Havana is the capital of Cuba, and its tourism offer cobbled streets of Old Havana, in the beautiful Cuban Baroque buildings, the historic forts, museums, legendary restaurants, and lively public squares.
Best Time to Visit
If you are planning a Travel to Cuba then the best time to visit is from December to May, when you can expect dry, sunny days and plenty of blue skies.
Top Places to Visit in Havana
1. Old Havana
Old Havana, a UNESCO world heritage site, oozes the charm of days gone by. Elegant Neoclassical and Baroque buildings border cobbled squares and narrow streets, and many have been carefully restored to their former beauty. Highlights include the magnificent Catedral de San Cristobal a celebration of the Cuban Baroque style; the stout Castillo de la Real Fuerza, an impressive military fortress; and the popular public squares of Plaza Vieja and Plaza de Armas.
2. The Malecón
Strolling along the Malecón (El Malecon) at sunset is a wonderful way to soak up the feel of this evocative city and see some sights along the way. Havana’s famous seafront boulevard runs about 7 kilometers from Habana Vieja (Old Havana) to the Vedado and Plaza area. Overlooking the boulevard is a colorful collection of well-preserved 20th-century buildings in a mix of architectural styles, from Art Deco to Neo Moorish. In the golden glow of the setting sun, they make a beautiful photo. The Malecón is also a great place to meet the locals.
3. Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro
Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro, also known as El Morro, stands proudly at the entrance of the Bay of Havana in the Parque Historico Militar. El Morro was built in the late 16th century and early 17th century to guard against the constant threat of pirate attacks. It was rebuilt several times and then finally replaced in the middle of the 19th century with a new lighthouse constructed of solid stone. Today, its original lamp still shines, and the fort is open to visitors who can enjoy beautiful views over the ocean and the city of Havana from its upper reaches.
4. Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabana
About a 15-minute walk from El Morro in the Parque Historico Militar, the huge Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabana sits atop La Cabana hill. At the time of its construction in the 1770s, it was the largest fort the Spanish had ever built, as well as the most costly. La Cabana, as it is usually referred to, was used as a military prison during the Batista regime and later became the headquarters for Che Guevara following the Revolution. Today, the fort houses a few museums. The most impressive is the Museo de Comandancia del Che, with the office of Che Guevara preserved as it was during his time here. Some of his personal items are also on display. During the day, the fort offers splendid views over the city and the sea. By night, tourists come here for the Ceremonia del Cañonazo when actors clad in 19th-century costumes perform a cannon-firing ceremony at 9pm each evening.
5. Gran Teatro de La Habana
Visitors may not expect to find one of the world’s largest opera houses in the middle of the Caribbean, but the magnificent Gran Teatro de La Habana is just that. For those who have the chance, attending a performance here is a memorable experience. Over the years, the Gran Teatro de La Habana has hosted a wide variety of performances by some of the most famous celebrities in the world. Today, the theater is home to Cuba’s National Ballet and Opera.
6. Paseo del Prado
Considered by many to be the most beautiful street in Havana, the tree-lined Paseo del Prado bordering Old Havana deserves a leisurely stroll. The terrazzo, marble benches, bronze lions, and iron lampposts impart the feel of a grand boulevard from a bygone era, and indeed the street was once home to some of Havana’s wealthiest families. Elegant old cinemas, mansions, and hotels from the 19th and 20th century line the street, many of which have been carefully restored.
7. Playas del Este
A short drive from Havana’s city center, visitors will find Playas del Este, a long stretch of palm-fringed beach that runs for miles. This is a great alternative for travelers who are unable to visit the more remote beach resorts in other parts of Cuba. Along Playas del Este sightseers will find hotels, restaurants, and all the regular tourist facilities. The beach is divided up into sections, with one of the best stretches at Santa Maria del Mar, a popular tourist spot.