Swiss Castles is a not-for-profit association whose members are Switzerland’s leading castles
and fortresses. Together, they pursue a mission to conserve, research and promote cultural heritage, taking into account the needs of their visitors from all regions of Switzerland and beyond. Under this Charter, the members undertake to provide visitors with a high-quality experience at every stage of their visit.
The member castle will provide visitors with information to assist them in planning their visit, in the form of descriptive brochures, flyers and its website.
The information provided will include a description of the site, the visitor experience, the activities offered, opening hours (including the time of last admission), admission fees, site access and contact details (telephone, e-mail).
Details of how to obtain information and make bookings (for guided tours, events, restaurant reservations, etc.) will be clearly displayed in printed documents and on electronic media.
Practical information will be presented in a way that is well organised and easy to understand. The member castle’s website will be compatible with mobile devices. It will display the association’s logo and include a link to the association’s website.
Practical information, on both printed documents and the website, will always be provided in at least one national language plus English, or in two national languages.
The member castle will work with the authorities responsible to provide clear and adequate road signs (heritage category) for visitors.
It will provide appropriate signage from public transport facilities and car parks, where possible incorporating the association’s logo. Access routes and journey times will be indicated by means of logograms and/or in a number of languages in order to assist Swiss and foreign visitors.
The member castle will work with its partners (communes, cities, canton) to enhance public transport facilities and access routes, including ongoing maintenance, clear indications of the areas provided for different types of vehicles, adequate lighting in parking areas, and signs indicating charging stations for electric vehicles where available. Locations that do not have sufficient parking for all visitors will direct them to the nearest available parking areas.
The reception area of the member castle will be correctly maintained at all times and, as far as possible, accessible to all visitors, including those with reduced mobility. The location of the ticket counter will be clearly marked and all admission fees clearly displayed. The reception area will display the association’s logo to inform visitors that they are visiting a member of The Swiss Castles.
Staff will welcome visitors courteously and be able to answer them in a number of languages: at least one national language plus English, or two national languages. To assist visitors, the use of badges or signage to indicate the languages spoken by reception staff is recommended.
Reception staff will have a good knowledge of the site and the various services available to visitors. They will also be able to provide information about the local area and nearby museums. As far as possible, reception staff will courteously anticipate visitor requests.
First-aid equipment will be available to visitors at the reception of the member castle. Reception staff will have emergency procedures in place and have been trained to evacuate the premises if required.
Reception staff will wear clean, smart clothing that complies with any dress code drawn up by the member castle. While on duty, reception staff will be clearly identifiable by means of a uniform or badge.
The reception area of the member castle will include a coat rack, cloakroom or lockers for use by visitors. The member castle will make seating available to older visitors or visitors with reduced mobility in its reception area.
The member castle will use various media (plan, guide, signage) to advise visitors of the visitor route and key points, and provide clear guidance throughout the route. It will supply essential information first and foremost, with secondary media covering topics in greater depth. The information provided will be appropriate to the general public and international visitors.
Visitor information will be presented throughout the visitor route in accordance with the member castle’s corporate design. The visitor route will be clearly and appropriately marked using an arrow system or room numbering with clearly displayed directional instructions or room names. Accessibility of the various areas will be signposted where this presents problems for children or visitors with reduced mobility. Safety advice and restrictions will be repeated along the route as necessary.
Communication materials and signage will be produced in a professional manner.
Association members will have a complaints procedure and a contact responsible for dealing with complaints. On request, reception staff will advise visitors of the complaints procedure and provide them with a complaints form.
The member castle will make every effort to provide maximum information to visitors. It will include an up-to-date bibliography on its website containing reference materials that visitors can use to plan or complement their visit.
Information will be supplied in a manner suited to the various audiences (general public, international visitors, children, informed visitors), and the media used will be produced accordingly. The member castle will display information clearly and precisely on the various media.
Information will be presented in accordance with the member castle’s corporate design, with professionally produced materials using a variety of formats (text, photographs, diagrams, audiovisual media).
The member castle will provide a high-quality guided tour service to visitors. Guided tours will be offered in at least one national language plus English, or in two national languages.
The member castle will ensure that guides have the requisite skills and provide them with ongoing training. Guides will be able to adapt their tour to different audiences (general public, international visitors, children, informed visitors). Guides will ensure the safety of premises, objects and visitors throughout the tour.
Guides will wear clean, smart clothing that complies with any dress code drawn up by the member castle. While on duty, guides will be clearly identifiable by means of a uniform or badge.
