The wealth of culture and architecture in Havana’s historic centre has earned it the status of World Cultural Heritage City. Five centuries after it was founded, we invite you to discover some its most emblematic places such as squares, fortresses and sites that are an intrinsic part of the Cuban capital’s spirit.

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Havana A drive in a classic car

THE CITY, ITS PEOPLE AND THEIR STORIES

A drive in a classic car

Visitors are enchanted by the legendary American cars in Havana. Looked after for years with great care and love by their owners, today they are spruced up to offer a unique city experience. Starting at Central Park, you can drive through central Havana and the Vedado district, the main hubs for life in the city and great examples of the varied architectural styles it encompasses. Further west you’ll find the contemporary Miramar with its exclusive chalets, beach areas, shopping centres, restaurants and bars. On your way back to Old Havana you can enjoy the cool sea breeze on the Malecón, a sight well worth seeing as the sun sets.

Havana Cocktails to fall in love with: Adán y Eva

MEMORABLE HAVANA

Cocktails to fall in love with: Adán y Eva

A drink that celebrates passion, romance and sin. Adán y Eva (Adam and Eve), created by the bartender Sergio Serrano, the only Cuban World Cocktail Champion, is a tribute to all this and the unique ambience at the Hotel Tryp Habana Libre. That’s why the drink has lent its name to a cultural space at Siboney bar in this establishment, a meeting place for art, culture and the bohemian lifestyle of a city that moves to the Caribbean rhythm. Ideal for sharing with friends or with your partner to celebrate a special occasion.

La Habana Vieja

The city’s earliest part is a special place where the colonial architecture and layout are preserved. Nestled next to a beautiful bay, it’s known for its welcoming squares, promenades along the sea, restaurants serving typical Creole dishes, busy bars and cafés playing traditional Cuban music as well as museums, art galleries and shops selling local craftwork.

La Catedral

Havana Cathedral is one of the most important examples of colonial architecture in the Caribbean and Latin America. Its unique style blending together European heritage and Creole influences has turned it into a highly prized building that has been visited by dignitaries of the Catholic Church.

Castillo de la Real Fuerza

The city’s first fortifications are still preserved today in perfect condition. Particularly of interest is its peculiar moat, the collection of historically valuable objects and a striking view of the entrance to Havana Bay.

Bodeguita del Medio

One of the iconic places in Old Havana is undoubtedly this small restaurant, the home of the famous Cuban mojitos; visiting here to try the most delicious flavours of Creole cuisine is a must. Thousands of visitors have left their signature on its walls while enjoying the constantly cheerful atmosphere that reigns here.

Floridita

This charming bar in Old Havana was immortalised by the US writer Ernest Hemingway, who used to go there to drink one of the most exquisite and refreshing cocktails they prepare: Daiquiri. Since then Floridita has become known as the home of the Daiquiri.

Museo del Ron

This unusual museum next to Havana Bay will explain the long historical and cultural process that led to the making of the most famous Cuban rums. Ranging from the work performed by slaves in the mill to produce cane sugar in the 19th century to the most contemporary blending and ageing processes, the route is full of authentically Cuban aromas and flavours.

Puerto de La Habana

The city’s port is one of the areas most steeped in history. A wealthy trade emporium during the colonial era, the target of corsairs and pirates and invaded by English troops, its waters, quays and walls hold legends that locals and visitors are eager to discover.

Almacenes San José

Sited on one of the quays in the bay, here you can find a great variety of local craftwork based on wood, fabric and traditional products, as well as painting, sculpture and engravings.

Estación Central de Ferrocarriles

Havana Central Station is a real icon of the city’s architecture. Standing on the edge of the colonial city, this is an ideal place to discover the areas surrounding the port districts.

Callejón de los Peluqueros

The outcome of a community project, the Callejón de los Peluqueros, or Hairdressers’ Alley, is an original bazar of local businesses, restaurants and bars with a unique atmosphere. On the edge of Old Havana, it’s a perfect place to discover the peace and quiet of the famous Ángel quarter.

El Malecón

The long wall running along the coast for almost seven kilometres is certainly one of the most representative areas in Havana. This waterfront promenade affords impressive views of the city and the sea from the bay entrance to the River Almendares. Both during the day and at night, it’s a place where people get together and also a traditional part of the carnival route.

