Weekend Visits to La Silla Observatory

Additional information about the observatory is available on the following pages:

Virtual Paranal
Visit the La Silla Observatory from your armchair with our Virtual Tours. Click on the thumbnail to experience a 360° visit.

Registering for a guided tour

Guided tours for tourists and the general public are offered every Saturday except during July and August, due to the risk of snowstorms in winter time.

Arrival on La Silla Start of tour
Saturdays 13:30 14:00
  • The guided tours are free of charge, but registration is compulsorily required as there is limited space. Large groups are asked to register as far in advance as possible.
  • To register for a visit to Paranal, please submit the Visitor Form. We do not accept bookings by mail or phone.
  • Once submitted the form, you will receive a notification within 48 working hours.
  • During the week before the visit you must reconfirm your reservation to the contact email or cell-phone number below. If your reconfirmation is not received by the day before the visit, you will be removed from the list.
  • Every visitor to Paranal (or any ESO site) must read and sign the Release Form in English or Spanish. The printed signed form must be delivered on arrival at the observatory gate. Unfortunately, we cannot accept electronic copies of the form.
  • For safety reasons, children under 4 years are not allowed.
  • For safety reasons, minors have to be accompanied by an adult, who can be responsible of 10 young people at maximum.


  • For special inquiries about the visit or information which is not available on our web pages: visits@eso.org.
  • For emergency calls about the visit or booking: +56-9 -98395312.

Travel & Meals

  • Please follow this link for very important information on how to reach ESO La Silla  and security and safety advice.
  • The La Silla Observatory does not offer transport for tourist visitors.
  • ESO does not provide fuel to visitors. Please make sure you have enough to drive to your next destination.
  • There are no facilities on-site that offer meals.You are welcome to bring a light snack or lunch to eat before the start of the tour.

Arrival at La Silla

  • You should arrive at the Observatory main gate at least 30 minutes before the start time of the tour.
  • There is a waiting area for visitors after the main gate. If you wish to eat your lunch before the tour, you are encouraged to arrive at the gate at 13:00.
  • At the guard desk, you will be asked for your name(s) and signed Release Form(s).

The Tour

  1. The tour begins at the Visitor Centre with the ESO Welcome Video.
  2. Then you will visit the ESO 3.6-metre telescope, now home to the world's foremost extrasolar planet hunter.
  3. You will also visit the New Technology Telescope, or NTT, the precursor of the ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT), located on Cerro Paranal, about 600 km north from here.

The order of the steps described above may vary depending on the amount of people in the tour.

While on La Silla

  • Use sunglasses, hats, protective clothing and sunscreen over SPF35.
  • Drink plenty of bottled water or juice.
  • Move around slowly.
  • Do not leave litter.
  • Do not smoke.
  • Illegal drugs and alcohol use are forbidden.
  • If you feel unwell: inform your guide immediately!
  • In an emergency: follow the guide and the Emergency Coordinator’s instructions.
  • Follow your guide’s instructions at all times throughout the tour.
  • Please find here more Health & Safety advice.
  • Ask questions!
  • Take a zillion of pictures!”