Best things to do in Havana Cuba

In this article, you will learn ALL about the best things to do in Havana Cuba :

You will discover the best activities, tourist attractions, best tours, historical sites and more.

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Things to do in Havana Cuba
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What to do in Havana

Long isolated for a long time, Cuba has been opening up again to the international market in recent years.

As a result, tourism is exploding and the island has become a popular destination for all types of travelers.

Its capital, Havana, is a little marvel that you will love to discover.

Between mythical cars, omnipresent music and dance, rich architecture full of history, and welcoming people, you won’t know where to start.

To help you organize your stay in Havana, here are the absolute best things to do in Havana, ideas for family visits

Things to do in Havana: the must-sees

1. San Cristobal Cathedral

Its full name is Cathedral of the Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception.

It is a majestic building with a baroque façade, built in the 18th century by the Jesuits on the site of a former hermitage.

Try to do so in the early morning or late afternoon to enjoy the peace and quiet and admire this masterpiece in peace.

Also, Cathedral Square is one of the 5 main squares of Havana and one of the prettiest places in the city. Perfect to sit down and have a coffee!

2. The Old Place

The “Plaza Vieja” is another must-see in Old Havana. It is a beautifully renovated square with eclectic architecture and several restaurants and cafes.

In and around the square there are several nice stops: the microbrewery La Factoria, the rum museum, the chocolate museum, the pharmacy museum and above all the Saint Francis of Assisi Square where you can climb the bell tower to get the best view of the city!

Unusual stop: a camera obscura located on the top floor of the highest building of the plaza that offers a panoramic view of Old Havana in real time at 360˚ with magnifying lenses.

3. The Plaza de Armas

The Plaza de Armas, the heart of the city Havana is bordered by several interesting buildings.

Built at the beginning of the 16th century, it is here that the city was founded and more particularly, according to what is said, on the site of the Templete.

It is a building that looks like a Greek temple in miniature, which can easily go unnoticed, and contains a museum.

The Palace of the Captains General, which houses the City Museum, is not to be missed.

It presents the history of Havana since its foundation, with period furniture, uniforms, various objects and photographs.

Personally, this is one of the visits I liked the most because besides being a great complete exhibition, the building is a magnificent example of Cuban Baroque, with a very nice green interior patio.

A nice cool break that feels good!

Also the Palacio del Segundo Cabo, the palace of the Chief Deputy, is also worth a visit.

The building first housed a post office, then offices and the residence of the vice-captain general of Cuba, before becoming a cultural centre.

4. The Castle of the Real Fuerza

A stone’s throw from the Plaza de Armas is the Castillo de la Real Fuerza, the official symbol of the Cuban capital.

It is a military fortress built by the Spaniards in the 16th century to protect the city from maritime attacks, especially from pirates, who were very active at the time.

The governor of Cuba also resided there.

The building is easily recognizable because it is surmounted by a weather vane called the Giraldilla.

The visit is interesting not only for its museum, but also for strolling through the maze of the fortress with its thick walls, full of history, and its view of Havana!

5. The Capitol

El Capitolio is another unmissable monument, located on a very busy avenue that can be seen from afar.

Built on the model of the Capitol of Washington, it was once the seat of the Cuban government and now houses the Academy of Sciences.

Very photogenic, this building can be found on a large number of postcards of the country.

You will also be able to admire the 3rd largest statue in the world, representing the Republic.

6. The Grand Theatre

Inaugurated in 1838, the Grand Theatre of Havana is surely one of the most imposing in the world.

Its elaborate facade will appeal to lovers of architecture, but it is above all its interior that is worth a look.

Several beautiful halls host shows, conferences, and even concerts or artistic exhibitions.

Don’t hesitate to attend a performance if you have the opportunity, you won’t be disappointed by the setting or the quality of the interventions proposed!

7. A walk on the Malecon

The Malecon, a mythical promenade along the sea, is one of the must-see places in Havana.

8 km long, the seafront stretches to the north of the city and connects old Havana with the Miramar district.

No matter what time of day or season, the Malecon is always lively.

It is the scene of typical scenes from the daily life of Cubans: musicians working on their pieces in the distance, young people flirting and embracing each other at sunset, children jumping in puddles, retired couples walking quietly holding hands…

Take the time to tame the slow pace of life of Cubans by treading with your feet this mythical walk, you will come back enriched and soothed.

8. Paseo de Martí

This is one of the busiest avenues in Havana: the Paseo de Martí, also called Paseo del Prado, is 1 km long and, like the Malecon, it is never empty.

Starting from the Fortress San Salvador de la Punta, this beautiful paved and shady avenue brings together locals, tourists and street vendors.

You will be able to choose from dozens of paintings, bring back small odds and ends as a souvenir or simply rest while enjoying the joyful scenes of Cuban daily life.

9. The Callejon of Hamel

We’re coming to another of my Cuban favorites, the Callejon de Hamel.

This unique street is the lair of a population full of hope, half artist and half hippie.

Always crowded, this street has become an obligatory passage for tourists, but is mostly frequented day and night by the locals, who sing and dance there until dawn, or sit down for a drink on the terrace to remake the world.

Left in the hands of artists, the callejon of Hamel is full of paintings, poems engraved on the walls and offbeat works.

Don’t be surprised to see upside-down bathtubs inlaid in the stone, wire mannequins walking around on the rooftops, or disturbing masks hanging here and there.

10. Fort El Morro

Few tourists take the time to cross the bay to admire it from another angle!

Facing Havana, this castle located on the other side of the bay offers a breathtaking view of the capital.

You will discover the cells where African slaves were once locked up, the narrow galleries worthy of a labyrinth and the chapel.

Once on the other side of the canal, you should also take the opportunity to visit the Fortress of La Cabaña, the largest fortress in America!

The best moment is undoubtedly the “Cañonazo”, where actors dressed as soldiers from the 18th century fire their cannon at the port, the old signal for the closing of the city gates.

Also, in the vicinity is the statue of Christ, another symbol of Cuba.

One can climb to its feet to enjoy a beautiful view of the capital, the cathedral, the Capitol, Old Havana, the Malecon…

11. The National Museum of Fine Arts

The Cuban National Museum of Fine Arts is a visit not to be missed if you appreciate art.

Indeed, its collections contain more than 1200 works: paintings, engravings and sculptures, Cuban and international, from the 16th century to today.

The museum is divided into two buildings: the Palacio de Bellas Artes and the Palacio del Centro Asturiano.

In total, there are 7600 m2, divided into 8 thematic areas spread over 24 rooms, to which you will have access.

A goldmine for any amateur who wishes to combine pleasure and culture!

12. La Fabrica

If you are a lover of art and alternative places, this is a must visit in Havana!

