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Old Havana


Cuba | Havana travel guide | 
District Old-Havana

Old-Havana (Habana Vieja) district is the historic center of Havana. It is considered the richest colonial architecture in Latin America, and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982.

The "old town" (ciudad vieja), as it is called, is an amazing mix of old buildings, old squares and streets full of noise and music. It’s whirlwind of sights and sounds not to be missed.

Habana Vieja is a center of constant activity, preferred by tourists and Cubans.

Here you find the beautiful old buildings and squares like the Cathedral of Havana, the Plaza de Armas, the castle Castillo de la Real Fuerza, the Plaza Vieja, the Plaza San Francisco and the Palacio de los Capitanes Generales.

There is so much to discover... Take your time! Within one day you can see the most important sights, but you need at least 3 days to see all the beautiful and interesting places - including museums, galleries, bars  and restaurants of Old-Havana.

To enjoy this environment and to experience it properly you need to walk through its vibrant streets.
Walking is undoubtedly the best way to explore this fascinating part of Havana. Let your curiosity run wild! Dive into the glorious past of Old Havana.

Havana Tourist information

Cuba Havana travel guide

District: Old-Havana
City map Old-Havana Cuba

Useful informations
  • Havana travel guide District Old-Havana - Tourist office
    Tourist office
    Infotur "Calle Obispo" - 100 m near the "Floridita"

  • Money exchange  District Old-Havana
    Money exchangeCadeca "Calle Obispo" (ATM's)

  • Internet Old-Havana Cuba
    "Telepunto" Calle Obispo

  • District Old-Havana Cuba Hospital
    + "Hospital Hermanos Ameijeiras" (Centro Habana - "Calle Neptuno" / "Calle Marquez Gonzalez")
    + for foreigners in Havana (if not an emergency): "Clinica Central" - "calle 20 nº4101" / Ecke "Avenida 41" ("Playa" municipality)

  • Tourism Old-Havana - Shopping
    Shopping street "Calle Obispo"
    Shops oposite to the "Museo de Bellas Artes"
Private accommodation in Old-Havana
Lodging Havana Cuba

If you are looking for a familiar (local) experience - and a much lower price range - then you need to look out for private houses in Havana - the casas particulares. A casa particular in Havana is a clean and cozy lodging with good, friendly service. The owners of these private lodgings will do everything they can to make clients happy. There are many casas particulares in Old Havana located in really beautiful old buildings with a stunning architecture.
For those wishing to see the city from inside without spending a lot of money, a casas particular is the number one choice.
  • District Old-Havana Cuba
    Rooms & Apartments

  • District Old-Havana - Hotels
    "Hotel Ambos Mundos"
    "Hotel Sevilla"
    "Hotel Plaza"
    "Hotel Inglaterra"
    "Hotel Sevilla"
    "Hotel Florida"

  • Car rental Havana District Old-Havana
    Car rental
    + "Hotel Saratoga"
    + "Hotel Sevilla"
    + In the harbor at the "Terminal de cruceros" (where the cruise ships are)
    + "Gran car" company - Old American cars with driver (can be found often in the front of the "Capitolio")

Sights & Monuments in Old-Havana

As a World Heritage City, Old-Havana is interesting in all its aspects. On your way through this district you will see a lot of interesting things - sights and attractions are everywhere!
Many actual buildings are genuine works of art, often decaying and in very poor conditions. Currently, a lot of houses are being restored, to preserve the architectural heritage of Havana.
Havana Vieja is full of architectural gems with many different styles like, Colonial, Baroque, Neoclassical, Art Noveau, Art Deco and Eclectic.
Habana Vieja is too big for one day.
There are just too many things to see! Take your time and dive into this unique place with its many many attractions.
It's difficult to find a more photogenic place in Cuba. Don't miss our nightlife guide for Habana Vieja - Old Havana.
  • Havana travel guide District Old-Havana - Tourism - Sights & Monuments
    Sights & Monuments
    Cathedral square and surroundings
    The Temple
    Old Castle of the Royal Spanish Forces
    The Old Square
    Shopping street
    San Francisco Square
    Palace to the General Catains
    Christ square
    Bacardi building

