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.

Arrival at La Silla Start of tour
Saturdays 13:30 14:00
  • The guided tours are free of charge, but registration is compulsory as there is limited space. Large groups are asked to register as far in advance as possible.
  • To register for a visit to La Silla, please submit the Visitor Form. We do not accept bookings by mail or phone.
  • Once you have submitted the form, you will receive a notification within 48 working hours.
  • During the week before the visit you must confirm your reservation by contacting us using the contact email or phone number below. If your confirmation is not received by the day before the visit, you will unfortunately be removed from the list.
  • Every visitor to La Silla (or any ESO site) must read and sign the Release Form in English or Spanish. The signed and printed 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 to visit the observatory.
  • For safety reasons, minors have to be accompanied by an adult. Each adult can be responsible for a maximum of 10 young people.
  • Please be aware that the tour could be cancelled in case of severe weather conditions. In this case, the visitors will be notified via phone call or email within 48 hours before the visit. 


  • For special inquiries about the visit or information which is not available on our web pages, email visits@eso.org.
  • For emergency calls about the visit or booking, call +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.
  • La Silla Observatory does not offer transport for tourists.
  • ESO does not provide car 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 your own 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 tour start time.
  • There is a waiting area for visitors just beyond 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 security 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).

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

While on La Silla

  • Wear sunglasses, a hat, protective clothing and sunscreen over SPF35.
  • Drink plenty of bottled water or juice.
  • Move around slowly.
  • Do not leave litter.
  • Smoking is not allowed.
  • Illegal drugs and alcohol use are forbidden.
  • The use of drones is not allowed.
  • 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 more information here: Health & Safety advice.
  • Be curious — ask lots of questions!
  • Take zillions of pictures!