How to Organise a School Trip to CERN
CERN school trips offer one of the most rewarding and astounding science school trip experiences for any budding scientists within your group!
Offering a unique and inspiring opportunity for your students to get insight into the discoveries and innovation at the World’s largest particle physics laboratory and home of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). On September 2023, CERN officially unveiled their brand new Flagship Science Gateway facility. This purpose built educational facility was created to enhance the experience of visitors, providing a place for students to fully immerse themselves in the world of physics. offering a laboratory for hands on activities, an auditorium for talks and workshops and a number of exhibits covering the work and plans for CERN, the Science Gateway just raised CERN visits to another level.
Not only this but Geneva serves as the perfect base for exploring other local attractions and experiences, bringing the curriculum to life further!
As the most experienced and trusted provider of school trips to CERN, we pride ourselves on the experiences we develop for each group who travels to the region with us and how rewarding these can be. To ensure you and your students make the most of your school trip to CERN we’ve devised this guide, where you can find out more about the process from quote to travel and what this entails.
1. PLANNING YOUR SCHOOL TRIP TO CERN
As you may or may not know, to arrange educational visits to CERN, the facility itself only accepts requests from group leaders directly. This means that Adaptable Travel cannot liaise with CERN on your behalf. Fret not, as this is easily done via the CERN Visits Website. Doing this first will enable your group to receive a visit date from CERN, aiding the planning of the rest of your trip!
You will need to suggest a date (or dates) for your group visit, so it might be useful to consider the timing of your trip, our helpful tips below may help:
- Due to high demand, your visit will likely be restricted to one ‘itinerary’ i.e one half-day guided tour of one of the facilities or experiments at CERN
- Less busy times on site are typically within January, July and August
- Avoid Weekends, school holidays and Ski Season (Feb-April) for the best prices on air travel to Geneva
- With the opening of the Science Gateway facility, CERN now offer a number of different activities on-site, all of these can be requested from the same form. You can request a guided tour, a lab workshop and a visit to their interactive exhibitions. Please note, the new Lab workshops are currently extremely popular due to only recently becoming available and places are very limited. You will need to keep an eye on the schedule and get your request in as early as possible to secure your spot.
REQUEST A QUOTE
Once CERN has provided a provisional visit slot for you and your group, Adaptable Travel can work with you to develop the perfect itinerary around this date, giving you a feel for the trip and provisional costs. Check back with us once you have confirmed your place with CERN and we will give you an exact quote based around the slot received.
Our quotes cater to any group and any budget, offering travel options by Air and Coach. We can also look into train travel on request although this is often the most expensive option.
Every Adaptable Travel quote is tailor-made to each group, so please check your quotes for trip details and information. We’ve broken down the quote elements in this guide to help you follow each section of your quote or understand what to expect when booking with us!
This is the basic foundations of travel with us, which shapes your school trip stay, this includes:
- Return travel to Geneva with your choice of transport
- Accommodation, based on Bed and Breakfast as standard (evening meal options will be listed on the quotation unless requested in advance)
- FREE Public transport pass for the duration of your trip when staying in central Geneva
- 1:10 FREE staff ratio (unless otherwise stated)
- Adaptable Travel 24-hour service whilst on tour
- TravelSure - Full Comprehensive Travel Insurance (UK based groups only)
- Vamoos Travel App (Access all of your travel documents in one app)
- Free group activity to help make your tour more engaging (Geneva Treasure Trail)
- The most experienced and friendly CERN school trips team you will find
This refers to any additional services added into your main tour package, at a supplementary price. (Please refer to your group quote for exact details, as some of the below may already be included in your main package price)
We normally list these as Additional Add-ons in quote and include:
- Return UK airport transfers
- Return Foreign Airport transfers (you get free public transport to your accommodation)
- Coach hire in Geneva (For excursions to CERN and any other visits)
- Additional visits and excursions
- Staff single rooms (unless you have an odd number of staff, in which case we include 1 single)
- Additional staff places (if your staff-student ration exceeds 1:10)
- Packed lunches or evening meals (Breakfast is included)
2. ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS
Geneva Hostel or the Ibis Budget Geneva are the standard accommodation for CERN trips, as they offer fantastic value for money in a great location. (If availability is unachievable for your group, we will quote on other accommodation options of the same standard).
Student Rooming: Multi-bedded dorms with shared facilities
Staff Rooming: Twin room as standard (unless otherwise stated on your quote)
Board: Bed & Breakfast (unless otherwise stated)
Location: Centrally located in a quiet street in ‘quartier des Pâquis’ just a small distance from the Lake.
Hotel Ibis Budget Geneva (2*+)
Student Rooming: Max. twin bedded rooms with ensuite facilities
Staff rooms: Twin room, ensuite as standard (unless otherwise stated)
Board: Bed and Breakfast (unless otherwise stated)
Location: Located not far from the City Centre, close to public transport and local amenities
- City Hostel Geneva
- Meininger Geneva Charmilles
- Saint Genis Hotel – CERN owned Hostel (restrictions apply)
If you would like a quotation for any of the alternative accommodation options, please get in touch.
Once you have booked your visit to CERN through their systems, get in touch with us for help on selecting accommodation, planning your itinerary and developing the perfect school trip!
3. TRAVEL IN GENEVA
When staying in Geneva your group will qualify for a FREE transport pass, valid across all public transport for the duration of your stay. These will be issued at your accommodation upon arrival.
