There are a lot of things to do in Havana. You could literally spend a lifetime in this city and do something different each day. With so much to see, it can be overwhelming trying to plan a trip to this wonderful city.
Havana is at the vanguard of exotic cities, history, food trends, fashion, and uniqueness. Now, you could get cute and obscure when you compile a guide like this.
But truth be told, 10 things isn’t enough for a city like Havana, which is why our list is packed shamelessly with big-hitters, from Classic Cars Tours to The Capitol, Fusterlandia, the Cannon Shot Ceremony, Walks by unforgettable places and some of Cuban Salsa.
We have you covered with everything you need to know to plan the perfect trip to Havana, Cuba. Grab a cup of coffee, a pen and stay for a while.
Whether you’re traveling on a budget or with luxurious taste, this is the ultimate list of things to do in Havana.
Well, that being said, let’s start!
Havana is the capital, largest city, a major port and leading commercial center of Cuba. The city has a population of 2.1 million inhabitants and attracts over a million tourists annually.
Due to Havana’s almost 500-year existence, the city boasts some of the most diverse styles of architecture in the world, from castles built in the late 16th century to the modernist present-day high rises.
#1 Walk through Old Havana
This the city center and one of the 15 municipalities forming Havana. It has the second-highest population density in the city and contains the core of the original city of Havana. The positions of the original Havana city walls are the modern boundaries of Old Havana, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982.
All major sights in Old Havana are within walking distance, such as “El Capitolio”, the Museum of the Revolution, “Plaza Vieja”, or the Great Theatre to name just a few. Take a day to roam the narrow streets of the Old Town and make sure to have a drink at the roof of the “Hotel Ambos Mundos”.
Best Things to do in Old Havana
La Bodeguita del Medio
It is one of the most visited places in Havana for its history, and for its typical dishes of Cuban cuisine, it is also known as the cradle of Cuban Mojito. La Bodeguita has been visited over the years by multiple personalities from both art and science, heads of state and prime ministers.
It is another places of obligatory visit in your passage through the capital of Cuba, here you will enjoy the “Daiquiri Papa Special” (Daiquirí dedicated to Hemingway), as well as the atmosphere of the place which is usually enlivened by good traditional Cuban music.
This is another of the emblematic buildings of Havana, which was built in the 20s, and recently restored by the office of the history of Havana under the direction of Eusebio Leal. Inside the capitol is the 0 Km of Cuba as well as one of the largest indoor statues in the world.
Plaza de Armas
Today Plaza de Armas is an almost obligatory visit for all history lovers. This square has been for more than five consecutive centuries a social center in the city, several restaurants and bars surround the square make this place a pleasant place to refresh and escape a bit of the tropical sun.
Nowadays it is one of the most visited places in all Havana, but it was not like that since in the 50s it was used as an underground car park, in it, you can see the famous Casa del Conde, which has one of the most beautiful stained glass windows in the city.
#2 Take a Classic Car Tour
When you are in Havana, of course, you need to go on a Tour with a Classic Car for at least three hours, going around Havana and seeing all the spots on and off the tourist path.
A tour with a vintage car is a great option to get a broader image of the city and its people, you will be able to see and learn about the neighborhoods in the Western part of the city, such as Vedado, Miramar, and Buena Vista. A truly authentic experience!
Best Classic Cars Rides in Havana
Certainly, there are countless routes that can be done in Havana in classic cars, however, and based on our experience, the most requested routes are always Modern Havana, Finca Vigía (Hemingway’s house) and Fusterlandia. We will talk about this last one later since it has had such acceptance in recent years that we have dedicated a complete block 🙂
Despite Old Havana is a tempting place to travel on a covnertible of 50’s, it does not allow vehicles to pass through its narrow streets and super populated boulevards.
#3 Try the Traditional Cuban Cuisine
We Cubans are proud of our cars, our traditions but above all things of our food. And the good news is that Havana is full of local restaurants (Paladares) where you can taste the exquisite dishes of traditional Cuban food.
The Best Food to taste in Havana are:
Yuca con Mojo
#4 Take the hop-on, hop-off Bus
Another option to see more of Havana is to take a hop-on, hop-off bus tour. A day ticket is only $10 CUC and it will get you to all sights in the other parts of town such as the “Plaza de la Revolución”, the Colon cemetery or the famous “Hotel Nacional”.
#5 Enjoy the Live Music
No visit to Havana is complete without experiencing live music, actually, it’s hard not to as music is happening everywhere throughout the old town, in the streets, at bars and restaurants.
Note: Our recommendation for the evening is to swing by Hotel Inglaterra, which was our favorite place to listen to salsa music during your stay in the city.
#6 Visit the Habana Libre hotel
If you wanted to see Havana from above and have an ice-cold drink, you should come to this place here. This is the Hotel “Habana Libre”, and they also have a restaurant on the 25th floor.
You can have this incredible view of Havana. Cheers to that 😉
#7 Go to the Cannon Shot Ceremony
It is 8 p.m. and you have to be on the fortress on the other side of the city to see the cannon show because every night at 9 p.m. they shoot the cannons from there.
You might be also looking for our Havana Colonial Tour, where our classic car, driver and guide stays with you until the Ceremony is over.
#8 Visit Fusterlandia
A rather unusual but very unique place to visit is Fusterlandia. Here Cuban artist José Fuster started to redesign his house in the neighborhood Jaimanitas inspired the works of Gaudí in Barcelona.
Once he was done there he continued by decorating the houses of his neighbors and ended up turning the whole neighborhood in one giant art piece.
Note: Don’t miss out visiting this colorful area, best to combine with a tour in a classic car.
#9 Walk by El Malecon
This a broad esplanade and seawall, which stretches for eight kilometers along the coast in Havana, from the mouth of the Havana Harbor in Old Havana along the north side of the center Havana neighborhood ending in the Vedado neighborhood and it is considered to be the hangout spot by locals in the evening.
For the best experience, make sure to go for a stroll near the Old Town during sunset.
# 10 Visit the Christ Statue in Havana
The statue of the Christ in Havana is probably the most hidden gem of the city since only a few tourists know about this place.
Almost no guided tour includes this attraction, but the truth is that it offers all its visitors a spectacular view over the bay from Havana and the whole city.