The Fabrica de Arte Cubano is a former oil factory in the Vedado district that was transformed into a cultural center by a collective of artists in 2015.

Art exhibitions, music, dance, fashion shows (and much more!), it’s the place to be for the diffusion of the current art of Havana, with a bar with terrace.

A big favorite!

13. Christopher Columbus Cemetery

1 million is no more and no less than the number of graves in the Christopher Columbus cemetery!

This impressive figure makes it the largest cemetery in Latin America.

Needless to say, the walk will be long and pleasant, especially since Cuban artists helped decorate the majority of the graves.

Ironically, the tomb of Christopher Columbus is not here, but in the Cathedral of Seville in Spain. 

14. Revolution Square

1 million is also the number of people that the Plaza de la Revolución can accommodate.

On festive days, such as July 26th, the day of the Cuban Revolution, the people of Havana gather in this square to commemorate important events.

The plaza itself is quite unremarkable, but don’t miss the two huge portraits (hard to miss!) of Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos, illuminated at night.

You can also take the elevator of the José Martí memorial, which will make you admire the city from a height of 109m.

If you are interested in the life of this national hero, take the opportunity to visit the museum of the same name.

15. In the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway

If, like me, you have nostalgic memories of the book “The Old Man and the Sea” written by Ernest Hemingway, you should know that he wrote it while he was living in Havana.

You can visit his house, the “Finca Vigia”, located on the outskirts of the capital, and discover the office he was working on.

I can only advise you also to go to El Floridita for a daiquiri or to the Bodeguita del Medio for a mojito, two bars that the writer frequented assiduously.

Bodeguita del Medio may have more character with its walls covered with pictures and words, but El Floridita is very nice when you are lucky enough to sit at the bar, near Hemingway’s statue, and the daiquiris are well stocked! 😉

16. The Museum of the Revolution

The Museum of the Revolution is an interesting visit for history lovers.

I was a little uncomfortable with the very “propagandist” side of the museum, which does not present the points of view of the different actors of the revolution.

Located in the former presidential palace, the visit is nevertheless pleasant and, for the curious, you can discover a spy plane engine or the golden telephone of the former dictator Batista.

17. Visit a cigar factory

Don’t leave Havana without visiting the factory of one of the main Cuban cigar brands!

Among them are Partagas, La Corona, Romeo Y Julieta and H. Upmann.

Whatever your choice, the visit usually costs 10 CUC (about 10€), lasts one hour and presents the different stages of cigar making, which is always done by hand.

You will learn about the drying of the leaves, the selection of the best leaves according to the desired result, the rolling and the finalization of the cigar.

18. Learn some dance steps

If you want to truly integrate into Cuban life, you need to know how to get by on a little salsa music.

Dance schools are not lacking, and often offer very attractive prices.

With 2 or 3 hours of classes, you will know the basic steps and you will be able to have fun on the dance floor among the locals.

To know where to dance or listen to good music, two tips: ask the Cubans, they will always be able to give you the best plans.

And follow your ear, because there’s a good chance that you’ll stumble upon a dance if you take a walk in the capital’s alleyways at night…

Want to see a colourful show? I really recommend the Tropicana.

It’s a cabaret that has existed since 1939 and today presents a show about Havana, its colors, its mix, with singers, dancers, ballet, acrobats, an orchestra, and really magnificent flamboyant costumes!

All this on an open-air terrace, under the stars, surrounded by vegetation.

At the entrance, the men receive a cigar, the women a rose, and on the table a bottle of rum. What else? Of course, you have to plan a certain budget, but this is definitely one of my most beautiful memories of Havana!

19. Sleeping in a casa particular

This is an activity that is easy to integrate into your stay: for at least one night, leave the classic hotels behind and prefer a casa particular.

These guest rooms abound in Cuba, and it’s even the only type of accommodation I’ve used in about ten days!

They are often much cheaper than the hotels, sometimes better maintained, but the big plus is that you will have the opportunity to really meet the Cubans.

By living with them for one or more days, if you gabble a bit of English or Spanish, you will be able to discuss and exchange on your respective cultures.

My experience: on my first night on the island, I was welcomed by a retired man who was very happy to receive tourists.

He spent an hour giving me all the good tips of the area, places to eat for less than a euro and the best routes to discover the old centre!

20. Rent a coco-taxi or a nice American car

You’ll keep running into them all over Havana: taxis. Whether they are luxurious or shabby, taxis are part of Cuban culture, and the locals often pile up to 6 or 8 of them for short trips.

You can choose a beautiful American car, those classic cars that can be seen everywhere in the country, but the price of the ride will be increased…

Or you can also climb into a coco-taxi, those little yellow and rounded tuk-tuks that go to the Revolution Square and the Malecón: the ride will then be much cheaper, and almost more fun than in a luxury limousine!

It is even possible to take a tour of Havana in a classic American car: a unique experience that takes you through the streets of Old Havana, Miramar and Vedado in a 1950’s convertible and finishes with a cocktail at the Hotel Nacional!

DAYTIME ENTERTAINMENT AND AMUSEMENTS:

Art galleries:

  • Cervando Cabrera Moreno, Avda. 5 esq. 68. Miramar.
  • Imago Gallery, Prado and San José streets. Old Havana.
  • Luz y Oficios Gallery, Oficios street, luz corner. Old Havana.
  • House of the Miniature, Tacón Street, corner paved. Old Havana.
  • House of the Czech Culture, 23rd street between N and O. Vedado.

Coffee shops:

  • Coppelia, 33 sq. to L., El Vedado. Excellent ice creams are served. A must see.
  • La Casa del Café con Leche, c/Obispo. Main Square. Recently restored. Its terrace overlooks the Plaza de Armas.
  • El Mirador, El Morro-Cabaña. Considered the most pleasant terrace in the city.
  • Bar Colonial, Hotel Inglaterra. Pº del Prado, 416. Of colonial style, one has the sensation of being in Havana at the beginning of the century.

 

Best things to do In Havana Vieja

City Museum

Plaza de Armas. Tels. 612776 y 615062.

If we visit it we will be able to make us an idea of the history of the city, from its origins to our days.

The most important rooms are those destined to the conservation of objects of the different wars for the independence.

Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Plaza de Armas

very similar to any Spanish square, is the oldest in Old Havana.

It is surrounded by traditional cafes and buildings of important historical value: The Templete neoclásico, the Palacio de los Capitanes Generales, of sober baroque style, is one of the most important architectural monuments of Havana, at present the historical Museum of the city, the Palacio del Segundo Cabo o de la Intendencia, located in the North side of the Plaza de Armas in O’Reilly street, the Castillo de la Real Fuerza, a fortress built to protect the city from pirate attacks, at present here is located the Museum of the Arms, in which we can observe the evolution of the arms from the antiquity to our days and the Palacio de los Condes de Santovenia.

