Booking is not required for families and individual visitors. Access to exhibitions, science shows and films (when available) is free within capacity limits. Guided tours and lab workshops can only be booked on site. A dedicated page explains why.
Find below the answer to frequently asked questions. Should you not find the information you are looking for, do not hesitate to contact us.
Families and individual visitors
- Why online booking is not available for families and individual visitors?
Preparing for your visit
- Are the visits free of charge?
CERN visits are free of charge, whether they are guided tours, exhibitions, labs, science shows or public events. Do not pay any third parties who claim that CERN is charging them.
- Do I have to bring a valid ID document?
Yes, if you take part in a guided tour, as some tours may take place on both sides of the Swiss-French border.
- Is parking available for cars and coaches?
Yes. A paid car park is available next to the Globe of Science and Innovation. The bus parking available before the car park is reserved for groups with a booking. More details on our dedicated page.
- Does CERN provide transport to and from the airport and the train station?
No, but CERN can be reached by public transport and taxi. CERN is located 5.5km away from Geneva airport and 9.4km from Geneva Cornavin train station. Those arriving at Geneva airport can get bus and tram ticket from the machine in the baggage collection area of the arrivals hall. For further details please click here.
- Where can I find more information about CERN to prepare for my visit?
Our Resources menu provides numerous resources for you to learn more about CERN before your visit.
- Which languages can I use to communicate with the Visits Service?
French and English. Some of the team members also speak other languages.
- Is there a luggage storage facility?
Yes, CERN provides 321 lockers for free.
Luggage is not permitted in our premises.
All lockers must be emptied at 18.00 at the latest.
A limited number of lockers can contain up to cabin-size luggage.
Larger items are not allowed at CERN. We invite you to leave larger items in your coach or at your hotel. Luggage storage facilities are also available at Geneva airport and the Cornavin train station.
- Is there a restaurant accessible to the public?
Yes. The Big Bang Café welcomes you from 08.00 to 17.00. Selected groups with a booking will also be allowed to access the CERN restaurants inside fenced domain.
- Is there public Wi-Fi ?
Yes. Free public Wi-Fi is available in and around CERN’s main buildings. Connect to CERN-Visitors Wi-Fi, and open a web browser to access our exclusive web app to register and get access to CERN Science Gateway. Should you need to access Internet, you will have to register your phone fully with a code.
- Is it possible to purchase souvenirs?
Yes, the souvenir shop in the Reception area sells books, educational items, games, clothes and gifts. More information can be found here.
Please note that the shop and reception close at 18:00, so set aside enough time for your shopping.
- Is there an ATM on site?
Not publicly accessible. Only groups granted restaurant access will be able to use the ATMs inside the fenced part of the site. The CERN shop accepts most credits cards.
- Does the souvenir shop take credit cards?
Yes,most cards are accepted. You can also pay in cash using Swiss francs or euro notes. However, change is given in Swiss francs only.
- Which data CERN collects about visitors and what does it do with it?
Find our more on our dedicated page.
- Can I take photos and record videos during my visit?
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.
- Are guide dogs allowed?
While pets are not generally permitted on site, guide dogs for the visually impaired are welcome.
Please inform the Reception personnel when you arrive.
Guided tours for groups
- I cannot select the date of my choice. Is this normal?
If the date you want cannot be selected, it means that we cannot take any more visitors on this date.
CERN receives twice as many requests as it has places available, so you are advised to book your tour as early as possible.
- Why do you ask if we have our own coach (group guided tours only)?
Some of the places visited on guided tours are a long way from the CERN Reception (up to 15 km away). It is therefore important to organise transport. CERN has a limited number of coaches/minibuses to transport visitors. If you have your own coach/minibus, we will use it during the tour to travel between the visit points. Please make sure that the driver is aware of this and is prepared to drive you. Please note that the use of private cars is not allowed. Only coaches/minibuses (with 20 to 50 seats) are allowed to bring tour parties onto our sites.
- Who conducts CERN tours?
Tours are conducted exclusively by members or former members of the CERN personnel, who give tours on a voluntary basis.
- How long does a guided tour last?
Tours last between one hour (individual tours last exceptionally one hour) and three hours (group tours). In addition to the guided tour, you will have the opportunity to visit the two permanent exhibitions on the CERN site.
- Can I visit the underground facilities?
Underground tours are extremely rare and limited to smaller groups.
The LHC tunnel is never accessible to visitors.
Only the experiment caverns can be visited during LHC shutdowns.
