- Walking through the lively streets of the historic center of Havana - Old Havana (Habana Vieja)
- Visit the oldest historic buildings from the Spanish colonial era
- Visit the favourite bars of Hemingway and tale a Mojito in the Bodeguita del Medio or a Daiquiri in the Floridita
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.
Sights in Old-Havana
Cathedral square and surroundings
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)
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.
Old Castle of the Royal Spanish Forces
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.
The Old Square
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"
"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")
San Francisco Square
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)
Palace of the Spanish General Captains
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.
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.
Museum of the Revolution
If you are interested in the Cuban Revolution, than you can't miss this gem. In the Museum of the Revolution you find the most important and interesting pieces of the fight for the victory of Fidel Castro and his men.
Museum of Fine Arts
This majestic museum was built in 1926 and is occupying two buildings. The Universal Art collection houses in the former "Centro Asturiano" and shows pieces from the time of 500 BC up until today.
The other building is the "Palacio de Bellas Artes", which displays a rich collection of Cuban Art - diverse and magnificent works from the period of the 18th Century until the 20th century. You will find pieces from Cuban artists such as Amelia Pelaez, Rene Portocarrero, William Collazo, Wilfredo Lam and many more.
Sights around the "Plaza Cristo" square:
- Parish of Santo Cristo del Buen Viaje
- Havana Pharmacy Museum ("Museo de Farmacia Habanera")
This is the most prestigious dance school in Cuba and one of the largest in the world. 4350 carefully selected students are trained here to become later part of the National Ballet. Enthusiasts can go there to get information about courses and workshops.
Fun, Leisure and 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.
Restaurants & Paladares
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.
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.
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.
Clubs & discotheques
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.
"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!
- Cathedral square and surroundings
- The Temple
- Old Castle of the Royal Spanish Forces
- The Old Square
- Shopping street
- San Francisco Square
- Palace of the Spanish General Captains
- Bacardi building
- Museum of the Revolution
- Museum of Fine Arts
- Christ square
- Central Park
- Take a tour with an old American car through Havana
- Hotel Saratoga - roof terrace
- Hotel Sevilla - in the garden
- "Hotel Ambos Mundos"
- "Hotel Sevilla"
- "Hotel Plaza"
- "Hotel Inglaterra"
- "Hotel Sevilla"
- "Hotel Florida"
- Infotur "Calle Obispo" - 100 m near the "Floridita"
- Cadeca "Calle Obispo" (ATM's)
- "Telepunto" Calle Obispo
- Shopping street "Calle Obispo"
- Shops oposite to the "Museo de Bellas Artes"
- "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)
- + "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")
- La Rosalia de Castro
- Los Nardos
- Paladar "Doña Eutemia"
- Paladar "La Mulata del Sabor"
- Pub "Cervezería Taberna de la Muralla"
- Bar "Monserrat"
- Bodeguita del Medio
- "Casa de la Cultura"
- "Casa de la Trova"