AIRPORT – ACCOMMODATION
You may be required to pay for a ticket at the airport station to get you from the airport to your accommodation. We are sometimes able to get your transport pass to you in advance digitally, which would cover your outbound transport but this is not guaranteed.
Travel from Cointrin Airport to Geneva City Centre takes 6 minutes by train.
Trains depart every 12 minutes (during rush hour, times may vary slightly outside of these hours)
Trains depart from the subfloor of the airport with ALL trains stopping at Geneva Main Station.
Upon arrival at Cornavin Station (main station) take trams 15 in the direction of “Nations” from the tram stop located at the front of the station.
Alight the tram 2 stops further at “Butini“
Walk back two blocks and find Rothschild Street to your left where the Youth Hostel can be found on the left-hand side of the street.
IBIS BUDGET HOTEL GENEVA
From the airport, follow the signs for Bus Park.
Board bus 10 towards “Rive” and alight at the 4th stop named “Pailly-Balexert”
The Ibis budget can be found approx. 100m from the bus stop on the left-hand side of the road
4. GETTING TO CERN FROM YOUR ACCOMMODATION
Board tram 15 from the tram stop “Butini” in the direction of Cornavin Station
At Cornavin Station board tram 18 travelling to CERN
Alight the tram at CERN and walk to Reception Building 33 which is the meeting point for your tour.
Ibis Budget Geneva
Walk South East from the hotel towards tram stop “Bouchet”
Board tram 18 from Bouchet travelling to CERN
Alight the tram at CERN and walk to Reception Building 33 which is the meeting point for your tour.
5. VISITING CERN
As standard, guided visits of CERN last roughly half a day but this depends on exactly what elements were requested when applying for your visit.
The available options are:
- Guided tours: 2 to 3 hours
- Lab workshops: 45 minutes (age 5-15), 90 minutes (age 16-19)
- Interactive exhibitions: 1.5 to 2 hours for the 3 exhibitions
When applying for your visit, they may ask if you will be travelling with a coach. This is not essential and most groups to not take a coach. If you did want a coach arranged, we can do so for an additional cost
Swiss Plasma Center
To add even more educational value to our CERN trips, Adaptable Travel are now offering school groups the chance to visit the amazing Swiss Plasma Center Facility in Lausanne.
The CRPP is a research facility exploring the development of plasma physics and fusion as a new energy source, allowing your students to understand more about the basic principles of plasmas and fusion and the devices used during their research. SPC is located in Lausanne, approx. 40 mins drive at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, tours of this facility last roughly 1 hour. The visit is free of charge and must be requested directly like CERN. Transport would be required to get to this, we can arrange coach transfers or train transport to get you there.
6. ADDITIONAL EXCURSIONS
While in Geneva it is the perfect opportunity to visit some of the nearby sites and attractions popular with school trip groups. The SIG facilities are great add-ons for your trip.
All of these visits are free of charge, but you must request these visits directly. Please note, some of the facilities are currently offering limited visits or only taking smaller groups. You can find more information on the visits and how to book here.
The Vessy Waterworks site houses a variety of historic pieces including a hydraulic construction with a dam and sluice gates and pressure pumps as well as a turbine group alternator and diesel engine. Although all activity ceased in the 1900’s the natural quality of the site and the buildings, the works of art and the machine park inspired SIG to renovate the site, adding a hydroelectric microcenter in 2007. The site now produces 1.7GWh of certified Nature-made Star electricity a year.
Group tours last approx. 1hr30mins.
Get the number 8 bus from Cornavin (Geneva Main Station)
Duration: approximately 30 minutes
SIG energy Pavilion portrays the amazing story of electricity, including the mysteries of its production, its uses, distribution and environmental impact. On this visit your students can explore the numerous instillations and exhibitions illustrating the invention and development of electricity and its journey from powerplant to homes across the world. Contemporary issues such as environmental impact is also represented as SIG explains steps to make energy greener, improve efficiency and explore renewable sources.
Opened in 1944 this dam is the largest source of electrical energy production in Geneva. Visiting the dam allows your group to witness the famous dam, its four channels. Four Kaplan turbines, lateral dykes and sluice gates work in synchronisation to produce enough electricity to meet demand, at even the highest rates of use.
SIG Solar 3
One of the biggest solar power stations in Switzerland this visit features 6,000 photovoltaic panels spanning its surface, which equates to the size of two football pitches.
These visits offer guided tours which last approx. 1hr 30mins each.
Board train R from Geneva to Russin (15 mins)
Walk from the train station to visits (15 mins)
This plant dates back to 1993 and is the 3rd biggest electricity provider to the canton of Geneva. The plant handles and recycles urban, agricultural, industrial and special waste according to the principles of sustainable development. Annually the plant treats around 250,000 tons of waste, essential to protect the local environment.
Duration: Guided tours last approx. 1hr 30mins.
Les Cheveniers is a 15-minute walk from the Energy Pavilion above.
7. WHAT NEXT?
Simply get in touch!
If you are interested in planning a trip to CERN or would like more information about what it offers your students please get in touch with a member of our team today!
The Adaptable Travel team will help you plan the ultimate bespoke itinerary sealed with our Price Promise Guarantee, so you know your group are getting the best possible price on your CERN school trip.