But there are plenty of interesting places to visit above ground!
The final tour programme is decided at the last minute to take operational and safety constraints into account and cannot be confirmed in advance.
- Do I need to bring an ID document with me?
Yes, CERN is located on both sides of the French-Swiss border, so you might cross it during your tour. A valid form of ID is therefore necessary for each visitor on a guided tour.
- Can I eat in one of CERN’s cafeterias?
Use of CERN’s on-site cafeterias is restricted to groups that have booked a guided tour, requested access to the cafeterias and received approval from the Visits Service.
Direct contacts with CERN Restaurant management are not allowed.
If your request has been approved, please contact us for more information, quoting the reference number of your tour request.
Please note that, due to the large number of people who use the CERN cafeterias, your lunch will have to take place:
- before 11.30 a.m. if your tour takes place in the afternoon
- after 1.00 p.m. if your tour takes place in the morning
Please take these time constraints into account when planning your visit.
- How much does a meal cost in the CERN cafeterias?
Warning: access to CERN’s cafeterias is reserved for groups on guided tours that have requested and received permission to eat there.
Lunch at CERN cafeterias costs around 15 CHF.
Swiss franc and euro banknotes are accepted. Change is always given in Swiss francs.
ATMs are located close to all the restaurants.
CERN Restaurant 1 and 2 accept all major credit and debit cards.
- 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 the Meyrin 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 with your login, select the requested tour and click on ‘Cancel the guided tour’ at the top.
- How can I make a change to my guided tour request: date, number of visitors, use of the restaurants, language, etc.?
- Do I need to provide a list of visitors' names?
Yes. Participants in guided tours enter the CERN sites, and all visitors must wear a personal visitor's card prominently.
Once your guided tour request has been approved, you will be given access to a form available on myguidedtours.cern.ch to provide details of all the members of your party (first name, last name, nationality, date and place of birth) .
- The form on myguidedtours.cern.ch does not accept certain names. Is this normal?
Make sure you enter only unaccented Latin characters, as shown in the machine-readable part of your identity document.
- Do I have to fill in all visitors’ details in one go?
No. You can save the form and come back later to enter additional information. All visitors' details must be provided within 48 hours in the case of individual guided tours or at least 21 days before the guided tour in the case of group guided tours, otherwise visitors whose details are incomplete will be removed from the tour booking.
- Can I modify visitors' details? Until what point? Can they be changed at any time?
Yes, you are welcome to inform us of any changes, up to one day before the guided tour. No updates are possible on the day before the guided tour as this is when we need to print visitors' cards. You can inform the Reception staff of any last-minute changes when you arrive.
- What should I do if I have last-minute changes to visitors’ details that I am unable to inform you of in time?
As soon as you arrive at the CERN Reception, please inform us of any last-minute changes. You will be requested to provide details of all visitors whose information has changed or who are not attending. Please note that the time needed to provide this information may reduce the duration of your guided tour. You are therefore advised to inform us of any changes online, up to one day before the guided tour.
- Can I add last-minute visitors?
No. Only the number of visitors registered on myguidedtours.cern.ch will be allowed to take part in the guided tour. Any visitors who have not been registered may visit the permanent exhibitions during the guided tour.
- I do not know the identity of the coach drivers. What should I do?
This information is not mandatory before your arrival, but you will have to provide it when you arrive at the CERN Reception at the latest. Make sure that you have this information with you.
- Am I authorised to use the CERN logo on the clothes worn by the members of my group?
No. The CERN logo is the property of CERN, and its use 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.
- Is it possible to stay at the CERN hostel with my group?
Yes, but availability is limited. School groups 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 for a guided tour by the Visits Service. Teachers will 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 once your guided tour has been confirmed by the Visits Service.
- Is there any cheap accommodation available for young people in Geneva?
- Are exhibitions free of charge?
Yes, like all outreach activities at CERN, exhibitions are accessible free of charge.
- Do I need to register to visit exhibitions?
No. Access to the exhibitions is free of charge and no registration is needed.
If you plan to come with a large group (more than 20), we would appreciate it if you could inform us in advance.
- What is the minimum age recommended for the exhibitions?
The exhibition welcomes visitors of all ages, although it is best enjoyed by ages 14+.
- Are guided tours of the exhibitions available?
Usually not, but there may be a guide on duty at the Universe of Particles exhibitions at some point during the day. Don’t hesitate ask them questions. Should you have a special request, please contact us.