on myguidedtours.cern.ch.

Form on myguidedtours.cern.ch does not accept some names. Is this normal ?

Make sure you only enter latin, unaccented characters, such as in the machine readable zone of identity documents.

Do I have to fill in all visitors information in one go?

No. You can save and come back later to input more visitors information. All visitors' information must be provided within 48 hours (for individual guided tours) or at least 21 days before the guided tour (for group guided tours) otherwise the incomplete visitor will be removed.

Can I modifiy the visitors' information and until when?

Yes you can and are more than welcome to inform us on any visitor change until 1 day prior the guided tour. During that last day, no updates are possible to allow us to print the visitors' cards.

What should I do if I have last-minute changes to visitors information that I could not apply in time?

As soon as you arrive at CERN Reception, please inform us of these changes. You will be requested to provide all the changes or delete visitors who are finally not coming. Please note that the time needed to provide this information may impact the duration of your guided tour. It is therefore advised to inform us online up to 1 days prior the guided tour.

Can I add last minute visitors?

No. Only the approved number of visitors will be allowed to get the guided tour. Any additional person may visit the permanent exhbitiions during the guided tour.

I do not know the identify of the bus drivers. What should I do?

This information is not mandatory before your arrival. But you will have to provide this information at the latest as you arrive at CERN Reception. Make sure to have this information with you.

For the attention of tours 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

Is there parking for cars and coaches?

Yes. A free car park is available next to the Globe of Science and Innovation. Coaches must park at the coach parking at the end of the car park (after the 2nd automatic barrier).
In case of problems at the gate, please use the intercom and call CSA (Access and Security Central) and inform them that you come for a guided tour.

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 airport or at the Cornavin train station.

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?

Free public Wi-Fi is available around CERN main buildings. Connect to CERN-Visitors Wi-Fi and connect to a webpage to complete the registration.

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.
Please note that the shop closes around the same time than afternoon guided tours end. It is therefore advised to go to the shop before the afternoon guided tours.

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 booked a guided tour, requested the possibility to go to CERN cafeteria and had it approved by the Visits Service.
​Direct contacts with CERN Restaurant management are not allowed.
​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.

How much does a meal cost at CERN cafeteria?

A lunch at CERN cafeteria costs about CHF 15. Banknotes are accepted in Swiss francs and Euro. CHange is always given in Swiss francs.
There are ATMs close to all restaurants.
CERN Restaurants 1 and 2 accept all major credit and debit cards!

​Are there any restaurants nearby CERN?

Find nearby restaurants here.

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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