The Cathedral, the Convent and the Basilica Menor de San Francisco de Asís, are other monuments of obliged visit.

In the center of Old Havana there are the Convent of Santa Clara and the Birthplace of José Martí.

Across the bay are the two most important fortresses of the colonial era, the Castle of the Three Kings of Morro and the Fortress San Carlos de la Cabaña.

Calle del Obispo

 its first hundred meters have recovered the colonial style.

Plaza de la Catedral

 surrounded by buildings of great value: the old public baths, the Palace of the Marquises of Aguas Claras, particularly beautiful, the house of Lombillo, currently the Museum of Education, the house of the Marquis of Arcos, considered the best colonial mansion in Havana and the Museum of Colonial Art, known for its collection of stained glass windows, in which the life and customs of Cuban colonial life are represented.

Open from Tuesday to Saturday from 10:15 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Palacio Pedroso

 restored colonial building occupied by a craft center.

Castillo de La Punta

 Spanish fortress that protected one of the banks of the entrance channel to the bay from pirate attacks, its position was very strategic.

Paseo del Prado

is a wide boulevard flanked by beautiful Havana buildings.

Murallas

 built to protect Havana from corsair and pirate attacks. Nowadays only remains of them remain. In the zone where they were constructed nowadays we find the Museum of the Revolution and that of the Fine arts, separated by the Memorial Granma, where we can visit the ship in which Fidel came to Cuba in 1956 to initiate the revolution. In the first one we will find a complete sample of the revolutionary struggles from the last century up to the beginning of 1959.

El Capitolio

 inspired by the one in Washington was inaugurated in 1929, its dome of more than 90 meters high dominates the whole city. It currently houses the Cuban Academy of Sciences and the National Museum of Natural History, where specimens of Cuban and other countries’ most representative flora and fauna are exhibited.

Best things to do in Havana Nueva

The Malecón, a long coastal avenue 7 km. wide, which goes from the Castillo de la Punta to the mouth of the Almendares River. This is where the Havana Carnivals are held.

El Vedado, the economic center of Havana. The most important building in the area is the Hotel Nacional, which was inaugurated in 1930 and is part of the history of the city.

La Rampa, is the neuralgic center of the city, is full of shops, restaurants, cinemas, aviation companies offices, hotels, etc.

The University, located in the centre of El Vedado.

Its main feature is the enormous staircase presided over by the statue of the Alma Mater.

Next to it we will find the Anthropological Museum Montané, where we will be able to observe an interesting collection of Cuban pre-Columbian archaeological remains.

It is open from Monday to Friday from 09:00 to 12:00 and from 14:00 to 17:00.

Plaza de la Revolución, where more than one million people dig.

It is presided over by the monument to José Martí and the large 142-metre high obelisk.

Also located here are the National Theatre and the ministries of the Armed Forces and the Interior, with a huge portrait of Che Guevara.

Miramar, the Malecón, extends along the elegant 5th Avenue, the axis of the residential district of Miramar.

For the children:

  • Lenin Park. 100th street and Cortina de la Presa. Tel. 443026. Here you can find all kinds of entertainment: aquarium, riding school, amusement park, open air cinema and an area for children’s parties.
  • Guiñol Theatre, c/M and 19. Vedado. Tel. 326262. Puppet theatre for children.
  • You can also enjoy its wonderful beaches and go fishing or diving.

Best things to do in Havana’s surroundings

  • Lenin National Park, it is recommended to make the trip by taxi, the journey takes about 20 minutes. Open from Wednesday to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
  • Zoo, located near the airport, open from Wednesday to Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.
  • San Francisco de Paula, located 8 km. from the capital, where we can visit the Ernrest Hemingway Memorial Museum.
  • Alamar, satellite city to 18 km. of Havana. It is located next to the sea.
  • Santa María del Rosario, 16 km. from Havana. We can visit a church of the 18th century.
  • Caves of the Priest, we can accede to them taking the first train and then a taxi.
  • Lenin school, to 20 km from Havana. It’s one of the most modern schools of Cuba. The students work and study at the same time.
  • Bejucal, 31 km away, is known for the Charangas festival.
  • El Trópico, a seaside resort 60 km. from Havana.

 

Best things to do in Havana During the Night

Music and cocktails are the fundamental ingredients of the Cuban night.

The party can start with a visit to Tropicana, “a paradise under the stars”, the most famous cabaret in the city, which opened its doors in 1939 and presents every night a great show of Cuban music.

Traditional music can be heard at La Casa de la Troya (San Lázaro, 66), near Maceo Park, where the real son is played.

To listen to boleros and guarachas, a good choice is the Benny Moré Hall.

Los Jardines de 1830, on the Malecón, in one of the most pleasant corners for dancing under the stars.

In the “Gato Tuerto”, Cuban boleros and in the “Bar Delirio Cubano” (altos of the National Theater) Cuban music on Thursdays and Saturdays with performances of the group “Los tres de La Habana”.

The complex of the restaurant “La Cecilia” (Miramar) on weekends live performances of fashionable Cuban groups.

The “Macumba” discotheque in the La Giraldilla tourist complex, “salsa and show nights” every day of the week.

The Havana Café (Hotel Meliá Cohiba) offers live music and the best daikiris of the Caribbean.

On the 25th floor of the Hotel Habana Libre the Turquino cabaret runs until dawn, and has beautiful views of the city.

Musical magazines, full of Cuban rhythm can be seen at Le Parisien (Hotel Nacional), another very busy place is the “Club de la Zona”; and the “Cuervo” is a sanctuary of Latin jazz (23rd street).

Bodeguita del Medio, which has been in fashion for more than five decades

El Floridita is one of the most renowned places of the mythical Havana times, and its name is linked to Hemingway.

This is just a small sample.

In this Caribbean city there are many more for all tastes and for all those who want to enjoy themselves there.

In 1945, the “feeling” was born, it is the musical style that represents the feeling and the emotion.

Music and cocktails are the kings of the Havana night.

This we can taste in:

Tropicana

72nd and 43rd streets, 4504, Marianao.

Tel. 205144.

It is the most famous cabaret, where every night a great show based on Cuban music is presented. Reservations are recommended.

Pico Blanco

 St. John’s Hotel. c/ O, e. 33 y 25. El Vedado.

Tel. 329531.

Every night there is romantic music and live boleros from the forties.

Papa’s – Marina Hemingway

Intercanal 3. c/ 248 y 5ª Avda. Tel. 331150.

Musical performances until the early hours of the morning.

La Maison

c/ 16,701 esq. 7ª. Miramar. Tel. 331550.

Select store where every night there are fashion shows, followed by musical performances.

Jardines del 1830

Malecón, 1252 esq. c/ 20

El Vedado. Tel. 34504. Every day there is a dance in its Japanese gardens.

