These Roman ruins by the Rhein are Switzerland's largest, and the last remnants of a colony founded in 43 BC that had grown to 20,000 citizens by the 2nd century. Today, restored features include an open-air theatre and several temples, plus the Roman Museum, which features an authentic Roman house among its exhibits.
Swiss National Museum
A great cream cake of a museum, this mammoth but riveting turreted affair built in 1898 is a tough job to digest in one visit: The permanent collection takes visitors on a heady tour of Swiss history while temporary exhibitions entice the curious with a colourful clutch of local subjects such as Hermann Hesse or Swiss archaeology.
Château de Chillon
This extraordinary, oval-shaped castle was brought to the attention of the world by Lord Byron, and the world has been filing past ever since - they say the castle receives more visitors than any other historical building in Switzerland.
Nope, Geneva is not Switzerland's capital, despite what many think. This chic, sleek, cosmopolitan lakeside city is, in fact, only Switzerland's third-largest city and has an overwhelmingly international feel: 43.4% of the population is from elsewhere.
The city is crowded with museums, has many excellent cultural events and is ideally placed for quick hops to the Swiss and French Alps. Basking in the sunshine of its peaceful setting on Lake Geneva's banks, this acclaimed neutral territory displays an obvious self-confidence. It is in pristine condition, clean, efficient and safe, yet spirited in its style and love of adventure.
We know what you're thinking, but honestly this is not the boring banking capital it's reputed to be. In fact Zürich is - whisper it softly - surprisingly hip and trendy. Hundreds of new bars, restaurants and clubs have opened since planning laws were changed in the late 1990s and Zürich now hosts Europe's largest annual street party.
Admittedly, the first impression, of a small, clean and orderly metropolis with church steeples above a crystal-blue river and lake, is pleasant rather than exciting. But then you're struck by the happy noise of the cobbled Niederdorfstrasse, on the eastern riverbank, and won over by the hedonism around the lake.
You'll be bowled over by the many galleries. You'll discover the waterside lido bars, the chocolate salons and the hip Züri-West district's shops, restaurants and clubs. A policeman cuts a striking figure on rollerblades (an occasional summertime sight). Bankers ride home on Italian scooters. And by the time you start musing how cool but easy-going and unpretentious this place is, Zürich has converted you.
The main entry points for international flights are Zürich and Geneva. Basel, Bern and Lugarno airports also receive international flights. There is no departure tax when flying out of Switzerland. Trains are a popular and convenient way to travel to Switzerland, and European rail passes make train travel affordable. Buses tend to be slower and less comfortable, though sometimes cheaper. Getting to Switzerland by road is simple, since there are fast, well-maintained motorways through all surrounding countries. If you have time and money, it's possible to get to Switzerland by boat along the Rhine all the way from Amsterdam. Switzerland can also be reached by lake steamer ferries from Germany via Lake Constance, from Italy via Lake Maggiore and from France via Lake Geneva.
Switzerland has a fully integrated and comprehensive public transport system incorporating trains, buses, boats, funiculars and cable cars. Internal flights are not of great interest to the visitor, owing to the excellent ground transportation. The Swiss rail network covers 5000km (3106mi). Trains are clean, reliable and frequent. Yellow postbuses supplement the rail network and their stations are next to railway stations. There are car-rental agencies in most sizeable towns. Roads are well maintained, well signposted and generally not too congested, though you may find it hard to concentrate with such wonderful scenery unfolding around you. Bicycles can be hired from most railway stations and returned to any station with a rental office. You'll need calf muscles the size of an ox to get very far though. All the larger lakes are serviced by steamers, and rail passes are valid on most steamer routes.