Havana, the colorful capital of Cuba, is a must-see when you’re visiting this interesting country. These are the best things to do in Havana.
The best things to do in in Havana
What to do in Havana? These are the most beautiful sights and the best things to do in Havana.
Visit Plaza de la Revolución
The Plaza de la Revolución is a gigantic square with an impressive monument to José Marti. You’ll see his image everywhere in Cuba. On either side of the square are tall buildings bearing the effigies of Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, and Camilo Cienfuegos.
The square is used for large gatherings, as Fidel Castro regularly addressed the Cuban people in this square. The Plaza de la Revolución is probably one of the first things you see when you arrive in Havana, as it is on the route from the airport to Havana Viejo (Havana old town).
Catedral de San Cristóbal
At Plaza de la Catedral is a beautiful church that you really should check out when you’re exploring Havana: the Catedral de San Christóbal. It looks a bit strange because the towers on either side are quite different from each other. An impressive building!
Explore Havana Viejo
Havana Viejo is the oldest part of Havana, also known as old town Havana. This is also the best neighborhood to stay in when you’re in Havana since exploring Havana Viejo is one of the best things to do in Havana. This is the real old Havana, with narrow streets, gorgeous colonial buildings, and beautiful squares.
A great place to wander around for hours, there is so much beauty to see. You will also find many restaurants in this district where you can listen to live music.
Want to check out Havana’s craziest neighborhood? Then you should definitely go to Fusterlandia. This is actually a separate village west of Havana and everywhere you look you see colorful mosaics. Really awesome to see!
Visit the Museo de la Revolucion
One of the most interesting museums I ever visited and one of the best Havana museums is the Museo de la Revolución in Havana. This is definitely one of the main Havana attractions because this is the place where you learn everything about the revolution from the Cuban perspective. Throughout the building, you can still see the bullet holes from the attack in 1957 in the marble walls. There are also many images of Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, and there are large Cuban flags.
Please note; the story is really told from the Cuban point of view. And that the Cubans do not like America that much is also clearly visible in this museum. For example, you’ll see large Cuban missiles next to a pile of scrap metal (that used to be an American missile) and you see many cartoons with former American presidents.
Go for a walk on the Malecón
The Malecón is a world-famous boulevard and it is always pleasantly busy here. This is the place for a nice long walk because the Malecón is no less than eight kilometers long. In addition, this is also a good place to watch the sunset.
Plaza Vieja is perhaps the most beautiful square in Havana Vieja. There are colorful buildings and many restaurants with cozy terraces. A good place for a bite and cocktail.
Plaza de San Francisco de Asís
Personally, I found Plaza de San Francisco de Asís to be one of the nicest squares in Havana. On the square is Basílica San Francisco de Asís and that is a gorgeous church. In the square, you will often find women in typical Cuban clothing who like to have their picture taken with you with a large Cuban cigar in their mouth.
Market at Plaza de Armas
On Plaza de Armas you will find an antique and book market almost every day. Great for a stroll through and you might find some fun souvenirs there.
The most famous (and infamous) hotel in Havana? That’s Hotel Nacional. The hotel is located on the Malecón and this used to be the place where many celebrities vacationed like Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, and Marlon Brando, among others.
It is also a notorious hotel because gangsters also found this a good place to meet. During the Havana conference, the American mafia leaders decided here that Lucky Luciano was the ‘boss of all bosses’.
Do you also want to visit this historic place? A room in this five-star hotel is quite pricey, but you can also drink a delicious mojito in the beautiful garden.
Castillo de la Real Fuerza
Castillo de la Real Fuerza is a fortress from the sixteenth century and very impressive to see. You can also visit it as it now houses a maritime museum.
Go shopping in Obispo
Obispo is the shopping street in the old center of Havana. You will find a lot of souvenir shops here, but also many cozy restaurants with live music.
Drinking cocktails on the roof terrace of Hotel Inglaterra
Hotel Inglaterra is Havana’s oldest hotel and enjoys a beautiful location near the Capitol. On the roof terrace, you can drink delicious cocktails and enjoy live music. It’s also a great place to dance. From here you have a beautiful view of the city, the buildings are beautifully illuminated at night.
You don’t have to be a hotel guest of Hotel Inglaterra to visit the roof terrace, so it’s a great place to stop by if you want to have a drink after dinner. It can get chilly on the rooftop at night, so make sure to add a sweater to your Cuba packing list.
Visit Finca Vigía
The house La Finca Vigia is located in a suburb of Havana. The famous writer Ernest Hemingway lived here from 1939 to 1960 and wrote the book The old man and the sea , for which he received a Nobel Prize. The house is now a museum, where you can see several of his personal belongings.
Take the perfect photo in front of El Capitolio
One of the most famous buildings in Havana is El Capitolio, which is based on the Capitol in Washington DC. And in front of this Capitol are always the characteristic old-timers. This is the picture that can be found in all travel guides. That’s the picture you’d like to have as well, right? I’d like to make it again myself if the Capitol isn’t under construction, so that’s just one of the reasons why I want to go back to Havana someday. And for the delicious mojitos of course.
Book a trip to Cuba
In my opinion, these are the best things to do in Havana. Do you feel like booking a trip to Havana and Cuba after reading this article?
Would you like to book a trip to Cuba? These are some useful websites:
- You can find the cheapest plane tickets via Skyscanner.
- When I traveled to Cuba it was still very difficult to book a hotel room or room in a casa online. Now you can just use Booking.com and Hostelworld. Which is so convenient!
- It is mandatory to take out good travel insurance when you travel to Cuba. I would suggest checking out Insubuy.
- Would you like to discover Havana by bike? Check out Baja Bikes for fun bike tours.
Read more about Cuba
Do you want to read more about Havana and a vacation to Cuba? Order one of these travel guides for more tips:
In addition, you can also read more about a Cuba vacation on this website. Check out one of these articles:
- Awesome 2-week Cuba itinerary
- The best things to do in Trinidad Cuba
- 18 Top things to do in Cienfuegos Cuba
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This article was published in April 2017. Last update with even more tips: January 2022.
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