 

RESERVATION AND PURCHASE OF TICKETS FOR SHOWS :

Ask at the hotel reception.

Buccaneer galleon

Morro Cabaña. Tel. 338600. Floating discotheque.

Habana Club discotheque

Hotel Comodoro. c/ 3ª y 84. Tel. 225551. Modern music with Cuban touches.

Theatres

  • Gran Teatro de La Habana Prado and San Rafael streets. Tel. 613078. Performances by the National Ballet of Cuba.
  • Martí Theater, Dragones Street, Zulueta corner.
  • National Theatre of Cuba, Avda. Paseo and Calle 39. (Revolution Square Front). Tel. 697011. Theater and various shows.
  • Hubert de Blank Theater, Calzada Street between A and B. Vedado. Tel. 301011.
  • Karl Marx Theatre, Avda. 1ra. and calle 10. Tel. 23511.

Cinemas

Cinema has a lot of tradition in Cuba. There are interesting cycles of Cuban and international cinema.

  • Charles Chaplin, 23rd Street, 10th and 12th Streets.
  • La Rampa, 23rd street between O and P. Vedado.
  • Payret, Paseo del Prado and San José, next to the Central Park.
  • Acapulco, 26th Street between 35 and 37. Nuevo Vedado.

Cultural and recreational activities can be found in the Havana Tourist and Commercial Guide and in the newspaper Granma on Saturdays.

Things to do in Havana with your family

If you are traveling with your family in Havana, you will probably have to combine pleasant visits for the younger ones with not too expensive for the parents. Here’s my little advice…

First of all, and this is a piece of advice for all travelers on a tight budget: as soon as you arrive in Cuba, go to the first bank and exchange about twenty CUC (convertible pesos, the currency used by tourists and worth about 1€) for CUP (Cuban pesos used by locals).

1 CUC being worth about 25 CUP, that will make you a hell of a lot of money that could well save your wallet!

Indeed, you will find in the Cuban cafeterias (recognizable by their fast-food look, frequented only by locals, and serving mainly sandwiches, omelets or pizzas) dishes at 10-15 CUP, that is to say much less than one euro. Knowing that these same dishes will be sold for about 10 CUC in restaurants for tourists…

Admittedly, the quality is lower than in restaurants, but I bet your children will be happy to have a hot cheese panini for lunch, and it will lighten your budget considerably (about 10 to 20 times cheaper than if you went to a restaurant).

As for visits, here are some ideas for families:

  • the statue of Christ, with its breathtaking view that will delight the youngest ones.
  • the walk along the Malecon a stroll along the Paseo de Martí, with its painters and street vendors of all kinds the Castillo de la Real Fuerza, to fill your children’s dreams with pirates and castles.
  • the Callejon de Hamel, which will inevitably make them laugh with its extravagant art.

Best things to do in Havana’s neighborhoods

Havana contains 15 official municipalities, I will only mention here those of tourist interest.

Habana Vieja

It is the most visited district of the city, and rightly so.

It is in Old Havana, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, that the main monuments are located. It is here that you can lose yourself in the cobbled streets following the frenzied rhythm of salsa on the corner of the streets…

Centro Habana: located just west of the historic heart of the capital, Centro Habana has the highest population density in Havana.

Mainly residential, this very popular district has many bars and clubs, as well as the Chinatown.

I particularly liked this district because it is popular and not very touristy: scenes of daily life abound there, the inhabitants are warm despite their sometimes apparent poverty, and so it is here that you will discover the real Havana.

Vedado

Even further west, the Vedado is a neighborhood with well-squared streets, which includes the Christopher Columbus cemetery.

The Malecon ends its course there, which will undoubtedly leave you the opportunity to get lost in its alleys. Like Centro Habana, this neighborhood is popular and will allow you to immerse yourself in the daily life of Cubans.

Plaza de la Revolucion

Slightly to the south, this small neighborhood encompasses the streets around the square.

Here, too, there are few tourists, prices are falling sharply and it is possible to make some nice encounters.

Miramar

located at the very west of the city, this is a rather posh residential area.

There’s not much to see there touristically speaking, so take a tour there out of curiosity but don’t linger.

How many days to visit Havana?

I can only advise you to take the time to discover this city of crazy charm.

Depending on whether you plan to spend a day, a weekend, or three days there, here are some ideas for itineraries that can be adapted to your desires.

Things to do in Havana in 1 days

If you can only devote one day to visiting Havana, you will have to go to the essentials and not hang around too much:

  • Start the day by enjoying the view from the feet of the statue of Christ,
  • Take a tour of old Havana: San Cristobal Cathedral, the Capitol, the Grand Theatre, Paseo de Martí,
  • Quickly explore the more popular Centro Habana district, which will take you to a less glamorous side of the capital,
  • Enjoy the sunset along the Malecon,
  • End your day sipping a mojito in one of the many bars in the centre, listening to Cuban music.

Things to do in Havana in 2 days

If you have 2 days to visit the capital, go back to the previous program and add these visits:

  • The impressive and symbolic Revolution Square,
  • The Callejon de Hamel, a little further away but not to be missed,
  • El Morro fort on the other side of the bay or the Castillo de la Real Fuerza and its famous weather vane,
  • A visit to a cigar factory (plan well in advance, they are not open every day),
  • Take the time to stroll through the streets of less touristy neighborhoods. This is where you will discover the deep Havana, far from the glamour of the beautiful neighborhoods.

Things to do in Havana in 3 days

In 3 days in Havana, you will have time to soak up the typical atmosphere of the city. Add these elements to the previous programs, and above all, take your time…

  • If you love art, spend a few hours visiting the Museum of Fine Arts. Do you prefer history? Head for the Museum of the Revolution,
  • Then head towards the Christopher Columbus Cemetery, a little off to the west,
  • Finish your afternoon with an hour of salsa classes,
  • Walk in the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway at cocktail hour,
  • Finish your day with a concert where you can put into practice the salsa basics you learned a few hours earlier.

So what are the absolute best things to do in Havana ? 

  • Getting lost in the alleys of Centro Habana and Vedado…
  • Visit old Havana
  • Discover La Fabrica
  • Unusual and fascinating, far from the traditional tourist places of Havana

If you still need more inspiration about Havana, ou can also visit Havana’s official tourism Website

Conclusion
Your Turn

Now I’d like to hear from you :

Do you have any questions about your next trip to Cuba ?

Or maybe I didn’t mention one of your favorite things to do in Havana ?

Either way let me know by leaving a comment below

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20 Best things to do in Havana Cuba

In this article, you will learn ALL about the best things to do in Havana Cuba : You will discover the best activities, tourist attractions, best tours, historical sites and more. Let’s dive in

What to do in Havana

Long isolated for a long time, Cuba has been opening up again to the international market in recent years.

