Holiday la Palma Blog - A Small Island in the Atlantic Ocean

Observatory Tours at Roque de Muchachos, La Palma

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It's all James Bond stuff up at the Roque de Muchachos Observatory - if you're thinking about taking a tour at the La Palma Observatory at El Roque de Muchachos (ORM), we can highly recommend it! 

It's something that we are often asked about and no wonder, the Roque de Muchachos Observatory is one of three best observatories on Earth - and home to the largest optical telescope in the world.
Taking a trip up to the Roque de Muchachos is practically a must while on La Palma. At 2426m above sea level and the highest point on
La Palma, it's an awesome drive to the top and an even more awesome view when you get there! 

So don't miss the opportunity to tie in the visit to the Observatory with some sightseeing and maybe a walk along the GR131 El Baston walking route while you're there. Just a tip though -  at the moment, there are no facilities such as cafe or toilets although this is in progress. Also, be prepared for all types of temperatures.
MAGIC Telescope, La Palma
The tours are only held in the day - sorry, no night time viewing for us general public. The night is a highly precious time when the scientists are observing. In fact, you can't even take your car up to the Roque de Muchachos at night which would cause light pollution.

And if you didn't know, you might be surprised to hear that there is even a Sky Law on La Palma, I kid you not. This is a law made in 1988 which enforces the control of light pollution by regulating street lighting and air communications routes.

So what goes on in these great big white domes? This is where the conducted tour comes in as you get to see the interior of one of the telescopes at the Observatory such as: Gran Telescopio de Canarias (Gran TeCan)William Herschel TelescopeGalileo Telescope.

Casual entrance is not allowed, it is strictly by booking in advance. This can either be done online using the calendar of available dates or directly at the Astro La Palma office Los Cancajos.

Entrance is 9€ per adult, less for residents, strictly no under 12's. The tour lasts 70 to 90 minutes and I recommend you get there at least 15 minutes early. This is your one and only chance to use the facilities (toilet) as they are not available once the tour starts or at the end.
It's a good idea to take a jacket just in case it's cold as the first part of the tour is a talk outside. Also, once inside the dome, the temperature is kept at ambient night time temperature, so expect cool or even cold.

 So is it worth a visit? Absolutely! For more information on the observatory and star-gazing on La Palma, check out our webpage: Astronomy on La Palma

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