The member castle will ensure that areas accessible to the public are cleaned and maintained regularly and guarantee the safety of its installations.
In accordance with its mission, the member castle will conserve, maintain and, as soon as necessary, restore the objects on display to visitors.
The member castle will arrange for areas accessible to visitors to be monitored. Security staff will oversee the premises and, as far as possible, ensure the safety of visitors, interacting with them in a courteous manner. Security staff will provide information that is useful to visitors and anticipate their needs. If they are unable to answer a visitor’s questions, they will direct the visitor to the persons responsible.
In the course of their duties, security staff will ensure that the premises are kept well maintained and clean.
Security staff will be trained in managing conflicts and crisis situations such as theft or damage. They will be trained in first aid and familiar with the procedure for evacuating visitors if required.
Security staff will wear clean, smart clothing that complies with any dress code drawn up by the member castle. While on duty, security staff will be clearly identifiable by means of a uniform or badge.
The member castle will provide visitor toilet facilities that are accessible to all, including persons with reduced mobility. To meet the needs of international visitors, male and female toilets will be separated as far as possible. A changing table will be provided for parents in the male and female toilets, or in a dedicated area accessible to men and women.
The size and equipment of the member castle’s toilet facilities will be appropriate to the number of visitors. Their location will be indicated by clear and appropriate signage.
Toilets will be cleaned and checked regularly. Checks will be indicated on a log sheet which is clearly displayed. Regular and adequate supplies of materials will be ensured, having regard to the number of visitors to the site.
Shop (if applicable)
The member castle’s shop will be clearly and appropriately signposted. It will be pleasant, well maintained and adequately lit, allowing visitors to move around freely.
The shop will offer a range of products linked to the visitor experience as well as different varieties of products. The selection of products will prioritise quality and local production. Products will be available in sufficient quantities and presented in an attractive manner on appropriate, secure displays.
Prices, methods of payment, currencies accepted, exchange rates and taxes will be clearly displayed to visitors. The shop will provide a till receipt for all purchases. Visitors will be advised of the contact arrangements for all after-sales service matters.
Shop staff will welcome visitors courteously and be able to answer them in at least one national language plus English, or in two national languages. While providing swift service, they will comply with legal restrictions on the sale of certain products (sale of alcohol and dangerous products to minors).
Shop staff will wear clean, smart clothing that complies with any dress code drawn up by the member castle. While on duty, shop staff will be clearly identifiable by means of a uniform or badge.
Refreshment facilities (if applicable)
The member castle’s refreshment facilities, which are open during public opening hours, will be a pleasant, well maintained and regularly cleaned area for visitors. Carefully lit and decorated, they will allow visitors to sit comfortably. Their location will be indicated by clear and appropriate signage.
The refreshment facilities will be easy to move around, in particular between tables, and the way in which the facilities operate (waiter service, self-service) will be clearly indicated. Chairs suitable for small children will be made available to visitors.
The refreshment facilities will provide visitors with a clear menu and/or menu board in at least one national language plus English, or in two national languages. The menu and/or board will present the products on offer clearly and in a sufficiently descriptive manner. The origin of meats and the presence of common allergenic products will be indicated.
Products will be prepared professionally and in accordance with Swiss quality and hygiene standards. In addition to typical dishes, the menu will include vegetarian options and meals for children. The drinks menu will include a number of competitively priced non-alcoholic beverages. The member castle’s refreshment facilities will prioritise the use of local and seasonal products.
Prices, methods of payment, currencies accepted, exchange rates and taxes will be clearly displayed to visitors. On request, visitors will be advised of the complaints procedure.
Refreshment facility staff will greet visitors courteously. They will be trained in and comply with safety and hygiene standards. Staff numbers in the refreshment facilities will reflect the number of users and ensure a fast, high-quality service.
Refreshment facility staff will wear clean, smart clothing that complies with any dress code drawn up by the member castle. While on duty, refreshment facility staff will be clearly identifiable by means of a uniform or badge.
While carrying out its mission, the member castle will make every effort to protect the environment. Resources will be managed in accordance with environmental legislation and in such a way as to reduce the impact of the castle’s activities on the natural environment.
As far as possible, the member castle will prioritise the use of the most environment-friendly technologies, having regard to the historic nature of the site. Waste disposal and recycling facilities will be put in place for the use of both staff and visitors.
Staff of the member castle will be made aware of environmental protection issues and comply with the measures put in place.