As a result, tourism is exploding and the island has become a popular destination for all types of travelers.

Its capital, Havana, is a little marvel that you will love to discover.

Between mythical cars, omnipresent music and dance, rich architecture full of history, and welcoming people, you won’t know where to start.

To help you organize your stay in Havana, here are the absolute best things to do in Havana, ideas for family visits

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoALIZBx8fw

Things to do in Havana: the must-sees

1. San Cristobal Cathedral

Its full name is Cathedral of the Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception.

It is a majestic building with a baroque façade, built in the 18th century by the Jesuits on the site of a former hermitage.

Try to do so in the early morning or late afternoon to enjoy the peace and quiet and admire this masterpiece in peace.

Also, Cathedral Square is one of the 5 main squares of Havana and one of the prettiest places in the city. Perfect to sit down and have a coffee!

Things to do in Havana

2. The Old Place

The “Plaza Vieja” is another must-see in Old Havana. It is a beautifully renovated square with eclectic architecture and several restaurants and cafes.

In and around the square there are several nice stops: the microbrewery La Factoria, the rum museum, the chocolate museum, the pharmacy museum and above all the Saint Francis of Assisi Square where you can climb the bell tower to get the best view of the city!

Unusual stop: a camera obscura located on the top floor of the highest building of the plaza that offers a panoramic view of Old Havana in real time at 360˚ with magnifying lenses.

Things to do in Havana

3. The Plaza de Armas

The Plaza de Armas, the heart of the city Havana is bordered by several interesting buildings.

Built at the beginning of the 16th century, it is here that the city was founded and more particularly, according to what is said, on the site of the Templete.

It is a building that looks like a Greek temple in miniature, which can easily go unnoticed, and contains a museum.

The Palace of the Captains General, which houses the City Museum, is not to be missed.

It presents the history of Havana since its foundation, with period furniture, uniforms, various objects and photographs.

Personally, this is one of the visits I liked the most because besides being a great complete exhibition, the building is a magnificent example of Cuban Baroque, with a very nice green interior patio.

A nice cool break that feels good!

Also the Palacio del Segundo Cabo, the palace of the Chief Deputy, is also worth a visit.

The building first housed a post office, then offices and the residence of the vice-captain general of Cuba, before becoming a cultural centre.

Things to do in Havana

4. The Castle of the Real Fuerza

A stone’s throw from the Plaza de Armas is the Castillo de la Real Fuerza, the official symbol of the Cuban capital.

It is a military fortress built by the Spaniards in the 16th century to protect the city from maritime attacks, especially from pirates, who were very active at the time.

The governor of Cuba also resided there.

The building is easily recognizable because it is surmounted by a weather vane called the Giraldilla.

The visit is interesting not only for its museum, but also for strolling through the maze of the fortress with its thick walls, full of history, and its view of Havana!

Things to do in Havana

5. The Capitol

El Capitolio is another unmissable monument, located on a very busy avenue that can be seen from afar.

Built on the model of the Capitol of Washington, it was once the seat of the Cuban government and now houses the Academy of Sciences.

Very photogenic, this building can be found on a large number of postcards of the country.

You will also be able to admire the 3rd largest statue in the world, representing the Republic.

Things to do in Havana

6. The Grand Theatre

Inaugurated in 1838, the Grand Theatre of Havana is surely one of the most imposing in the world.

Its elaborate facade will appeal to lovers of architecture, but it is above all its interior that is worth a look.

Several beautiful halls host shows, conferences, and even concerts or artistic exhibitions.

Don’t hesitate to attend a performance if you have the opportunity, you won’t be disappointed by the setting or the quality of the interventions proposed!

Things to do in Havana

7. A walk on the Malecon

The Malecon, a mythical promenade along the sea, is one of the must-see places in Havana.

8 km long, the seafront stretches to the north of the city and connects old Havana with the Miramar district.

No matter what time of day or season, the Malecon is always lively.

It is the scene of typical scenes from the daily life of Cubans: musicians working on their pieces in the distance, young people flirting and embracing each other at sunset, children jumping in puddles, retired couples walking quietly holding hands…

Take the time to tame the slow pace of life of Cubans by treading with your feet this mythical walk, you will come back enriched and soothed.

Things to do in Havana

8. Paseo de Martí

This is one of the busiest avenues in Havana: the Paseo de Martí, also called Paseo del Prado, is 1 km long and, like the Malecon, it is never empty.

Starting from the Fortress San Salvador de la Punta, this beautiful paved and shady avenue brings together locals, tourists and street vendors.

You will be able to choose from dozens of paintings, bring back small odds and ends as a souvenir or simply rest while enjoying the joyful scenes of Cuban daily life.

Things to do in Havana

9. The Callejon of Hamel

We’re coming to another of my Cuban favorites, the Callejon de Hamel.

This unique street is the lair of a population full of hope, half artist and half hippie.

Always crowded, this street has become an obligatory passage for tourists, but is mostly frequented day and night by the locals, who sing and dance there until dawn, or sit down for a drink on the terrace to remake the world.

Left in the hands of artists, the callejon of Hamel is full of paintings, poems engraved on the walls and offbeat works.

Don’t be surprised to see upside-down bathtubs inlaid in the stone, wire mannequins walking around on the rooftops, or disturbing masks hanging here and there.

Things to do in Havana

10. Fort El Morro

Few tourists take the time to cross the bay to admire it from another angle!

Facing Havana, this castle located on the other side of the bay offers a breathtaking view of the capital.

You will discover the cells where African slaves were once locked up, the narrow galleries worthy of a labyrinth and the chapel.

Once on the other side of the canal, you should also take the opportunity to visit the Fortress of La Cabaña, the largest fortress in America!

The best moment is undoubtedly the “Cañonazo”, where actors dressed as soldiers from the 18th century fire their cannon at the port, the old signal for the closing of the city gates.

Also, in the vicinity is the statue of Christ, another symbol of Cuba.

One can climb to its feet to enjoy a beautiful view of the capital, the cathedral, the Capitol, Old Havana, the Malecon…

Things to do in Havana

11. The National Museum of Fine Arts

The Cuban National Museum of Fine Arts is a visit not to be missed if you appreciate art.

Indeed, its collections contain more than 1200 works: paintings, engravings and sculptures, Cuban and international, from the 16th century to today.

The museum is divided into two buildings: the Palacio de Bellas Artes and the Palacio del Centro Asturiano.

In total, there are 7600 m2, divided into 8 thematic areas spread over 24 rooms, to which you will have access.

A goldmine for any amateur who wishes to combine pleasure and culture!

Things to do in Havana

12. La Fabrica

If you are a lover of art and alternative places, this is a must visit in Havana!