  • Havana travel guide District Old-Havana - Tourism - Fun, leisure & sports
    Fun, leisure & sports
    Take a tour with an old American car through Havana

  • Public pools Old-Havana Havana travel guide
    Public pools

  • Beaches Havana travel guide District Old-Havana - Tourism
    Havana "Playas del Este" beaches

Cathedral square and surroundings

   |   Plaza de la Catedral

This square houses the Cathedral of San Cristobal de La Habana. This church was completed in 1787 and is the epitome of Cuban Baroque. It housed the remains of Christopher Columbus until brought to Sevilla in 1898.

More interesting places in the Plaza de la Cathedral:

  • Palacio de los Marqueses de Aguas Claras
  • Palacio de los Condes de Casa Bayona (now called Museum of Colonial Art)
  • Palacio del Marqués de Arcos (Office of the Historian of Havana)
  • Wilfredo Lam Center (Cafetería & Exhibition Centre)
Best sights in Havana Cuba - Old-Havana
Plaza de la Catedral

The Temple

   |   El Templete

A small temple built in 1827 to commemorate the first Mass celebrated in 1519. The paintings of the event are the work of the painter Jean BabtisteVermay.

Travel guide Havana Cuba - top attractions

Old Castle of the Royal Spanish Forces

   |   Castillo de la Fuerza Real

It is the first fort built in Cuba and one of the oldest in America. The figurine that adorns the tower is a copy of "La Giraldilla" - the symbol of the city that you find printed on the "Havana Club" bottles.

Tourist attractions and the best sights in Havana historical center

The Old Square

   |   Plaza Vieja

The "Plaza Vieja" square is now one of the most beautiful places in Old-Havana. All the houses are now renovated and look like new. 

Sights in Old-Havana - around the "Plaza Vieja" square:

  • Camera Obscura ("Cámara Oscura")
  • Cuba Photo Library ("Fototeca de Cuba")
  • Casona Museum of Art Cards ("Museo de Naipes Casone de Arte")
  • Cultural Center "Pablo de la Torriente Brau"
Sights Havana Cuba - travel guide for tourists
Plaza Vieja

Shopping street

   |   Obispo

"Obispo" is one of the main streets of Old Havana and possibly the most popular. This street is full of shops and galleries to visit. By day, it’s always a little bit crowded.

Things to see in Obispo:

  • Numismatic Museum ("Museo Numismático")
  • Mural Painting Museum ("Museo de Pintura Mural")
  • Gold Museum ("Museo de Orfebrería")
Sights Cuba Havana
Calle Obispo

San Francisco Square

   |   Plaza de San Francisco

Visit the "San Francisco" church and have a look on the surroundings.

Sights in the surroundings of the San Francisco Square:

  • Fountain "Fuente de los Leones"
  • Statue of the "Gentlemen from Paris" ("Caballero de París")
  • Church of St. Francis of Assisi
  • "Lonja de Comercio" building
  • Car Mambi (name of the Cubans in the Independent War against Spain)
Havana Cuba holidays - top attractions Old-Havana Habana Vieja
Plaza San Francisco

Palace to the General Catains

   |   Palacio de los Capitanes Generales

This robust Baroque building has been home to the Spanish captains, home of American military governors and Presidential Place. Today it is the museum of the city.

Sights tipps reviews and recommendations for sights in Havana Cuba
Plaza de los Capitanes Generales

Christ square

   |   Plaza de Cristo

Sights around the "Plaza Cristo" square:

  • Parish of Santo Cristo del Buen Viaje
  • Havana Pharmacy Museum ("Museo de Farmacia Habanera")
Plaza de Cristo

Bacardi building

   |   Edificio Bacardí

This wonderful building was built in 1930 by the Bacardi Company S.A. and is a jewel of Art Deco. Now it is an office building, with a small bar in the lobby.


Fun, leisure & sports in Old-Havana

Take a tour with an old American car through Havana

In Havana you have the chance to rent a vintage car for a reasonable price (about 30 CUC / hour with driver).