Talleres y galerías de arte

Old Havana is brimming with galleries and the workshops of well-known artists and the promising young talent of Cuban art. The Experimental Graphics Workshop, the Servando Cabrera Silk-Screen Printing Workshop, the Wifredo Lam Contemporary Art Centre, the Visual Art Development Centre and the Carmen Montilla Gallery provide a rich canvas of visual arts in Cuba.

Fábrica de Arte Cubano

This cultural project has become one of the most important spaces on Havana’s cultural scene in recent years. Galleries, stages for concerts and theatrical productions, fashion shows, screening of films and documentaries are just some of the options you can find in an old oil factory repurposed by Cuban artists.

Havana Salsa lessons

THE CITY, ITS PEOPLE AND THEIR STORIES

Salsa lessons

Dance is intrinsic to Cuba and Havana. The city is always full of music and rhythm. That’s why salsa classes are usually so popular with visitors. Nothing beats having a few lessons and then visiting one of the popular nightlife spots where internationally famous orchestras put dancers through their paces.

Havana The most typical avenue in Havana

MEMORABLE HAVANA

The most typical avenue in Havana

A sublime landscape, tranquil water crossed every day by large ships and small fishing boats, churches, people going to work or returning home. These are scenes that are repeated on one of Havana’s classic trips aboard the Lanchita de Regla. This small ferry links the coastal municipality of Regla with Old Havana and it’s an ideal method of transport for people who often need to cross the bay. It’s also a must if you want to pay homage to Our Lady of Regla, the black virgin that protects the sea and sailors as the African Yemoja does.

Capitolio Nacional

One of the marvels of 20th-century Cuban architecture, the National Capitol building stands out for its steps, its luxurious rooms and valuable art collection.

Gran Teatro de La Habana

The city’s former Catalan Centre is one of the best examples of Havana architecture. This is the official home of the National Ballet of Cuba, which gives performances throughout the year.

Parque Central

This popular park is the city’s hub. The starting point of the Paseo del Prado avenue, it is surrounded by important buildings, such as the Gran Teatro de La Habana, the National Museum of Fine Art, iconic hotels and boulevards, such as the streets Obispo and San Rafael.

Paseo del Prado

The most elegant of Havana’s avenues stretches from Central Park to the bay entrance. Altered over the years, it now has granite paving, marble benches and is guarded by legendary lion sculptures.

Sloppy Joe's

One of the most famous of the many popular bars that Havana was known for in the 1950s. Its elegant wooden counter and music turned it into the favourite hangout of prominent musicians and cultural figures.

Edificio Bacardí

This building is one of the most essential symbols of the Art Deco architectural movement in Cuba. Its exclusive and exquisite design make it a real work of art whose highlights are its glass and iron work.

Museo de la Revolución

The former Presidential Palace is one of the colonial city’s major museums. It has a valuable collection of items and testimonies linked to the birth and development of the Cuban Revolution in the mid-20th century.

Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes

Two imposing buildings, one dedicated to universal art and the other exclusively to Cuban art, form the National Museum of Fine Art, which brings together notable international collections and the best visual arts in Cuba.

Fábrica de Tabacos Habana Vieja

One of the standout experiences you can have in Havana is learning how authentic Cuban cigars are made. The island’s best tobacco is taken to these world-famous factories and turned into the different shapes and aromas of the cigar brands Cohíba, Montecristo and Romeo y Julieta, to name a few.

OTHER PLACES YOU CAN NOT LOSE

Arms Square

This square was the city's first open space, around which the most important political, military, religious and civil institutions were located. The palaces that surrounded it during the 18th century are worthy exponents of Cuban Baroque architecture. Beside it stands the Templete, a small but distinguished Greco-Roman style temple, built to pay homage to the site of the first council of the emerging town of San Cristóbal de La Habana and where the first public mass took place.

Cathedral Square

The internationally renowned Cathedral Square, originally called Plaza de la Ciénaga (Swamp Square) was built on a marshland plagued with underground streams and very close to the bay, whose waters also penetrated the area. Work on the buildings began in the last quarter of the 18th Century. The church of the Jesuits was granted the category of cathedral in 1789. No one has ever referred to it as Swamp Square since. The two hundred year old cathedral stands in a beautiful square. It is open for services and was declared National Monument.

Colón Cemetery

This cemetery holds the largest concentration of statues in the country and its finest funerary monuments. There are works representing many different styles of architecture and the cemetery is therefore seen as an outdoor museum. Classified as a National Monument, its magnificent entrance is one of the most outstanding Cuban works of the 19th century.