The Fabrica de Arte Cubano is a former oil factory in the Vedado district that was transformed into a cultural center by a collective of artists in 2015.

Art exhibitions, music, dance, fashion shows (and much more!), it’s the place to be for the diffusion of the current art of Havana, with a bar with terrace.

A big favorite!

Things to do in Havana

13. Christopher Columbus Cemetery

1 million is no more and no less than the number of graves in the Christopher Columbus cemetery!

This impressive figure makes it the largest cemetery in Latin America.

Needless to say, the walk will be long and pleasant, especially since Cuban artists helped decorate the majority of the graves.

Ironically, the tomb of Christopher Columbus is not here, but in the Cathedral of Seville in Spain. 

Things to do in Havana

14. Revolution Square

1 million is also the number of people that the Plaza de la Revolución can accommodate.

On festive days, such as July 26th, the day of the Cuban Revolution, the people of Havana gather in this square to commemorate important events.

The plaza itself is quite unremarkable, but don’t miss the two huge portraits (hard to miss!) of Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos, illuminated at night.

You can also take the elevator of the José Martí memorial, which will make you admire the city from a height of 109m.

If you are interested in the life of this national hero, take the opportunity to visit the museum of the same name.

Things to do in Havana

15. In the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway

If, like me, you have nostalgic memories of the book “The Old Man and the Sea” written by Ernest Hemingway, you should know that he wrote it while he was living in Havana.

You can visit his house, the “Finca Vigia”, located on the outskirts of the capital, and discover the office he was working on.

I can only advise you also to go to El Floridita for a daiquiri or to the Bodeguita del Medio for a mojito, two bars that the writer frequented assiduously.

Bodeguita del Medio may have more character with its walls covered with pictures and words, but El Floridita is very nice when you are lucky enough to sit at the bar, near Hemingway’s statue, and the daiquiris are well stocked! 😉

Things to do in Havana

16. The Museum of the Revolution

The Museum of the Revolution is an interesting visit for history lovers.

I was a little uncomfortable with the very “propagandist” side of the museum, which does not present the points of view of the different actors of the revolution.

Located in the former presidential palace, the visit is nevertheless pleasant and, for the curious, you can discover a spy plane engine or the golden telephone of the former dictator Batista.

Things to do in Havana

17. Visit a cigar factory

Don’t leave Havana without visiting the factory of one of the main Cuban cigar brands!

Among them are Partagas, La Corona, Romeo Y Julieta and H. Upmann.

Whatever your choice, the visit usually costs 10 CUC (about 10€), lasts one hour and presents the different stages of cigar making, which is always done by hand.

You will learn about the drying of the leaves, the selection of the best leaves according to the desired result, the rolling and the finalization of the cigar.

Things to do in Havana

18. Learn some dance steps

If you want to truly integrate into Cuban life, you need to know how to get by on a little salsa music.

Dance schools are not lacking, and often offer very attractive prices.

With 2 or 3 hours of classes, you will know the basic steps and you will be able to have fun on the dance floor among the locals.

To know where to dance or listen to good music, two tips: ask the Cubans, they will always be able to give you the best plans.

And follow your ear, because there’s a good chance that you’ll stumble upon a dance if you take a walk in the capital’s alleyways at night…

Want to see a colourful show? I really recommend the Tropicana.

It’s a cabaret that has existed since 1939 and today presents a show about Havana, its colors, its mix, with singers, dancers, ballet, acrobats, an orchestra, and really magnificent flamboyant costumes!

All this on an open-air terrace, under the stars, surrounded by vegetation.

At the entrance, the men receive a cigar, the women a rose, and on the table a bottle of rum. What else? Of course, you have to plan a certain budget, but this is definitely one of my most beautiful memories of Havana!

Things to do in Havana

19. Sleeping in a casa particular

This is an activity that is easy to integrate into your stay: for at least one night, leave the classic hotels behind and prefer a casa particular.

These guest rooms abound in Cuba, and it’s even the only type of accommodation I’ve used in about ten days!

They are often much cheaper than the hotels, sometimes better maintained, but the big plus is that you will have the opportunity to really meet the Cubans.

By living with them for one or more days, if you gabble a bit of English or Spanish, you will be able to discuss and exchange on your respective cultures.

My experience: on my first night on the island, I was welcomed by a retired man who was very happy to receive tourists.

He spent an hour giving me all the good tips of the area, places to eat for less than a euro and the best routes to discover the old centre!

Things to do in Havana

20. Rent a coco-taxi or a nice American car

You’ll keep running into them all over Havana: taxis. Whether they are luxurious or shabby, taxis are part of Cuban culture, and the locals often pile up to 6 or 8 of them for short trips.

You can choose a beautiful American car, those classic cars that can be seen everywhere in the country, but the price of the ride will be increased…

Or you can also climb into a coco-taxi, those little yellow and rounded tuk-tuks that go to the Revolution Square and the Malecón: the ride will then be much cheaper, and almost more fun than in a luxury limousine!

It is even possible to take a tour of Havana in a classic American car: a unique experience that takes you through the streets of Old Havana, Miramar and Vedado in a 1950’s convertible and finishes with a cocktail at the Hotel Nacional!

Things to do in Havana

DAYTIME ENTERTAINMENT AND AMUSEMENTS:

Art galleries:

  • Cervando Cabrera Moreno, Avda. 5 esq. 68. Miramar.
  • Imago Gallery, Prado and San José streets. Old Havana.
  • Luz y Oficios Gallery, Oficios street, luz corner. Old Havana.
  • House of the Miniature, Tacón Street, corner paved. Old Havana.
  • House of the Czech Culture, 23rd street between N and O. Vedado.

Coffee shops:

  • Coppelia, 33 sq. to L., El Vedado. Excellent ice creams are served. A must see.
  • La Casa del Café con Leche, c/Obispo. Main Square. Recently restored. Its terrace overlooks the Plaza de Armas.
  • El Mirador, El Morro-Cabaña. Considered the most pleasant terrace in the city.
  • Bar Colonial, Hotel Inglaterra. Pº del Prado, 416. Of colonial style, one has the sensation of being in Havana at the beginning of the century.

 

Best things to do In Havana Vieja

City Museum

Plaza de Armas. Tels. 612776 y 615062.

If we visit it we will be able to make us an idea of the history of the city, from its origins to our days.

The most important rooms are those destined to the conservation of objects of the different wars for the independence.

Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Plaza de Armas

very similar to any Spanish square, is the oldest in Old Havana.

It is surrounded by traditional cafes and buildings of important historical value: The Templete neoclásico, the Palacio de los Capitanes Generales, of sober baroque style, is one of the most important architectural monuments of Havana, at present the historical Museum of the city, the Palacio del Segundo Cabo o de la Intendencia, located in the North side of the Plaza de Armas in O’Reilly street, the Castillo de la Real Fuerza, a fortress built to protect the city from pirate attacks, at present here is located the Museum of the Arms, in which we can observe the evolution of the arms from the antiquity to our days and the Palacio de los Condes de Santovenia.

