Weekend visits to Paranal

Information about the observatory is available on the following pages:

Registering for a Guided Tour

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

Guided tours for tourists and the general public are offered on every Saturday.

Arrival on Paranal Start of Tour
Saturday 09:45 10:00
Saturday 13:45 14:00


  • The guided tours are free of charge, but registration is 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.
  • For special inquiries about the visit or information which is not available on our web pages, please contact: visits@eso.org.
  • For emergency calls about the visit or booking:+56 - 9 - 98395312.
  • Every visitor to Paranal (or any ESO site) must read and sign the Release Form in English or Spanish. Once signed, the form must be delivered on arrival at the observatory gate. An emailed copy of the form can unfortunately not be accepted.
  • For safety reasons, children under 6 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.


Travel & Meal

Please follow this link for very important information on how to reach ESO Paranal and security and safety advice.

  • The Paranal Observatory does not offer transport to tourist visitors.
  • ESO does not provide fuel to visitors. You must have sufficient fuel in your car to be able 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.

Arrival at Paranal

The Paranal Visitor Centre

  • You should arrive at the Observatory 15 minutes before the start time of the tour, for registering at the gate.
  • For safety reasons, the access to the observatory is not allowed before the start time of the tour.
  • 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 be taken to the VLT platform and enter one of the enclosures to see the actual 8.2-metre telescope.
  3. If conditions permit, you will be shown the control room. This is where the astronomers work, as all control and communications with the telescopes takes place through computers.
  4. You will finally have a look into the famous Paranal Residencia.

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

VLT Control Room

While on Paranal

  • 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!