Weekend visits to Paranal Observatory

Information about the observatory is available on the following pages:

Virtual Paranal
Visit the Paranal 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 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 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.
  • Please be aware that the tour can be cancelled in case of severe bad weather conditions. In these cases, the visitors will be notified via phone call or email within the 48 hours before the visit. 


  • 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 & 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

  • 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. The Paranal Visitor Centre
    The Paranal Visitor Centre. Credit: ESO
  3. Then you will be taken to the VLT platform and enter one of the enclosures to see the actual 8.2-metre telescope.
  4. 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.
  5. VLT Control Room
    VLT Control Room. Credit: ESO
  6. 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.

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.
  • 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 here more Health & Safety advice.
  • Ask questions!
  • Take a zillion of pictures!