The Cathedral, the Convent and the Basilica Menor de San Francisco de Asís, are other monuments of obliged visit.

In the center of Old Havana there are the Convent of Santa Clara and the Birthplace of José Martí.

Across the bay are the two most important fortresses of the colonial era, the Castle of the Three Kings of Morro and the Fortress San Carlos de la Cabaña.

Calle del Obispo

 its first hundred meters have recovered the colonial style.

Plaza de la Catedral

 surrounded by buildings of great value: the old public baths, the Palace of the Marquises of Aguas Claras, particularly beautiful, the house of Lombillo, currently the Museum of Education, the house of the Marquis of Arcos, considered the best colonial mansion in Havana and the Museum of Colonial Art, known for its collection of stained glass windows, in which the life and customs of Cuban colonial life are represented.

Open from Tuesday to Saturday from 10:15 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Palacio Pedroso

 restored colonial building occupied by a craft center.

Castillo de La Punta

 Spanish fortress that protected one of the banks of the entrance channel to the bay from pirate attacks, its position was very strategic.

Paseo del Prado

is a wide boulevard flanked by beautiful Havana buildings.

Murallas

 built to protect Havana from corsair and pirate attacks. Nowadays only remains of them remain. In the zone where they were constructed nowadays we find the Museum of the Revolution and that of the Fine arts, separated by the Memorial Granma, where we can visit the ship in which Fidel came to Cuba in 1956 to initiate the revolution. In the first one we will find a complete sample of the revolutionary struggles from the last century up to the beginning of 1959.

El Capitolio

 inspired by the one in Washington was inaugurated in 1929, its dome of more than 90 meters high dominates the whole city. It currently houses the Cuban Academy of Sciences and the National Museum of Natural History, where specimens of Cuban and other countries’ most representative flora and fauna are exhibited.

Best things to do in Havana Nueva

The Malecón, a long coastal avenue 7 km. wide, which goes from the Castillo de la Punta to the mouth of the Almendares River. This is where the Havana Carnivals are held.

El Vedado, the economic center of Havana. The most important building in the area is the Hotel Nacional, which was inaugurated in 1930 and is part of the history of the city.

La Rampa, is the neuralgic center of the city, is full of shops, restaurants, cinemas, aviation companies offices, hotels, etc.

The University, located in the centre of El Vedado.

Its main feature is the enormous staircase presided over by the statue of the Alma Mater.

Next to it we will find the Anthropological Museum Montané, where we will be able to observe an interesting collection of Cuban pre-Columbian archaeological remains.

It is open from Monday to Friday from 09:00 to 12:00 and from 14:00 to 17:00.

Plaza de la Revolución, where more than one million people dig.

It is presided over by the monument to José Martí and the large 142-metre high obelisk.

Also located here are the National Theatre and the ministries of the Armed Forces and the Interior, with a huge portrait of Che Guevara.

Miramar, the Malecón, extends along the elegant 5th Avenue, the axis of the residential district of Miramar.

For the children:

  • Lenin Park. 100th street and Cortina de la Presa. Tel. 443026. Here you can find all kinds of entertainment: aquarium, riding school, amusement park, open air cinema and an area for children’s parties.
  • Guiñol Theatre, c/M and 19. Vedado. Tel. 326262. Puppet theatre for children.
  • You can also enjoy its wonderful beaches and go fishing or diving.

Best things to do in Havana’s surroundings

  • Lenin National Park, it is recommended to make the trip by taxi, the journey takes about 20 minutes. Open from Wednesday to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
  • Zoo, located near the airport, open from Wednesday to Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.
  • San Francisco de Paula, located 8 km. from the capital, where we can visit the Ernrest Hemingway Memorial Museum.
  • Alamar, satellite city to 18 km. of Havana. It is located next to the sea.
  • Santa María del Rosario, 16 km. from Havana. We can visit a church of the 18th century.
  • Caves of the Priest, we can accede to them taking the first train and then a taxi.
  • Lenin school, to 20 km from Havana. It’s one of the most modern schools of Cuba. The students work and study at the same time.
  • Bejucal, 31 km away, is known for the Charangas festival.
  • El Trópico, a seaside resort 60 km. from Havana.

 

Best things to do in Havana During the Night

Music and cocktails are the fundamental ingredients of the Cuban night.

The party can start with a visit to Tropicana, “a paradise under the stars”, the most famous cabaret in the city, which opened its doors in 1939 and presents every night a great show of Cuban music.

Traditional music can be heard at La Casa de la Troya (San Lázaro, 66), near Maceo Park, where the real son is played.

To listen to boleros and guarachas, a good choice is the Benny Moré Hall.

Los Jardines de 1830, on the Malecón, in one of the most pleasant corners for dancing under the stars.

In the “Gato Tuerto”, Cuban boleros and in the “Bar Delirio Cubano” (altos of the National Theater) Cuban music on Thursdays and Saturdays with performances of the group “Los tres de La Habana”.

The complex of the restaurant “La Cecilia” (Miramar) on weekends live performances of fashionable Cuban groups.

The “Macumba” discotheque in the La Giraldilla tourist complex, “salsa and show nights” every day of the week.

The Havana Café (Hotel Meliá Cohiba) offers live music and the best daikiris of the Caribbean.

On the 25th floor of the Hotel Habana Libre the Turquino cabaret runs until dawn, and has beautiful views of the city.

Musical magazines, full of Cuban rhythm can be seen at Le Parisien (Hotel Nacional), another very busy place is the “Club de la Zona”; and the “Cuervo” is a sanctuary of Latin jazz (23rd street).

Bodeguita del Medio, which has been in fashion for more than five decades

El Floridita is one of the most renowned places of the mythical Havana times, and its name is linked to Hemingway.

This is just a small sample.

In this Caribbean city there are many more for all tastes and for all those who want to enjoy themselves there.

In 1945, the “feeling” was born, it is the musical style that represents the feeling and the emotion.

Music and cocktails are the kings of the Havana night.

This we can taste in:

Tropicana

72nd and 43rd streets, 4504, Marianao.

Tel. 205144.

It is the most famous cabaret, where every night a great show based on Cuban music is presented. Reservations are recommended.

Pico Blanco

 St. John’s Hotel. c/ O, e. 33 y 25. El Vedado.

Tel. 329531.

Every night there is romantic music and live boleros from the forties.

Papa’s – Marina Hemingway

Intercanal 3. c/ 248 y 5ª Avda. Tel. 331150.

Musical performances until the early hours of the morning.