Rent a red Cadillac to explore this unique place!

Normally 3 people are admitted, so the price is very affordable.

Car rental Cuba Havana

Gastronomy - Restaurants and Paladares in Old-Havana

  • Restaurants District Old-Havana - Review
    La Rosalia de Castro
    Los Nardos

  • Paladares District Old-Havana - Review
    Paladar "Doña Eutemia"
    Paladar "La Mulata del Sabor"

In the old city center of Havana you will find a wide range of dining possibilities - it’s an excellent place to do lunch or dinner. Many of the restaurants in Old-Havana are located in stunning old Cuban buildings.

The private restaurants, called "Paladares" are an inexpensive and good quality alternative to the restaurants operated by the goverment. For just 8-15 CUC / person (depending on the dish) you will be presented with one of the lovingly prepared (mostly Cuban) dishes.
Stroll through the old town of Havana and you will find a lot of attractive restaurants and paladares in Havana Cuba.
Restaurants in Old-Havana
La Rosalia de CastroActually, a center for Spanish culture, this aged building also has a highly recommended restaurant on the second floor. The menu offers everything from soups, omelette's along with fish and meat dishes. The portions are gigantic!
Los NardosRestaurant opposite to the "Capitolio". Excellent price ratio - large portions. The menu in the Old-Havana restaurants "Los Nardos" offers international dishes. It's very popular with Cubans and tourists. A meal costs about 10-15 CUC.
Paladares in Old-Havana
Paladar "Doña Eutemia"Strategically located at the "Plaza de la Catedral" in the heart of the old town. The host is very friendly and takes care of all guests. The menu offers very good Cuban food (try "Tamales"), fish and seafood.
Paladar "La Mulata del Sabor"Paladar "La Mulata del Sabor" This paladar restaurant in Havana is located at the "Plaza Vieja" and together with the excellent food from Cuban cuisine, the likable owner, Justina is a big attraction. Specialty of the house: "pollo" - chicken.

Nightlife in Old-Havana

Havana nightlife locations - reviews and recommendations
  • Nightlife District Old-Havana - Bars Review
    Pub "Cervezería Taberna de la Muralla"
    Bar "Monserrat"
    Bodeguita del Medio

  • Nightlife Havana travel guide District Old-Havana - Nightclubs Review
    "Casa de la Cultura"
    "Casa de la Trova"
Between the "Floridita", at the western end of the main street "Obispo" and the waterfront "Malecón" you will find many historic bars, that attract their clients with a beautiful ancient decoration and often with wide airy terraces.
Live bands you'll find on every corner. Only your music taste decides, which one you like.
The old town is ideal for a stroll through the bars and to enjoy the (mostly traditional Cuban) live music. However, most of the large discotheques and clubs can be found in Havana Vedado district.
Bars in Old-Havana
Pub "Cervezería Taberna de la Muralla"Beer garden in the front of a small and stylish brewery. The beers are served in very original XXL glass tubes. This place is located on one of the most beautiful squares of Havana - the "Plaza Vieja".
Bar "Monserrat"Traditional bar, just meters from Hemingway's "Floridita" away. The old wooden furniture, the nice staff and good drinks accompanied by Cuban sounds (often live), make this location a highlight of the bar culture in Old-Havana.
Bodeguita del MedioProbably the best known Cuban Bar - here Ernest Hemingway got his beloved "Mojitos". A place full of history - the walls tell volumes about it. May be a little too touristy, but worth a look - and a Mojito for sure!
FloriditaThe "Floridita" bar in Havana can be found at the beginning of the shopping street "Calle Obispo", and is another "must" for Hemingway fans: a statue that shows the famous writer standing at the bar and plenty of photographs give the "Floridita" a very special atmosphere. It's a mix of a bar and a museum.
Nightclubs in Old-Havana
"Casa de la Cultura"Every night (unless it's raining) you can see live dances and hear the music of Afro-Cuban "Yoruba" culture. Dance classes are also offered.
"Casa de la Trova"Lovers of sun ballads will find their Mecca here. Very Romantic!

City map Old-Havana

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