How to Visit the Large Hadron Collider
The Large Hadron Collider is located in CERN on the Switzerland-French border. Most of the time, you can only visit the above ground facilities, and the Large Hadron Collider is located underground. However, once in a while, they do shut the collider down and open the area to the public, so you'll be able to visit that area. If you can't visit during that time, you'll still find plenty to see at other times of the year.
Booking a Tour
Check for EYETS dates.The Extended Year-End Technical stop (EYETS) is the only part of the year when the underground facilities are open for tours, including the Large Hadron Collider.These breaks are when the collider is shut down, and they generally happen just before Christmas.
- The best thing you can do is call the reception desk at +41 (0)22 767 76 76 or email them at to find out when the EYETS are.
Choose a date for the tour.Tours are available six days a week, Monday through Saturday. CERN also closes for certain holidays, so check ahead of time for dates it will be closed.
- You can call +41 (0)22 767 76 76 or email them at to find out about closures.
- Tours last for about 3 hours apiece.
Pick a language for the tour.Tours are conducted in both French and English, but more tours in English are available. For example, two tours a day are available in English from Monday to Saturday (with more available during high traffic times), but tours in French are only available once a day on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Decide on a date.While the tours are free, you must book ahead of time to make sure you get a spot. Tour reservations open up 15 days ahead of the date, and a few more spots will open up 3 days ahead of the date.Spots fill up fast, so decide on a date as soon as you can. You can make a reservation for up to 11 people at a time with individual tours.
Book your visit.To book a visit, fill out the form on CERN's website. You'll need to include your name, your email address, the country you live in, and your phone number. You'll also need to include the number of people in your party, as well as the date (and an alternative date) you'd like to visit.
- If you are reserving spots for more than 11 people, you'll need to reserve a group tour. You can make a reservation for up to 48 people, using the form on the website.
Make a reservation for a school tour.School tours are generally half a day, and you can request a specific tour, though tours are dependent on what's available. Also, it's not likely you'll be able to visit the collider itself. On the other hand, school tours sometimes include performing experiments. You can even use provided materials to help get your students ready for the visit.
- Only 12 to 48 people can visit at once, including teachers and students. The tours are free. In general, students must be 13 and older. H
- Any teacher can fill out the reservation form online at . You'll need information like the number of people attending, contact information, your preferred language, and the preferred date.
Taking Your Tour
Wear sturdy close-toed shoes.You cannot wear high heels or any type of sandal to visit CERN, so pay attention to your footwear. Sturdy, flat shoes are the best plan, though you can wear low heels that are squared off rather than pointed.
Bring your passport and visa with you.CERN is in both France and Switzerland. While you're taking your tour, you might go across this border, so it's important to carry your passport with you. If you traveled from another country, inquire if you need a visa to visit either of these countries.
Store your luggage at your hotel.Luggage isn't allowed on the premises at CERN, so you'll need to leave it behind. However, you can bring purses and other small handbags, as well as cameras. Small backpacks are also fine.
- Pets should also be left behind.
Prepare CERN if you have special needs.Some areas of CERN may not be accessible to you under certain conditions, so you need to let them know in advance of your tour. For instance, if you have limited mobility, are pregnant, or have a pacemaker, you may not be able to visit some areas. If you have a ferromagnetic implant, you also need to let them know.
- Also contact them if you have anyone under 16 in your group.
Taking Full Advantage of Your Tour
Arrive 20 minutes ahead of time.You will have a scheduled time for your tour, but you need to get there 20 minutes ahead of time. That way, you can get checked in and be ready to start your tour right on time.
- You'll begin by visiting reception at 385 route de Meyrin, CH-1217 Meyrin - Geneva, Switzerland.
Act appropriately.While at CERN, try not to disturb those who are going about their jobs. Don't be too loud, and don't take pictures of them without permission. Also, listen to any safety instructions given by tour guides or guards. CERN also asks that you act respectfully in general while in the facility.
- Smoking is not allowed anywhere at CERN.
Tour the permanent exhibits.Before or after your tour, you can also take a spin around CERN's permanent exhibits. The exhibits are free, and you can explore them by yourself. The two exhibits are Microcosm (which gives an overview of the experiments at CERN) and the Universe of Particles (which discusses particles and contemporary physics).
- The permanent exhibits are both near reception.
Dine at CERN.If you prefer, you can eat in CERN's cafeteria. It has many options to choose from, so everyone in your group should be happy. They only take cash, but if you find yourself without any on hand, ATMs are located just outside the cafeteria.
Visit the souvenir shop.To round off your day, spend some time in the souvenir shop. You can get a wide variety of souvenirs that are only available on site. With a souvenir in hand, you have proof that you visited CERN.
- In the souvenir shop, you'll find things like pins, pencils, stickers, hoodies, hard hats, notebooks, umbrellas, and a wide variety of other paraphernalia.
- You can use credit cards at the souvenir shop.
QuestionWhat is the cost of the two-hour tour?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThe two-hour tour is free.Thanks!
Can you bring luggage if you leave it in your car?
Can I visit the hadron collider in a wheelchair?
Are there tours in the winter?
How can I book in advance for a birthday present (as suggested below) when the website states max 15 days before hand?
Video: Step inside the Large Hadron Collider (360 video) - BBC News
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