La Maison

c/ 16,701 esq. 7ª. Miramar. Tel. 331550.

Select store where every night there are fashion shows, followed by musical performances.

Jardines del 1830

Malecón, 1252 esq. c/ 20

El Vedado. Tel. 34504. Every day there is a dance in its Japanese gardens.

 

RESERVATION AND PURCHASE OF TICKETS FOR SHOWS :

Ask at the hotel reception.

Buccaneer galleon

Morro Cabaña. Tel. 338600. Floating discotheque.

Habana Club discotheque

Hotel Comodoro. c/ 3ª y 84. Tel. 225551. Modern music with Cuban touches.

Theatres

  • Gran Teatro de La Habana Prado and San Rafael streets. Tel. 613078. Performances by the National Ballet of Cuba.
  • Martí Theater, Dragones Street, Zulueta corner.
  • National Theatre of Cuba, Avda. Paseo and Calle 39. (Revolution Square Front). Tel. 697011. Theater and various shows.
  • Hubert de Blank Theater, Calzada Street between A and B. Vedado. Tel. 301011.
  • Karl Marx Theatre, Avda. 1ra. and calle 10. Tel. 23511.

Cinemas

Cinema has a lot of tradition in Cuba. There are interesting cycles of Cuban and international cinema.

  • Charles Chaplin, 23rd Street, 10th and 12th Streets.
  • La Rampa, 23rd street between O and P. Vedado.
  • Payret, Paseo del Prado and San José, next to the Central Park.
  • Acapulco, 26th Street between 35 and 37. Nuevo Vedado.

Cultural and recreational activities can be found in the Havana Tourist and Commercial Guide and in the newspaper Granma on Saturdays.

Things to do in Havana with your family

If you are traveling with your family in Havana, you will probably have to combine pleasant visits for the younger ones with not too expensive for the parents. Here’s my little advice…

First of all, and this is a piece of advice for all travelers on a tight budget: as soon as you arrive in Cuba, go to the first bank and exchange about twenty CUC (convertible pesos, the currency used by tourists and worth about 1€) for CUP (Cuban pesos used by locals).

1 CUC being worth about 25 CUP, that will make you a hell of a lot of money that could well save your wallet!

Indeed, you will find in the Cuban cafeterias (recognizable by their fast-food look, frequented only by locals, and serving mainly sandwiches, omelets or pizzas) dishes at 10-15 CUP, that is to say much less than one euro. Knowing that these same dishes will be sold for about 10 CUC in restaurants for tourists…

Admittedly, the quality is lower than in restaurants, but I bet your children will be happy to have a hot cheese panini for lunch, and it will lighten your budget considerably (about 10 to 20 times cheaper than if you went to a restaurant).

As for visits, here are some ideas for families:

  • the statue of Christ, with its breathtaking view that will delight the youngest ones.
  • the walk along the Malecon a stroll along the Paseo de Martí, with its painters and street vendors of all kinds the Castillo de la Real Fuerza, to fill your children’s dreams with pirates and castles.
  • the Callejon de Hamel, which will inevitably make them laugh with its extravagant art.

Best things to do in Havana’s neighborhoods

Havana contains 15 official municipalities, I will only mention here those of tourist interest.

Habana Vieja

It is the most visited district of the city, and rightly so.

It is in Old Havana, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, that the main monuments are located. It is here that you can lose yourself in the cobbled streets following the frenzied rhythm of salsa on the corner of the streets…

Centro Habana: located just west of the historic heart of the capital, Centro Habana has the highest population density in Havana.

Mainly residential, this very popular district has many bars and clubs, as well as the Chinatown.

I particularly liked this district because it is popular and not very touristy: scenes of daily life abound there, the inhabitants are warm despite their sometimes apparent poverty, and so it is here that you will discover the real Havana.

Vedado

Even further west, the Vedado is a neighborhood with well-squared streets, which includes the Christopher Columbus cemetery.

The Malecon ends its course there, which will undoubtedly leave you the opportunity to get lost in its alleys. Like Centro Habana, this neighborhood is popular and will allow you to immerse yourself in the daily life of Cubans.

Plaza de la Revolucion

Slightly to the south, this small neighborhood encompasses the streets around the square.

Here, too, there are few tourists, prices are falling sharply and it is possible to make some nice encounters.

Miramar

located at the very west of the city, this is a rather posh residential area.

There’s not much to see there touristically speaking, so take a tour there out of curiosity but don’t linger.

How many days to visit Havana?

I can only advise you to take the time to discover this city of crazy charm.

Depending on whether you plan to spend a day, a weekend, or three days there, here are some ideas for itineraries that can be adapted to your desires.

Things to do in Havana in 1 days

If you can only devote one day to visiting Havana, you will have to go to the essentials and not hang around too much:

  • Start the day by enjoying the view from the feet of the statue of Christ,
  • Take a tour of old Havana: San Cristobal Cathedral, the Capitol, the Grand Theatre, Paseo de Martí,
  • Quickly explore the more popular Centro Habana district, which will take you to a less glamorous side of the capital,
  • Enjoy the sunset along the Malecon,
  • End your day sipping a mojito in one of the many bars in the centre, listening to Cuban music.

Things to do in Havana in 2 days

If you have 2 days to visit the capital, go back to the previous program and add these visits:

  • The impressive and symbolic Revolution Square,
  • The Callejon de Hamel, a little further away but not to be missed,
  • El Morro fort on the other side of the bay or the Castillo de la Real Fuerza and its famous weather vane,
  • A visit to a cigar factory (plan well in advance, they are not open every day),
  • Take the time to stroll through the streets of less touristy neighborhoods. This is where you will discover the deep Havana, far from the glamour of the beautiful neighborhoods.

Things to do in Havana in 3 days

In 3 days in Havana, you will have time to soak up the typical atmosphere of the city. Add these elements to the previous programs, and above all, take your time…

  • If you love art, spend a few hours visiting the Museum of Fine Arts. Do you prefer history? Head for the Museum of the Revolution,
  • Then head towards the Christopher Columbus Cemetery, a little off to the west,
  • Finish your afternoon with an hour of salsa classes,
  • Walk in the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway at cocktail hour,
  • Finish your day with a concert where you can put into practice the salsa basics you learned a few hours earlier.

So what are the absolute best things to do in Havana ? 

  • Getting lost in the alleys of Centro Habana and Vedado…
  • Visit old Havana
  • Discover La Fabrica
  • Unusual and fascinating, far from the traditional tourist places of Havana

If you still need more inspiration about Havana, ou can also visit Havana’s official tourism Website

Conclusion Your Turn

Now I’d like to hear from you :

Do you have any questions about your next trip to Cuba ?

Or maybe I didn’t mention one of your favorite things to do in Havana ?

Either way let me know by leaving a comment below

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