José Martí Memorial

Situated in the historic Plaza de la Revolución, this memorial consists of two key elements: an enormous marble sculpture of the National Hero of the Republic of Cuba and a star-shaped obelisk at the base of which are four exhibition halls and a function hall. At the top of the memorial is the city's highest viewing point.

Malecón Seawall Drive

The metropolitan esplanade that runs along the coast for some 12 kilometres, from the entrance to the Bay of Havana (Castillo de La Punta) to the fort of La Chorrera, beside the mouth of the river Almendares. The earliest plans for the construction of this magnificent avenue date back to the beginning of the 19th century. Along it is a series of lookout points, esplanades and parks with geometrical layouts. It is one of the most popular places among the people of Havana.

Museum of the Revolution

Situated in the former Presidential Palace, this museum has an extensive display of objects relating to the epic struggle for the country's freedom. Its outdoor areas feature the Granma Memorial, where visitors can see, protected by an enormous glass case, the boat on which Fidel Castro and more than eighty combatants returned to Cuba from exile in Mexico to recommence the fight for the country's independence.

Napoleon Museum

This museum, the finest dedicated to Napoleon Bonaparte outside of France, is housed in a small Florentine palace built in line with plans for a villa designed for the Medici family. It houses more than 7,000 pieces: weapons, military equipment, furniture, Sèvres porcelain, paintings, coins, books, personal items used by the Bonaparte family and even the death mask of the prisoner of St Helena, brought to Cuba by his last doctor.

National Capitol

The National Capitol, one of the most emblematic buildings of the Havana skyline, occupies an area of 38 875 m² It was the seat of the legislative body of the Republic since its inauguration on May 20, 1929. At the moment, it is the venue of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment. Inside is the diamond that marks kilometer zero of the Central Highway, at the entrance to the majestic Salon de los Pasos Perdidos (Hall of the Lost Steps) and directly in front of the colossal Statue of the Republic (17,54 m) by the Italian sculptor Angelo Zanelli, which is considered the third highest indoor statute in the world.

National Museum of Fine Arts

This museum houses Cuba's most important art collections, as well as European and Cuban paintings dating from the 18th to the 21st century and ancient art. Its valuable assets are divided into two buildings: Cuban Art, just a short walk from the Museum of the Revolution, and Universal Art, in the magnificent building that was once occupied by the Asturian Centre, opposite the Central Park.

Old Square

During the latter decades of the 16th century, this square was called the Plaza Nueva (new square), but from the 18th century onwards, once the Plaza del Cristo had been built, it began to become known as the Plaza Vieja (old square). The most remarkable feature of this square are the buildings around it, with their unquestionable historical and artistic importance of having been the blueprint for a style of architecture which, along with certain developments, subsequently spread throughout the city and characterised the Cuban architecture of the 18th century.

Palace of the Captains-General

Currently the venue of the Office of the Historian of Havana, the palace was built in 1776 and has been given several functions: official residence of the Spanish governors, Presidential Palace and Municipal Palace of Havana. The City Museum currently occupies part of the sumptuous halls that exhibit valuable treasures such as: the first Cuban flag, personal effects of the heroes of Cuba: Jose Martí, Máximo Gómez and Antonio Maceo together with a priceless collection of colonial furniture, carriages and other works of art.

Playas del Este

Eastwards, less than half an hour from the city centre, through the bay tunnel, lie several beaches of fine sand, stretching for 9 km: Bacuranao, El Mégano, Santa María del Mar, Boca Ciega and Guanabo. Tourist accommodation and facilities of various types are dotted along the coast.

Quinta Avenida

Havana's most stylish avenue is a tree-lined boulevard with four lanes, running through the district of Miramar, in the west of the city. With a spacious walkway running down its centre, full of gardens and benches, it is flanked by magnificent mansions that once belonged to the upper middle classes of the republic, displaying architectural styles ranging from eclecticism to the earliest examples of modern architecture, passing through Art Deco and its derivations. Today, Miramar is an area designed to accommodate tourism, with beautiful hotels, excellent restaurants, the National Aquarium, nightclubs, shops… In 1999 “Quinta Avenida and its surrounding areas” was declared a Protected Zone due to its undisputed historical and cultural assets.

Real Fuerza Castle

The castle is located in Old Havana, in an attractive area of important architectural, urban, cultural and social values. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is also the oldest fortress of the former fortification system of Havana. A replica of the La Giraldilla, the symbol of the city, can be seen on the highest tower of the castle (the original is in the Museum of the City).

San Carlos de La Cabaña Fortress

The largest of the military structures built by Spain in the Americas, this fortress was completed in 1774 and its presence formed an effective complete deterrent against the country's enemies. The polygon, occupying an area of around 10 hectares, consists of bastions, ravelins, moats, covered walkways, barracks, squares and stores. This fortress hosts the spectacular nightly ceremony of El Cañonazo de las Nueve (cannon fire at 9), one of Havana's longest-held and most attractive traditions.

San Francisco de Asís Church and Convent

The San Francisco de Asís Church and Convent is the current scenario of the richest cultural traditions. As the City Historian has said: “to collect, restore, conserve and exhibit are the classic principles that govern there.... so as to save from the offenses of time the endangered heritage.” The construction of the current set dates from 1738, and it replaced a more modest one completed in 1591. Since it was closed to worship in 1841, the building has seen the most diverse uses. After a restoration that brought back its original values in the nineties, the architectural group has harbored, also, a concert hall and the Holy, Sacred and Religious Art museums.

San Francisco de Asís Square

This square dates back to the first half of the 17th century. Its location, just a few metres from the bay, led to it becoming an important trading square over the years. On its paved area stand two noteworthy buildings: the Monastery and Basilica of San Francisco de Asís, which today houses the Museum of Religious Art and a concert hall. It is also where the century-old Lonja del Comercio (Chamber of Commerce) is located, inspired by Spanish Renaissance architecture and topped by a dome on which a sculpture of the god Mercury stands.

The Cannon Blast Ceremony

The Cannon Blast ceremony is one of the oldest and attractive traditions of Havana. In colonial days, the shots signalled the closing and opening of the gates of the walled city and the rising of the chain across the entrance to the harbour. The tradition of firing a cannon every night at 9:00 pm was kept even after the wall was torn down and is still used for checking your watch.

The Cathedral

An iconic work of what is known as Cuban Baroque and the most remarkable of our colonial churches. Having undergone a series of renovations, its facade is one of the most important in the history of Cuban architecture. Religious services are held here. It has been declared a National Monument.

The Templete

This small neo-classical style construction was built in the second half of the 18th Century. It is located in Plaza de Armas on the site where the first public mass was celebrated and also the site of the first town council of the nascent town of San Cristóbal de La Habana. The Templete resembles a Doric temple and houses three commemorative canvasses by the famous French painter Juan Bautista Vermey. One of the walls exhibits the plate that declares Old Havana a World Heritage Site.

Tres Reyes del Morro Castle

Perhaps the most iconic of all Cuban fortresses. Its construction began in 1589 and was completed in 1630, playing a key role in the defence of Havana against raids by corsairs and pirates. A few years after its construction, a lighthouse was added to the Morro. Standing 45 metres above sea level, it has become an unmistakeable symbol of Havana.

Tropicana Cabaret

For more than seventy years, Tropicana has been the most recommended venue for those wishing to experience the traditions, flavours and rhythms of the Caribbean. Every night, its "Under the Stars" show features one hundred dancers and musicians who treat their audience to a spectacular performance among the palm trees and aerial ramps. But Tropicana is much more than just an enormous open-air nightclub. Tropicana also means history, tradition and, above all, excellent cuisine.

HAVANA BY NIGHT

When the sun sets, Havana is lit up with the fabulous colours of its rich and varied culture. Film, theatre, music, dance or the simple pleasures of strolling through the city’s streets together form the canvas of an exceptional nightlife.
Cabarets such as Tropicana, Habana Café at the Meliá Cohíba Hotel and Turquino at Tryp Habana Libre are ideal for combining dinner and entertainment with excellent shows and the best dance music performers in Cuba. Places like the Cuban Art Factory are perfect for discovering the latest contemporary trends in the island’s culture. And the clubs La Zorra y el Cuervo, El Gato Tuerto and Dos Gardenias allow you to spend an unforgettable evening listening to Cuban music genres that include jazz, filin and bolero.
If you’re planning to dance in Vedado, there are many nightclubs to choose from, although Malecón is always a great option if you want to truly experience an evening of Havana rhythm.

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